July 20, 2020 - Several University of Houston Law Center graduates recently detailed how their legal education has made a profound impact on their lives to mark the official start of the 100% Challenge during a recent Zoom gathering.
The 100% Challenge is the Law Center's annual alumni-driven campaign to increase the impact of unrestricted giving to the Law Fund, in which organizations with alumni across Houston and beyond rally support for the Law Center.
The Law Fund assists several key areas across the Law Center, including emergency aid and scholarships for students, stipends for internships, career development services, faculty recruitment and alumni programming
The event began with a report on recent law Center happenings and accomplishments from Dean Leonard M. Baynes. The first alumnus to speak was Richard Whiteley ’99, a partner at Bracewell LLP and one of the co-chairs of the campaign. He thanked Baynes for his involvement with the program.
"I've been involved in the 100% Challenge for many, many years just because of how proud I am of the Law Center and what it stands for and the ideals it has been committed to for a long time," Whiteley said. "The Law Center has made amazing strides in the last several years since Dean Baynes has joined us. His attention, energy and persistence with this campaign is very much appreciated.
“This is a very important year for the Law Fund. The building is a huge accomplishment, but what we have to turn our attention to now is the Law Fund. It gives the Dean the ability to use unrestricted funds to run the law school, recruit and keep faculty and give scholarships to our best and brightest students.”
Attendees then heard from one of the Law Center’s newest graduates, Natalie Diala ’20, who also was a participant in the Pre-Law Pipeline Program. Diala will begin her legal career as an associate at Thompson & Knight LLP.
"I was fortunate to go through the Pipeline Program," Diala said. "It was absolutely instrumental in jumpstarting my desire to become a lawyer. It not only prepared me to apply for and complete law school, but it also connected me to a variety of attorneys who served as mentors and offered me guidance throughout my legal journey.
"I was exposed to different areas of law as well as different career paths. It really opened my eyes to just how vast the practice of law is."
The final speaker was Michelle Gray '11, a founding partner at Fogler, Brar, O'Neil & Gray LLP, and a board member of the Law Center's Alumni Association
"There are so many reasons I give, but the past few months have made me reflect on what's important," Gray said. "The University of Houston Law Center has had one of the most profound impacts on specifically where I am today and who I am. The Law Center has opened so many doors, and it is the doorway for so many others."
The 100% challenge is ongoing and will end on Aug. 31. Click here for more information about the 100% Challenge. If you or your organization is interested in learning more or joining the Challenge, please contact Rachel Wardzinski, Associate Director of Development, at rlwardzi@Central.UH.EDU| 713-743-4546.