South Texas College of Law/Houston Names Five New Board Members
Style Magazine Newswire | 4/25/2016, 12:50 p.m.
HOUSTON (April 25, 2016) – South Texas College of Law/Houston announces the appointment of five new members to the Law School’s board of directors for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Joining the board are South Texas College of Law/Houston alumni Judge Robert Eckels ‘93, Randy Howry ‘85, Joseph “Joe” Lopez ‘78, Andrew “Andy” Sommerman ‘86, and Ruthie Nelson White ‘96.
“We are proud to welcome five outstanding new board members to our Law School,” said Donald J. Guter, president and dean of South Texas College of Law/Houston. “They each bring a wealth of knowledge and legal expertise to our board of directors, in addition to a commitment to our students and an enthusiam to further the mission of our distinguished 93-year-old institution. With their experience and contributions, I look forward to enhancing the opportunities and education we provide to students.”
Eckels is of counsel at the Texas law firm Gary, Reed & McGraw PC, where he specializes in corporate and election law. Formerly, he served as a state representative and then as a Harris County judge, during which time he served as presiding officer of the Harris County Toll Road Authority. He currently sits of the board of Texas Central Partners, a private company developing high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas. Eckels is president of K9s4COPs, an organization that supports police dog units, and he chairs the Texas County and District Retirement System and Do the Write Thing Texas.
Howry is a partner at the Austin law firm Howry, Breen & Herman LLP. He is board certified in personal injury trial and civil trial law. He has been recognized by his peers as a Super Lawyer in Texas Monthly magazine each year since 2004, and he was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. Howry sits on the boards of the Seton Williamson Foundation, the Texas Beta Student Aid Fund, The Bachelors of Austin, The Headliners Club, and the West Austin Youth Association. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from South Texas College of Law/Houston.
Lopez is a shareholder and board member of Banker Lopez Gassler PA, a Florida law firm. He is experienced in all phases of personal injury, trial practice and property damage litigation. His practice areas include vehicular torts, premises torts, products liability, professional malpractice, and toxic torts, among others. He has been named a Best Lawyer in America and a Florida Super Lawyer. He has played an instrumental role in growing the Law School’s Florida Alumni Chapter, especially in the Tampa area where many South Texas graduates reside.
Sommerman is a partner at Sommerman & Quesada LLP, a Dallas law firm. He is board certified in personal injury law and specializes in catastropic injuries, wrongful death, and defective products. He teaches law at South Texas College of Law/Houston, Southern Methodist University, Texas Wesleyan University, and The University of Texas at Arlington. Sommerman is a co-founder and director of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association.
White is managing principal of the Houston office of law firm Jackson Lewis PC. She specializes in general employment litigation and workplace training. She has served as an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law/Houston and on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. She is a founder of The Downtown Group, a 200-member networking organization of African-American women attorneys, and contributes pro bono legal services to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program.
About South Texas College of Law
South Texas College of Law operates under the mission to provide a diverse body of students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional legal education, preparing graduates to serve their community and the profession with distinction. The Law School was founded in 1923 and is Houston’s oldest law school. After 93 years, South Texas remains the only law school in Downtown Houston, and boasts one of the most diverse and driven student bodies among the nation’s law schools.
The School’s long-standing commitment to excellence and affordability has earned the honor of being named one of the nation’s Best Value Private Law Schools by National Jurist magazine. National Jurist also ranks the school among the Top 28 Best Law Schools for Diversity and one of the Best Law Schools for Bar Exam Preparation. In the 2015-2016 academic year, South Texas enrolled more than 1,000 students, with more than one-third minority students. Graduates hold high bar-passage rates and employment rates. Throughout Texas and beyond, the School’s14,000+ alumni hold leadership positions in the judiciary, small business, industry, and all areas of practice.