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

March 2011

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Aaron Bruhl's latest article, "Hierarchy and Heterogeneity in Statutory Interpretation," was just accepted for publication in the Cornell Law Review.


Seth Chandler conducted a "pre-visit" in February to the University of Nebraska College of Law in preparation for chairing the ABA site visit this March. Prof. Chandler's article "Health reform plan flawed but has potential benefits" was published in the Houston Chronicle (available online at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/7452154.html). Prof. Chandler received a handsome gift (http://www.cutterbuck.com/cutterbuck/item_no=UCN01165+MAH+1-SZ/cid=52/page_no=2/shop.axd/ProductDetails) from LexisNexis in recognition of being nominated by his peers as a leader in the use of technology in the classroom.


Gavin Clarkson helped coach two moot court teams for the National Native American Law Students Association moot court competition, hosted by Columbia Law School. He also helped students form a NALSA chapter at the University of Houston Law Center and spoke at their inaugural event. Also, Prof. Clarkson and Prof. Tracy Hester assisted the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in successfully securing a grant to develop tribal environmental codes. Part of the grant is directed to UHLC to support EENR students who will be involved in helping the tribe over the next eighteen months.


Richard Dole had two articles that were accepted for publication. An article entitled “The Uniform Trade Secrets Act – Trends and Prospects” will be published in a Symposium on the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in volume 33 of Hamline Law Review (forthcoming 2011). The second article, entitled “Permanent Injunctive Relief for Trade Secret Misappropriation without an Express Limit upon Its Duration: The Uniform Trade Secrets Act Reconsidered”, will appear in volume 17 Issue 2 of the Boston University Journal of Science and Technology Law (forthcoming Summer 2011).


Patricia Gray, Director of Research for the Health Law & Policy Institute, was the guest speaker for UTMB medical students’ pizza and policy luncheon on Feb. 23. Her presentation, entitled “I Want You to Be My Friend”, addressed legal and ethical concerns related to the use of social media in the practice of medicine. On Mar. 9, she will join Craig Conway, assistant research professor in the Health Law & Policy Institute to present a Webinar explaining the law and regulation of accountable care organizations to the Texas Organization of Rural Community Hospitals.


Leslie Griffin testified before a Texas Senate Committee regarding Senator Dan Patrick's ultrasound-required-before-abortion bill (S.B. 16) on Feb. 9.


Tracy Hester moderated a panel on environmental criminal legal issues at this year’s Annual Symposium of the Environment & Energy Law & Policy Journal. He also met in London with the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, the University College of London, and Oxford University at the invitation of the British Consulate to discuss legal issues arising from geoengineering. Last, his article “Remaking the World to Save It: Applying U.S. Environmental Laws to Climate Engineering” was accepted for publication in the Journal for Environmental and Energy Law.


Julie Hill presented her work-in-progress “Appeals of Bank Examination Ratings” at the Arizona State Junior Scholars Conference. She also posted her draft article “Bank Capital Regulation by Enforcement: An Empirical Study” on SSRN. It is available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1773072.


Geoffrey Hoffman met with the Houston Pro Bono Coalition on Feb. 21 to discuss asylum training, a pro bono rotation, and other issues affecting the immigration bar in Houston. On Feb. 22, the UH Immigration Clinic worked in a joint effort with the Loyola Law School, New Orleans, to represent a human trafficking victim here in Houston before the Immigration Court. On Feb. 28, Prof. Hoffman wrote a guest blog on a recent win by UH clinic attorney Dalia Granados in the Board of Immigration Appeals (available at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2011/02/university-of-houston-immigration-clinic-wins-in-bia.html). On Mar. 1, Prof. Hoffman's commentary on DOMA and immigration was posted on the Immigration Professor blog, and then subsequently published as an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle. Prof. Hoffman was also interviewed by the Houston Chronicle in early March regarding Texas House Bill 1202.


Peter Hoffman completed in March a 30-day visit as a Fulbright Senior Specialist to West Bengal National University of Juridical Science in Kolkata, India where he guest lectured on trial advocacy and evidence and gave a presentation to the faculty on clinical legal education. Prof. Hoffman was also the keynote speaker at the inaugural meeting of the Centre for Mediation, a group of lawyers and sitting and retired judges who are urging the greater use of mediation to resolve disputes; the inaugural meeting was held at the University of Calcutta. His paper, “Legal Education and the Changing Face of Practice”, previously presented at New York Law School’s Clinical Theory Workshop 25th Anniversary Conference, will be published in a New York Law School Law Review symposium issue on the Clinical Theory Workshop. Prof. Hoffman was appointed editor of the Ninth Edition (2011-2012 edition) of the Texas Rules of Evidence Handbook. He will be on the faculty of Stetson University College of Law’s Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills Program, to be held May 25-27, 2011. Prof. Hoffman was appointed to the committee tasked with selecting a new director of NITA and was a Team Leader for the Rocky Mountain Regional NITA Depositions Program and the Southeast Regional Deposition Program. He is also the Program Director for the Houston Regional NITA Deposition Program to be held at the Law Center on March 17-19, 2011 and the NITA Trial Skills for the Family and Juvenile Courts Program, also to be held at the Law Center on April 8-9, 2011. Prof. Hoffman taught Advanced Trial Advocacy at Elon University Law School during the Winter pre-semester and Taking and Defending Depositions at the University of New Mexico Law School. He will be lecturing on deposition skills at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, and he taught a five-day trial skills program for the Dallas office of Jackson Walker. Finally, Prof. Hoffman will be teaching a USAID-funded trial skills program for Mexican lawyers, which will be held at the University of Nebraska College of Law.


