Skip to Main Content

 Events

Upcoming Events
Black Alumni Chapter General Meeting (Updated)

Event Date(s) / Time: Thursday, February 9, 2023 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Details:

Join the Black Alumni Chapter for their first meeting of the year. Please indicate your willingness to attend by submitting your name, email and class year.


Register Here


Updated by: Sara Aguillard


Wednesday, February 1, 2023 11:47:32 AM

Houston Holiday Party (Updated)

Event Date(s) / Time: Thursday, December 15, 2022 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Details:

Holiday Party STD


Click Here to Register


Location: Lott Hall
Category: Alumni Events
Updated by: Sara Aguillard


Monday, December 5, 2022 11:23:43 AM


More Upcoming Alumni Events

 News

Organization Blog
ALUMNI PROFILE: JENNIFER STOGNER ’06

Jennifer Stogner ’06 wants to build community. So much so that in her Commencement welcome as president of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, she invited the December graduating class of 2022 to lunch with her. All of them, one on one, and she will pick up the check. “Just send me an email. We’ll go to lunch and discuss your career path,” she said.

Stogner is excited about her new position and the opportunities it brings to make a difference in the careers of attorneys – both recent graduates and established lawyers.

“Building community requires relationships,” she said. “It requires connections and conversations.  Diversity and inclusion are necessary. The Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center is a fantastic way to really bring us together and to listen to all the elements of our community. It also requires trust: knowing you can ask for help when you need it, and you will receive it. Community also means giving back through new relationships. If you had a great mentor, I hope you will consider paying it forward and being a good mentor to a young lawyer who is just like you used to be.”

Born in Galveston and raised in Corpus Christi, Stogner is a married mother of three. She always wanted to be a lawyer.

“I liked to argue, and often found myself standing up for what I thought was right, even as a child,” she said. Stogner worked as a legal assistant for her father, making $6 an hour for two years prior to law school. His gold standard is still her golden rule: “If it goes out with our family name on it, it had better be right. Otherwise, it tarnishes the reputation we worked so hard to build.” Forty-nine years after graduation, her father continues to practice law in Corpus Christi.

Stogner decided to attend STCL Houston because it was her father’s alma mater (Michael O’Brien ’74) and because, as a debate and theater veteran, she dreamed of joining the award-winning advocacy program under Associate Dean T. Gerald Treece. Also, one of the largest factors was a conversation with Assistant Dean of Admissions Alicia Cramer.

“I had toured other schools, but there was a synergy at South Texas,” Stogner said. “Dean Cramer really listened and answered all my questions. It just felt right.”

She met the man she would marry on the first day of orientation at STCL Houston — fellow student Brant Stogner ’06. “We were study partners, we started dating, and we won a national title in mock trial together,” she said. “I like to think it was meant to be.”

Building on their relationship and ties to the school, Dean Treece officiated their wedding ceremony.  Indeed, two of their law school classmates, Ryan Haun ’06 and Rick Berlin ’06, are godfathers to their two sons.

Today, Stogner is Of Counsel with Abraham Watkins Nichols Agosto Aziz & Stogner, the oldest plaintiff’s personal injury firm in Texas, where she works with her husband and firm partner, Brant.

Celebrating the law school’s centennial year as the president of the Alumni Association board is particularly exciting for Stogner, who also is serving on the Centennial Steering Committee.

“I think about the original mission of South Texas: to provide a legal education to anyone,” Stogner said. “This school was founded during Prohibition, just after World War I ended, and a few years after women were given the right to vote. They created this co-ed law school for working people. It took a leap of faith based on the relationships of our founders. 100 years is an amazing milestone, but without relationships, without community, we never could have made it this far. It’s our job to continue that legacy – to foster faith in the practice of law and fellowship with one another.”

Stogner is working with other board members to create new opportunities for meaningful networking and mentorship that will bridge the gap between students and alumni.

“Being a young lawyer can be scary. Each one deserves a good mentor,” Stogner said. “Additionally, the energy that law students and recent graduates bring with them benefits established attorneys. They can see the spark in their eyes and sense their excitement and good energy. That ultimately benefits the firm who hires them and their clients, too. It’s win, win, win.”

Outside the office, Stogner enjoys watching her three children play basketball, soccer, baseball, or beating them in any board game or video game of their choice.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023 9:04:00 AM

VETERAN PROFILE: ERIC D’OLIVE ’11

Eric D’Olive ’11 serves as general counsel for Emmanor Group, Inc., a private investment firm with a large real estate portfolio. He is a member of the South Texas College of Law Houston Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. His grandfather, Norman S. D’Olive ’33, was an early South Texas alumnus.

