by Hisham Masri
Ricardo “Riqui” Bonilla embodies the mission of the DAYL: seeking to improve the lives of young lawyers and serving the Dallas community. He is a passionate leader who is driven to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession. That’s why he is DAYL’s One to Watch.
While not a native Texan, Riqui got here as quickly as he could. He was born in the Dominican Republic and still has family there that he visits often. He eventually found himself relocated to Texas in 2000. He went on to attend the University of Texas at Dallas, where he obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Software Engineering, a degree that benefits him still today.
One day, Riqui was reading an article about ”underrated” jobs when he came across two words he had never seen together before: “patent attorney.” A few years later, Riqui found himself with a Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech School of Law and began practicing as a patent attorney at Fish & Richardson in 2012 after arriving at Fish through its 1L Diversity Fellowship program. His practice focuses on all things IP litigation with a strong specialty on asserting and defending patent cases. Indeed, Riqui is one of the nation’s foremost experts on patent rights.
When Fish elevated Riqui to Principal at the beginning of 2020, he was notably the 1L Diversity Fellow to reach Principal in the over 15 years of the program. It is his goal, however, not to be the last. To that end, Riqui is the Office Recruiting Principal for the Dallas office and still integrates diversity into the firm’s hiring practices. He is also the firm wide co-chair of his firm’s Hispanic and Latinx staff affinity group—Lawtinos—and recently became head of the firm’s Next Gen program. The Next Gen program helps foster opportunities for associates and junior principals to provide them with the courtroom and stand-up experiences attorneys need to build their practices and become advocates that clients count on.
Riqui’s passion for diversity does not end at his firm. His focus on the pipeline and encouraging law students to attend law school is evidenced by organizing the 1L Bootcamp with the DAYL Lawyers Promoting Diversity Committee. He has organized, obtained funding, and hosted the event each year since 2017. Riqui has organized an IP Symposium in Puerto Rico on behalf of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and he is the City Lead for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s ”Success in Law School” mentoring program, he pairs 1L students with practicing attorneys in the area for mentorship and sponsorship.
When Riqui is not out saving the world, he spends his spare time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Jennifer. You can also commonly find him at a Texas Ranger’s game—well, either him or his “DoppelRanger,” the cardboard cutout that the Rangers placed in the stands for games during the pandemic. For all of these reasons, Riqui is DAYL’s One to Watch.