Albertus Accolades

October 2018

Editor, Robert N. Clark, 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 held the first of two Discussions with the Dean on October 2. His updates included recognition for positive enrollment statistics, having the highest median LSAT scores since 2013 and highest median UGPA in 32 years of recorded history, the impact of networking with alumni, and awards for greater equality and diversity by two national organizations, INSIGHT into Diversity magazine and the Council on Legal Education Opportunities (CLEO). He also stressed the importance of a new facility which would likely bolster the Law Center’s standing in national rankings and enhance its strong reputation. The discussion ended with a Q&A session with students. Later that day, the Law Center hosted a reception for the judges of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and invited Law Center faculty and students to a meet-and-greet at the Sam Houston Hotel. Dean Baynes delivered welcoming remarks and greeted more than 75 attorneys, judges, faculty, students and alumni. On October 11, Dean Baynes attended a reception for D.C.-area alumni and friends hosted by Richard Craig Smith (’00) at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, the dean stated that the Law Center has much to be proud of this year as he announced the establishment of the D.C. area alumni chapter. The 2018 Scholarship Appreciation Dinner was held October 16 at the River Oaks Country Club. Dean Baynes gave welcoming remarks to over 100 UH Law Center scholarship recipients and donors who gathered for an evening of cheers, recognition, and networking. Dean Baynes and the UH Law Center hosted The Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor Yale Professor Abbe Gluck on October 25-26. Dean Baynes delivered welcoming remarks to alumni, faculty, students, and community organizers who attended the public lecture titled, “Legal Perspectives on the Opioid Crisis: Law in the Courts, the Statehouses, and the Medical Clinics.” The event was co-sponsored by the Health Law Policy Institute. On October 26, Dean Baynes and the UH Law Center partnered with the Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League and brought together law enforcement, criminal justice experts, community leaders, and civil rights advocates for “A Conversation on Policing and Community Relations.” Dean Baynes gave introductory remarks and moderated a panel session.

Seth Chandler has signed a book contract with Wolfram Media to write a book on modern data analysis with applications for law. He gave two talks this month at the Wolfram Technical Conference in Champaign, Illinois: the first was entitled “Exploring a Giant Legal Citation Network” and involved an analysis of four million American legal opinions and the forty million links between them. His second was a workshop previewing his book on data analysis. He also gave two talks to student groups: he spoke to the American Constitution Society on use of network theory to analyze citation networks with an emphasis on what one could show about changes in American law. And he gave a talk to the Intellectual Property Student Organization entitled “What the heck is a neural network anyway,” whose subject should be self-explanatory.

Barbara Evans participated in Yale Law School’s November 2 symposium on “The Law and Policy of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics,” co-hosted by the Solomon Center on Health Law & Policy and Yale’s Information Society Project. On October 24, Evans addressed the New York Academy of Sciences on the topic of data ownership. On October 8, Evans and neurosurgeon Erika Petersen participated in a panel on “New Paradigms in Neuromodulation with Downloadable Data” for the Annual Meeting of the Congress of Neurosurgeons. On September 12, Evans addressed a Workshop at the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) on “Defining the NHLBI’s research priorities in the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genomics.” Her article (with Susan M. Wolf of the University of Minnesota) on “Return of Results to Research Participants” appeared in the October 12 issue of Science. On October 30, Evans was appointed to a new federal advisory committee, the NHLBI Advisory Council Working Group on Emerging Issues in Data Sharing (EIDS). Her article (with Dr. Harlan Krumholz of Yale Medical School) on “People-powered Data Collaboratives: Fueling Data Science with the Health-related Experiences of Individuals” was accepted on October 31 by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Professor Evans’ chapter on the meaning of individual autonomy in big data environments appears in the book Big Data, Health Law, and Bioethics, which Cambridge University Press released on September 12.

Victor Flatt will speak at the Blank Rome annual Energy conference in Pittsburgh on November 1, where he will speak about tariffs and impacts on the U.S. Energy sector. Professor Flatt is a co-organizer of the first Power Shift meeting in Texas to examine electricity regulation. The event will occur on December 14 in Fort Worth at Texas A&M University School of Law. Professor Flatt will be speaking about lessons in renewable energy integration in the Texas ERCOT market. He has been asked to speak on a panel at the End of Environmental Law conference at the University of Arizona School of Law in January. He has agreed to be a Senior Scholar and reviewer for Columbia Law School’s 7th Annual Sabin Colloquium on new scholarship in May 2019.

