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

November 2012


Editor, Katy Stein kastein@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Richard Alderman recently returned from South Korea where he gave a keynote presentation as part of a Conference entitled, “Legal Clinics: Status quo and prospects in the Far East and the United States,” held at Chungbuk National University. His paper is to be published in the Chungbuk Law Review. While in Korea, he gave a talk on American clinical education at Inha University Law School, and discussed American consumer law with faculty and students at Chungbuk. He gave the keynote address at the University of Wyoming’s 12th annual consumer issues conference, “Consumer Financial Protection: Who’s in Charge?” He also spoke at the University of Houston Hotel Management Conference on travel risk management, and discussed common consumer scams and problems with the Consumer Law Section of the Houston Bar Association, and consumer rights to more than 150 seniors at the Glazer Senior Education Center, and 150 paralegals at the Houston Association of Paralegal’s luncheon. Finally, he presented a discussion of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act for the State Bar's webcast, "Handling Your First Consumer Case."

Janet Beck gave a presentation at the criminal courthouse on Oct. 23 to court-appointed misdemeanor attorneys. The presentation was sponsored by the Harris County Public Defender's office in response to a request from judges to have mandatory immigration training for these attorneys.  Professor Beck also participated in the Fort Bend Independent School District Gifted and Talented Mentorship Professional Panel on October 31, 2012.  The panel members spoke with 12 G&T students from different high schools in Fort Bend County and shared their perspectives on career choices, skills employers are seeking and advice regarding success in life. In addition, Professor Beck has published an article in the November issue of the Texas Bar Journal.  The article is entitled: Human Trafficking and the T visa Process. Professor Beck also gave a presentation on the requirements and process of lawful permanent residents/green card holders becoming U.S. citizens at Iglesia Bautista in Houston, as part of a 2-day immigration conference. Professor Beck presented on the topic of “Naturalization” at the University of Texas 36th Annual Immigration and Nationality Law Conference in Austin on November 8.

Aaron Bruhl presented a paper this month at Northwestern University Law School in connection with its Law and Political Economy Colloquium.  Professor Bruhl has prepared a short article on Supreme Court procedure for publication in the National Bar Association’s Appellate Section newsletter.

Darren Bush was the lunchtime speaker in October at the National Association of Attorneys General Antitrust Litigation Training in Phoenix, Arizona.  On November 2nd, along with Professor Turner, he published an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle proposing the elimination of the Electoral College.   http://www.chron.com/default/article/To-make-all-votes-count-drop-the-Electoral-4004557.php. On September 28th, he presented his paper, Out of the DOJ Ashes Arises the FTC Phoenix: The Case for Singular Federal Antitrust Enforcement at South Texas College of Law.   He also debated Robert Bradley in a Federalist Society presentation regarding Enron on September 12th.   On November 16th, he presented his paper, Jukin’ The Stats: Gaming Law School Rankings and How to Stop It (coauthored with Jessica Peterson) at the University of Connecticut for U Conn’s Law Review Symposium on Legal Education Reform.  The article will be published in the U. Conn. Law Review

Seth Chandler will be traveling to Dubai in December to give an invited talk at #ReInventLaw Dubai 2012.  He will be speaking on using machine learning to model United States Supreme Court justice decisions. Also, in October, Professor Chandler published seven entries to the blog Texas Windstorm, available at http://catrisk.net.  These included two pure "math" posts about reparameterizations of distributions frequently used in actuarial science, three posts showing the mathematical foundations for work needed to assess regulation of catastrophe insurers, and two on newspaper articles involving regulation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.  All make great reading.

Richard Dole presented a draft article at a Trade Secret Workshop held on November 15 and 16, 2012 at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

David R. Dow was one of 16 speakers at the 4th annual UP Experience, held in Houston on October 25th.  http://theupexperience.net/.  His talk was titled “What is the Value of Killing Someone?”  His essay analyzing the defeat of Proposition 34 in California, which would have replaced the death penalty with life-without-parole, was published in The Daily Beast on November 9.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/09/death-penalty-survives-in-california-but-three-strikes-law-cut-back.html. He has signed a contract to have his most recent book, The Autobiography of an Execution, published in China; and he has signed a contract with Twelve Books to publish his next book, Things I’ve Learned from Dying, in January 2014.

Melissa Hamilton gave a presentation on “Being an Ethical Expert Witness” at the annual conference held by the Collin County Family Violence Coalition in the Dallas area. Professor Hamilton also gave a presentation in San Antonio on “The Myths of Child Sexual Exploitation Offenders” at the annual conference of the Western and Southern Districts of Texas of the Federal Defenders’ Offices. Professor Hamilton’s articles were cited in the last month in opinions by the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court of Washington.

Jim Hawkins served as the moderator for the Houston Law Review’s Frankel Lecture.  The topic for the event was: “Is Bankruptcy the Answer for Troubled Cities and States?” 

Tracy Hester spoke on environmental legal issues raised by future energy demands and trends as part of a panel presentation at the UH Energy Futures Day on November 9.  He also introduced and moderated the Fall EENR Speaker presentation by Jack Balagia, ExxonMobil’s general counsel, on October 30.

Geoffrey Hoffman has been asked by the NYU Press to do a peer review of a colleague’s work relating to a proposed project involving an immigration-related topic.

