Dean and Professor of Law
As the ninth dean of the University of Houston Law Center, Leonard M. Baynes brings a national reputation as a communications law scholar with specializations in business, media, and diversity issues. Baynes manages more than 60 full-time faculty, 90 adjunct professors and more than 100 staff members. He oversees 10 centers and institutes. He has initiated a highly successful Pre-Law Pipeline Program designed to create more opportunities for first-generation, economically challenged, and under-represented college students wishing to attend law school. Baynes has instituted a voluntary "Community Service Program" during Orientation for incoming first-year students. Through the program, students, faculty, and staff fan out across the city to work on various public service projects. He has increased the number of scholarships as well as opportunities for school-funded, public service internships both at home and abroad. In addition, he revamped the "Sondock Jurist in Residence" program in which judges and others have lectured, led classroom discussions, and talked to students in casual settings.
Dean Baynes was inducted into the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame, where former FCC Commissioner and MMTC Chair Henry Rivera described Baynes as "a champion for diversity." Dean Baynes previously served as Professor of Law and the inaugural director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John's University School of Law. He also has served as scholar-in-residence at the Federal Communications Commission, as in-house counsel at NYNEX Corp, and as an associate at the Wall Street office of Gaston and Snow LLP.
In 2010, Baynes received the Diversity Trailblazer Award from the New York Bar Association, and in 2011, he accepted the American Bar Association Alexander Award on behalf of the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program for College Students.
During his deanship, he was named as one of the top 100 most influential lawyers of color in the nation, and he was awarded The Houston Lawyer Association's Robert L. King Excellence in Education Award. In addition, the University of Houston received the National Bar Association's Presidential Leadership Award and twice won the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award ("HEED").
Baynes has written more than 25 law review articles on corporate law, communications law, and diversity, and is in the final stages of co-authoring the case book "Telecommunications Law: Convergence and Competition" to be published by Wolters Kluwer. Baynes is admitted to practice in both New York State and Massachusetts. Baynes also has been an expert witness at the FCC Federal Advisory Committee for Diversity in broadcast ownership.
Baynes received his B.S. from New York University, and J.D. and M.B.A. from Columbia University. Baynes was awarded the Earl Warren Scholarship and the COGME Fellowship at Columbia, where he also served as associate editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. After law school, Baynes served as a Law Clerk to Federal District Court Judge Clifford Scott Green in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, HIPLA College Professor of Law
As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Greg Vetter works with the Dean, other senior administrators, faculty, and students of the Law Center, on issues dealing with curriculum, course scheduling, interdisciplinary programs, accreditation, academic advising, full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, and student rights and responsibilities. The Associate Dean also assists the Dean in strategic planning with respect to the Law Center, serves as liaison among the faculty and staff, serves as liaison with the University and other government entities, and acts on behalf of the Law Center with respect to emergencies that may arise until such time as the Dean is available to address them. The Associate Dean also has the following direct reports: the Assistant Dean for Faculty Development; the Director of the O'Quinn Law Library; the Director of Metropolitan Programs; and the Director of Outcomes and Assessments.
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Sondra R. Tennessee is the Associate Dean for Student Affairs managing over 20 full-time staff members. Her areas of responsibility include the following: admissions, career development, registration, scholarships and financial aid, bar preparation, student counseling and advising, study abroad programs, and graduate programs at the University of Houston Law Center. In addition, she works strategically with a broad group of offices on the University of Houston campus. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as the Assistant Dean for Admissions at the UH Law Center. Before joining the UH Law Center, she worked at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and Washington University School of Law.
Associate Dean Tennessee has worked with a wide range of prospective students who are considering applying to law school, from undergraduates going directly to law school to seasoned professionals who are transitioning to a new career. She assists them in evaluating the cost of attendance compared to their salary expectations. Once admitted, she then counsels law students who are trying to balance the complexities of a challenging academic curriculum and life's obstacles.
Active in legal education nationally, Associate Dean Tennessee serves on the board of the Law School Admissions Council and is the chair of the Diversity Committee. She is also a member of the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.
Graduating from Vanderbilt University with a bachelors in Philosophy and from Washington University in St. Louis with a law degree, Associate Dean Tennessee has used her education to help others achieve their goals.
Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing
Carrie Criado is Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing at the University of Houston Law Center. Criado directs a comprehensive communications and marketing program and serves as primary media contact for the University of Houston College of Law and its centers and institutes.
Previously, she has served as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for USLegal, Inc. and was Communications Director for The Climate Project founded by former Vice President Al Gore. Assistant Dean Criado has also worked for KVII-TV, KEYT-TV, KUHT-TV, and The First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.
Assistant Dean Criado also has taught communications law and journalism courses at Southern Methodist University and Middle Tennessee State University.
