Clinical Faculty

JANET HEPPARDJANET HEPPARD is the Law Center Clinic Director and Associate Clinical Professor working with Professor Stalder as Director of the Civil Practice Clinic.  She received her undergraduate degree in Geology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and worked as a geophysicist for 8 years before returning to the University of Houston where she earned a joint JD/MBA degree. 

Professor Heppard began working in the Civil Clinic in 1995 and became the Law Center Clinic Director in 2008.   She received the Longevity of Exemplary Service to the Houston Bar Association Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program from the Houston Bar Foundation in 2003.  She also received an Award of Merit from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for her work on Hague Convention Cases.  In addition to her work in the clinic, Professor Heppard has also taught a course in Domestic Violence and will co-teach Immigration and Family Law in the Spring 2014 semester.  Professor Heppard has also been a speaker on issues in family law, guardianship, and law practice at local, state, and national conferences.


Janet BeckJANET B. BECK is Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor and has been Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1995 and has been practicing immigration law since 1987.

Prof. Beck was the attorney on the Board of Immigration Appeals precedent decision Matter of M-A-M. She is co-author of the American Immigration Council Practice Advisory “Representing Clients with Mental Competen-cy Issues under Matter of M-A-M.” (Nov. 2011) Prof. Beck is also the author of an article on immigration issues published in The Houston Lawyer (2009), the journal of the Houston Bar Association.

In May 2012 Prof. Beck received The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. award For Outstanding Pro Bono Work and Advocacy on Behalf of Immigrants for the appeals she has done. Professor Beck is the Vice-President of Refugee & Asylum Issues for the Immigration and Nationality Section of the State Bar of Texas for the year 2012-2013. She has been Section Chair and Vice-President of the Texas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

Prof. Beck has spoken on immigration issues at AILA national and chapter conferences, University of Texas immigration conferences, as well as at meetings of the Houston Bar Association and the Association of Women Attorneys-Houston. She also presented a webinar for the Center for Survivors of Torture in 2012 and was participating faculty at a conference of the Center for Survivors of Torture in July 2011.

Prof. Beck received a B.A. from New York University, an M.S.W. from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from the University of Houston. Prof. Beck served as a Peace Corps volunteer for 3 years in Colombia, South America and is fluent in Spanish. 


Geoffrey HoffmanGEOFFREY A. HOFFMAN is Immigration Clinic Director and Associate Clinical Professor. He received an A.B. Columbia University (magna cum laude); J.D. Tulane Law School (cum laude), LL.M. Harvard Law School.

Prior to joining the Clinic, he practiced immigration law in Miami, Florida at Kurzban Kurzban Weinger & Tetzeli, P.A. Previously, Professor Hoffman was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, held the Forrester Fellowship at Tulane Law School where he taught for one year and was a Lecturer at the University of Miami for two years. In addition to his practice and teaching experience, Professor Hoffman was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Paul V. Gadola, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for a two-year term 1998-2000.

Professor Hoffman has published several articles, most recently, “The War on Terror as a Metaphor for Immigration Regulation,” appearing in the University of Iowa’s Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, Vol. 15, no. 3, coauthored with Susham Modi in 2012. In addition, Professor Hoffman’s article, “Immigration Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and Efforts to Collect Damages as Support Obligations Against Divorced Spouses—What Practitioners Need to Know” appeared in the Florida Bar Journal in 2009. He has also published articles on international law, international human rights, and racial profiling in the Nova Law Review and Dalhousie Law Review as well as in the Loyola Journal of International and Comparative Law and the New York Law Journal. Professor Hoffman is a member of AILA, a member of the Supreme Court bar, the Michigan and Florida bars, and is admitted to practice in various federal courts of appeals and federal district courts.


Kafah Bachari MannaKAFAH BACHARI is Assistant Clinical Professor, a writer and an attorney. She graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in 2004 and practiced corporate law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, AIG Investments, Inc., and Schlumberger Technology Corporation before taking time off to pursue a writing career.

