The HisBA Forums Presents: Implicit Bias in the Legal Profession

April 27, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Virtual Meeting

Speakers:

Ruthie White helps employers resolve labor and employment disputes in and out of court. She has an established track record of favorable outcomes in discrimination, harassment, and retaliation cases while defending educational entities, local governments, and clients in the energy, banking, technology, retail, health care, and construction industries in legal venues throughout the state.

Ruthie’s broad in-house and outside-counsel background gives her the ability to counsel employers on a wide range of labor and employment issues. She has significant experience drafting employment policies, procedures, and best practices; investigating allegations of employee misconduct; implementing disciplinary, job performance and leave management procedures; and developing selection criteria for reductions in workforce. She frequently presents employment law seminars for supervisors and managers geared to meet the overall business objectives of her clients.

Having served as an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law and on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, Ruthie is a founder of The Downtown Group, a 200-member networking organization of African-American female lawyers, and contributes pro bono legal services to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program. She is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars for law schools and bar associations.


Ravi K. Sandill is a Texan, husband, dad and cancer survivor, who is running to continue serving the people of Harris County. Since 2009, Ravi has served as Judge of the 127th State District Court in Harris County. Ravi is the first ever District Court Judge in Texas of South Asian descent.

Judge Sandill is from a military family. His father, Retired Lt. Col. Brij Sandill, served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force for a total of 28 years. Ravi spent most of his childhood in Texas and graduated from high school at R.A.F. Lakenheath in England. He earned a degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a founding member of the Central Texas Model United Nations. During his time at UT, Ravi served as a summer intern for President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, and he traveled extensively for The White House’s Advance Office.

Ravi went on to earn his law degree from the University of Houston’s Law Center, where he was an active participant in UH’s Moot Court team and an editor on the Houston Journal of International Law.

After graduating law school, Ravi worked as a briefing attorney for Murry Cohen, Senior Justice on Texas’s First District Court of Appeals. Judge Sandill also spent a number of years in private practice where he focused on commercial, appellate, and trade secret litigation. He represented both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation and also did some criminal defense work. ​

As current Judge of the 127th, which handles civil cases, Judge Sandill has tried over 200 cases and has disposed of over 15,000 matters. He has consistently received high ratings among lawyers in Harris County and was easily reelected to a third term as judge in November 2016. Judge Sandill is the only civil district court judge who handles all the cases filed in his Court, including seizure/forfeiture cases and tax cases.

Soon after entering private practice, Ravi was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood cells. After undergoing initial chemotherapy, cancer returned six months later and Ravi underwent additional chemotherapy, radiation and a stem-cell transplant. Ravi has been cancer-free for over seventeen years and is forever grateful to the doctors and nurses who treated him in the Texas Medical Center.

Judge Sandill is aware of the privilege and honor of serving the public in a judicial position and works to give back both to the legal community and to the people of Harris County in every way possible. He is a frequent speaker on legal topics at conferences throughout Texas and the nation. Currently, Judge Sandill serves on the advisory board of iSTEM an educational program that reinforces the need to better prepare the next generation in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. Judge Sandill is an active participant in the Youth Leadership Program and places two high school students every year into an internship program with his Court. For six years, Judge Sandill has also been active in the Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee and takes interns from that program.

Ravi and his wife Kelly, a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth, LLP, are also active in their community. Ravi served as a Board Trustee for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Gulf Coast Chapter. He is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum (Class 34) and a Senior Fellow of Leadership Houston (Class 32). Judge Sandill serves on the Board of the American Leadership Forum – Gulf Coast Chapter and on the Board of the University of Houston Law Center’s Alumni Association.

Judge Sandill is a Fellow of both the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Young Lawyers’ Foundation. He has served as co-chair of numerous Houston Bar Association Committees including the Minority Opportunities in the Law Profession Committee, which received a President’s Award in 2013. In 2015, Judge Sandill was named an Extraordinary Minority by the publication Texas Lawyer. The Hispanic Bar Association of Houston named Judge Sandill, The Trial Judge of the Year.

Ravi, Kelly, and their son Asher live in central Houston, where Asher attends public school.


Natalie Alfaro Gonzales is a Partner in Baker Botts’s Houston office and a member of the Intellectual Property Practice. Natalie practices in all areas of IP law, representing clients in all stages of complex patent and trade secret litigation, and advising clients on corporate transactions and license agreements. Prior to joining Baker Botts, Natalie served as a law clerk to Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Natalie is actively involved in the Hispanic legal community, serving as a Board Member and current Treasurer for the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, as Deputy Regional President for HNBA Region XII, as Co-Chair of the Hispanic Resource Group of IPO, and on the Steering Committee for the Texas Minority Counsel Program. Natalie earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering from UT Austin, and her J.D. from UH Law Center, where she is now an Adjunct Professor. 

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