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With Deep Sadness, Spencer Fane Announces Passing of Partner Ruthie White

December 11, 2023

It is with profound sadness that our firm announces that Ruthie White, a friend, a great colleague, and role model to all, has passed away. A legal and community trailblazer, Ruthie will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to know her.

A celebration of Ruthie’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 15 at Covenant Glen Church in Rosharon, Texas.

“Ruthie exemplified the highest and best qualities as a practitioner and leader over the course of her trailblazing and decades-long career. She had an immeasurable impact on our profession and the thousands of colleagues and clients to whom she served as a mentor, confidant, and trusted advisor,” Spencer Fane Chair Patrick J. Whalen said.

After joining Spencer Fane in January 2020, Ruthie was immediately named co-chair of the firm’s labor and employment team. In her legal practice, she helped employers resolve labor and employment disputes in and out of court. She established a 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 served as a board member and an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law and regularly contributed pro bono legal services to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program.

In 1997, Ruthie founded The Downtown Group, a 300-plus-member networking organization based in Houston and open to African American female attorneys. The organization has helped and impacted the lives of hundreds of female attorneys in the decades since.

In short, Ruthie always found a way to give back to those looking to grow as a professional regardless of where they were in their career. She was recognized for her efforts as a Houston Business Journal Women Who Mean Business (2022), Texas Lawyer Best Mentor Award (2020), Texas Minority Counsel Program Trailblazer of the Year finalist (2019), Texas Minority Counsel Program Outside Counsel of the Year finalist (2016), and Association of Women Attorneys Foundation Premier Women in the Law Award recipient (2014).

“Ruthie had a larger-than-life personality and touched the lives of so many along her journey. She also had one of the most brilliant legal minds and could captivate any audience with her charm and wit. In the eleven plus years that I worked with her, I learned the true meaning of client service and how to be a fearless advocate from her unwavering commitment to the practice of law and the clients she served. Ruthie had an immense impact on countless colleagues and peers in the Texas legal community during her distinguished and accomplished career,” partner DeAndrea Washington said. “What truly defined Ruthie as an attorney was her ability to invest in others while serving as a powerful example of an African American woman in leadership. She was truly a force to be reckoned with and made a lasting impression on the hearts of many. While we could never fill her shoes, her legacy will live on for generations to come.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fort Bend Women’s Center in Richmond, Texas or the Ruthie White Legal Eagles Ministry at Covenant Glen Church in Rosharon, Texas.