Faculty Focus is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center Faculty.

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed through the Faculty Focus website.

November 2008



Richard Alderman was named by President Khator to serve on an eight person “Strategic Action Group” charged with developing the methods of implementing and measuring the university’s six performance goals. At the first meeting, he was elected co-chair. Dean Alderman spoke on the Deceptive Trade Practices Act at the 32nd Annual Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference and at the State Bar Advanced Commercial and Consumer Law program. His book, the 2008-09 edition of Consumer Credit and the Law was published by Thomson/West.


Marcilynn Burke’s latest article, entitled “The Emperor’s New Clothes: Exposing the Failures of Regulating Land Use Through the Ballot Box,” will be published in the Notre Dame Law Review. She also presented her latest work-in-progress, “The Public Nature of Private Solar Development on Federal Public Lands,” at Georgetown University Law School on Nov. 14, 2008.  Professor Burke has been invited to participate in the first annual symposium of the Washington and Lee University School of Law Journal of Energy, Climate, and Environment (JECE) and the Environmental Law Society (ELS) entitled: Climate Policy for the Obama Administration. The symposium will be held in February 2009.


Anne Chandler received an invitation in August to sit on the Advisory Board of the VERA Institute of Justice.  On October 29, she delivered comments in Washington D.C. on the Office of Resettlement plan to ensure that qualified independent legal counsel is provided to unaccompanied immigrant children. On October 30, she delivered a presentation,” Working with Immigrant Families in Neglect and Abuse Cases”, to practitioners enrolled in AdvoCourt training.


Seth Chandler has published eight new interactive Demonstrations, many relating to insurance against catastrophes. They are

  1. Estimating Loss Functions Using Exceedance Data and the Method of Moments: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/EstimatingLossFunctionUsingExceedanceDataAndTheMethodOfMome/
  2. Estimating Insurance Premiums Using Exceedance Data and the Method of Moments: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/EstimatingInsurance PremiumsUsingExceedanceDataAndTheMethodOf/
  3. Premium Ratios with Capital Costs Included: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/PremiumRatiosWithCapitol CostsIncluded/
  4. Lawsuit Settlement Calculator: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/LawsuitSettlementCalculator/
  5. Insurer Ruin: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/InsurerRuin
  6. Subrogation: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/Subrogation/
  7. Insurance Disclosures: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/Insurance Disclosures/
  8. Risk Aversion, Load and Optimal Insurance: http://RiskAversionLoadAndOptimalInsurance/


In October, Professor Chandler spoke at the International Mathematics User Conference in Champaign Illinois on “The Hurricane Suite: Insurance Regulation and Finance in the Face of Catastrophic Loss.”  He also participated (actively) in a meeting of the Texas Health Care Policy Council, Office of the Governor, in Austin, Texas.


Frank Devlin spoke at the Petroleum Marketing Roundtable in Austin, Texas, which was sponsored by the ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources, in conjunction with the ABA’s Annual Forum on Franchising Meeting. The subject was “Politics of Petroleum Marketing” an analysis of legislative and administrative activities affecting petroleum marketing. Also in October, Professor Devlin spoke at a program sponsored by the Center for International Legal Studies in Montreal on “Franchisor Vertical Price Fixing on a Global Scale: Neither Convergence nor Divergence; Simply Chaos and Confusion.” His presentation was part of a program on “Legal Dimensions of International Sales and Services.”


Linda Fentiman spoke at Columbia University Law School on October 20 on

“The New Fetal Protection: Comparative Legal and Social Analysis,” at a program on New Scholarship in Reproductive Rights, jointly sponsored by the law school and the Center for Reproductive Rights.


Leslie Griffin spoke about the history of law and religion studies at the Journal of Law and Religion 25th Anniversary Conference at Hamline University, on October 23.


Rick McElvaney spoke at the 2008 Real Estate Institute about Landlord and Tenant Law on October 31. The program was sponsored by the Houston Bar Association. He also spoke at the Credit Coalition’s “Fundamentals of Good Credit” program on consumer law issues on October 30.


Ellen Marrus presented at the ABA sponsored “A Call to Action for Juvenile Justice: The First 100 Days of the New Administration” in Washington D.C. on November 6. The roundtable discussion was moderated by Prof. Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School and juvenile justice leaders from around the country presented suggestions on juvenile justice programs and solutions that the new administration could focus on for the first 100 days. Prof. Marrus was also named chair of the Collateral Consequences Committee of the ABA Juvenile Justice Section.


Douglas Moll will speak in January at the UH Law Center’s Mid-Market Firms CLE program. His topic will be “Shareholder Oppression in Texas Close Corporations: Majority Rule (Still) Isn’t What it Used to Be.”


Dean Raymond Nimmer drafted and filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Cablevision case. The brief was joined in by eight other faculty members nationally. He conducted CLE presentations in Houston and Dallas in August on database and data protections. He co-chaired a licensing law conference in Seattle and spoke on “Technology Acquisitions and Transactions Involving Open Source Software” in August at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. In addition, he spoke at the 41st Annual Institute on Intellectual Property Law for PLI in San Francisco and spoke on “Fair Use: Big Markets or Small Victories?” at the University of San Francisco.  He attended a Valley Alumni Reception and spoke to the Cameron County Bar Association in Brownsville on “Reflections on Law Teaching, Ethics, and Professionalism.” In October, he spoke to the AIPLA Annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on “Quanta Case: Impact on First Sale Doctrine.”


Tom Oldham’s article surveying the changes in U.S. society over the past 50 years that have affected divorce is in printers’ proofs with the Family Law Quarterly. Another article,” Romance Without Finance Ain’t Got No Chance,” is also in printer’s proofs with the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.


