Faculty Focus is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center Faculty.


Editor, Katy Stein Badeaux, kastein@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.

May 2013


Zachary Bray gave a talk at the University of Minnesota School of Law on April 27, as part of the Association for Law, Property, and Society’s annual meeting, on a work-in-progress, The Edges of Development: Progressive Property Theory and the Present and Future of Colonias.  On April 19, he gave a talk at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University on his forthcoming article in the Maryland Law Review, The Hidden Rise of Efficient Extinction.  


Aaron Bruhl presented a paper on judicial deference to administrative agencies at the University of Wisconsin Law School in April.  He also made several media appearances commenting on the same-sex marriage cases currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Seth Chandler testified before the Texas Legislature Insurance Committee on April 16, 2013 primarily to address H.B. 2352 and again on April 30, 2013, to address H.B. 3622 both of which involve attempts to reform catastrophe insurance in Texas for tropical cyclones. He appeared on Fox 26 Houston on April 25, 2013, to discuss the inadequate resources of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which insures 62% of coastal property against wind, to pay claims should a significant tropical cyclone occur this summer. He published during April ten blog entries to his blog catrisk.net, which also addresses proposed reforms of windstorm insurance in Texas, several of which involved mathematical modeling of proposed systems. The blog had over 1,200 views during April. In addition, Professor Chandler started a new blog, mathlaw.org, that explores legal and economic issues with Mathematica. His initial entries have examined Effective Marginal Tax Rates under the Affordable Care Act, Iterated Games, President Obama' s Proposal to Limit Tax Preferred Retirement Contributions, The Bad Math in 42 U.S.C. sec. 18062, Visualizing Hierarchical Condition Codes under the Risk Adjustment Provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and a Picture of Adverse Selection Derived From the Federal Register. His talk at Harvard Law School on “Marginal Tax Rates under the Affordable Care Act” was canceled as a result of the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, but would have been very good. He and Professor Michael Olivas will co-chair the Law Center’s Strategic Planning Committee.


Barbara Evans has been invited to serve on the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Ethics Principles and Guidelines for Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflights, which will convene in Washington on May 30-31 to begin a study described at http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Research/HealthStandardsSpaceflights.aspx. The next-generation sequencing industry policy analysis working group invited Professor Evans to attend its May 15 meeting to discuss her work-in-progress on whether bundling of genetic testing with genetic test interpretation amounts to an illegal tying arrangement that forces patients and physicians to continue using brand-name genetic tests after patent expiration in order to gain access to proprietary databases of genetic variants of unknown significance (VUS), which are crucial in interpreting the medical significance of genetic test results. She addressed the Greenwall Foundation's Annual Meeting on May 1 and the Petrie-Flom Annual Conference at Harvard Law School on May 3. She participated in a May 10 joint conference of the MiniSentinel privacy, data, and clinical trials working groups. She will address the NIH Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research consortium on May 21-23. 


Jim Hawkins' latest article was selected for the 14th Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum.  The Forum meets annually, alternating between public law and private law subjects, and senior scholars comment on the papers.  The paper was 1 of 18 selected from almost 200 submissions based on a blind review process by a jury of senior scholars.  Professor Hawkins will present the paper at Yale Law School on June 15th.


Geoffrey Hoffman will co-author a book chapter in the following upcoming publication: A. R. Ackerman and R. Furman, Editors, The Criminalization of Immigration: Contexts and Consequences. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.


Robert B. Johnson was re-elected to the Board of Directors for the Commercial & Consumer Law Section of the Houston Bar Association. This will be his sixth consecutive term.


Craig Joyce submitted the manuscript of Enduringly Great: The Fifth Decade of Houston Law Review, the last in his series of decade-by-decade historical essays on HLR’s first 50 years.  The five episodes of the saga, intended to be a “short history” of HLR, total 195 pages.


Jacqueline Lipton presented "Determining the Public Interest and the Generic Nature of Domain Names: ICANN as Lawmaking Authority" at the 2nd Annual International IP scholars' roundtable, at the University of San Diego, CA, April 20, 2013 (with co-author Professor Mary Wong).


Gerry Moohr attended a remarkable conference, American Exceptionalism in Crime & Punishment, at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Robina Institute.  Participants spoke about how and why punishment in the U.S. varies so markedly from other countries.  She is working on a casebook with Ron Turner and co-authors, aiming to meet a late summer deadline.  Gerry will be speaking at two sessions at the summer SEALS conference; one of the presentations is to be published in the Ohio State Criminal Law Journal.


