Albertus Accolades

July 2017

Editor, Katy Stein Badeaux, Reference/Research Librarian

Access previous editions of Albertus Accolades here.

Albertus Accolades is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center faculty and staff.

Leonard Baynes, on June 7, presented an overview of the Law Center’s strategic plan at the UH Law Foundation meeting. Dean Baynes joined other Law Center faculty who attended a celebration of life and memorial service at First Presbyterian Church in Houston in honor of Professor Raymond Britton on June 10. Dean Baynes gave an update on the Law Center at an alumni networking luncheon on June 15 hosted by David Fiveson (’78) at Tommy Bahama Restaurant in New York City. Dean Baynes met with New York Court of Appeals Judge Jenny Rivera on June 21 to discuss her upcoming visit as a Sondock Jurist in Resident. On June 23, Dean Baynes attended the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX. He also hosted and delivered remarks at the UHLC reception held at the Hilton Anatole hotel. Dean Baynes gave welcoming remarks during the 35th Anniversary of Plyler v. Doe tribute. The event was hosted by the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance and MALDEF on June 27 and held in the Hendricks Heritage Room. Dean Baynes attended the 2017 ABA Dean’s Workshop in Washington, D.C. on June 29. The workshop offers sessions ranging from topics on the bar exam to implications for legal education to the future of law student loans. A highlight of this years’ workshop was a one-hour conversation with the Honorable Elena Kagan, Justice, U.S. Supreme Court. Dean Baynes traveled to Mexico City, Mexico July 11-16 to attend an advisory board meeting of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law and celebrate the Law Center’s 26th anniversary of its cooperation with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations. During the visit he met with Supreme Court Justice José Ramón Cossío, Mr. Carlos Sada, Under-secretary of State for North America, and other Mexican Foreign Ministers. Dean Baynes also provided an overview of the Law Center during a breakfast meeting with Deans of Mexican Law Schools and gave a lunchtime presentation to UHLC alumni and friends. Finally, Dean Baynes provided a Law Center update at the UH Law Alumni Board meeting held at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP on July 20. 

Janet Beck provided consultations and also supervised two Immigration Clinic law students and fifteen UHLC Pipeline students at an outreach event organized by BakerRipley, formerly known as Neighborhood Centers. Over 50 people were helped in determining their eligibility to naturalize/become U.S. citizens and to help them fill out the USCIS form. There were other volunteers- attorneys and community members—who also assisted. She also taught immigration law to the UHLC Pipeline Scholar students and she is supervising one of these students who is doing her 3-week internship in the UHLC Immigration Clinic.

Emily Berman participated in a Scholar’s Roundtable at the Levin Center at Wayne Law School in Detroit to discuss the development of a national research agenda surrounding issues of congressional oversight, and one of her in-progress papers was selected to be part of the annual Loyola Constitutional Colloquium in November. She also taught two class sessions on Presidential Power as part of UHLC’s Pipeline Program.  

Darren Bush finished his article, “The Abdication of Judicial Responsibility by the DC Circuit: The Death of the Tunney Act and Congressional Intent.” The article is part of a symposium at the Antitrust Bulletin.  He is also finishing an article with (Peter Carstensen) titled “Two solutions to the Problem of Monopoly Bottlenecks (Essential Facilities): Condominiumization or Cooperative Ownership.” He makes no apologies about the title. Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal invited him to speak (and write) for a symposium on “The Future of Legal Scholarship” next year. He will do that while also writing for another Antitrust Bulletin symposium, this one on the topic of social welfare. Dean Baynes interviewed him for a segment on Houston Public Media’s Briefcase regarding how large airline mergers are related to the bumping of airline passengers. Several newspapers quoted him, including the New York Times, on Amazon’s bid to buy Whole Foods. He continues to teach several Kung Fu classes during the summer, as well as the Summer Statutory Interpretation and Regulation Course.  

