Suite 114 BLB
Professor of Law and the Larry and Joanne Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics
Renee Knake is a Professor of Law and the Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics at the University of Houston Law Center. She also is a faculty affiliate of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Her current administrative leadership includes an appointment as the Director of Outcomes and Assessments. In this role, Professor Knake is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the Law Center's compliance with the American Bar Association (ABA) standards on learning outcomes and assessment of student learning. Her expertise and research interests include the first amendment and the regulation of attorney speech; lawyer advertising; legal ethics, especially conflicts of interest; judicial ethics; access to justice; entrepreneurship and innovation in the delivery of legal services; and gender and the legal profession. At the Law Center, she teaches Constitutional Law and Professional Responsibility.
Professor Knake's research primarily focuses on innovation in the regulation of legal services, proposing access to justice reforms. Her article "Democratizing the Delivery of Legal Services" won the 2012 Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Professional Responsibility Section paper competition. Her most recent pieces "The Legal Monopoly, "Lawyer Speech in the Regulatory State," and "Legal Information, the Consumer Law Market, and the First Amendment" explore tensions between professional conduct rules and free speech values. She also studies the media's portrayal of nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her article on this topic, "Rethinking Gender Equality in the Legal Profession's Pipeline to Power: A Study on Media Coverage of Supreme Court Nominees," was selected as a winner of the 2012 AALS New Voices in Gender paper competition.
Professor Knake is an internationally recognized expert on the future of legal services, and has been invited to speak about the topic throughout the United States and internationally in countries such as Canada, England, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. She became a fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2016, "an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession, … limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction." In 2013, she was named an American Bar Association Journal "Legal Rebel," an "annual honors program for the change leaders of the legal profession" and a member of the Fastcase 50, an annual award that "recognizes 50 of the smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law." That same year she accepted the Innovation Award from the College of Law Practice Management, honoring "lawyers, law firms, and other deliverers of legal services who are currently engaged in some extraordinary innovative efforts." Her work on entrepreneurship and innovation in legal services was funded by a significant grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation from 2012-14.