Janet Heppard was the guest on the Law Center’s Briefcase radio program on October 17 where she spoke with Dean Baynes about Transfer on Death Deeds. Professor Heppard also gave a short workshop on guardianships to parents of children who attend the Lane School in the Aldine Independent School District whose mission is based on the premise that all students can learn and progress in spite of disabilities. In the middle of October, Professor Heppard, Professor Tasha Willis, and Ann Webb, an attorney and Doctoral candidate from the UH Graduate School of Social Work, presented at the Southern Clinical Law Conference at the University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia, South Carolina. The title of their presentation was “Communication, Stereotypes, and Alliances: Overcoming the Divisions that Affect the Client’s Story.” During October, Professor Heppard also had the opportunity to teach local Girl Scout leaders of girls in sixth through twelfth grade how to plan and take their Girl Scouts on an extended troop trip and to teach Girl Scouts in second grade through high school how to shoot archery. At the end of the month, Professors Heppard and Diane McManus along with the Civil Practice Clinic students collaborated with Lone Star Legal Aid to assist local community members by drafting their wills and other estate planning documents and then participating in a workshop to get their documents executed.

Tracy Hester and co-author Professor Joel Mintz submitted the final manuscript for their upcoming book Mastering Environmental Law to Carolina Academic Press on October 12. Professor Hester attended the American College of Environmental Lawyers annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to chair its Law Professors workgroup meeting on October 6. On Oct. 11, he joined EPA’s National Advisory Committee on NAFTA issues in Tucson, Arizona, where EPA re-appointed him for a two-year term in light of the new U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement. He also attended the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources’ fall meeting in San Diego, California on October 18-20, where he spoke about the environmental criminal implications of natural disasters in light of the Arkema indictment. While there, he presided over SEER’s inaugural law professor’s workshop on October 20, and then attended the SEER Council meeting as the new co-chair of SEER’s Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystem Services Committee. On October 25, he participated in the Joint Public Advisory Committee’s workshop on post-NAFTA outreach in Guadalajara, where he spoke on its environmental enforcement panel. And for faculty and students interested in wildlife protection, he met on October 2 and 29 with wildlife biologists to set up environmental pro bono services for nonprofit entities protecting endangered lemurs in Madagascar and jaguars threatened by organized criminal poaching in Suriname.

Geoffrey Hoffman appeared on Houston Public Media’s Red, White, and Blue to discuss the nation’s evolving immigration policies and the significance of state and federal litigation around immigration cases. Video is available here. Professor Hoffman is currently in the top ten percent of authors on SSRN by total new downloads within the last 12 months. He attended the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC) executive committee meeting representing UHLC. He spoke to a producer about a pilot for a new TV show relating to an immigration clinic that handles federal court cases. Professor Hoffman was quoted in articles from Law360 and the Associated Press regarding President Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship. He also appeared on KPRC-TV to discuss this issue. Video is available here. A press release announced that Professor Hoffman is a member of the board of editors of the new AILA Law Journal. He was quoted in Time magazine discussing President Trump’s proposed restrictions on asylum seekers.

Renee Knake testified in Washington, D.C., on October 30 about reforms to the Code of Conduct for the federal judiciary related to sexual harassment and other inappropriate workplace behavior. She also contributed to a Lunch and Learn Lunch Talk on the Kavanaugh Hearings held the same day at the Law Center. She signed a contract with West Academic to publish a casebook titled Gender, Power, Law and Leadership, based upon a seminar of the same name that she is currently teaching.

Sapna Kumar presented research on the growing specialization of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at the Iowa Law Review's symposium "Administering Patent Law."

David Kwok presented his paper, “The Deceptive Harm of Corporate Fraud,” at the Chicagoland Junior Scholars Conference held at Loyola Law School on October 5.

Ryan Marquez presented on disaster related consumer issues at the People’s Law School on October 6. He also presented on small claims court procedures Dress for Success on October 13. He utilized disaster consumer issues as examples to explain the small claims process.

Thomas Oldham’s article (with Bruce Smyth) entitled “Child Support Compliance in the USA and Australia: To Persuade or Punish?” has been accepted for publication in volume 52, issue 2 of the Family Law Quarterly.

