University of Houston Law Center alumni Jeff ( J.D. ’90) and Jenifer ( J.D. ’93) Cody are dedicated to fostering inclusivity and providing opportunities for underrepresented groups within the legal field. The Codys recently established a scholarship, The Cody Scholarship for Opportunity, to support students from the Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Programs who choose to pursue their legal education at UHLC. In an interview, Jeff Cody, US Managing Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, delves into the impact of legal education and the legacy of giving back to the University of Houston Law Center, the institution that helped shape their careers.
Why was it important for you to become involved with the Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Program?
Jenifer and I believe it is important that the legal profession include people from all walks of life. As the managing partner of a large law firm, my perspective centers on our recruitment in the legal market, trying to hire the best and the brightest and make sure that we have well-rounded incoming classes. Diversity of thought and experiences create a better work environment and results in better outcomes for the attorneys, clients and entire firm.
The Pre-Law Pipeline Programs offer a way to accomplish this. The Pipeline Programs allow us to support people with varied life experiences, interests, and paths into law school. We believe the pipeline program will prove very valuable as we move forward.
What makes this scholarship special to you?
Both Jenifer and I strongly believe in giving back and serving others. We want to support the Law Center and creating opportunities for first-generation groups and other students aspiring to attend law school. The scholarship is significant for us because it combines the pipeline initiative and our alma mater.
Attending law school and acquiring a legal education opens many doors, particularly for first-generation law students. Law school can broaden your perspective and provide opportunities to contribute not only to the development of the legal profession but also to the community.
How has the legal education from the Law Center impacted your life and shaped your career?
The legal education from UH Law Center provided me with an opportunity to work at Fulbright & Jaworski, now Norton Rose Fulbright. Through that experience as a summer associate, I saw the high standards and the work ethic that were expected at a law firm. UH Law Center prepared me well to step into that environment at a big firm, to excel, and to be successful.
Are there any specific UH Law Center interactions that hold special memories for you?
We have very fond memories of law school and the world-class instructors and professors. Newell Blakely was a legend. Professors Jacqueline Weaver, John Niebel, and Ray Nimmer were all terrific personalities. The professors truly cared for you and helped you learn through a Socratic approach.
What message would you like to share with fellow alumni?
To our fellow alumni, we would encourage them to give back to the Law Center. Not only does giving back benefit our school but also it benefits the legal profession and the Houston community. There is no better way to give back than through this type of pipeline program that provides opportunities to people who might not otherwise have one.
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