When Joshua Wolfshohl (’02) approached his firm Porter Hedges about supporting his alma mater, University of Houston Law Center, the decision seemed like a "no-brainer," according to Rob Reedy, the firm's co-managing partner.
"This was one of the easiest decisions I've ever seen our firm make because of how important UH is to us and how important UH is to the city and the legal profession in general," he explained. "This was a generational moment — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Porter Hedges' generous gift helped fund the Law Center's new career services center, which will be named Porter Hedges Career Services Center. The career services center is essential to a law student's experience as it enables them to find job opportunities and connect with alumni.
Because Wolfshohl served two terms on the UH Law Foundation Board, he understood the day-to-day process of the Law Center’s fundraising efforts. He knew what the school needed to accomplish its goals. Seeing how close the Law Center was to the finish line inspired him to approach his partners about making a meaningful donation.
The significance of supporting the law school was both professional and personal for Wolfshohl and his co-workers. He said Porter Hedges recruits many of their attorneys from UH, noting that more than 20% of their lawyers are alumni.
The firm also recognizes the school's importance to the city and to the greater legal profession. Reedy pointed out that Houston is the fourth largest city in the country with more Fortune 500 companies based here than any city outside of New York and one of the leading legal markets in the country with a very talented legal community.
"Having a new building for the law school helps emphasize to the rest of the country what an incredible legal community we have and what an incredible law school we have," Reedy said.
The personal significance of the gift is informed by Wolfshohl's time at UH. "People think of law school as competitive, but I experienced comradery," he reflected. "I'm still close friends with a number of people that I studied with. Parts of the old building I don't want to remember, but I do want to remember the friendships."
He experienced firsthand the importance of quality academic facilities. His second and third years straddled the summer of 2001 when Tropical Storm Allison struck the Houston area. The storm submerged much of the law school building underwater. Wolfshohl lost many of his schoolbooks from the previous year in the flooding. For the next academic year, many of his classes were in temporary buildings.
Wolfshohl explained what the new building and the Porter Hedges Career Services Center represent for the law school. "First-class institution, first-class professors, top students, we needed a facility that reflected that. The school needed something that reflected the quality of the education."
Along with firm support, the UH Law Center alumni and faculty at Porter Hedges who were instrumental in this gift are Joshua and Amy Wolfshohl (’06), Jackie Moy (’01), Corey Brown (’96), Ben Rajabi (’08), John Higgins (’83), Mandy Diaz (’06), Blake Runions (’07), John Hawkins (’91), Brian Rose (’07) and Craig Bergez (adjunct professor).