She was a law clerk for the Federal Communications Commission and an intern at CNN's Washington, DC bureau.
Assistant Dean Criado received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and earned her J.D. at the University of Houston Law Center.
Professor of Law, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development
Dave Fagundes joined the University of Houston Law Center faculty in fall 2016. Professor Fagundes began his teaching career at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California, where he was a professor from 2007 through 2016. Prior to entering academia, Professor Fagundes worked as a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, an associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block, LLP, and a clerk to Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
As Assistant Dean for Faculty Development, Professor Fagundes organizes internal and external speaker workshops and conferences; helps administer research-related funding; nominates faculty for recognition for their scholarly work; coordinates with the Law Center Communications and Marketing Department to publicize Law Center faculty's scholarly accomplishments; chairs the Law Center's Faculty Scholarship and Advancement Committee; and serves as the Law Center's liaison with the University of Houston with respect to faculty research.
Assistant Dean for Admissions
Pilar Mensah is the Assistant Dean for Admissions at the University of Houston Law Center. She oversees the application and admissions process to include recruitment, admissions decisions, and the awarding of merit-based scholarships. She directs the daily activities of the Office and manages a staff of 5 admissions professionals.
Assistant Dean Mensah is dedicated to diversifying legal education and the legal profession. She is a committee member of the University of Houston Law Center's Pre-Law Pipeline Program, designed to increase diversity of law school applicants by providing law school preparatory resources to college students who are either low-income, first generation, or underrepresented backgrounds. She is also an active participant in the Law School Admission Council's Discover Law Months, hosting a biannual Discover Law Day for students who come from ethnically or racially diverse backgrounds.
She graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Diego with a degree in Business Administration and then went on to earn her J.D. from the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to assuming her current role, Assistant Dean Mensah practiced civil litigation in Arizona for several years before moving to Houston and joining the Office of Admissions. She has been with the University of Houston Law Center's Office of Admissions for 7 years.
Interim Executive Director of Law Alumni Relations
Hope M. Young is the Interim Executive Director of Law Alumni Relations at the University of Houston Law Center where her efforts are focused on increasing alumni engagement with the Law Center. She works with the members of the Law Alumni Relations team and alumni volunteers to host numerous events on behalf of the Law Center including the Annual Law Gala, the Holiday Coffee, alumni networking events, and Continuing Legal Education programs.
Prior to assuming her role at the Law Center, Ms. Young worked in recruiting and professional development in the Houston offices of Andrews Kurth and Fulbright & Jaworski. She also served as Development Director for Camp Allen. Ms. Young earned her B.A. in International Studies with a focus on Public Relations and is bilingual in English/Spanish.
Assistant Dean for Career Development
Tiffany J. Tucker is the Assistant Dean for Career Development for the University of Houston Law Center. She joined the Career Development Office after practicing transactional intellectual property and general corporate law in New York at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and is a member of the New York Bar. Assistant Dean Tucker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Psychology and Sociology from Grambling State University, a Master of Education in Counselor Education from Florida A&M University, and a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law. A native Texan, Tiffany is a former mental health counselor and professional development specialist.
As the Assistant Dean for Career Development, Tiffany supervises the Law Center's Career Development Office (CDO), consisting of seven JD professionals (Director of Employer Relations and Development, Director of Internship & Externship Programs, Associate Director of Career Counseling, three Senior Career Development Specialists, and Graduate Employment Statistics Consultant) and two programming professionals (Program Manager and Program Coordinator).
The CDO equips students and graduates with the resources and skills neccessary to successfully generate and take advantage of professional opportunities. Through one-on-one, tailored career advising, the CDO guides JD students and alumni in the use of tools and strategies for successful job searches, interviewing, salary negotiations, and on-the-job professional and career development. The CDO also hosts numerous programs and events designed to help students explore career options and develop vital job search skills, such as the Passport to Success Professional Development Series, the Mock Interview Program, Lunch/Dinner with a Lawyer, and the Upper Level Mentoring Program. The CDO also assists employers in their recruitment efforts by providing a variety of on-campus recruiting avenues to access our career-minded student and alumni populations, including Fall and Spring On-Campus Interview (OCI) Programs, Small & Midsize Firm Open House, Government and Public Interest Table Talk, Alternative Career/In-House Legal Table Talk, Apprentice Program, and Job Bank Database.
Senior Director of Advancement
Magda M. Herrera is the Senior Director of Advancement for the University of Houston Law Center where she leads fundraising efforts to support the various programs, faculty, student scholarships and capital projects at the Law Center.
