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

November 2011

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Janet Beck made a presentation on “Family-Sponsored Immigration” on Oct. 20 in Austin at the 35th Annual Immigration and Nationality Law Conference sponsored by the University of Texas.


Darren Bush was promoted to professor of law in September. Also in September, Prof. Bush gave a talk to the National Association of Attorneys General, discussing the antitrust implications of firms being “too big to fail.” In October, he gave a talk at Seattle University about the gaming of law school rankings. Prof. Bush has recently completed work on an article titled “Juking the Stats: The Gaming of Law School Rankings and How to Stop It.” Along with Prof. Harry First at NYU, Prof. Bush also wrote an introduction to a symposium in honor of John J. Flynn, forthcoming in the Antitrust Bulletin. Along with Prof. Betsy Gelb of UH’s Bauer College of Business, he wrote an article on trends in antitrust policy, submitted to a peer reviewed marketing journal. Prof. Bush has been invited to speak in December before the Energy Bar Association on electric utility mergers.


David R. Dow was a principal speaker at the 7th annual symposium on Restorative Justice and the Death Penalty, held at Utah Valley University. His topic was "Is the Death Penalty Inherently Arbitrary?".  He was also shortlisted for the Human Rights Arts Award, given by the UK-based Liberty Campaign, for his book Killing Time. The winner is announced in London on Nov. 22.


Barbara Evans will speak in the University of Toronto’s Health Law, Ethics, and Policy Seminar Series on Nov. 24. She has been invited to address the 2012 AALS Annual Convention (Joint Program on Biolaw and Defamation and Privacy), to deliver the Spring 2012 Fallon Lecture on Health & the Law at the University of Chicago, to address the New York University School of Law’s Colloquium on Innovation Policy, and to address the Mexican National Institute of Genomic Medicine. Prof. Evans is on the planning committee for the second annual International Health Privacy Summit to be held at Georgetown Law Center. On Oct. 26, she filed extensive comments on the Dep’t of Health & Human Services’ ANPRM to amend the major federal biomedical research regulations at 45 C.F.R. pt. 46 and 21 C.F.R. pts. 50 & 56. The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Public Health Effectiveness of the F.D.A. 510(k) Clearance Process, on which she has been serving for the past two years, published its final report and recommendations on October 27.


Adam Gershowitz spoke about Prosecutorial Misconduct and Supervisory Responsibility at Loyola Law School in New Orleans as part of a symposium for the Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law. Prof. Gershowitz also  presented a workshop on The Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment for the Symposium on Lifelong Learning at the Jewish Community Center. Revised and updated versions of his article, “Password Protected? Can a Password Save Your Cell Phone From a Search Incident to Arrest?”, 96 Iowa Law Review 1125 (2011), are being published in the Search and Seizure Law Report as well as in Champion, which is published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Leslie Griffin presented her paper "Ordained Discrimination: The Cases Against the Ministerial Exception" at Howard and University of Missouri Kansas City law schools. Prof. Griffin gave the Kilgore Lecture at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church on Oct. 28.


Jim Hawkins participated in a symposium he organized with the Washington and Lee Law Review on Nov. 10-11 entitled Regulation in the Fringe Economy. He presented his paper, “Credit on Wheels: The Law and Business of Auto Title Lending”, which will be published in the Review in Spring 2012. Other participants included professors from Columbia Law School, Vanderbilt Law School, University of Virginia Law School, Swarthmore College, and UC Irvine School of Law. Information about the symposium is available at http://law.wlu.edu/lawcenter/page.asp?pageid=1218.


Tracy Hester spoke at and co-chaired a workshop on Nov. 12 in Washington, DC about NACLE’s on-going collaborative research project with several Canadian and Mexican law schools to review NAFTA’s environmental submissions process. He traveled to Lisbon on Nov. 7 to teach a one-week environmental law class at the Universite Catolica Portuguesa, and he joined a Rice University environmental justice tour on Oct. 29 to speak on legal issues surrounding permits in the Houston Ship Channel and environmental justice issues at Superfund clean-ups. Prof. Hester was also named “Best Lawyer’s 2012 Houston Environmental Lawyer of the Year.”


Geoffrey Hoffman lectured on “Ethics and Immigration Law” at Catholic Charities on Nov. 4 during a CLE on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) cases. Also presenting, Susham Modi, a clinical supervising attorney with the UH Immigration Clinic. Prof. Hoffman was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle and quoted in an article published on Oct. 30, entitled, “Still no solution for illegal immigrants’ long-term care costs.” The article is available at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Still-no-solution-for-illegal-immigrants-2243020.php.