Michael A. Olivas’ most recent book projects were published in May, 2013— Suing Alma Mater: Higher Education and the Courts (Johns Hopkins University Press) and In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Inellectuals (Arte Publico Press). He was interviewed on NPR about the projects by KUHF’s Eric Ladau: http://www.classical917.org/houston_public_radio-arte_publico.php. In San Francisco, he delivered the Opening Plenary Invitational Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association; over 12,000 persons attended the annual meeting. At the AERA meeting, he also appeared on a panel with Plyler v. Doe lawyer Peter Roos to discuss the 30+ years of the case, and served as a respondent for two sessions on higher education law and finance issues.


Jessica L. Roberts will present at the University of Virginia Law School's Third Annual Conference on Genetics, Ethics, & the Law on May 22, 2013.  Additionally, the Minnesota Law Review recently published her article Health Law as Disability Rights Law.


Susan Sakmar gave four presentations at LNG17, the world’s largest global gas event, which was held in Houston on April 16-19, 2013. Professor Sakmar’s presentation, “Energy for the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges for LNG,” highlighted the key role LNG is expected to play in the world’s future energy supply mix as policy leaders search for more sustainable fuels to meet growing energy demand. Professor Sakmar also addressed the prospects of U.S. LNG exports, which gives rise to numerous regulatory and policy issues and is a development she is closely following. Professor Sakmar arranged for all of her students in her Shale Gas & LNG course to volunteer at LNG17 in order to attend the numerous expert sessions and network with energy lawyers and other professionals in the growing global gas world. Professor Sakmar’s participation in LNG17 was announced in the following press releases:

University of Houston Press Release Link:  http://www.law.uh.edu/news/spring2013/0410Sakmar.asp

PRNewswire:  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases-test/uh-law-center-professor-to-address-global-gas-conference-202406231.html.


Ben Sheppard moderated and spoke at a panel dealing with “Latin America—Enforcement of Awards” at the Houston Conference on International Arbitration on April 11, 2013 sponsored by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (Paris). In his capacity as a Member of the Consultative Group for the Restatement of the Law Third, The U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration, Professor Sheppard participated in the meeting of The American Law Institute in Philadelphia on April 13, 2012 to comment on Preliminary Draft 6 of the Restatement. Also, Professor Sheppard has been appointed to serve on the core drafting group for the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) to prepare the “ICCA Protocols for Fair and Efficient Arbitration” to provide uniform protocols for with many of the common logistical aspects of international arbitration proceedings. Additionally, Professor Sheppard addressed the 7th Annual Energy, Mining and Resources Arbitration Conference sponsored by the Western Canada Commercial Arbitration Society in Calgary, Alberta on May 14, 2013 on the topics of the “Who Decides Arbitrability” and “Manifest Disregard of the Law” as applied to arbitration proceedings conducted in the United States.


Spencer Simons served on an AALS site visit team in early April, visiting a law school in a clime cooler than Houston.


Sandra Guerra Thompson participated in meetings of the Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science LGC which is currently conducting a national search for an Executive Director of the new forensic science lab.


Jacqueline Weaver spoke on “Recent Developments in Confronting the Resource Curse: Lessons for Sustainable Development” at the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) on April 18, 2013. 


Kellen Zale presented her article, Changing the Plan: The Challenge of Applying Environmental Review to Land Use Initiatives, at the Association for Law, Property and Society Conference at the University of Minnesota Law School on April 27, 2013.  The article has been accepted for publication by Ecology Law Quarterly (Berkeley).


Stephen Zamora gave a lecture at the Houston Las Americas Hotel in downtown Houston on April 25 as part of the Law Center’s Legal Excellence series, co-sponsored by the Law Center and the Greater Houston Partnership.  His lecture was on the benefits and challenges of economic integration between the United States and Mexico, as a consequence of NAFTA.  There is more information here:



On April 27, the Law Library presented the CLE program "Essential Legal Information & Technology for Texas Lawyers" at the Law Center. Spencer Simons talked about Texas bill tracking, legislative history, and administrative agency research. Mon Yin Lung discussed free online resources for lawyers. Chris Dykes and Emily Lawson's presentation introduced attendees to special mobile device applications for lawyers. The free program, approved for three hours of CLE credit, was targeted at recent graduates and solo and small firm practitioners.