Married with three children, D’Olive is also a volunteer mentor with the Houston Bar Association. His demeanor is calm and collected. You might not suspect he once spent time jumping out of airplanes as a paratrooper.

The former Squad Leader, U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, is proud of his combat infantry badge and his six years of service. D’Olive enlisted in 2003, not long after the beginning of the Iraq War. With a family history of military service, he knew he wanted to do his part. He had always told himself that if there was a war, he would go fight in it.

“I arrived in Iraq at the time of their elections, and our mission was to re-establish order,” D’Olive said. “I am so glad I was able to serve at that time, but it seems a bit surreal to have been part of history, part of something that happened on the world stage.”

D’Olive continues to make full use of what he learned during his military service. He believes veterans often succeed as law students and as attorneys because of their training.

“We know how to plan and prepare, and when you are prepared there is no need to be nervous,” he said. “Combat veterans usually bring a grateful, positive attitude. There is a certain confidence and maturity you gain in the field — an ability to stay focused and keep things in perspective, even in the face of unexpected adversity.”

 

Thursday, December 15, 2022 11:02:00 AM

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: TAYLORE WILLIAMS, 3L, RECEIVES COMMENDATION FOR PRO BONO SERVICE

 

South Texas College of Law Houston received notice that Taylore Williams, a law student in her final semester, was commended by the Texas Access to Justice Commission for “her outstanding contributions to the provision of legal services to the poor.”

Williams was nominated by the law school as STCL Houston’s 2022 representative for the TAJC Law Student Pro Bono Award. The TAJC executive director, in her letter to the school, noted that she was “personally very impressed with Taylore’s work.”

Law school is Williams’ second career. Prior to law school, she worked as a scientist and regulatory affairs manager in cell and gene therapy at Lonza Biologics. She chose to attend STCL Houston was because she wanted to close the socioeconomic equity gap in the biopharmaceutical field. As she notes, the only way for scientists to discover new and unique solutions to medical diseases is by diversity of thought.

“Diverse groups of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds are needed to solve these complex problems,” Williams said. “However, lower socioeconomic populations are generally excluded from being able to engage in scientific research.” Her goal as an attorney is to help start-ups navigate the fundraising, corporate, legal, and regulatory landscape to ensure society has the best medicine science can create.

While in law school, Williams has been actively and passionately involved in the Actual Innocence Clinic within STCL

Houston’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics. This clinic is close to her heart. While working in Maryland, she volunteered as a track and field coach, and one of her athletes was wrongly convicted of a murder he did not commit.

“I felt helpless in that situation, and I never wanted another person to feel that way, so I enrolled in the Actual Innocence Clinic with Dean Burnett,” Williams said.

Her background in science was rare and valuable in the Actual Innocence Clinic. It allowed her to discover alternative ways science can be used to make sure the wrong person is not wrongfully incarcerated. She provided roughly 120 hours of pro bono work with the Actual Innocence Clinic.

“One of the problems we encountered in the clinic is sifting through all the mail we get from people who are incarcerated and think they have a claim,” Williams recalled. As part of her service, she worked on a machine-learning text analytics tool that would be able to sift through the mail and help determine potential claims vs. non-claims. After graduation, she wants to complete the tool so that the team at South Texas can spend more time helping clients and less time doing non-value-added work.

Outside of school, the majority of Taylore’ legal pro bono work is in the realm of government affairs as a lobbyist. She has had the opportunity to meet with legislators on the state and federal level to lobby for programs that benefit all levels of society. In the past year, she was able to go to Capitol Hill to meet with several senators on behalf of patient groups to lobby for the passing of two bills to benefit ultra-rare disease patients.

Williams went to Virginia Tech, and the school motto there is UT PROSIM, which is Latin for “that I may serve.”

“That is what pro bono means to me… being a servant to the most vulnerable people in society,” she said. “I think the kind of student you are is the kind of lawyer you will be. So even as a student, I have committed myself to serving others. I believe that we, as future leaders, have a responsibility to create pathways of accessibility for the next generation.”

At STCL Houston, Williams has been actively involved in the Black Law Students Association, serving on the BLSA board for two years. She has helped BLSA raise more than $9,000 for scholarships. With BLSA, she also has focused on helping students dealing with food insecurity and food instability, helping them understand how they can apply for SNAP benefits without feeling shame or guilt.

