Leonard M. Baynes
Dean and Professor of Law
B.S., New York University; M.B.A., Columbia University; J.D., Columbia University
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. He manages more than 60 full-time faculty and oversees 12 centers and institutes, including the No. 6 ranked Health Law & Policy Institute and the No. 7 ranked Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law as well as the No. 9 ranked Part-Time Program.
Baynes initiated an award winning Pre-Law Pipeline Program designed to create more opportunities for first-generation, economically challenged, and under-represented college students who are considering law school. He instituted a voluntary “Community Service Day” during which incoming first-year students, faculty, and staff fan out across the city to work on public service projects. He also has increased the number of scholarships and opportunities for students to serve in school-funded, public service internships at home and abroad.
Baynes was inducted into the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council Hall of Fame, where former FCC Commissioner and MMTC Chair Henry Rivera described him as "a champion for diversity." Baynes previously served as the inaugural director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law.
In 2010, Baynes received the Diversity Trailblazer Award from the New York State Bar Association, and in 2019 he accepted the American Bar Association Alexander Award on behalf of the Pre-Law Pipeline Program.
In 2019, Baynes was the recipient of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.'s Edge Award, the John Mercer Legal Education Leadership Award from the National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair, and was named a Diversity Champion by the National Diversity Council. In 2020, Baynes was named to the Lawyers of Color Power List by the Lawyers of Color Foundation.
During his deanship, he was named one of the nation's top 100 most influential lawyers of color, and he was awarded The Houston Lawyer Association’s Robert L. King Excellence in Education Award.
Baynes has written more than 25 law review articles on corporate law, communications law, and diversity.