Ms. Herrera received her B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. After graduation, she obtained the Esther Peterson Fellowship in Washington, DC, to focus on telecommunications policy. Ms. Herrera became a fundraiser while serving as the first full-time Executive Director of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation.
A native Houstonian, she returned to Texas. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has worked in fundraising and external relations for nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC, Seattle, WA, and Houston, TX. Prior to her role at the Law Center, Ms. Herrera was the Associate Director of Corporate Relations for the University of Houston, where she built relationships between UH and corporate partners, with a special focus on the energy industry.
Director of Information Technology
Tommy Abraham is the Director of Information Technology for the Law Center at the University of Houston. He is responsible for the overall operations of technology including web development, media services and systems support. Mr. Abraham obtained his Bachelors of Computer Science as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Texas Woman's University. His subject matter expertise prior to going into management was in Information Security; creating policies, procedures and auditing. With over 15 years of experience in senior IT management roles, one of his major accomplishments include being part of a team which implemented the very first Electronic Medical Records system in Houston.
Director of Metropolitan Programs, George Butler Research Professor of Law
Professor Duncan joined the University of Houston Law Center faculty in 1998. Her areas of expertise include legal ethics, criminal law, and torts. Since joining the faculty, Professor Duncan has received several teaching awards and has been nominated numerous times by the graduating students as their "hooder" commencement. Professor Duncan is also one of only 26 law professors studied nationwide in the recent Harvard University Press book What the Best Law Teachers Do, a study of the "methods, strategies, and personal traits of professors whose students achieve exceptional learning." She teaches Torts, Criminal Law, and Professional Responsibility at the Law Center.
As Director of Metropolitan Programs, Duncan oversees the award-winning Pre-Law Pipeline Program, a program designed to increase the diversity of the law school applicant pool. Her director responsibilities also involve working with the Juvenile Capital & Advocacy Project, a program whose mission is to reduce juvenile crime and delinquency and improve the long-term educational success rates and life outcomes for socially and economically disadvantaged juveniles. In addition to her work with Metropolitan Programs she heads the Law Center's Judge Ruby Kless Sondock Jurist-In-Residence Lectureship in legal ethics, a program which brings sitting jurists to the Law Center for a day of interaction with students, faculty, and the Houston legal community.
Duncan graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University and earned her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1993. Upon graduation from the Law Center, she clerked for the Honorable Edith H. Jones, Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit and was an associate at Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P.
Director of Outcomes and Assessments, Professor of Law and the Larry and Joanne Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics
Professor Knake is the Director of Law Center Outcomes and Assessments. In this capacity, she leads development and implementation of the Law Center's compliance with American Bar Association (ABA) Standards 302 (Learning Outcomes), 314 (Assessment of Student Learning), and 315 (Evaluation of Program of Legal Education, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Methods). She also works to advance the Law Center's Strategic Vision as approved by the faculty.
Prior to joining the University of Houston faculty in 2016, Professor Knake served 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, where she taught for a decade. 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.
Professor Knake is an internationally recognized expert on professional responsibility and legal ethics, and has been invited to speak throughout the United States and internationally in countries such as Canada, England, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. She is an author of the casebook Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach (West Publishing, 3rd Edition 2017) and more than 20 scholarly articles including publications in the Fordham Law Review, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Ohio State Law Journal, and Washington & Lee Law Review. Her work has been cited in briefs before the US Supreme Court, prestigious law reviews such as the Yale Law Journal, and a range of media including the Christian Science Monitor, CNN Money, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, the ABA Journal, Bloomberg Law, and the American Lawyer.
She has been selected for a range of leadership roles nationally and internationally. Professor Knake is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She currently is Treasurer for the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility. She was appointed as the Reporter for the American Bar Association Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services from 2014-16. She served as a delegate to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Justice (2014-16) and Rule of Law (2013-14).
Executive Director of Global and Graduate Programs
Karen L. Jones, JD, MA is the Executive Director of Global and Graduate Programs at the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC). She is also part of the adjunct faculty teaching Negotiation in Sports and is a judge and coach for mediation and negotiation competition teams at UHLC.
She was previously part of the faculty in sport management at Rice University, head of the sport law concentration, and started and edited the Rice Sport Law Review (RSLR). She also teaches sports law, ethics and sports negotiation with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, and international and comparative sports law in an online course with John Marshall Law School Chicago. She holds several degrees and certificates including a bachelor’s degree in communications/theater arts (Columbia College Chicago), master’s in sociology (DePaul University, Chicago, IL), a juris doctorate (law degree - Southern Methodist University Law School, Dallas, TX), certificate in mediation from the Center for Conflict Resolution (Chicago, IL), certificate towards an LL.M. in International Business and Trade Law (John Marshall Law School Chicago) and certificate in Advanced Studies in European Sports Law and Policy (Leuven University, Belgium).