Craig Joyce completed the first in a series of oral histories of leading legal historians in his capacity as chair of the American Society for Legal History’s Committee on the History of the Society and, with the invaluable assistance of Prof. Robert Palmer, Cullen Professor of Law and History and Administrator of the Anglo-American Legal Tradition website hosted by the O’Quinn Law Library, began the construction of a new website, “ASLH History.” At the Society’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Prof. Joyce became the first recipient of ASLH’s new Craig Joyce Award, created by the Society’s Board of Directors “to be bestowed in perpetuity to recognize members who, in the spirit of Craig Joyce, have selflessly given long and outstanding service to the American Society for Legal History.” Prof. Joyce becomes one of only six legal historians to have an award named by the Society in their honor.


Jessica Mantel spoke at the Seton Hall Law Review’s symposium Implementing the Affordable Care Act: What Role for Accountable Care Organizations? on Oct. 28. Her presentation “Accountable Care Organizations: Can We Have Our Cake and Eat It Too?” evaluated whether ACOs can both raise the quality of health care and achieve cost-savings.


Rick McElvaney’s co-authored publication, The 2011-2012 O’Connor’s Property Code Plus, was recently released This is the 7th year it has been published.


Douglas Moll spoke on Oct. 14 at the Texas Bar’s Advanced Business Law CLE program in Dallas. His topic was “Minority Equity Owner Oppression.” Prof. Moll has also accepted an invitation to speak on emerging litigation issues in closely held companies at the Texas Center for the Judiciary 2012 Regional conference in San Antonio. The conference will be attended by state and federal judges from all over Texas. In recent months, Prof. Moll’s scholarship has also been cited by a number of cases, including Guerra v. Guerra, 2011 WL 3715051 (Tex. App. – San Antonio, Aug. 24, 2011); Allen v. Devon Energy Holdings, LLC, 2011 WL 3208234 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] July 28, 2011); and Ritchie v. Rupe, 339 S.W.3d 279 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011).


Tom Oldham will participate in the drafting committee meeting for revisions to the new Uniform Marital Agreement Act on Nov. 11-12 in Nashville.


Michael A. Olivas contributed to the National Law Journal online forum on legal education, which ran for ten days in November. Prof. Olivas spoke in DC at the Consortium of Social Science Associations’ (COSSA) 30th Anniversary Colloquium on the subject of legal issues concerning international higher education. He spoke at the Brewer Institute at NYU Law School, on the same subject. Prof. Olivas also served as an external promotion and tenure reviewer for five universities this semester.


Jordan Paust was the Moderator during the 16th Annual Frankel Lecture on “Codes of Conduct for a Twilight War”, on Nov. 4. On Nov. 7, he was a panelist addressing the legal and philosophical debates surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden at the University of Colorado at Denver.


Jessica L. Roberts presented a talk called "DNA Ancestry Tests & the Law: Potential Use of Genetic Genealogy in Immigration Claims" at Family Tree DNA's Seventh Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference in Houston on Nov. 6. Prof. Roberts also presented her work-in-progress "Health-Care Reform and Disability Rights" at the Connecticut Law Review's symposium, Healthcare Reform in the United States: Legal Implications and Policy Considerations, on Nov. 11.


Robert Schuwerk submitted the update to his (1500+ page) portion of his co-authored treatise on Texas lawyer and judicial ethics to Thomson Reuters. Publication is slated for early next year. He reports that if each member of the faculty buys 100 copies and gets 100 friends to do the same, he would be extremely grateful.


Sandra Guerra Thompson and two of her former students were honored by Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis and the UHLC Criminal Justice Institute at a book-signing reception in the State Capitol on Oct. 27. Prof. Thompson and the two students co-edited a compilation of student essays on wrongful convictions. The book, American Justice in the Age of Innocence, examines the most common causes of wrongful convictions as well as model remedies. It was written by UH Law Center students as a project of Thompson’s criminal law seminar.


Greg Vetter presented the topic of Software Intellectual Property Protection on Oct. 30 as a 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.


Jacqueline Weaver presented two lectures at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Short Course on Oil and Gas Law in Denver on Oct 17. The two lectures covered the nature of Property Rights in an Oil and Gas Lease.


Bret Wells presented his published paper entitled “Economic Substance: How Codification Changes Decided Cases”, 10 Florida Tax Review 411 (2010), to the Houston Tax Roundtable on Nov 9. Prof. Wells’ previously published article entitled “New Schedule UTP: Uncertain Tax Positions in the Age of Transparency”, 63 Baylor Law Review 392 (2011), was republished this month at 44 Texas Journal of Business Law 61 (2011).


Tasha Willis has been elected to the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association board of directors. The first statewide, voluntary, multi-disciplinary credentialing program in the country, the TMCA offers voluntary credentialing to all qualified mediators in Texas. Prof. Willis will replace Kay Elkins-Elliot as the board’s educational representative.


Stephen Zamora was a keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Mexican Association of Conflicts of Law (Asociación Mexicana de Derecho Internacional Privado), which was held on Oct. 28 at the Universidad de las Américas in Cholula, Mexico. His address dealt with NAFTA’s institutional shortcomings, and the consequential need to manage North American integration through informal institutional networks, both governmental and non-governmental.