Education Sessions Schedule

You're Going to Need a Drink for This: Cocktail Exhibition and Hospitality Law

Three cocktails. Three hospitality lawyers. Come ready to learn about new alcohol flavors and timely law subjects, including: responsible alcohol service, employment law, and real estate. 


Sunday, July 11, 2021


3:30pm - 5:00pm


Panhandle Culinary Theater, sponsored by Coca-Cola


John Gessner, Fox Rothschild, LLP
David Denney, Denney Law Group
Karen Tartt, Below
Jacob Monty, Monty & Ramirez LLP


John Gessner headshot

John Gessner

John Gessner is the National Co-Chair of the Hospitality Practice group at Fox Rothschild, LLP.  Mr. Gessner advises clients predominately in the Hospitality industry especially in the areas of restaurant  development; real estate and leasing; business operations and strategic planning; alcohol licensing; franchising; and formation and governance. Prior to joining Fox, Mr. Gessner served for 9 years as General Counsel of Front Burner Restaurants, LP, a restaurant development and management company and was responsible for the legal aspects of developing, franchising and operating multi-unit restaurant locations including commercial leasing, risk management and regulatory compliance as well as the development of multiple Food Hall projects.  Prior to that, Mr. Gessner served as General Counsel for a large restaurant franchisee. Mr. Gessner began his career in private practice in Dallas, Texas, most recently with Gessner & Flores, PC. Mr. Gessner is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of St. Thomas and Tulane Law School and is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Texas Restaurant Association.

David Denney headshot

David Denney

David is the founder of Denney Law Group, a firm that counsels restaurants, bars, and other members of the hospitality community.

David and his team focus the majority of their practice on matters including the formation, purchase and sale of business entities; private equity transactions; commercial leases and real estate; trademark protection; employment matters; beverage alcohol licensing; and franchising. The firm also represents its clients in various types of civil litigation.

David’s professional commitment to the food and beverage community is highlighted by his industry-wide involvement, including:

· Greater Dallas Restaurant Association- President, 2020-21; Board of Directors, 2013-present; Executive Committee 2015-present.

· Texas Restaurant Association - Board Member, 2018-Present.

· Created the DFW Restaurateurs' Conference, now in its 7th year, providing a day of hot topic discussions at no cost to restaurant owners, executives and managers.

David has had articles featured in Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine, QSR Magazine, Nightclub & Bar Magazine, In the Mix Magazine, Food Safety Solutions, the CMAA Newsletter and various newsletters. He has been quoted multiple times in Nation’s Restaurant News.

David is an adjunct professor and member of the Professional Advisory Committee for the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Dallas.

Karen Tartt

Karen Tartt has enjoyed 13 years of varying roles, including cocktail bartender and brand ambassador, in the bar industry in San Antonio, TX. She manages the bar at Below @ The Maverick and is hosting a series of summer pop-ups featuring cocktail recipes for folks with ingredient sensitivities similar to her own. Karen has competed in the last two seasons of Speed Rack and has been creatively driven in a number of recipe-based competitions. Karen is passionate about being an advocate for folks with chronic illnesses, subversive style cross stitch, escaping the city for the occasional hike and running on the Riverwalk.

Jacob Monty

For over two decades, Jake Monty has successfully practiced at the intersection of immigration, labor, and employment laws. A nationally recognized authority on issues facing employers with large Hispanic workforces, Jake has written not one, but two books on the topic and speaks regularly in English and Spanish on navigating labor and employment matters in industries with heightened immigration scrutiny. His clients include professional baseball teams, grocery store chains, single establishment and chain restaurants, and leading companies in the construction and facility maintenance fields. Jake has been interviewed by major media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC regarding national immigration concerns.

Jake founded Monty & Ramirez LLP to offer an integrated approach to dealing with Hispanic workforces. He and his bilingual partners address all the critical aspects of employer advocacy, from immigration to union matters, workplace safety, and employment disputes. Jake’s practice extends nationwide; he has represented employers in courts and government investigations in California, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and throughout Texas. Jake has held presidential and gubernatorial appointments to the University of Houston Board of Regents, the Texas Private Security Board, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, and the North American Development Bank. Jake is also active in civic and professional leadership. He serves as Outside Counsel for the Mexican Consulate in Houston, and chairs the Center for Latino Jewish Relations.