Suite 114 BLB
Professor of Law and the 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. She joined the Law Center faculty in 2016 after serving as the Foster Swift Professor of Legal Ethics and co-director of the Kelley Institute of Ethics and the Legal Profession at Michigan State University College of Law. In 2015, she was a scholar-in-residence at Stanford Law School's Center on the Legal Profession and a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation.
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 scholarship has been cited in briefs before the US Supreme Court as well as a range of media including the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, the ABA Journal, and Bloomberg Law. She is an author of the casebook Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach (West Publishing, 3nd Edition 2017) as well as numerous scholarly articles appearing in top law journals including Fordham Law Review, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Ohio State Law Journal, and Washington & Lee Law Review.
Professor Knake's research primarily focuses on 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 "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. She is currently working on a project about the stories of women who were shortlisted, but never nominated, to the Court.
From 2014-2016, Professor Knake served as the Reporter for the American Bar Association Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services. 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 ABA Journal Legal Rebel 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.
Before her academic career, Professor Knake practiced law at Mayer, Brown in Chicago and Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Va., where she specialized in commercial litigation, telecommunications, and labor/employment law. She earned her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.