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

November 2010

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Aaron Bruhl spoke at Rice University's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. The lecture, which concerned the U.S. Senate and supermajority rules, was part of the school's series on the 2010 election.


Leslie Griffin wrote an essay for and spoke at Cardozo Law School's twentieth anniversary symposium on the Supreme Court case, Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith. The essays will be published by Cardozo Law Review in January. Prof. Griffin gave a luncheon talk for the Houston lawyers' chapter of the American Constitution Society introducing the new term of the Supreme Court. Her essay, “Snyder v. Phelps: Searching for a Legal Standard”, about the First Amendment military funeral picketing case currently before the Supreme Court, was published in the online journal, Cardozo Law Review de•novo.


Jim Hawkins was selected to participated in a round-table discussion of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 for the AALS Section on Commercial and Related Consumer Law during the annual AALS meeting in January.


Tracy Hester spoke as a part of a panel for the symposium on Big Oil, Big Consequences, and the Big Unknown: Exploring the Legal, Regulatory and Environmental Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill sponsored by Albany Law Review on October 14, 2010 in Albany, NY. Prof. Hester’s presentation focused on “Crimes and Catastrophes: Using Environmental Criminal Law in the Wake of Disaster”.


Geoffrey Hoffman attended the Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) luncheon on October 25, 2010, with the Supreme Court of Texas on behalf of the UHLC immigration clinic. Following the lunch, he attended the all-grantees meeting in honor of pro bono week. At the workshop following the luncheon, there was a discussion of access to justice issues in Texas. In addition, Professor Hoffman was invited to guest blog for “Immigration Prof Blog,” a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network, featuring the work of the UHLC immigration clinic. The guest blog appeared on November 1, 2010, and is available at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/.


Craig Joyce has accepted an invitation to teach Intellectual Property Law at next summer’s Institute on Chinese Law and Business at Beihang University (“the MIT of China”) in Beijing.


Jessica Mantel’s article “Setting National Coverage Standards for Health Plans Under Healthcare Reform" was published in the October issue of the UCLA Law Review. Shortly after being posted on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the article made SSRN’s Top Ten download lists for Health Insurance, Public Goods & Regulation in Health Economics, Health Economics Network: Law and Regulation, and Policy Science Network: Policy Analysis. Larry Solum also posted the article’s abstract on his prominent Legal Theory Blog.


Rick McElvaney spoke at a CLE program on Nov. 11 sponsored by the Houston Bar Association - Commercial and Consumer Law Section called "Updates on Texas Residential Landlord/Tenant Law".


Douglas Moll presented his paper, “Of Donahue and Fiduciary Duty: Much Ado About ???”, at a symposium on the 35th anniversary of Wilkes v. Springside Nursing Home (a well-known closely held corporation case). The symposium was in Springfield, Massachusetts at Western New England College of Law. Other participants included Robert Thompson (Georgetown), Larry Ribstein (Illinois), and Deborah DeMott (Duke). Professor Moll’s casebook, Corporations Including Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies (11th ed. 2010) (with Robert Hamilton and Jon Macey), was available for classes this fall and is apparently being used by fine law schools everywhere.


Gerry Moohr’s article, part of a symposium issue on corporate criminal liability, was published last spring in Georgetown University’s American Criminal Law Review. The paper, “The Balance Among Corporate Criminal Liability, Private Civil Suits, and Regulatory Enforcement”, concludes that those who oppose corporate criminal liability should support, in its stead, the restoration of private civil suits and regulatory reform. Last spring, she also taught a two-week seminar on Property Crime in the Information Age at the William & Mary School of Law. Prof. Moohr’s most recent article, “Using Default Rules to Restore the Significance of Mens Rea in Federal Criminal Law”, will be published in George Mason’s Journal of Law, Economics & Policy next spring. She also presented the paper at the conference “Overcriminalization 2.0:  Developing Consensus Solutions” held on October 21, 2010, at Georgetown University. Finally, Prof. Moohr spoke at the ABA Criminal Justice Conference on November 5 in Washington, D.C. as a member of a panel considering Substantive Law and Technology. Her topic was “Technology and Criminal Law: The Case of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act”, concluding that despite the breadth of the conduct it prohibits, the law lags behind the risks imposed by technological change.


Dean Nimmer spoke at the PLI Intellectual Property Law programs in San Francisco and New York on the topic of "Content Creation and Distribution in a Digital World - How Law Should Respond to the Threats and Opportunities Created". In addition, he received notice that he was rated as “AV Preeminent – The Highest Possible Rating” by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.


Tom Oldham’s new edition of his Texas Marital Property Rights casebook is now available from Carolina Press.


