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  Jim Lemond ’70
An extraordinary figure who has left a lasting legacy, alumnus Jim Lemond was the first African American graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Soon, he will have a space named for him in the Law Center’s new building.
This recognition is more than well-deserved, as Lemond has been an inspiring figure in the Law Center for decades. Lemond graduated in 1970 and received his license to practice law in Texas that same year. His career in law has been a long and successful one that has included countless trailblazing achievements.
From working at several large, including international, law firms, becoming a founding partner of Lemond, Jones and Loston, serving in various leadership positions and dedicating time to civic and charitable causes, Lemond has cemented himself as a pioneer in
the field of law. His late brother Xavier Lemond ‘74 and son Scott Lemond ‘94 also graduated from the Law Center.
Lemond has been the recipient of several awards, including the “Legal Pioneer in the State of Texas” award in 2004 from the State Bar of Texas in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court Decision Brown v. Board of Education, and the “Living Legend” accolade in 2007 from the Houston Lawyers Association, presented by his peers in the local African American legal community. Lemond retired in 2017 but remains active at the Law Center, helping to mentor both students and alumni.
A key driver behind this initiative was the generosity of alumna Shari Coats ’97, who said her goal was honoring a trailblazer and focusing on fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in society, the legal profession and at the Law Center. Tamecia Glover ‘12 and James Gray III ‘98, both alumni of the Law Center and co-chairs of the Black Law Alumni group, said this recognition means a great deal and will serve as a permanent memorial to Lemond’s legacy and achievements.
“Jim Lemond is a cherished graduate,” said Gray, who serves as Director of Projects at TechnipFMC in Houston. “He’s always been at the forefront of our minds. When the opportunity arose to have a
space at the school named for him, we eagerly supported that.”
Glover, who serves as an Assistant County Attorney at the Fort Bend County Attorney Office, was the first student to receive the Black Law Students Association scholarship. The scholarship was presented to her on behalf of Lemond.
“He broke a lot of barriers,” Glover said. “This recognition is especially important in a time where we’re trying to increase awareness and promote diversity.”
Lemond said he is happy to see more of a focus on diversity at the Law Center, and that he hopes it will lead to more of a repository of information about African American law students and their histories.
“Diversity in the law school translates to diversity in the workplace,” Lemond said.
As far as how he felt to be the first African American graduate of the Law Center, Lemond said it was mostly about following his dream and achieving his goal of becoming an attorney.
“I never wavered from my commitment to graduate,” he said. “That was my objective, no matter what the circumstances were. I owe my success to my wife, Loretta, and her absolutely unwavering support through law school and life. The importance of education was also deeply rooted in the philosophy my parents had instilled in my family.”
Lemond is one of 10 children, all of whom went to college despite their parents having little to no formal education. He said he hopes his journey will inspire other students to achieve their goals and be an encouragement to others, and his aim was to assist students in making strides.
“I hope anyone who takes that journey will become representative to others to take their own journeys,” he said. “Keep your eye on the ball. Never deviate from your objective.”
Gray said he thinks this memorial says a lot about the current Law Center administration’s commitment to making the school represent what today’s society represents, and the diversity many would like to see. Glover agreed.
“We’re still, as African-Americans, making firsts,” Glover said. “For someone like Jim who was a first and is still active, he’s a major inspiration for those new firsts.”
Glover noted that Lemond’s permanent recognition in the Law Center will also be beneficial for prospective students to see.
“It shows that black students are recognized,” she said. “If I had seen something like that as a prospective student, that would’ve stuck out to me. Jim Lemond has set a path for us.”
Gray said the recognition will serve as a powerful statement for future students and signify a dedication to diversity for many years.
“This is a monument for generations to come,” he said. “Students will leave knowing that the Law Center prioritizes diversity.”
Briefcase 2020

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