UHLC students honored at second annual Blakely Advocacy Banquet

UHLC Professor Peter Linzer accepts his KCON Lifetime Achievement Award from Nancy Kim of California Western School of Law and Colin Marks of St. Mary's School of Law

University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes (center), with seven Law Center students who were named to the Order of the Barristers for 2015-2016 at the Blakely Advocacy Banquet.

May 3, 2016 – University of Houston Law Center student advocates, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the local bench and bar came together at the Second Annual Advocacy Banquet to celebrate another outstanding year for the school’s advocacy programs and its interscholastic competition teams.

“Our programs enjoyed enormous success this year, and the banquet was a perfect mirror for those achievements,” said Jim Lawrence, director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute, which co-sponsored the event with The Advocates Student Organization.

Lawrence, Amy Hawk, associate director of the Blakely Advocacy Institute, and Chance Marshall, the Advocates current executive chair, presented various awards and scholarships to several UHLC students recently.

Ten students were named to the Order of the Barristers for 2015-2016: Trey Avant, Rose Badruddin, Leah Buenik, Michael Ghutzman, Andrew Holcomb, Travis Holland, James Lamey, Barira Munshi, Elbert Ortiz and Lisa Virgen.

The Hon. Ruby Kless Sondock, ’62, received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Advocacy.  Dean Leonard M. Baynes presented the award to Sondock after noting some of her most impressive legal accomplishments to date, including that she graduated first in her class at UHLC and passed the Texas bar exam without ever taking a bar review class. Sondock was the first woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court in a regular session of the Court, and served for several years as a state district judge. She later worked as a successful private mediator in Houston. 

Several outstanding accomplishments by the interscholastic competition teams were highlighted at the dinner, including:

 ADR: a National Finalist finish, a National Quarterfinalist finish, two Regional Finalist finishes and an international Best Mediation Plan award handed out in Paris;

 Mock Trial: two National Championships, two National Semifinalist finishes, and a Best Speaker award; and

 Moot Court: a National Championship, a National Finalist finish, two National Semifinalist finishes, four National Quarterfinalist finishes, two Regional Championships, a Regional Semifinalist finish and three Best Brief awards at various levels.

Statistics from the past year underscoring the success of the school’s advocacy program were also noted, including:

 473 students enrolled in Blakely Advocacy Institute courses;

 Three interscholastic competition teams consisting of 144 team members who competed in 39 international, national and regional competitions; and

 46 adjuncts and 40 volunteer coaches who worked with and mentored the advocacy students and competition teams.

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