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Justice Ruby Kless Sondock ’62
In commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, Judge Ruby Kless Sondock’s legendary career was highlighted by in August. Sondock was co-featured with former Sen. Barbara Jordan.
The article stated, “While she may not have set out to become a trailblazer, the Hon. Judge Ruby Kless Sondock managed
to excel in a male-dominated profession with grace, dignity, intelligence and courage.”
In 1962, Sondock was one of only five women in her graduating class at the Law Center. It is reported that she started law school with the aim of becoming “the best legal secretary in town.” She graduated first in her class and was admitted to the Texas Bar one year before she graduated from law school. Within only one year of practice, she argued a
case before the Texas Supreme Court. After practicing law
for 12 years, she was appointed a judge on the Harris County Domestic Relations Court in 1973, becoming the first woman district court judge in Harris County. After serving in this capacity for four years, she was appointed to the 234th District Court again making her the first woman to have that honor.
In 1982, Sondock was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court to serve the unexpired term of a deceased justice. With this appointment, she became the first woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court in a regular session of the Court. Justice Sondock neither sought election for a full term nor accepted
the later nomination to serve the unexpired term of then- retiring Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Joe Greenhill.
She returned to the District Court, and ran unopposed. After serving as a judge, Sondock has worked as a successful private mediator in Houston.
Sondock was proclaimed a “Texas Legal Legend” by the litigation section of the State Bar of Texas in 2016. In Sondock’s honor, the Law Center hosts the Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Jurist-in-Residence Lectureship in Legal Ethics speaker series.
University of Houston Law Center Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson was the recipient of the Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Education in the Community Award in a virtual ceremony in October.
“She has dedicated
her life to
persevering and
making contributions
for the betterment of the Latino community,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a proclamation. “Her expertise in the areas of wrongful convictions, forensic science, discrimination in jury selection, prosecutorial ethics, and police interrogations is highly sought after, especially during this current movement for critical criminal justice reform to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.”
Thompson is the Newell H. Blakely Professor of Law and director of the Criminal Justice Institute at the Law Center. She teaches criminal evidence, criminal law, evidence and hot topics in criminal law and procedure. Part of the recognition included the City of Houston proclaiming Sept. 15, 2020 as Sandra Guerra Thompson Day.
“The City of Houston commends Dr. Sandra Guerra Thompson for her outstanding commitment to education in the community and extends best wishes for continued success in all endeavors,” the proclamation stated.
     Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson
Briefcase 2020

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