After law school, Williams plans to join Wilson Sonsini in the corporate and biotech transactional practice groups. With the skills she learns in the transactional practice group, she wants to help impoverished and underrepresented groups start tech companies. She also plans to continue working with the Actual Innocence Clinic because it is “very dear to my heart.”

Catherine Greene Burnett,  South Texas associate dean for experiential education, professor of law, and director of the Actual Innocence Clinic, said, “Taylore exemplifies the passion and commitment that are hallmarks of the STCL Houston student.”

 

Friday, November 11, 2022 9:02:00 AM

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: TARA TAHERI ’11, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF NIGHT COURT 2022

 

Tara Taheri ’11, a native Houstonian and senior privacy associate at Baylor College of Medicine, is executive producer of Night Court 2022, “Justice by the Dozen,” set Aug. 17-20 at the Hobby Center. Part of the proceeds benefit the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics at South Texas College of Law Houston. Go here for tickets, and use the promo code STCL to get $5 off.

In this Q&A, Taheri shares insights about producing Night Court and being a proud second-generation STCL Houston alum.

What is Night Court and how did you get involved?

Night Court is Houston’s all-lawyer theater company that performs an original musical comedy annually at the Hobby Center in downtown Houston. It is a public 501(c)(3) charity that donates its proceeds to Houston-area charities that provide free legal services to people in need here in our community. This includes the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics at South Texas.

I became involved with Night Court in 2014. I love the nonprofit’s mission, and I have a passion for singing, dancing, and acting. This show is a fantastic way to blend my interests. In addition, I remembered Dean Helen Jenkins discussing Night Court during law school. I had the honor of performing with her in the show several times!

What keeps you involved in Night Court?

Working together to help people who need free legal services means so much to me. Lawyers in Night Court wear many hats. They build and paint sets for the stage, rehearse songs, learn choreography, and more in just six weeks.

It is emotional to experience the creative role everyone plays while bringing together a successful show that impacts our community. I want to note that Night Court couldn’t exist without the generous support of donors and sponsors. They are pivotal in the organization’s mission. It’s been an honor to share the stage with incredibly gifted and sensational people, and to connect off-stage with noble, passionate charity leaders.

Switching gears a bit, what made you decide to become a lawyer?

I grew up listening to my dad, Dr. Marshall Taheri ’73, tell stories of helping others in his role as an attorney. It really resonated with me and was a driving factor in my decision to attend law school. Advocating for others and for animals is extremely important to me.

Why did you choose South Texas Law?

My dad always spoke highly of South Texas College of Law Houston. It’s a family-like environment and the professors are outstanding. They not only teach the law but really demonstrate preparation and professionalism.

How does it feel for STCL Houston to be such a big part of your family?

It’s tremendous feeling. We all had the great experience of studying at a top-notch school. My sister, Sara Taheri ’11, attended South Texas at the same time. Law school is such a memorable experience, and it was especially memorable that we were here together. We didn’t often study together, but we talked about classes and challenges and professors.

We had the same classes for the first year and then we branched off into our areas of specific interest. Though Sara and I are not twins, people sometimes confused us or wondered which of us was older.

What are family dinners like?

They are interesting! We frequently discuss current legal cases and ask each other for our opinions and thoughts. In addition, Dad enjoys discussing, generally, about some of his past cases. He loves the law. It’s always been his passion.

How did your experience at South Texas shape you as a lawyer?

Since the professors emphasized preparation and presentation, it provided a stellar legal foundation combined with confidence.

What student organizations, if any, were you part of while attending law school?

I was a senior senator, worked as a Lexis Nexis Associate, and served as a member of the Animal Law Society, and Sports and Entertainment Law. Annually, I participated as a student marshal at graduation, dabbled a little in mock trial, and was added to the Garland R. Walker American Inn of Court, where I’m still a member.

Was there a particular law professor who made a big difference in your education or career path?

Although, she wasn’t my professor, Dean Helen Jenkins and I have had a chance to perform together, and she introduced me to Night Court. She’s an amazing professor and friend. In addition, Professor Lisa Dahm was a major influence in introducing me to privacy and security in the healthcare sector. She and Dean Jenkins are still my mentors to this day!

What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? What are your goals?

Privacy and Security are interesting to me, and I hope to continue down this path for many years. Additionally, since being in the role of media chair for Night Court, I’ve become intrigued by media relations and consider dabbling more in that area as well. I studied music as an undergraduate and played in an all-original local band. In addition, I used to sing with the band at church and currently perform in Commissioner Cagle’s Shakespeare in the Shade. Performing is a passion that will always be a part of my life.


Thursday, October 27, 2022 8:51:00 AM


More Alumni News & Stories