Professor Bachari looks forward to facilitating the development of the practical skills necessary for student attorneys to become ethical, intelligent, and effective transactional attorneys. To that end, she requires the utmost energy, enthusiasm, and attention to detail from students wishing to participate in her class. Also, she hates typos and she expects good writing.


Rick MCElvaneyRICK MCELVANEY, Associate Clinical Professor, is the supervisor of the Consumer Law Clinic at the University of Houston Law Center and the Program Director of the Center for Consumer Law.

A practicing legal aid attorney for 20 years at Gulf Coast Legal Foundation and Lone Star Legal Aid in the areas of housing, consumer, and bankruptcy law, he is licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas, the U.S. District Court - Southern District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeal – Fifth Circuit, and the United State Supreme Court, and board certified in Consumer and Commercial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

In addition, Professor McElvaney has served as Chair of the State Bar of Texas – Consumer & Commercial Law Section and is the co-author of O’Connor’s Property Code Plus. He received the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity – Hickman Chapter Outstanding Alumnus in 2004 and the Order of the Barons’ Professor of the Year Award in 2009. He is a U.S. Navy veteran. Courses he teaches include the Consumer Law Clinic, Landlord and Tenant, Law Practice Strategies, Poverty Law Practices, and Texas Procedure.


Josephine Sorgwe is a Clinical Supervising Fellow at the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic. At the Immigration Clinic, she supervises student attorneys on pro bono immigration cases and represents immigrants who have been the victims of crime, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Sorgwe completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After completing her undergraduate studies, she attended the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) where she received her Doctor of Jurisprudence. While at UHLC, Sorgwe interned for the Honorable Caroline Baker in the 295th Civil District Court, and the Honorable Martha Hill Jamison in the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. She also served as the Senior Articles Editor of the Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy, a board member of the Immigration & Human Rights Law Society, and the Community Service Chair of the Black Law Students Association. In addition, she was a Regional Finalist at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, one of the largest moot court competitions in the country.

As the child of two immigrants, Sorgwe has always had a passion for vulnerable populations. Thus, she was the recipient of the 2013 Public Interest Fellowship, volunteered in the legal department of YMCA International Services, and worked in the Immigration Clinic as a student attorney. Before working at UHLC, Sorgwe worked at a prominent Houston immigration firm assisting business clients in various immigration matters.  


Tasha WillisTASHA WILLIS is ADR Director and Visiting Assistant Professor supervises the UH Mediation Clinic (B.A. University of St. Thomas, J.D. South Texas College of Law). Professor Willis specializes in Alternative Dispute Resolution. In 2010, she was appointed to the Board of the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association and currently serves as the secretary to the board.

Prior to joining the Clinic, she served for the Honorable Frank G. Evans in the Frank Evan’s Center for Conflict Resolution at South Texas College of Law where she developed an international mediation externship program in Guyana, Jamaica and Panama. She has also conducted mediation training courses in China, Guyana, Jamaica and Panama. In addition to that she served as an arbitrator for City of Houston Affirmative Action Compliance Program and hosted the American Bar Association Regional Client Counseling, Mediation and Negotiation Competitions. Previously, Professor Willis was the Executive Director for Resolution Forum, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation, which provided pro-bono and sliding scale alternative dispute resolution services, taught basic and advanced alternative dispute resolution training and hosted five Annual Institutes for Responsibility Dispute Resolution.

In addition to her teaching experience, Professor Willis has been speaker and panelist for a number of conflict and dispute resolution workshops such as the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, 3rd and 4th Caribbean Conference on Dispute Resolution and the Vera Institute for Justice. She also served as Law Clerk for the Honorable John A. Coselli, Jr. in the 125th Civil District Court in Houston, Texas for four years.

Jonna Flores
Adjunct, Transactional Clinic

Yvonne Taylor
Adjunct, Criminal Defense Clinic