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

October 2010

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Aaron Bruhl's recent article on Senate reform was the subject of responses by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and Prof. Mark Tushnet (Harvard). The responses, and Prof. Bruhl's article, are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/~ilr/bulletin.htm.

Prof. Bruhl submitted a statement to the Senate Rules Committee in connection with its recent hearings on filibuster reform. Finally, he attended a Federal Courts conference in Chicago and spoke at a constitutional law symposium hosted by the University of Connecticut.


David R. Dow was the keynote speaker at the fourth annual meeting of the Michigan chapter of the American Constitution Society. His topic was the execution protocol. At the Texas Book Festival, he discussed his recent book, The Autobiography of an Execution, which was recently published in Dutch (under the title Kroniek van een executie). He has accepted the invitation to deliver the Harold E. and Margaret H. Rorschach Lecture in Legal History at Rice University in the spring.


Meredith Duncan was elected to The American Law Institute (ALI) on September 29, 2010. The ALI is a prized institution in the life of our country and its members are elected through a highly selective process. Election is considered one of the highest honors in the legal profession.


Jim Hawkins' paper “Regulating on the Fringe” was selected in a competitive call for papers to be presented at the AALS Section on Financial Institutions and Consumer Financial Services during the annual AALS meeting in January. He will also teach two CLE courses in October. On October 12, he will discuss “Fraudulent Transfers after Tousa” for the Bankruptcy Section of the Houston Bar Association, and on October 22, he will give a presentation for University of Houston Center for Consumer Law entitled "Consumer Credit Changes under the New Consumer Protection Act."


Tracy Hester chaired a panel at the Fall meeting of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy & Natural Resources. The panel focused on the Obama Administration’s key enforcement initiatives and emerging policy disputes over civil and criminal environmental enforcement. He moderated the panel in his capacity as the immediate past chair of SEER’s Environmental Enforcement & Crimes Committee. The speakers included the top career enforcement attorney from EPA and the director of the Environmental Integrity Project, the leading environmental advocacy group focused on enforcement issues.


Geoffrey Hoffman represented the UHLC Immigration Clinic in a meeting for Community Based Organizations (CBOs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held at the Houston District Headquarters on September 23, 2010 on behalf of the Immigration Clinic. On September 25, 2010, Prof. Hoffman participated in a training at the Moran Health Center for mental health professionals who are interested in learning how to do assessments and testify in court for survivors of trauma seeking immigration relief. The UHLC Immigration Clinic was one of several organizations sponsoring the event. The training was targeted at educating psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers about doing evaluations of applicants for asylum and other relief. On September 27, 2010, Prof. Hoffman met with Amnesty International USA’s Policy Director and staff members from Washington, D.C., at the UH Law Center to discuss criminal laws and immigration, enforcement, detention issues, and crime victims. Prof. Hoffman taught the immigration class at the People’s Law School, UHLC, on Saturday, October 2, 2010. On October 7, 2010, Prof. Hoffman gave a presentation and participated in a panel discussion on post-conviction relief after Padilla v. Kentucky. The talk was part of the Padilla CLE which took place at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University.


Peter Hoffman is the recipient of a Fulbright Specialist grant in Law at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India. Prof. Hoffman will be visiting at the school in January-February, 2011 where he will consult on legal education. This is his second Fulbright Specialist grant. The previous grant was at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law where in 2006-2007 he designed an advocacy course for barristers in training in the school’s Postgraduate Certificate in Laws Programme.


Prof. Hoffman also presented a paper, “Law Schools and the Changing Face of Practice,” at the Clinical Theory Workshop 25th Anniversary Conference held at New York Law School, October 1-2, 2010. Prof. Hoffman conducted training and CLE programs for: SEC-Washington & Boston; US DOJ Antitrust Division; US DOJ National Advocacy Center (twice); Jackson Walker, Austin; Kilpatrick Stockton, Atlanta; Stinson Mag, Kansas City; NITA Advocacy Teachers Training Program, New York & San Francisco; NITA Southern Regional Trial Skills Program, Dallas; and Texas Bar CLE “Witness Preparation” Program.


Craig Joyce‘s article, “A Curious Chapter in the History of Judicature,” made the Social Science Research Network’s Top Ten Most Cited List for recently published scholarship in Intellectual Property, and Prof. Joyce himself was named one of the Law Center’s Top Ten Most Cited Authors (along with Dean Nimmer and Professors Crump, Dow, L. Hoffman, Moohr, Olivas, Paust, Sanders, and Turner) in the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s recently released study surveying the works of tenured faculty in the United States over the last five years. Joyce also continued to judge ASCAP’s annual competition recognizing the best paper on copyright written by a U.S. law student during the past academic year.


Rick McElvaney spoke at the Credit Coalition training on the topic of Consumer Law on September 16th. In addition, The Property Code Plus 2010-2011 (Jones McClure), which Prof. McElvaney co-authored, is now out.


Dean Nimmer spoke at a Vanderbilt Law School program on the topic of "Information Wars"; Dean Nimmer also spoke at a PLI program in NY on "Protecting Content Providers in Digital Media". The Dean also completed the 2010 edition of Licensing Law in the Modern Age, and fifty page updates on his books on The Law of Computer Technology and on Information Law.


Michael A. Olivas delivered the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic Freedom at the University of Michigan: God, Grades, and Sex—the Developing Law of the College Classroom. The DMN Lecture was established as an annual lecture on academic freedom, as a tribute to three UM faculty wrongly fired for refusing to cooperate with authorities in the 1950’s over searches in the University for Communist subversives. In addition, following a showing of A Class Apart at UM, he spoke on Hernandez v. Texas. He published “The Political Economy of the DREAM Act and the Legislative Process: A Case Study of Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, in 55 Wayne Law Review 1757 (2010)


Jordan Paust spoke at the Houston Urban Debate League meeting of some 200 students from HISD schools on October 2nd, co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Houston. He addressed issues concerning this year’s topic for the International Public Policy forum debate, which addresses NATO operations in Afghanistan. On October 20th, he will speak on human rights at the United States Air Force Academy.


Spencer Simons has contributed three chapters to the book Federal Legal Research (Suzanne E. Rowe, ed.), to be published by Carolina Academic Press.


Bret Wells gave a presentation to the Houston Bar Association – Tax Section entitled “Ethical Considerations Related to Uncertain Tax Positions” on September 22, 2010.


Stephen Zamora gave a lecture at Villanova Law School in a Symposium honoring Professor John Murphy, a distinguished international law professor at Villanova. The title of his lecture was “Rethinking North America: Why NAFTA’s ‘Hands-Off’ Approach to Integration Won’t Work, and What to Do About It.” The lecture will be published as an article in a symposium issue to be published by Villanova Law Review.


Prof. Zamora also attended a meeting of the AALS Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT), in Washington, D.C. CAFT provides advice to the AALS on issues and policies regarding academic freedom and tenure, including the consideration of complaints filed  by professors at AALS law schools. In the latter capacity, the committee considered a report that Prof. Zamora had co-authored concerning allegations of denial of academic freedom and tenure rights by a professor at an AALS member law.