Victor B. Flatt was quoted in Bloomberg News and the Washington Post on the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. He was also featured in an article in the UH Energy Connections newsletter about his assuming the Faculty Directorship of EENR and future hopes for the program. In June, Professor Flatt was a signatory on two environmental law professor amicus briefs. One related to the legality of the Trump Executive order to revisit recent National Monument Designations while the other addressed the power of the BLM to regulate fracking on federal lands. On July 18, Professor Flatt was the featured speaker at the Greater Houston Partnership’s Energy Council discussing the impact of federal policy on the energy business, and on July 19, he spoke on federal policy related to carbon sequestration and storage at the Carbon Management and Technology Conference. Professor Flatt will be a plenary speaker at the Texas Annual Environmental Superconference on August 4 in Austin. He will be discussing ethical responsibilities of attorneys related to climate change. On September 21, Professor Flatt has been invited to speak and moderate the Houston Energy Symposium’s presentation on the Future of the Electric Power Grid.

Whitney Werich Heard completed the Adult Mental Health First Aid course through UH Wellness, which trained her to provide initial help to adults experiencing problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

Janet Heppard and Tasha Willis presented their paper: “More than a Stand-in: Surrogacy and the Complexity of Baby by Proxy” June 6 at the 7th World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights in Dublin, Ireland. Their presentation provided an overview of surrogacy in the United States and the benefits of using Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques to both prevent disputes and to settle disputes between the parties to these agreements. In addition, Professors Heppard and Willis presented a poster at the conference titled “Hague Convention – International Custody Mediations” which described the International Parental Child Abduction Law School Mediation Project work the UHLC Mediation Clinic is doing in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues.

Geoffrey Hoffman was quoted in an article available on the Daily Cougar’s website commenting on the Houston City Council’s 10-6 vote to join Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and other local municipalities in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas’ controversial new immigration law. Professor Geoffrey Hoffman wrote a post on the ImmigrationProf Blog regarding the disappearance of the EOIR Benchbook, as well as other resources, that have been scrubbed from official federal websites. The same op-ed, Scrubbing Away Transparency and our Immigration Resources, was also featured on the Yale Journal on Regulation’s website. In late June, Hoffman was quoted in a Law 360 article commenting on U.S Supreme Court rulings on immigration-related cases this past term. Bloomberg Quint also quoted Hoffman discussing Hawaii’s appellate strategy in its case over the recent travel ban. Professor Hoffman additionally authored a post, The Implicit and Explicit Rulings in the Trump v. IRAP Stay Decision, that was published both in the Lexis Nexis Legal Newsroom: Immigration, and also on the ImmigrationProf Blog. Professor Hoffman spoke on a panel about immigration cases issued in the current Supreme Court term at a CLE held at the Law Center on July 27. Professor Hoffman was invited to speak at the Government of Mexico’s Grupo Asesor sobre Derechos Civiles de las Personas Mexicanas en Texas meeting in San Antonio on July 14 and at the AILA conference in Portland, Oregon on September 15. He has also been invited to speak at a webinar hosted by the ABA Children's Immigration Law Academy on August 11. He will speak on the need for separate criminal counsel at certain immigration interviews and the fugitive disentitlement doctrine.

Renee Knake participated in the UCLA Law School Legal Ethics Schmooze July 20-22, an invitation only works-in-progress conference, where she presented Selling Lawyers, an empirical study of lawyer advertising co-authored with Professor Jim Hawkins.

David Kwok presented his  paper, "Regulating the Marginal Liar," as part of the AALS Criminal Justice Section Midyear meeting held at American University's Washington College of Law.

Peter Linzer gave his sixth annual July 4 talk on the Supreme Court's recent term before the Houston Great Books Chapter. Professor Linzer had the usual round of media interviews about the end-of-term SCOTUS opinions, as well as the Texas Supreme Court's decision about Houston giving benefits to same sex spouses.

