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

March 2012

Editor, Dan Baker

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Richard Alderman was appointed a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal on Consumer Law and Practice, a publication of the National Law School of India University. He spoke at a Loyola Law School Conference on  The Continuing Effects of the Mortgage Crisis on Consumers. As part of the Conference, he submitted an article to the Loyola Journal of Consumer Law entitled,  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Meets Arbitration: Non-parties and Arbitration. Dean Alderman also spoke to the Mt. Carmel School, Lone Star College, and the Shriners, and served as MC for the Houston Interfaith Charities 25th Anniversary Gala.


Erma Bonadero attended  Externships 6, Preparing Lawyers:  the Role of Field Placement -- a conference held earlier this month in Boston, MA. The four-day event focused on issues in clinical legal education, with special emphasis on placing students in the most beneficial field externships possible. It covered teaching models for field placement, international programs, the clinician s work with students and supervisors, the impact of field placement programs on career opportunities, and more. The conference, co-sponsored by  Harvard Law School and Northeastern School of Law, featured over 200 attendees from both the U.S. and abroad. Prof. Bonadero also attended the  Morning STAR Breakfast held on Feb. 28 --  an event sponsored by the Harris County Drug Court Foundation. Established in 2003 and granted tax exempt status in 2006, the Foundation s mission is to provide financial support to the Harris County STAR (Success Through Addiction Recovery) felony drug court program and to raise community awareness about the life-saving, fiscally responsible activities of the STAR Program. The event featured a keynote address by Texas Sen. John Whitmire, as well as testimonials from several of the program s graduates who have gone on to lead productive, sober lives since successful completion of the program. The STAR Drug Court s dockets occur at 3:00 p.m. each Monday through Thursday on the 14th floor of the Criminal Courthouse in downtown Houston. Each fall and spring semester, Prof. Bonadero brings her internship/externship students on a  field trip to the Court to observe these dockets and learn about the existence and value of these types of alternative, problem-solving courts. The students usually find the experience both interesting and inspiring, and the visits are well-received by the judges, the court staff, and the program s clients.


Aaron Bruhl s latest article,  Elected Judges and Statutory Interpretation, was accepted for publication in the University of Chicago Law Review. The article is co-authored with Ethan Leib of Fordham Law School.


Seth Chandler has been invited to give a keynote address at the Genetic Programming, Theory and Practice Workshop at the University of Michigan in May, 2012. His talk is provisionally titled, "Evolving Binary Decision Trees That Sound Like Law."


David R. Dow has been elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He gave two lectures to the Florida Bar Association on Mar. 16 in Orlando. One was titled "Do Batson Claims Have Any Teeth in the Eleventh Circuit?", and the other was called "The Variety of Race-Based Claims in Capital Litigation."


Barbara Evans spoke about data access for 21st-century biomedical discovery on Feb. 23 at the New York University School of Law s Colloquium on Innovation Policy. In February, her article  Much Ado about Data Ownership appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, and her article  A Policy Framework for Public Health Uses of Electronic Health Data (with co-authors Deven McGraw and Kristin Rosati) appeared in Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety. Her article  The Ethics of Postmarketing Observational Studies of Drug Safety Under Section 505(o)(3) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act will be published in the American Journal of Law & Medicine.


Jim Hawkins will present his article "The CARD Act on Campus" at a faculty workshop at the University of South Carolina School of Law on Mar. 22.


Tracy Hester s article  A New Front Blowing In: State Law and the Future of Climate Change Nuisance Litigation was published in the Spring 2012 issue of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal. On Feb. 22-23, he co-chaired the second annual Energy & Environmental Law Institute sponsored by UHLC and the Practicing Law Institute. Prof. Hester also moderated a symposium on  Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Law:  What s the Current Climate? on Jan. 26 as part of the Andrews Kurth National Moot Court Competition hosted by the Blakely Advocacy Institute. And on Jan. 19, he moderated a mock U.S. Supreme Court argument hosted by the EENR Center which featured a bench consisting of the Honorable Ken Starr, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips, and Environmental Law Institute President John Cruden.


Geoffrey Hoffman attended the Community Based Organizations (CBO) meeting at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Houston in February. Represented at the meeting were various pro bono legal aid organizations, such as Catholic Charities and YMCA, as well as immigration officials. Prof. Hoffman raised issues affecting immigrants in Houston. The government addressed continuing issues such as humanitarian parole, court procedures, and problem cases.


