The family, friends, and the entire Houston legal community is mourning the loss of attorney Gaynelle Griffin Jones who lost her battle with cancer last week.
The 64-year-old made history when she was appointed the first woman, and the first African-American United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, an area which includes Houston her adopted hometown.
Griffin Jones completed her undergraduate degree at Boston’s Emerson College before completing her legal studies at Boston College Law School. Her legal career was diverse as she practiced in Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Texas. She worked as an attorney in private practice, she was “Of Counsel” at Vinson and Elkins, and as a prosecutor, assistant District Attorney in Harris County (Houston), Texas.
Prior to her appointment to the post of U.S. Attorney, Jones had the distinction of achieving another first. She was the first African-American appellate court judge in Texas having served on Texas’ First Court of Appeals in 1992.
Griffin’s term as a judge lasted one year. She served as U.S. Attorney from 1993-1997.
JET Magazine noted at the time of her confirmation that Griffin Jones joined two other African-Americans now U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and now Chief Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange as the first African-American United States Attorney’s in Texas, the District of Columbia, and Oklahoma respectively.
Most recently Griffin Jones was litigation counsel at Hewlett-Packard and an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
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