Michael A. Olivas posted Within You Without You: Undocumented Lawyers, DACA, and Occupational Licensing (The Rucker Lecture, Valparaiso University) on SSRN, forthcoming in 52 Valparaiso Law Review. He also participated as a speaker in a CLE on Entertainment Law (Cutting Edge Copyright Issues), co-sponsored by IPIL, HIPLA, and the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of Texas, at UHLC, on July 17.

Members of the Houston Audubon Society’s Bird-Friendly Communities program recently interviewed Professor Lauren Simpson about her home’s wildlife-habitat gardens, which are a Certified Wildlife Habitat (National Wildlife Federation), a Monarch Waystation (Monarch Watch, Waystation No. 10925), and a Certified Butterfly Garden (North American Butterfly Association). That interview resulted in four videos on various topics, including the story of Professor Simpson’s gardens, tips for wildscaping in a residential neighborhood, maintaining a wildscape, and providing water features for wildlife. The page describing the gardens, with links to the videos of the interview, may be accessed here.

Sondra Tennessee was appointed as the chair of the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) Diversity Committee for 2017-2019. In this role, she will serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. She will spearhead initiatives targeting underrepresented groups in the legal profession, including not only racially diverse groups, but also LGBTQ. She also plans establish initiatives to build stronger relationships with community colleges as a source of future law school applicants. She presented at the LSAC Annual meeting in Palm Springs on the topic of counseling diverse law students after being admitted into the program. In addition, she served as the co-chair for the ABA Associate Deans Conference held in Chicago earlier this summer, where the conference theme was, “A Day in the Life of an Associate Dean.” Associate Dean Tennessee also received a one year appointment from ABA President-Elect Bass to serve on the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.

Jacqueline Weaver was officially appointed Professor Emeritus by the University of Houston System Board of Regents in May, 2017. Meanwhile, since “retiring,” she has published a book chapter on The Landmark Status of W. T. Waggoner Estate v. Sigler Oil Co., in Landmarks of a Century in Oil and Gas Law (State Bar of Texas, Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section 2017) and given the following talks or lectures while visiting abroad:  As Distinguished Visiting Fellow, at Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies, she participated in a one-week Energy Law course (presentations on the use of codes of conduct in regulating oil and gas operations and on U.S. decommissioning policies) from June 19 – 23.  She also spoke on “Trade, Trump, Adam Smith and the Oil Industry” at the UK  Energy Law & Policy Ass’n conference  on “Brexit and Energy” in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 30. As Visiting Fellow (Professorial Level) at the Centre for Mining, Energy & Natural Resources Law, University of Western Australia (UWA) she taught an intensive one-week course on “International Oil and Gas Law” and conducted research on comparative offshore oil and gas regulatory regimes in Perth, Australia from March 20–April 13. She also gave two public talks on “Offshore Safety in the Wake of the Macondo Disaster: Business as Usual or Sea Change?,” presented to the UWA Centre for Mining, Energy & Natural Resources Law and the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies; and “How Can the Petroleum Industry Improve Petroleum Regulation?,” presented at a meeting of the Association of Int’l Petroleum Negotiators–Australia-Pacific Region. In between Perth and London, she spoke on “Offshore Safety in the U. S. Today: Still a Work in Progress” at the University of the West Indies, 2d Oil and Gas Law Conference on “Exploring the Legal Framework on Oil and Gas Law: The Caribbean Perspective” in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on June 8. Finally, she presented  “Codes of Conduct and Good Oilfield Practices in Human Rights and the Environment” at the University of Houston Graduate Certificate in Global Energy, Development and Sustainability (GEDS) program for Albanian Ministry of Energy officials and Energy Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) representatives, in Houston on May 18.

Bret Wells lectured on Federal Income Taxation and Oil & Gas Law at the UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program on June 12. On June 21, Professor Wells participated in a panel entitled “Tax Reform: Perspectives from Across the Nation.” The event was hosted by Vinson & Elkins, and the webcast was broadcast by the American Bar Foundation  and reported on by Tax Analyst.