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

October 2009

 Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Aaron Bruhl spoke at the Appellate Advocacy Seminar sponsored by the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit; the program was held October 8 in New Orleans.  He joined with several other statutory interpretation professors in submitting an amicus brief in Kucana v. Holder, which is set to be argued in the United States Supreme Court next month.


Gavin Clarkson had a paper accepted at the 2009 Workshop on Information Systems and Economics. “The Social Efficiency of Fairness,” co-authored with MIT Economist Marshall Van Alstyne, suggests a cooperative game theoretic approach to valuing intangible assets contributed to a collaborative venture so as to increase the likelihood that agreements to engage in such ventures actually happen. This paper has its origins in research Dr. Clarkson did on valuation models for traditional knowledge in the international IP regimes. Separately, Dr. Clarkson also presented tribal finance research at the 66th Annual Convention of the National Congress of American Indians.


Barbara Evans appeared before the Institute of Medicine in September to discuss policy challenges in developing large-scale data infrastructure to implement recent amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. She was named to a panel that is conducting a two-year NIH-funded study, entitled Protecting Privacy in Health Research, which aims to develop specific recommendations for reform of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  She attended the NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network's Scientific and Steering Committee Meeting in Boston on Oct. 14-15. She participated in various activities of the Duke Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute's external advisory board. She is the keynote speaker for a gathering of 80 academic, industry, and government leaders on Oct. 26-27 to develop A Research Agenda for Privacy and Security of Healthcare Technologies, which will be presented to U.S. government agencies. Her chapter entitled “Ethical and Privacy Issues in Pharmacogenomic Research,” in Pharmacogenomics: Applications to Patient Care, Second Edition (American College of Clinical Pharmacy, 2009) went to the printer. She completed a chapter, “Legal Trends Driving the Clinical Translation of Pharmacogenomics,” for Principles of Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics (Russ B. Altman, David A. Flockhart, and David B. Goldstein, eds., Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2010).  Prof. Evans and a team of four physicians and scientists coauthored an abstract, "Sink or Swim: Are we considering all the factors essential to the success of pharmacogenetics in personalized medicine?" which was chosen as the Public Policy Forum for the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.


Jim Hawkins’ paper “Doctors As Bankers: Evidence from Fertility Markets” was accepted for a presentation at the Canadian Law and Economics Association Conference. He presented the paper on October 3rd in Toronto, Canada..


Julie Hill’s article “Bailouts and Credit Cycles: Fannie, Freddie, and the Farm Credit System” has been accepted for publication by the Wisconsin Law Review.  The article will also be presented at the AALS Annual Conference in January.


Lonny Hoffman was elected to The American Law Institute (ALI) in September 2009.  His article, “The Peculiar Case of James Vasilas,” was published in the Texas Journal of Consumer and Commercial Law. In addition, Professor Hoffman has spent nearly one million hours reviewing applicants for faculty positions, in connection with his work on the appointments committee. This work continues, unabated, with no end in sight.


Peter Hoffman has agreed to write the Fourth Edition of The Effective Deposition and has completed work on the 2010 Texas Rules of Evidence Handbook. He participated as a Faculty Member in the Mayer Brown Deposition Program, held in Chicago June 24-26, and as a Team Leader for the Pacific Coast Regional Deposition Program, held at the Chapman School of Law in Orange County, CA, July 30-August 1. Prof. Hoffman spoke on witness preparation for the UH CLE program, The Jury Trial, August 8, in Houston and August 12, in Dallas. He was a Team Leader for the Northwest Regional Deposition Program, held at the Seattle University Law School, August 11-13, and the Program Director and Team Leader for the Greer, Herz Deposition Program, held in League City, TX, August 20-22. He was also a Faculty Member in an SEC program, Taking Testimony, in Washington, D.C. on September 17-18. 


Craig Joyce began work on the Eighth Edition of Copyright Law, which remains the #2 most-adopted casebook in the LexisNexis product line (and #1 among casebooks in elective courses).


Sapna Kumar presented as a member of a panel addressing administrative law issues in intellectual property at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools conference in August. She recently presented “Expert Court, Expert Agency,” a paper concerning the relationship between the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the International Trade Commission, at the Seventh Annual Works in Progress Intellectual Property conference at Seton Hall University School of Law.


