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

July 2009

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here


Aaron Bruhl was selected to present a paper at the Junior Faculty Federal Courts Conference, to be held in the fall at Michigan State University. The tentative title is “How Appellate Procedure Distributes the Costs of Legal Change”.


Seth Chandler has published nine new interactive Demonstrations. They are:


Hurricane Risk by State



Simulating a Catastrophe Insurer



Reverse Engineering GPA Distributions from Honors Data



The Sensitivity of Page Rank to Connection Errors



Random Acyclic Networks



Travel With Waiting Time and Distance Distributions



Health Wealth Tradeoffs



Evidentiary Uncertainty



A Minimal Circumcircle Measure of District Compactness



Douglas Moll and Robert Ragazzo sent off their page proofs to Aspen Publishing for their treatise The Law of Closely Held Corporations.


Tom Oldham published an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle on June 21 about the recognition of gay marriage. He attended an international law conference in Cambridge, England, about the use and enforcement of marital agreements. He also was appointed to the board of editors of the Family Law Quarterly, the ABA’s primary scholarly journal in the area of family law.


Michael Olivas has served on the Committee on Institute Size for the American Law Institute for ten years. President Roberta Ramo recently reorganized the committee as the ALI Outreach Committee and appointed Prof. Olivas to serve on the newly reorganized body. This new committee recommends admissions to ALI and organizes orientation programs for new members. He is the only academic to serve on the committee.  In addition, Prof. Olivas delivered the keynote address at the annual NEA meeting, in San Diego.


Jordan Paust’s essay “Serial War Crimes in Response to Terrorism Can Pose Threats to National Security” was published in the Journal of the National Security Forum, in 35 William Mitchell Law Review 5201-5221 (2009).


Sandra Guerra Thompson was interviewed for a story that aired on NPR on Wednesday, July 1, 2009, on the revocation of financier R. Allen Stanford’s bond by Judge Hittner. She was also interviewed in Spanish on June 22 by Houston’s Channel 45 regarding a man who killed his two children, then shot himself, and is now on life support. Prof.Thompson also presented her most recent article “Blind Justice: Judicial Tolerance of Suggestive Eyewitness Identification Practices” at a symposium at Marquette Law School on criminal appellate courts. The article will appear in a symposium issue of the Marquette Law Review. In addition, she completed work on an article, co-authored with Prof. Susan Klein (UT Law) entitled “DOJ’s Attack on Federal Judicial ‘Lenience’, the Supreme Court’s Response, and the Future of Criminal Sentencing.” It will appear in a Supreme Court symposium issue of the Tulsa Law Review. Finally, Prof. Thompson also taught a mini-course on criminal law in a UHLC sponsored pre-law program for college students.


Jacqueline Weaver reviewed a manuscript on “The Rule of Capture for Resources” for The Future, a preeminent Washington, D.C. think tank on energy and environment and resource issues. She participated as a speaker at a joint UHLC/ITAM conference in Mexico City on June 22-26. The conference theme was International Law and Practice in Exploration and Production in the Context of Mexican Energy Reform. Her presentation addressed whether legislative changes are essential to promote E&P and she used Colombia, Russia, Iran and Libya as examples. Following the conference, she celebrated Steve Zamora’s birthday in the garden courtyard of the beautiful San Angel Inn with Steve and his wife Lois. Both the hard copy and softbound versions of her coauthored book International Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation Contracts have now been published by Barrows Publishing CO. An excerpted chapter will appear in an upcoming issue of the Oil and Gas Journal.


Stephen Zamora has been appointed to serve on the AALS Committee on Freedom and Academic Tenure, an AALS standing committee that has jurisdiction to consider matters involving academic freedom and tenure of faculty members, as well as discrimination against a faculty member, in accordance with AALS bylaws and standards. Prof. Zamora and Prof. Jacqueline Weaver participated in a two-day seminar in Mexico City on June 25 and 26, 2009, for officials of Pemex, the Mexican national oil company, and the Mexican Secretariat of Energy. Prof. Weaver and Prof. Zamora helped organize the seminar, which was co-sponsored by the UH Law Center and ITAM University of Mexico City. Entitled, International Law and Practice in the Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons in Light of Mexican Energy Reforms, the seminar featured experts with international experience in contracting for oilfield services, the presentations serving to provide options to Pemex as it considers operating under the new legal reforms. Ricardo Colmenter (UH LLM 2005), of Weatherford International, was the principal organizer of the event. Prof. Zamora organized a luncheon for Mexico City alumni of the UHLC, which was held on July 9 at the Mexican Foreign Ministry. Ambassador Joel Hernandez, the Legal Advisor to the Foreign Ministry, hosted the luncheon, and Bill Maynard, of Beirne Maynard & Parsons, a member of our Law Alumni Board, attended and made a presentation to the group. Kathy Brannon, the Law Center’s Assistant Dean for External Affairs, also attended. The goal of the luncheon was to build stronger ties to our growing, and increasingly influential, group of alumni who are located in Mexico City.



Helen Ehmann Boyce