Page 9 - Autobiography of a Law School
P. 9


         Many people helped make this book possible. Most
important, A.A. White created a law school that was worth writing
about and provided me a playground for sixty years. I don’t know
what my life would have been like if he hadn’t thrust me into a law
classroom twenty days after my twenty-second birthday, but it could
not have been more fun. When Dean Newell Blakely invited me
back to law teaching after three years in the Coast Guard protecting
New Orleans from enemy attack, I knew I did not want to go back
to the farm, work for a corporation, serve in the military, or practice
law. Law teaching, by contrast, was, as a colleague, Steve Huber,
says, “a loophole in life.” I have exploited that loophole for well
over half a century. I fully expected to teach another fifty years,
when I could claim to be the longest serving University of Houston
faculty member. But that was not to be. Two other professors with
longer tenure are quite healthy and still teaching.

         David Dow’s excellent book, Autobiography of an
Execution, inspired the title. That book also prompted me to write
about the Law Center from my personal perspective as a player.
David wrote his story as a death row lawyer. My involvement with
the law school was not a matter of life and death, although we
sometimes treated it as such.

         K. Lance Gould, M.D., a personal friend, has kept my heart
pumping and my cholesterol down for more than thirty years. Susan
Williams, M.D., guided my recovery from a classroom event in the
fall of 2010, when I turned to the blackboard during class and could
not make sense out of what I had written. After a trip to the
emergency room and $30,000 in tests, we still don’t know what
happened. But I knew it was time to quit.

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