Each took a different path, but eventually, and maybe inevitably, they all led to the law and the University of Houston Law Center for members of the Mandola family.
The patriarch, Anthony Mandola, turned his interest in law and politics into a successful , and varied, legal career; his wife, Genevieve, a former teacher, pursued her J.D. over several years while working as a bookkeeper; their daughter, Anne, somewhat reluctantly turned to law after studying Theater and English at Texas A&M University, but is happy she did; and her husband, Kyle, is a third-generation lawyer.
Armed with an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Houston, Anthony enrolled at what was then the University of Houston School of Law in 1965. In its early years, the law school was housed in several locations on campus, including temporary classrooms and the basement of the M.D. Anderson Library.
“My affinity for law and politics led me to choose what, for me, was a more practical pursuit and skill for the job market,” Anthony said. “It was a great decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in law school. I had been rather shy and retiring - not lawyerly traits. In law school, I was forced to participate and found that I could.”
Anthony graduated in 1968 and embarked on what he describes as an “erratic” career path. “I spent two years as a Law Clerk to Federal District Judge John V. Singleton,” he said. “Then, in turn, I was with a large law firm; I was a solo practitioner; and I worked for a title company. Finally, in 1981, I settled into a position with my current employer, Exxon Mobil Corporation.”
In 1975, Genevieve began her journey at the UH Law Center. At the time, she was working as a bookkeeper after leaving the teaching field. She had been a high school history/government teacher in the Houston Independent School District. She attended the Law Center as a full-time night student for 3 1/2 years.
“It was a really tough few years,” Genevieve said. “When I was there, night students were all full-time working stiffs who had a few years in the real work world under their belts. I was glad then and am still happy to see a night law school at a ranked university for those of us in the world without the luxury to be full-time day students.”
Genevieve graduated in 1978 and began balancing her career with family. “It never occurred to me to go the associate or firm route or a bank or big corporation,” she said. “I did the mommy track. I worked for title companies and small law firms and have worked for myself as a solo -- all geared toward having total flexibility to raise my children.”
In November, newly-wed Anne Mandola Jones continued the family tradition with her husband Kyle Jones when they were admitted to the State Bar of Texas. A third-generation lawyer, Kyle, like Anne, seemingly has law in his blood. The pair met during new student orientation at the Law Center and married a month and a half after sitting for the July bar exam.
“I came to UHLC because it was a sound financial choice and because I knew it was a diploma that would have meaning in the Houston legal community,” Anne said. “It took me a long time to decide that law was the right path for me, but my parents always knew it was where I would end up. I'm grateful for their support and grateful they let me find my own way to law.”
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