Dean Leonard M. Baynes
cordially invites you to attend the
Justice Ruby Kless Sondock
Jurist-in-Residence Lectureship in Legal Ethics
Judge Jennifer Elrod
United States Court of Appeals For the Fifth Circuit
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Trial by Siri: Al Comes to the Courtroom
University of Houston Law Center
Bates Law Building - Room109
1 Hour CLE
Reception to follow in the Albertus Room
For the past eleven years, Jennifer Walker Elrod has served as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, after being nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2007. Prior to serving as a Circuit Judge, Judge Elrod was appointed and then twice elected Judge of the 190th District Court of Harris County, Texas, where she spent over five years presiding over more than 200 jury and non-jury trials.
Judge Elrod is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor University, where she was the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Honors Program and was later named an Outstanding Young Alumna. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an active member of the Harvard Federalist Society, an Ames Moot Court finalist, and a Senior Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. She clerked for the Honorable Sim Lake in the Southern District of Texas. Before serving as a judge, Judge Elrod was in private practice, focusing on civil litigation, antitrust, and employment matters.
Today, Judge Elrod is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, the Board of Directors of the Garland R. Walker Inn of Court, the Baylor University Board of Regents, and the American Law Institute. She has served as the Board Chair of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics, on the State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charges, and as the Board Chair of the Gulf Coast Legal Foundation (now Lone Star Legal Aid).
Judge Elrod has been repeatedly recognized as a jurist, as well as for her pro bono work and contributions to the community. Most recently, she was recognized as the Harvard Federalist Society Alumni of the Year and by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists as the 2016-2017 Appellate Judge of the Year. Judge Elrod was also the recipient of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics 2015 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award and has been named the Judge of the Year by the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas. She received the Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee award for her pro bono work and has twice received the President's Award from the Houston Bar Association.
Judge Elrod recently returned to Harvard Law School to sit on the panel of judges for the 2018 Ames Moot Court Competition. She has also served as the M.D. Anderson Visiting Public Service Professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law, as Jurist-in-Residence at Brigham Young University Law School and has taught legal writing at the University of Houston Law Center. Judge Elrod serves as an instructor in the Guide to the Basics of Law Practice, which is a requirement for every new lawyer in Texas. She has presented the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture at Washington and Lee University School of Law and delivered the keynote address at the convocation to install Susan Saab Fortney as the Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics at Hofstra University. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of trial and appellate procedure, ethics, employment law, and constitutional law.
Judge Elrod's publications include: Don't Mess with Texas Judges: In Praise of the State Judiciary, 37 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 629 (2014); For Good: Enriching Your Practice and Your Life Through Pro Bono and Community Service, 4 Hous. L. Rev.: Off the Rec. 1 (2013); Is the Jury Still Out?: A Case for the Continued Viability of the American Jury, 44 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 303 (2012); and W(h)ither the Jury? The Diminishing Role of the Jury Trial in our Legal System, 68 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 3 (2011).
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One research university and an EEO/AA institution.
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.