She is the former Program Coordinator for the International Sports Law Centre at TMC Asser Instituut (part of University of Amsterdam) in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she developed the first ever summer program in international sports law, started a quarterly Lunch & Learn series, established academic cooperatives, a wide international network and managed and edited the International Sports Law Journal (ISLJ) moving it from an in-house publication to Springer publishing, widely expanding its viewership.
With more than 17 years leading global fortune 500 corporations in program development/improvement, contracts negotiation, vendor management, procurement, compliance and risk management, she used her skills to establish a small consulting business, Mission2Transition LLC, offering operations management, mediation, and legal support services to clients.
She has published (author/editor) articles and book chapters on legal and management related topics as well as being an invited speaker at international conferences in countries including China, Russia, Italy (CONI), Singapore (INTERPOL), and others.
She loves live theater, is a health enthusiast, member of several professional associations, serves on boards and volunteers with service organizations.
Director of Global and Graduate Programs
Nathan Neely is Director of Global and Graduate Programs at the University of Houston Law Center. He earned his BS from Texas Christian University and his law degree from South Texas College of Law Houston. Mr. Neely's work in admissions began as an undergraduate at Texas Christian University. Following law school, he found employment with Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts before returning to admissions at his law school alma mater, South Texas in 2007. Prior to joining UHLC in 2012, Mr. Neely was Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law.
In his role, Mr. Neely assists the LL.M student population. From counseling and guidance offered to prospective students, to guidance with application process, through orientation and graduation Mr. Neely is present throughout the "life" of the LL.M students. In addition to his interactions with the student population, Nathan works closely with the Graduate Legal Studies staff members (all 1.5 of them) to ensure the students have a resource office as they complete their education. He also works with the UHLC Communications and Marketing Department to ensure the UHLC message is conveyed to potential LL.M students as well as offering a strategic recruitment plan to engage with the LL.M prospective student population. In addition to his work at the Law Center, Mr. Neely serves the Law School Admission Council in a volunteer capacity as a member of the Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process Subcommittee.
In his free time, you may find Mr. Neely running both on campus (as one of the Law Center's Health and Wellness options) and off (17 marathons and counting) or with his three amazing children and one very supportive (as well as many other adjectives) wife.
Director of Business Operations
Law Business Services and Administration
MyBao Nguyen is the Director of Business Operations and she has been with the University of Houston Law Center for over 20 years. She graduated from UH Bauer College with a Business Administration degree. She oversees Business Services, Law Foundation, Information Technology, and Facilities Departments. Her duties involve engaging in direct overall strategic planning, analysis, and projection of Law Center initiatives with regard to financial planning, budgeting, scholarship, HR operations, and business administration.
Ms. Nguyen administers the financial affairs of the Law Center to include producing the Law Center annual budget, ensuring revenues/expenses of the Law Center are accomplished efficiently and effectively. She provides financial accountability and ensures compliance with state, university and external funding rules and guidelines. She establishes internal controls as needed for prompt handling of financial processes, oversees payroll and collaborates with Deans and directors in overall faculty and staff recruitment and reorganization.
Ms. Nguyen is the recipient of the Law Center Staff Service Award in 2014.
Director of the O'Quinn Law Library, Assistant Professor of Law
Professor Watson joined the Law Center faculty as director of the O'Quinn Law Library and assistant professor of law. She supervises a staff of nine librarians and eight staff members, and oversees the O'Quinn Law Library collection of over 285,000 physical volumes and 300,000 digital volume equivalents.
Professor Watson previously served for seven years at the Tulane University School of Law library as Associate Director and adjunct associate professor since 2014.
In addition to her supervisory role at Tulane, she taught legal research, researched and applied for grant funding, provided reference services, managed servers, and advised on technological matters that arose in departments throughout the law school. She is proficient in numerous creative software applications. Professor Watson previously served as head of public library services from 2012-2014 and as access services librarian from 2010 -2012. In those roles, she supervised reference, circulation, interlibrary loans, special collections, and digital initiatives. She worked from 2009 – 2010 at the State Law Library of Mississippi in Jackson and as manager of information services and regional law librarian from 2003-2009 for the firm of Phelps Dunbar LLP in its Jackson office.
Professor Watson has participated in library conferences and co-authored "Understanding and Utilizing Digital Authentication, in Digital Rights Management: The Librarian's Guide." She is a member of numerous associations, including the International Legal Technology Association, American Association of Law Libraries, American Library Association, Mississippi Bar Association, New Orleans Association of Law Libraries, (president) and Southeastern Association of Law Libraries.
Professor Watson earned a B.A. from Mississippi University for Women, a J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law, and a Master of Information Studies from Florida State University.