Press Release

Media Contact: Laura Pennino, Senior PR Consultant for Hughes Watters Askanase

281-286-9398 ext. 1, 713-419-1776 mobile

The Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston Recognizes Hughes Watters Askanase Partner Dominique M. Varner with Italian Flame Award

HOUSTON, Texas (June 19, 2015)— Dominique M. Varner, a partner with Hughes Watters Askanase L.L.P. (, received the Italian Flame Award at the 2015 Italian Cultural & Community Center Gala and Casino Night in Houston on Saturday, June 13.. Varner jointly manages HWA’s Default Servicing Practice Area with fellow HWA partner Carolyn A. Taylor.

Established in 1982, the Italian Cultural & Community Center ( is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate, progress and preserve Italian culture across all Houston areas through cultural, educational, social programs and scholarships for graduating high school students. Varner is one of 18 Italian and Italian-American legal professionals who were recognized at this year’s annual gala for exemplary character, leadership, community service and, most of all, Italian spirit). Gala proceeds benefit the Houston Bar Association’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers program, and the Italian Cultural & Community Center’s La Scuola d’Italiano, the Italian language school for adults and children, and other noteworthy causes.

Please see for a list of all Italian Flame Award recipients.

“I am pleased that Dominique was nominated and selected to receive the Italian Cultural & Community Center's Flame Award. This award is a validation of Dominique Varner’s professional achievements and her contributions to the Houston community. Dominique aptly fulfills the Flame Award's criteria of dedication and service in her career, her strong sense of community, and her personal ethics,” commented Dolores “Dee” Avioli, ICCC Gala Awards Committee Chair.

Varner is a first generation Italian American. Her mother was born and raised in Italy. Varner spent many vacations in the Italian Alps with her family and credits her annual trips for her continued embodiment of the Italian spirit.

“I try my best to replicate that Italian spirit when I am in Houston. The Italian Cultural Center, with its Italian Masses, movies and other cultural affairs, is a huge asset in connecting to the Italian spirit every day,” Varner commented.

“Being nominated for this award is a tremendous honor for which I am very proud. The award honors, among other qualities, ‘keeping the flame alive’ by those who actively preserve the Italian spirit that so many wonderful people brought to this country. Italians value hard work, faith and, above all else, family. I strive to keep the Italian spirit alive in every aspect of my life, beginning with the Italian language that I learned from my mother since birth. I speak Italian fluently, despite never having lived in Italy. The gift of being bi-lingual has benefited me by opening my mind and vocabulary at a young age and continues to be an asset in my daily life as well as during frequent travels back to Italy to visit family,” Varner added.

Varner is a former president of the Italian-American Lawyers of Texas and Houston Young Lawyers Association. After finishing her presidency with HYLA, Varner joined the board of Ser Ninos charter school, a dual language school for economically disadvantaged children in the Gulfton neighborhood of Houston. She served as board chair for several years and was instrumental in building a new elementary campus in 2008 and converting a shuttered Kroger grocery store into a middle school campus in 2012. Varner praises St. Agnes Academy for educating her and giving her a strong awareness of community service.

“Dominique’s Italian heritage positively impacts her work with both clients and HWA team members. Her optimistic outlook and her inclusive nature make her easily approachable to assist our clients and other HWA attorneys in matters ranging from single issues to complex legal problems. Hiring Dominique as a young lawyer is one of the best professional decisions I have made. I am honored to have Dominique as the co-manager of our Default Servicing Practice Area,” Taylor said.

Varner earned a Juris Doctorate from the South Texas College of Law in 1994. She joined HWA in 1995 and became a partner in 2003. Varner focuses her practice on creditors' rights in bankruptcy and in probate, where she initiates dependent administrations on behalf of secured creditors. She has extensive experience in the collection and handling of defaulted loans and loss mitigation. She also has a keen understanding of recent legal developments that affect the mortgage industry and defaulted loans.

A full biographical profile for Varner is available at

About Hughes Watters Askanase L.L.P.

For more than 37 years, Hughes Watters Askanase, L.L.P. has helped business organizations, financial institutions and individuals succeed with their business endeavors. The firm’s attorneys play a strategic role and support clients through every stage of existence and operation. The firm’s practice focuses on representation of commercial and consumer lenders, including banks and credit unions; business bankruptcy; business planning and strategy; default servicing; real estate and real estate finance; commercial and consumer financial services litigation; employment law; and wills and probate.

For more information on Hughes Watters Askanase, L.L.P., please visit

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