Craig Joyce attended the American Society for Legal History’s Annual Meeting in St. Louis, where he reported to the Society’s Board as chair of two committees: Annual Meetings and History of the Society.  He also attended IPIL’s Annual Institute on Intellectual Property in Galveston, presenting on recent developments in copyright law and concluding the proceeds with a tribute to Prof. Paul M. Janicke’s first 20 years at the Law Center.  In addition, Joyce published an historical essay titled Driven: The First Decade of Houston Law Review to inaugurate the celebration of HLR’s 50th Anniversary in Volume 50, Issue 1.  Four more essays will follow in the course of the coming year.

Sapna Kumar has been admitted into the Houston Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. She will be presenting her article Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Genetic Information at the AALS Administrative Law Section's New Voices In Administrative Law program.

Rick McElvaney is a contributor to the TexasBarBooks' recently published Party Talk. Professor McElvaney also spoke in Austin, Texas on November 14th at the State Bar of Texas CLE program “Handling your First Consumer Case.” His presentation was on “Handling Your First  Landlord and Tenant Case.”

Douglas Moll spoke at the 10th Annual Advanced Business Law course in Houston on November 1.  His topic was “Oppression of Minority Shareholders.”  He has also been asked to write an amicus brief in a shareholder oppression dispute that is currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

Tom Oldham’s chapter entitled Premarital Agreements in the United States in The International Survey of Family Law-2012 Edition, was published.

Michael A. Olivas turned in to his publishers the copyedited final edition of his forthcoming book, Suing Alma Mater: Higher Education and the Courts (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) and his forthcoming edited book, In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Rise of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals (Arte Publico Press, 2013). He also delivered “Ask Not For Whom the Law School Bell Tolls: Professor Tamanaha, Failing Law Schools, and (Mis) Diagnosing the Problem” at the Washington University-St Louis Law School. Professor Olivas also was a signatory to an Authors’ amicus brief in Authors Guild v. Google, an appeal to the Second Circuit: he was among the “academic authors who oppose the plaintiffs’ legal position in this case on the merits and who want the Google Books project to continue to provide public access to snippets from our books and from those of other academic authors because this promotes the progress of science in keeping with the constitutional purpose of copyright law. Amici include numerous academic authors who believe ourselves to be members of the class that was certified below. We write to urge this Court to reverse the lower court’s ruling certifying the class because of the irreconcilable conflict that exists between the interests of the three individual plaintiffs who claim to represent all authors of books scanned as part of the Google Library Project and the actual interests of academic authors on whose behalf they claim to speak and whose works, we believe, make up a majority of the works at issue in this case.”

Jordan Paust participated as a panelist during the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association in New York City Oct. 27th.  His topic was Use of Armed Force in Syria and Libya. Professor Paust has also written an essay on Use of Military Force in Syria by Turkey, NATO, and the United States that was accepted within a few days at the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law for publication in January. On November 12th Professor Paust was a panelist during a conference on the International Criminal Court at Ten at the Washington University School of Law Saint Louis.  His conference paper, The U.S. and the I.C.C.: No More Excuses, will be published later in the school’s Washington University Global Studies Law Review symposium issue.

Susan Sakmar chaired a session at the Berkeley (BERC) Energy Symposium, Shale Gas and Renewables: Friends, Enemies or Frienemies?, on October 19, 2012, at the University of  Berkeley, Berkeley, CA., http://berc.berkeley.edu/symposium/. Professor Sakmar also developed and presented the CLE program, A World of Opportunity:  Will Shale Go Global?, for the law firm of  Dufford & Brown. The CLE program was presented to a group of approximately 50 lawyers and professionals on October 25, 2012 in Denver, CO.

Ira B. Shepard is making “Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation” presentations to the following groups this Summer and Fall: Oregon Tax Institute (Portland); Denver Tax Institute; Southern Federal Tax Institute (Atlanta); Hampton Roads Tax Forum (Norfolk); Idaho State Tax Institute (Pocatello); Tennessee Tax Institute (Nashville); University of Texas Tax Conference (Austin); Austin Tax Study Group; Houston Tax Roundtable; Oklahoma Tax Institute (Oklahoma City); Wednesday Tax Forum (Houston); and tax groups of various law and CPA firms. He prefers to drive to his out-of-town presentations until he is successful in getting rid of his obligation to take his shoes off when going through airport security.

Spencer Simons has agreed to serve as Chair of the AALS Committee on Libraries and Technology for 2013.

Sandra Guerra Thompson published two articles in October: Daubert Gatekeeping for Eyewitness Identifications, 65 SMU L. Rev. 3 (2012) and Judicial Gatekeeping of Police-Generated Witness Testimony, 102 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 329 (2012).  As part of her work on the Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science LGC (formerly the HPD Crime Lab), she toured the FBI Crime Lab in Quantico, Virginia, on October 15th.  She was inducted as a “Mustang Legend” by her alma mater, J.W. Nixon High School, in Laredo, Texas on November 13th.  On October 9th, she was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on the Tom Delay trial.  On November 1st and 2nd, she gave radio interviews with KUHF regarding the use of sharpshooters from helicopters by Texas DPS which resulting in the killing of two people.  She has also been appointed as a member of the faculty working group for the proposed UH Hobby School of Public Policy. 

Greg Vetter presented the topic of Software Intellectual Property on November 1st 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.  Professor Vetter also hosted the Honorable Jimmie V. Reyna, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in his visit to Houston on October 15, 2012, to present the 19th Annual IPIL Fall Lecture, sponsored by the Ronald A. Katz Foundation.

Jacqueline Weaver gave two presentations at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute's Annual Short Course in Oil and Gas Law on October 22, covering "Rule of Capture, Ownership and Correlative Rights" and "The Oil and Gas Lease: Function and Classification."  This short course provides a week-long overview of oil and gas law and is attended by over 400 lawyers.