A woman smiles for a photo.
The late Noël Ferris, ’79, advocated for the advancement of young women lawyers.

The late Noël Ferris, ‘79, a native Sacramentan, epitomized excellence in all her endeavors. She did her undergraduate studies at Stanford University and obtained a JD degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where she met her husband, Parker White, ‘80. Renowned as a trial lawyer, she achieved unparalleled success, winning numerous trials across northern California.  

Notably, she became the first lawyer in Sacramento to be inducted into the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, subsequently serving as its president. She championed young women lawyers and advocated for their advancement on a consistent basis. Additionally, she supported the law school and the University of the Pacific by serving on the Board of Regents for the University of the Pacific. 

Beyond her legal career, Ferris dedicated herself to mentoring aspiring lawyers and fostering a culture of excellence in advocacy. Her impact extended beyond the courtroom; she was an inspiration to students and practicing attorneys alike, dedicated to fostering ethical and professional standards in the legal profession. Through her involvement with the Anthony Kennedy Inn of Court and McGeorge’s mock trial competition teams, she left an unforgettable mark on the legal community, ensuring her legacy of excellence endures. 

The courthouse from the quad.

Her husband, Parker White, honored her memory by establishing the Noël M. Ferris Professor of Trial Skills endowment after her passing in 2017, perpetuating her commitment to excellence in trial advocacy. This endowment serves as a testament to Ferris’s enduring influence and dedication to shaping the future of the legal profession. Noël Ferris’s unwavering pursuit of excellence and her passion for empowering young lawyers continue to inspire generations of legal professionals. In addition, White’s contributions to the law school in her name led to the renaming of the courtroom on campus to the Noël M. Ferris Courthouse, which is utilized daily by McGeorge students.

Throughout 2024, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law will celebrate members of its vast alumni network in honor of the school’s 100-year anniversary. This post is part of a series highlighting 100 exceptional McGeorge School of Law alumni.   

Stay tuned for more blog posts as we celebrate the law school’s centennial anniversary.