What do a former international soccer player, a former teacher, and a current legal advocate all have in common? Simple. They are all the same man.
Benny Agosto, Jr., managing partner of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner,was born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico. From a young age, Benny was taught by his parents that through hard work and determination, anything was possible – a principle he has applied throughout his life, in school, on the soccer field, and in the courtroom. “Both of my parents had a sixth-grade education and every day they would tell my siblings and me to be sure to get an education. I remember my father telling me that no one can ever take that away from you. My parents knew the struggles of being a migrant family without a formal education,”shared Benny. Hard work on the soccer field and in school paid off for Benny. An avid soccer player in San Juan, he was recruited by Houston Baptist University to attend and play NCAA Division I soccer. He then went to the University of Houston to work on his graduate degree in microbiology and taught high school and college students for six years. Benny then realized that although he loved teaching and coaching soccer, he needed more. Benny was accepted to South Texas College of Law Houston, where he excelled in mock trial and academics, and is now a board-certified lawyer in personal injury trial law. Benny’s legal practice at Abraham Watkins focuses on representing individuals and family members who have been harmed by the negligence of others in cases involving catastrophic injuries, including chemical plant and refinery explosions, workplace accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and product liability. Currently, Benny is lead/co-lead attorney in a number of large chemical plant fire and explosion cases throughout Texas.
Benny has a long history of service to the legal profession and the community as a whole at local, state, and national levels. He was Houston Bar Association President from 2019-2020 and was the first native Spanish speaker and second Latino to serve as president of the HBA. During his presidency, Benny helped the HBA establish the first Ruby Kless Sondock Award for top female attorneys in Houston, its first Diversity Summit, and its first LGBTQ+ Committee. Benny also launched the first HBA initiative to focus on wellness and self-care for attorneys, and he and his wife helped the HBA renovate the Shearn Elementary School Library.
As the Hispanic National Bar Association President from 2011-2012, Benny brought many important issues to the forefront of the national debate and voiced those issues throughout his presidency. He is the President and a Co-Founder of the HNBA’s Legal Education Fund, which is the association’s only 501(c)3 charitable group that raises money to give 100 percent of its contributions toward minority scholarships. As an advocate for gender fairness, Benny works with programs to promote flexible and sustaining practices that help women attorneys balance a family and a demanding career. “Females account for 50% of law school enrollment which is good and long overdue. But the fact remains that the percentage of women in corporate law remains relatively low and the percentage of Hispanic women in corporate law even lower,” said Benny.
Deeply committed to community, scholarship, and making a difference, Benny is also the founder of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas (MABATx) Foundation. With the support and help of his family and his staff, Benny built the MABATx Foundation to raise money for annual scholarships for Hispanic law students in Houston. To date, the MABATx Foundation has raised over $500,000. The Foundation also sponsors a Law Student Conference and corresponding reception, where scholarships are awarded to young, aspiring attorneys. “It was a personal endeavor, and I am committed to the students who benefit from these scholarships,” said Benny.
Through the combination of successful client representation and community leadership, Benny has earned significant recognition on both local and national levels. He has been named to the Top 100: Houston Super Lawyers list since 2017, the Top 100: Texas Super Lawyers list since 2021, and the Texas Super Lawyers list for 18 years. The Latino Leaders Magazine has recognized Benny on the Top Latino Lawyers list annually since 2016. Additionally, he has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America© for personal injury since 2012 and product liability since 2015. He is a former recipient of the Presidents Award from both the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association and the Outstanding Public Service Award from South Texas College of Law Houston.
Through a $3 million donation made by Benny to his alma mater in 2021, the Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center at South Texas College of Law Houston will be built.
Continuing on the trend of community outreach, Benny has been credited for rewriting a Texas law concerning police officers assisting one another regardless of on-duty/off-duty status. In his landmark case (Hinojosa v. Harris County), Benny’s client had previously been denied workman’s compensation benefits after being injured because he was deemed off duty when he had responded to an officer’s call for assistance. Notably, the case, which resulted in a million-dollar award in benefits in favor of the client, was taken by Benny on a pro bono basis.
Although a named partner in the longest standing plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm in Texas, Benny continues his outreach to help and mentor young people in the community through his guest lecturing and speaking appearances. Benny frequently speaks to students attending Houston-area schools, colleges, and universities on the importance of jury service and the Constitution of the United States. He also delivers his inspirational advocacy message to Spanish-speaking communities as well as other attorneys, businessmen, and law professors, and is a frequent speaker on issues relating to civil litigation across the country. “I’m blessed to be able to make a difference in today’s world,” Benny said. “I put everything I have into learning and challenging myself, to love and support my family, and to help better my community. Change can begin in your own community, but when you reach out to other communities, you can change the world, one act of kindness at a time.”