Shaundra Lewis and Katherine Vukadin presented “Focus: Teaching Legal Writing in the Age of Distraction” at the Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference hosted by Stetson University College of Law on September 12, 2009. At the conference, they discussed how to captivate and maintain students’ attention. Some of the techniques they suggested included using YouTube video clips to set up legal problems in writing assignments and final exams, and the possibility of using Twitter in the classroom.


Rick McElvaney is one of the co-authors of the new edition of the O’Connor’s Property Code Plus (2009–2010), which is now available.


Douglas Moll has been asked by Professor Jon Macey of Yale Law School to become a co-author of one of the leading Business Organizations casebooks, Corporations Including Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies. The book was originally written by Professor Robert Hamilton of UT Law School. The 11th edition of the Macey and Moll casebook will be available for Fall 2010 classes.  Professor Moll will also serve as the moderator for the Houston Business & Tax Law Journal’s symposium on “Current Controversies in Executive Compensation,” which was held on October 15.


Dean Nimmer spoke at a PLI Conference on Intellectual Property Law in New York, on the topic of Protecting Content in the Digital Environment.


Also, a SSRN posting by Dean Nimmer received the following within a month of posting: Your paper entitled, "Technical Standards Setting Organizations & Competition: A Case for Deference to Markets" was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for ERPN: Regulation.


Michael A. Olivas held press briefings for reporters on two different subjects: prospects for comprehensive immigration reform (middling) and higher education cases currently before the courts. He submitted his final manuscript to Harvard University Press for his 2010 book on Plyler and the schooling of immigrant children—soon to be a major motion picture, starring Jimmy Smits. He also published “What the ‘War on Terror’ Has Meant For U.S. Colleges and Universities,” in Ronald G. Ehrenberg and Charlotte V. Kuh, eds. Doctoral Education and the Faculty of the Future (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009), [Ch. 17], 249-258. He also published a review of Alejandra Rincon’s book, Undocumented Immigrants and Higher Education (2009, LFR Press) in The Review of Higher Education (2009).


Laura Oren, in celebration of Constitution Day, presented “The Lasting Meaning of Brown v. Board of Education: Does the Living Constitution Still Permit Race-Conscious Measures to Promote Integration in Our Public Schools?” as part of the Houston Bar Association’s 2009-2010 West Loop Seminar CLE series, on September 17, 2009. According to participants’ evaluations, the CLE was very well received.


She also presented a quite different version to a very different audience, the Women’s Group, First Unitarian Church: “The Equal Protection Clause and the Lasting Meaning of Brown v. Board of Education,” on September 13, 2009. This is a lively group that asks tons of questions.


Jordan Paust has a new op-ed on JURIST on “What Obama Should Have Said: US Compliance with International Law,” available at




Professor Paust also prepared a brief Amicus Curiae of the Human Rights Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association before the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review in the case of United States v. al Bahlul [pdf file]. He was also among those addressing U.S. Use of Drones in Pakistan and claims of self-defense under the United Nations Charter on the European Journal of International Law’s blog, available through www.ejiltalk.org.


Jacqueline Weaver, on September 23, participated as a panelist at a conference in Washington DC sponsored by Oxfam, Revenue Watch and others on confidentiality provisions and transparency of international petroleum contracts. Participants from the World Bank, NGOs, African development banks and legislators from developing countries attended to discuss the release of a new report “Contract Confidential.”


Jacqueline Weaver and Steve Zamora participated in a Curriculum Development Workshop held at the Mexican Foreign Ministry in Mexico City, and organized by the North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE).  The workshop brought together 54 law professors and students from NACLE’s 12 member law schools, to exchange ideas of concern to North American legal scholars. UH law graduate Scott Childs (LLM 2009) was featured as one of the winners of the NACLE student paper competition, and made an oral presentation of his paper on cap and trade in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.  Information on the workshop is at http://www.nacle.org/workshops/mexico-city-2009.html.


Steve Zamora was a featured speaker at a conference on international law developments held in Mexico City on October 19 at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and sponsored by the Mexican Foreign Ministry. His presentation, in Spanish, dealt with the institutional deficiencies of NAFTA and the challenges of North American integration.