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Dean Leonard M. Baynes
cordially invites you to attend the

Justice Ruby Kless Sondock
Jurist-in-Residence Lectureship in Legal Ethics


Judge Jed S. Rakoff
United States District Court, Southern District of New York

Thursday, September 19, 2019
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Why Judges Admit Bad Forensic Science and What Can Be Done About It

University of Houston Law Center
Bates Law Building - Room 109
1 Hour CLE Ethics Credit

Reception to follow in the Albertus Room

Click here to RSVP

Judge Jed S. Rakoff

Judge Jed S. Rakoff

United States District Court, Southern District of New York

Judge Jed S. Rakoff began his judicial career in 1996 when he was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Jed S. Rakoff has served since March 1996 as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He frequently sits by designation on the 2nd and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals. Judge Rakoff is an Adjunct Professor at both Columbia Law School and NYU Law School, and also teaches at Berkeley Law School and the University of Virginia Law School. He has written over 170 published articles, 730 speeches, 1800 judicial opinions, and co-authored 5 books. He is also a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.

Judge Rakoff holds a B.A. degree from Swarthmore College (1964), an M.Phil. degree from Oxford University (Balliol, 1966), and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School (1969). Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Abraham L. Freedman, US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, and was then an associate at the Debevoise law firm. From 1973-80, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney Office in the Southern District of New York, the last two years as Chief of Business & Securities Fraud Prosecutions. Thereafter, before going on the bench, he was a litigation partner at two large law firms in New York.

Judge Rakoff served on the National Commission on Forensic Science (2013-17) and as co-chair of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Eyewitness Identification. He served on the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and was chair of the Association’s Nomination, Honors and Criminal Law Committees. He was Chair of the Second Circuit’s Bankruptcy Committee, and of the Southern District of New York’s Grievance Committee and Criminal Justice Advisory Board. He served on Swarthmore College’s Board of Managers, on the Governance Board of the MacArthur Foundation’s Project on Law and Neuroscience, and on the Committee on the Development of the 3rd Edition of the Manual on Scientific Evidence. He assisted the U.S. Government in the training of foreign judges in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Dubai, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute. He is a Judicial Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Among other awards, he received in 2018 the Federal Bar Council’s Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence.

Judge Rakoff is married to Dr. Ann Rakoff, a child development specialist. They have three daughters and two grandsons. Judge Rakoff has officiated at over 70 weddings. He is the author of numerous lyrics and humorous poems, several of which have been published, and he and his wife enjoy ballroom dancing. In 2014, Judge Rakoff was listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.


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About the Sondock Jurist in Residence Program

The Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Lectureship in Legal Ethics Jurist-In-Residence program, starting its third year, brings sitting jurists to campus for a day of interaction with students, faculty and the Houston legal community.  Each jurist provides a lecture on a legal ethics issue important to the community.

"Through the Sondock Jurist In Residence Program, the Law Center brings outstanding jurists to the campus who will give lectures and meet with UHLC faculty, alumni and students," said Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes. "These interactions will bring the Law Center community closer to the bench so we can learn from each other.  It also will help inspire our students to be the next generation of outstanding jurists. We are very proud to host the Jurist in Residence Program so aptly named after Justice Ruby Kless Sondock who is a role model and trailblazer."  "Justice Ruby Sondock is truly a living legend," said Professor Meredith Duncan who coordinates the program. "It is a privilege for UHLC to host prominent jurists from around the country in her honor.  We are thrilled for the opportunities this program provides for our students, faculty and the Houston legal community."

The Jurist In Residence program is named in honor of Sondock, a pioneer in the law who graduated as valedictorian and one of only five women in the UH law school class of 1962.  After practicing law for many years, Sondock was appointed to the 234th District Court in 1977, making her the first female state district judge in Harris County. She was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 1982, making her the first woman to serve in a regular session of the court. Earlier this year, she was proclaimed a "Texas Legal Legend" by the litigation section of the State Bar of Texas.

Past Jurists-In-Residence