Craig Joyce organized and hosted a three-day series of events culminating in the Ninth Annual Baker Botts Lecture, featuring principal remarks by R. Anthony Reese, Chancellor s Professor of Law at the University of California-Irvine, on  What Does Copyright Law Owe the Future? .


Sapna Kumar has accepted an offer to publish her article  The Accidental Agency? in the Florida Law Review.


Douglas Moll has begun planning the section meeting for the AALS Agency and Unincorporated Business Associations section. Prof. Moll became the chair of the section this year. The topic will be  The Scholarship of Professor Larry Ribstein. Prof. Moll has also been asked by West Publishing to take over as editor on Corporations and Other Business Associations: Statutes, Rules, and Forms.


Michael A. Olivas delivered the keynote lecture for the law review symposium on immigration at St Mary s Law School, San Antonio. He also served as a respondent for a panel on early Texas lawyers at the Texas State Historical Society annual conference. In addition, Prof. Olivas and UHLC adjunct Yocel Alonso conducted a two-hour CLE on the  Law and Business of Rock and Roll, at the Armadillo Palace, for 100 UHLC alumni and local entertainment lawyers. He raised serious concerns about the 2011 election of ABBA to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Mar. 8, Prof. Olivas lectured at Harvard Law School on immigration reform issues, and the next day, spoke in Providence, RI to a legislative study group about in-state tuition litigation and legislation.


Jordan Paust gave a keynote address Feb. 17 at Cornell during the Journal of International Law s symposium on  Forces Without Borders: Non-State Actors in a Changing Middle East. His paper on  International Law, Dignity, Democracy, and the Arab Spring will be published in vol. 46 of the Journal and the draft is available at Prof. Paust presented a paper on  The Bush-Cheney Legacy: Serial Torture and Forced Disappearance in Manifest Violation of Global Human Rights Law on Feb. 24 at Barry University School of Law, which will be published later in vol. 18 of the Barry Law Review. His Jurist Op-Ed on  Supreme Court Precedent and Corporate Liability for Torture is online at


Jessica L. Roberts presented her paper "Health Law as Disability Rights Law" to the faculties of the Cumberland School of Law and the Loyola Law School (New Orleans) on Feb. 10 and Mar. 8, respectively.


Ira B. Shepard spoke on  Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation at the American Bar Association Tax Section Mid-winter Meeting in San Diego (held at the  under new management Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel) in February, as well as to an ABA teleconference on the same topic later that month. He will speak to the Houston Bar Association Tax Section in March, and to the Houston IRS CPA Society and the University of North Carolina Tax Institute in April. In July, Prof. Shepard will speak at the Denver Tax Institute for the 33rd consecutive year. He has been speaking to the tax departments of various Houston law and CPA firms, but was not invited to speak at a couple of tax programs in Houston because their sponsors mistakenly thought his retirement from classroom teaching also meant his retirement from CLE speaking. This has been balanced by his being invited to speak at the Oregon Tax Institute and the Idaho State Tax Institute, each for the first time, later this year. Prof. Shepard continues his monthly talks to the (Houston) Wednesday Tax Institute, for which he will celebrate his 30th anniversary this December.


Greg Vetter co-presented to the Intellectual Property Student Organization on February 29 on the topic of patent law as it impacts biomedical research.  His co presenter was Professor Jessica Roberts.


Jacqueline Weaver completed the 2012 updates to 8 chapters in the treatise: Smith & Weaver, Texas Law of Oil and Gas. The clash between the  Drill, Baby, Drill advocates and the  protect private property rights proponents (over condemnation of land for pipelines carrying the large quantities of new oil and gas production from the shale plays in Texas) played out many times in both case law and the 2011 legislative session.


Bret Wells spoke on a webinar for Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE entitled  The Obama Administration and Transfer Pricing Evolutions: Part Three on Feb. 15 and 16. This webinar was the final in a three-part series of webinars on international tax reform, and this third webinar specifically addressed the planning considerations for taxpayers in the current environment. On Feb. 28, Prof. Wells and Craig Bergez (an adjunct professor with the Law Center) co-presented their paper entitled  Disposable Personal Goodwill, Frosty the Snowman, and Martin Ice Cream All Melt Away in the Bright Sunlight of Analysis to the Wednesday Tax Forum. This paper will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Nebraska Law Review.