Michael Olivas spoke on Utah’s restrictionist immigration statutes at BYU Law School and on Hernandez v. Texas at Notre Dame University. He spoke at the Arte Publico Press Recovery Project Conference on the Macario Garcia Café incident and the resultant “trial” in 1945, in Richmond, Texas. The 1945 incident was featured in his recent article, “The ‘Trial of the Century’ That Never Was: Staff Sgt. Macario Garcia, The Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Oasis Café,” 83 Indiana Law Journal 1391 (2008). Prof. Olivas received a grant from the TG Foundation for $83,000 and from the Texas Bar Foundation for $20,000 for prelaw programs. At the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual meeting, he gave a dinner talk, “Why Write,” to doctoral students from higher education programs across the country.


Jordan Paust was a member of a panel on International Crime and National Courts during the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association on October 18 in New York City.  His online essay, “The Case Against a National Security Court,” published by JURIST is available at:



His essay,” The Need for New U.S. Legislation for Prosecution of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity” has been accepted for publication in the Vermont Law Review symposium on genocide. On November 14, Prof. Paust was a panelist on” The Imperial Presidency: Citizens and the Growth of Executive Power” at the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics at the University of Oregon Law School.


Ira Shepard spoke on “Recent Developments in Federal Income Tax” at the Houston Bar Association Tax Section, the American Petroleum Institute Federal Tax Forum, the University of North Carolina Tax Institute(April), the Dallas Bar Association, the Tax Executives Institute Tax School (May), the State Bar of Michigan Tax Section, the Tax Alliance Conference in Plano, the American Institute on Federal Taxation in Birmingham, the CBIZ Tax Conference in Las Vegas (June), the Denver Tax Institute (July), the Fort Worth CPA Society (August), the Houston Tax Roundtable, the Southern Federal Tax Institute in Atlanta (September), the University of Houston CLE Program for Corporate Counsel (October), the University of Texas Tax Conference in Austin (November), and the Wednesday Tax Forum in Houston (monthly).  He will be speaking on the recent developments topic at the William and Mary Tax Conference (November), the Tennessee Tax Conference and the Austin CPA Society Tax Program (December). In addition, he spoke on an ethics panel at the CBIZ Tax Conference in Las Vegas and on an expert witness panel at the ABA Tax Section meeting in San Francisco. The Florida Tax Review published his “Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation: The Year 2007,” co-authored with Martin J. McMahon, Jr. of the University of Florida and Daniel L. Simmons of the University of California, Davis, earlier this year.


Ronald Turner has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute. His article,”Pliable Precedents, Plausible Policies, and Lilly Ledbetter’s Loss” will be published in volume 30 of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law. He has accepted the SMU Law Review’s invitation to publish an article on labor and employment law in that review’s forthcoming annual survey of Texas Law. His recent publications include the 2008 Cumulative Supplement to Smith, Craver & Turner, Employment Discrimination Law: Cases and Materials (LexisNexis Publishing); “Gonzales v. Carhart and the Court’s ‘Women’s Regret’ Rationale, 43 Wake Forest Law Review 1 (2008); “The Voluntary School Integration Cases and the Contextual Equal Protection Clause,” 51 Howard Law Journal 251 (2008); and a book review of a work on religion and the civil rights movement in 23 Journal of Law and Religion 799 (2007-2008).


Diana Velardo was a guest host on NPR News, discussing human trafficking and the beginnings of the first human trafficking coalition in Houston, CAHT. Diana was also invited to be a speaker at the Fort Bend County Domestic Violence Workshop, presenting on immigration relief for undocumented victims of crimes. The workshop was sponsored by the Fort Bend District Attorney’s office and the Missouri City Police Department. As part of the Crime Victims Program in the Immigration Clinic, Diana also hosted a U.S. State Department delegation of international journalists and legal scholars interested in asylum and human trafficking issues. The clinic guests were from several countries including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon, Oman, and Syria.


Greg Vetter presented “Commercial Free and Open Source Software” at the Fordham Law Review Symposium for Fall 2008, “When Worlds Collide: Intellectual Property Laws at the Interface Between Systems of Knowledge Creation.” The symposium, sponsored by the Fordham University School of Law, was held October 31- November 1. He presented” Software Intellectual Property Protection in a Network Environment,” on November 6 as part of the University of Texas at Austin’s hosting of the University of St. Gallen Postgraduate Program Executive M.B.L. – HSG. The Executive Masters in European and Business Law (M.B.L. - HSG) is a postgraduate law course of study at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, one of the top European universities for the study of European and international business law. Finally, as a member of the appointments committee, Prof. Vetter attended the AALS Faculty Recruiting Conference November 7-8, in Washington D.C.


Steve Zamora attended the annual Curriculum Development Workshop of the North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE), held in Ottawa, Canada, October 3-5, and hosted by the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. Professors Tom Oldham and Greg Vetter were among the fifty professors from NACLE’s thirteen member law schools who attended the workshop. Prof. Vetter led a discussion of NACLE intellectual property professors on free and open source software. Prof. Oldham led the family law professors in planning a new comparative family law course. Prof. Zamora spoke to international trade experts about the NAFTA Labor Side Agreement. The three-day meeting included presentations by student winners of the NACLE research paper competition, which included UH Law Center student Joe Griffin (2L), who presented a paper comparing U.S. and Mexican implementation of rulings by the International Court of Justice. The University of Houston Law Center serves as the Secretariat of NACLE (see www.nacle.org) and our UH Law Center student coordinators for NACLE, Natalie Kurz (3L) and Astrid Sumac (3L) also attended the meeting that they helped organize.





Helen Ehmann Boyce