July 16, 2021 - Susan Bickley, a 1984 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, has been named the 2021 recipient of the Houston Bar Association's Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Award. The award recognizes a woman lawyer or judge for a record of exceptional achievement and leadership in the law.
“I am overwhelmingly honored and surprised to have been selected to receive the Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Award,” Bickley said. “It is especially humbling to receive an award named for Justice Sondock, given her stature and trailblazing career as a women lawyer and Justice in Texas. I only hope to be worthy of the award as I continue in my career.”
Justice Ruby Kless Sondock graduated from the Law Center in 1962. She is a pioneer in the law who graduated as valedictorian and one of only five women in her law school class. After practicing law for 12 years, Sondock was appointed a judge on the Harris County Domestic Relations Court in 1973 becoming the first woman district court judge in Harris County. Appointed to the 234th District Court in 1977, she was the first female state district judge in Harris County. In 1982 she was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court, the first woman to serve in a regular session of the court. In 2015, the litigation section of the State Bar of Texas named her a “Texas Legal Legend.”
Bickley is a Partner at Blank Rome in the firm's Labor & Employment section, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Law Center.
“I sincerely appreciate all the work that the HBA does, and will continue to support the HBA in its good work for the community," Bickley said. “I’m thrilled and delighted, even if feeling a little overwhelmed by this honor.”
Dean Leonard M. Baynes was one of several members of the local legal community to nominate Bickley for the accolade.
“I am very pleased that the Houston Bar Association established the Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Award,” Baynes said. “Like Justice Sondock, Susan is a trailblazer who personifies Sondock’s qualities of leadership, perseverance, achievement, excellence, and serving as a role model. Given her career achievement, her commitment to the legal community, the greater Houston community, and her alma mater, Susan is a most deserving awardee of The Justice Ruby Kless Sondock Award, and it was my honor to nominate her for this special recognition.”