April 24, 2019 — Before she officially enters the legal profession this summer, third-year University of Houston Law Center student Alexandra F. Grafton will already have an accomplished resume.
She was chief articles editor for the “Houston Law Review” and received LEX awards for Civil Procedure and Lawyering Skills and Strategy. She also worked as a research and teaching assistant for several professors during her time at the Law Center.
During the summers in law school, Grafton worked at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Susman Godfrey, LLP, and Vinson & Elkins, LLP. She also has served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Gray Miller '78 of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Grafton did all this while raising a family and consistently staying at the top of her 223-person class. She credits her three young children, all under the age of five as the key to her inspiration.
“Every second I was at school, I was not with them,” Grafton said. “For me that was such a driver to keep me focused and to keep my energy up. It kept me wanting to do well and get the most of my time here.
“They were the primary motivator. Especially my daughter Parker. Setting an example for her was the most important thing. I always felt like there was no way that I could look at her and say, 'you can do whatever you want to do — I didn't do it — but you can.' It was about setting an example and having her see that.”
For her efforts, Grafton was elected as the J.D. speaker for the Class of 2019 and will address her classmates during the Law Center’s commencement ceremony on May 11 at the Fertitta Center.
“The opportunity to go up and speak in front of my class on graduation day really means everything,” Grafton said. “I’m humbled. So much of my time here was really about finding my community, my people, and building relationships. So having my classmates elect me felt like they were validating that part of this experience that's been so important for me.”
She plans to tell her graduating classmates about the need to be flexible and open to viewpoints they may disagree with throughout the course of their legal careers.
“That is the most important lesson law school taught me,” Grafton said. “You learn that everything exists in this gray area, and not everything is black and white. At the same time, you need to be able to advocate strongly for your position. Finding that balance is something you learn to do as a law student.”
After graduation, Grafton will clerk with the Honorable Timothy D. DeGiusti of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma for a year and will return to Houston for a second year-long clerkship with the Honorable Carolyn Dineen King of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Following the clerkships, she will begin working as an associate at Susman Godfrey’s office in Houston.