The most interesting person I’ve met in the past few weeks is Laura Fowler.

The Austin attorney runs the Fowler Law Firm, possibly the largest woman-owned practice in the state. One key aspect of her growing firm: The work must include some form of civic investment.

Naturally, her group is prominent among the attorneys who support American Gateways, which provides low-cost or free legal services to immigrants and refugees from offices in Austin and San Antonio. It played a signficant role, for instance, in reforming the unsettling detention facility in Hutto.

Legal eagles dominated the guest list at the American Gateways Dinner at the grand Bullock Texas History Museum on Wednesday.

Generous portions of the evening were given over to talk before and during a catered meal in the rotunda and lobby. I caught up with Agnes Varnum, who has migrated from the Austin Film Society to staging events for the Texas Tribune. Also chatted with MexNet Alliance’s Monica Peraza, immigration specialist Dan Kowalski and auctioneer Victoria Gutierrez, the sunshine of any gala.

Gateways gives out two annual awards. The Pro Bono Attorney of the Year went to Dell corporate counsel Christopher Stidvent, while Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year honor was picked up by Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP.

Back to Fowler. Our talks rambled widely. She’s fascinated by Robert Godwin’s new book "Austin Images of Philanthropy, 1976-2012" and its record of local charity. She thinks everybody should be engaged in scalable philanthropy. She seems curious about everything around her.

Fowler a firecracker.