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Alumni Spotlight

Malcolm Dishongh ’93 and Class of 2020 son Kenneth share mutual Law Center experience

Colt Schmidtke ‘19

Malcolm Dishongh ’93, left and his son Kenneth Andrew, right, who recently began his third year at the University of Houston Law Center.

Sept. 9, 2019 - From the time he was in fourth grade, Malcolm Dishongh intended to become a lawyer. The 1993 University of Houston Law Center alumnus participated in debate in high school which earned him a scholarship at Houston Baptist University. Throughout most of his law school tenure he worked fulltime at Abraham Watkins to sharpen his skills.

“I was 10 years old and never changed my mind,” he said. “I set my career path on what I wanted to become, and every step of the way I worked with counselors, school administrators and different activities that would help me."

His son, Kenneth Andrew Dishongh's path to law school was not as direct. But the 3L Law Center student now receives instruction from some of the same Law Center professors who taught his father.

"I was very aware of the different legal markets and I preferred Houston’s," Kenneth Dishongh said. "There’s been a lot of growth here in the past 10 or so years and that really had a big impact on my decision."

Kenneth Dishongh initially intended to practice medicine, but had a change of heart when he thought he would be better suited for a career in law. During his time as a college student, he changed his major to political science, a popular choice for pre-law students.

"It was kind of a shock because we hadn't discussed it before his undergraduate years at Texas A&M at all," Malcolm Dishongh said. "It had never been a topic of discussion. With me, I knew what I was going to do from an early age. Kenneth realized it when he was in college. He really thought the process through and chose the best school not only for him, but how he wants to proceed in his life and his career."

Kenneth Dishongh, who is referred to as Drew by his classmates, was named in part after his father's close friend Andrew Thigpen. Thigpen passed away in 1998, but his legacy of advocacy lives on at the Law Center with the Andrew B. Thigpen '93 Scholarship founded by Malcolm Dishongh in honor of his friend. It is awarded annually to a student who wins an essay-writing competition.

“Andy and I worked at Abraham Watkins and went to the Law Center together," Malcolm said. “One of my greatest memories was studying for the bar with him and knocking ideas off of him concerning the bar exam and how to prepare for it.”

Malcolm Dishongh currently works as a solo practitioner and is the owner of Dishongh Law, PLLC in Humble, where he assists clients in civil litigation, including family and probate law issues, among other matters. His firm is one of the lead donors of the Law Building Campaign: More Than Bricks. He credits his Law Center education for enabling him to lead a versatile practice.

"Through law school and through practice, I have been able to help people," Malcolm said. "That's why I got into law, and it's what I've been able to do with my law degree. The greatest satisfaction I get is referrals and recommendations from previous clients."

Kenneth Dishongh’s favorite extracurricular activity at the Law Center has been participating on the mock trial team. He has clerked for Cokinos and most recently worked at Kelly, Smith & Red, an insurance defense firm.

“I'm very interested in the soft IP world, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and those sort of issues,” Kenneth Dishongh said. “I’m also really interested in labor and employment law.”

Malcolm Dishongh, an avid concertgoer and recreational basketball and softball player, advises his son and all aspiring attorneys is to create a healthy balance between work and recreation.

“The advice I have above all else is to make sure that your heart is in it, while also setting aside time for yourself,” Malcolm Dishongh said. “The practice of law is stressful. No matter if you work for a corporation or yourself, or whether you have a 40-hour a week legal job or one of these people who puts in 100 hours a week. If you do not prepare yourself to have time away from the law, then the pressure is difficult to deal with.”