Michael A. Olivas spoke at the First Annual Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Symposium, on October 22 at South Texas College of Law. He discussed the winning strategy behind Hernandez v. Texas that expanded equal protection to Mexican Americans, and the personal turmoil of one of the lead attorneys, and how mental illness and alcoholism are treated today by the State Bar of Texas. He also debated a Cato Institute speaker on the merits of the CLS v. Martinez case, for which he had helped prepare the AALS amicus curiae brief, which was cited by the majority in the case; the debate was sponsored by the UHLC Federalist Society.


Jordan Paust was on a panel with Professors Ved Nanda (from the University of Denver) and Betcy Jose-Thota (from St. Thomas University) during the Houston Journal of International Law’s showing of a film regarding post-Rwandan genocide entitled Earth Made of Glass on October 28th. Prof. Paust was also on a panel addressing armed drones and the law of armed conflict during the 42nd Sutton Colloquium, on Drones and Their Implication for International Law, at the University of Denver on November 6th. He has written an essay for the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy on “Permissible Self-Defense Targeting”, which is available at http://ssrn.com/abstact=1707688. His new article on “Non-State Actor Participation in International Law and the Pretense of Exclusion” is posted on SSRN, at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1701992.


Jessica Roberts was selected to participate in the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics's Health Law Scholars Workshop and Seton Hall's Employment and Labor Law Scholars Forum. Prof. Roberts presented her paper, “Healthism: An Antidiscrimination Approach to Health Insurance and American Health Care Reform”, at St. Louis University School of Law on October 8, 2010.  She presented her paper, “Why Employment Discrimination Scholars Should Care About Genetic Information”, at Seton Hall Law School on October 23, 2010.


Ira B. Shepard spoke on “Recent Developments in Federal Income Tax” to the Houston Tax Roundtable and the Southern Federal Tax Institute (Atlanta) in September, and to the William & Mary Tax Conference and the Tennessee Tax Institute in November, as well as to the Wednesday Tax Forum (Houston) each month. He plans to speak on the same subject to the Chamberlain Hrdlicka Annual Tax Seminar, the Austin Tax Study Group, and the University of Texas Tax Conference in December. In January, he plans to speak to the UHY Firm, the ABA Tax Section’s Midwinter Meeting (Boca Raton), and at an ABA Tax Section Teleconference. Some of these presentations are joint presentations with Marty McMahon (Florida) and Dan Simmons (UC-Davis).


Ben Sheppard is co-editor, with Lawrence W. Newman, of Take the Witness: Cross-Examination in International Arbitration, recently published by Juris. Although cross-examination of witnesses by counsel is a standard feature of international arbitration, this book provides the first comprehensive treatment of the subject. Comprised of twenty-one articles by some of the world’s leading international lawyers and arbitrators, the book provides guidance on all aspects of the cross-examination process in the context of an international arbitration. Prof. Sheppard’s article, “Taking Charge—Proven Tactics for Effective Witness Control”, describes eight tactics designed to minimize the risk of eliciting damaging testimony from adverse witnesses during cross-examination. Prof. Sheppard was a speaker and moderator at the London Court of International Arbitration European Users’ Council Symposium at The Grove conference center and resort in Hertfordshire, England, September 10-12, 2010. He was also co-chair and speaker at a one day interactive symposium and workshop on Cross-Examination in International Arbitration at The Grand Hotel in Vienna, Austria, November 5, 2010. The program drew lawyers from thirty-one countries. The overwhelming majority of the participants were lawyers from civil law jurisdictions where cross-examination of witnesses by counsel is ordinarily not allowed in the national courts and who may find themselves at a disadvantage in international arbitrations where cross-examination is standard practice. Prof. Sheppard has been selected for inclusion in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of International Arbitration and International Trade and Finance Law.


Sandra Guerra Thompson moderated a panel on Criminal Law and Technology at the ABA Criminal Justice Section symposium on White Collar Crime in Washington, D.C. on November 5th. She was also a member of the planning committee for the event.


Greg Vetter presented the topic of “Software Intellectual Property Protection” on November 1 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 International Business Law (M.B.L.-HSG) is a postgraduate law course of study by the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, one of the top European universities for the study of European and International Business Law. Additionally, on November 4, Prof. Vetter presided over the annual Ronald A. Katz Foundation Fall Lecture of the Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law (IPIL). Prof. Jane Winn of the University of Washington School of Law presented “Information Security as a Governance Challenge” at the Fall Lecture in downtown Houston.


Jacqueline Weaver presented a speech on the “Development of Oil and Gas in Emerging Markets: a Ugandan Case Study” at the monthly meeting of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators on October 20 in Houston. She also presented two lectures on “Ownership, Rule of Capture and Correlative Rights” and “The Oil and Gas Lease: Function and Classification” at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Oil and Gas Short Course in Houston on October 18. Prof. Weaver also participated in the PBS broadcast of Houston Have Your Say, discussing “Energy, the Environment and Jobs” on October 26. On November 3, she gave a lecture at the University of Texas School of Law’s Energy Seminar on the Future of the Petroleum Industry under Global Warming in Austin, Texas.