Craig Joyce attended an oral history workshop in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of the Official Historian of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As Chair of the American Society for Legal History’s Committee on the History of the Society, Prof. Joyce is preparing to launch an oral history project to preserve memories and records of ASLH’s early years. Also, as Chair of the Society’s Committee on the Annual Meeting, he recommended, and the board approved, Miami/Fort Lauderdale as the site of the ASLH’s 2013 meeting. In addition, Prof. Joyce and Prof. Greg R. Vetter attended the Works-in-Progress in Intellectual Property (WIPWP) Colloquium in Boston and announced that UHLC’s Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law (IPIL) will host WIPIP’s 2012 national meeting at the Law Center.


Peter Linzer, together with Donna L. Huffman, Esq., of the Kansas Bar, delivered a paper entitled "Unjust Impoverishment: Using Restitution Principles in the Current Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis". The paper was given at the "Restitution Roundup," at Washington and Lee School of Law, sponsored by the American Law Institute and the  Washington and Lee Law Review to celebrate the publication of the Restatment Third of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment, which Prof. Linzer helped with.


Douglas Moll was named “Professor the Year” by the Order of the Barons (students in the top 15% of the class). He also signed a contract for a Business Organizations Concise Hornbook with West Publishing (with Prof. Rich Freer from Emory University Law School).


The English Law Commission has published its long-awaited commentary on marital agreements, as well as its thoughts about whether England should adopt the concept that parties about to marry should be able to change the economic results if they divorce. In this commentary, the Commission surveyed the law as it now exists around the world, including the rules in the United States. The Commission repeatedly refers to the work of Tom Oldham in its discussion, as well as the work of one other U.S commentator.


Michael A. Olivas spoke on immigration reform at the Mississippi College School of Law, and visited Crossroads, in Clarksdale, MS, where the Delta blues artist Robert Johnson is alleged to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar-playing gift. (Prof. Olivas traded his soul in exchange for getting though his AALS year without labor strife in DC at the next Annual Meeting.) He was also selected as an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow, a designation “to honor education researchers with substantial research accomplishments, to convey the Association’s commitment to excellence in research, and to emphasize to new scholars the importance of sustained research of excellence in the field.” Armed with his trip to the BB King Museum (Indianola, MS) and the Rock and Blues Museum (Clarksdale, MS), he delivered a CLE entitled “The Law and Business of Rock and Roll” to the HBA Entertainment and Sports Law Section; it was held at the Hard Rock Café in Houston. Prof. Olivas also spoke at DePaul University on developments on the DREAM Act.


Jordan Paust was a panelist during the Michigan State University Journal of International Law symposium on Sovereignty in Today’s World, Feb. 17th. Prof. Paust was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle more than once and by KUHF and Channel 13 news concerning issues regarding possible extradition of a woman from Nigeria to stand trial for alleged manslaughter arising out of a fire at a day care in Houston.


Sandra Guerra Thompson testified before the Texas House Committee on Criminal Justice on Feb. 22 and the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice on Mar. 1. She testified regarding several proposed reforms to the Code of Criminal Procedure on the subjects of eyewitness identifications, custodial interrogations, and writs based on new science.


Greg Vetter presented as a panelist at the University of Missouri School of Law - Missouri Law Review Symposium 2011, presenting “Patent Law’s Unpredictability Doctrine & the Software Arts”, for the symposium Evolving the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and Its Patent Law Jurisprudence, held on Feb. 25, 2011. He also presented this work at the 2011 Works in Progress Intellectual Property (WIPIP) Colloquium hosted by the Boston University School of Law on Feb. 11-12, 2011. At that event, he was named a member of the Board of Planning for the WIPIP Colloquium, as a part of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law (IPIL) and the Law Center hosting the 2012 WIPIP event: http://www.law.uh.edu/wipip2012/.


Jacqueline Weaver was invited to speak at a “Voices of Faculty” presentation in Calgary, Canada on “The BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Causes, Consequences—and Cures(?)”. She also presented this talk to the UHLC faculty at a Monday lunch. Prof. Weaver submitted the 2010 updates to two volumes of The Texas Law of Oil and Gas to the publisher. She also moderated the morning session of the Environment & Energy Law & Policy Journal’s annual symposium on “Counting on Catastrophe” held here in Houston on Feb. 18.


Bret Wells gave a presentation entitled “What Corporate Inversions Teach Us About U.S. International Tax Reform” to the International Tax Forum on Mar. 3, 2011.


On Mar. 11 and 12, the O’Quinn Law Library hosted and played a major role in the 2011 Joint Meeting of the Houston Area Law Librarians (HALL) and the Southwestern Association of Law Librarians (SWALL). In a meeting with fourteen sessions total and three sessions approved by the Texas Bar for CLE credit, O’Quinn Librarians presented four of the ten SWALL programs: Spencer Simons spoke on Corporate Bankruptcy Law and Research (one CLE credit), Chris Dykes spoke on Alternatives to Westlaw and Lexis, Dan Baker talked about changes in the 19th Edition of the Bluebook, and Emily W. Lawson was co-presenter on Legal Research with Online Government Information. Lauren Schroeder was on the Local Arrangements Committee. The program was organized by the vice-presidents of the two organizations, our own Mon Yin Lung (SWALL) and Saskia Mehlhorn (HALL). The meeting attracted more than sixty attendees. Compliments on the programs, facilities, and operation abounded.