Michael A. Olivas gave a keynote address at University of Southern California’s Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice, entitled “Perchance to DREAM: A Legal and Political History of The DREAM Act and DACA.” He attended a Wortham House lunch event with UHS Chancellor Renu Khator and other guests, for his role (with Professor Augustina Reyes) in co-chairing and contributing to the UH Faculty/Staff Challenge effort in the $1 Billion UHS Campaign. Professor Olivas wrote the Foreword (“The Decade of Higher Education and the Summer of Love”) to John R. Thelin’s Going to College in the Sixties (Johns Hopkins University, 2018), at ix-xii.

Teddy Rave spoke on a panel on “Jurisdiction and Choice of Law in Multidistrict Litigation” at NYU School of Law on October 12, at a conference on “MDL@50” sponsored by the NYU Center on Civil Justice and Yale Law School Liman and Solomon Centers. And on October 30, he spoke on the Lunch and Learn Panel Discussion on the Kavanaugh Hearings sponsored by the UHLC Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Robert Schuwerk and his co-author, Lillian B. Hardwick, a UHLC alumna, have submitted their updates and corrections to their co-authored, three-volume Handbook of Texas Lawyer and Judicial Ethics to their publisher, Thomson Reuters. The fruits of their labor will appear in the 2019 edition of that work, scheduled for release next spring. It was first published in 2002 and has been updated annually since then.

Lauren Simpson, Sarah Morath, and Jessica Mantel’s proposal has been accepted for the Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop at the University of Illinois College of Law, to be held on December 1. Their presentation, entitled “The Road Less Traveled: the Policy Memo Exercise,” explains how faculty at the University of Houston Law Center collaborated to create and teach the writing of an effective policy memo to a policy-making official. Professor Simpson also continues her community service in support of pollinator conservation and urban wildscaping. She has recently been appointed to the committee creating the Level 4 class of the Native Landscaping Certification Program, a program of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

Irene Ten Cate presented her work-in-progress “The Performance Enhancement Paradox” at the Central States Law School Association’s Annual Conference at Texas A&M University School of Law. She was also featured in the October 2018 edition of LWI Lives, a regular electronic publication of the Legal Writing Institute that profiles legal writing professors.

Greg Vetter represented the Law Center at the reception welcoming the new LL.M. class at an event held on September 7. He represented the Law Center at the Houston Bar Association’s lunch meeting of local bar leaders on September 25. He presided as vice-chair at the 34th Annual Institute on Intellectual Property Law, held by IPIL and the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association (HIPLA) on September 27-29 in Galveston, Texas. He presented at the South Texas College of Law Houston on October 1, discussing the Law Center’s LL.M. program in intellectual property and information law. He attended the Dean’s presentations to the student body to give an update on the Law Center on October 2 and 8. He represented the Law Center by attending its alumni reception in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 11, in conjunction with travel to D.C. to participate in the AALS Faculty Recruiting Conference in his capacity as Associate Dean. He also attended the Law Center’s scholarship dinner on October 11 and attended the reception on October 16 honoring the Order of the Coif speaker. He participated in the Intellectual Property Student Organization (IPSO) speed mentoring event on October 29 as a student mentor. Finally, he participated in a planning meeting at the UH School of Optometry with UH Medical School administrators and representatives of Humana during the afternoon of October 30.

Bret Wells joined nineteen other tax professors in filing an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit case of Altera v. Commissioner, No. 16-70496. Professor Wells made a presentation on the “Risk of Hydraulic Fracturing in Close Proximity to Improperly Abandoned Wells” at the 2018 Global Land & Resources Colloquium hosted by the University of Oklahoma College of Law on October 12. The symposium materials included a working draft of an article co-authored by Professors Wells and Tracy Hester entitled “Abandoned But Not Forgotten, Improperly Plugged and Orphaned Wells May Pose Serious Concerns for Shale Development,” 8 Mich. J. Env. & Admin. L.___ (forthcoming 2019). Professor Wells and Professor Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan) published an article entitled “The BEAT and Treaty Overrides: A Brief Response to Rosenbloom and Shaheen,” 92 Tax Notes Int’l 383 (Oct. 22, 2018).

Kellen Zale has been accepted as a speaker at the International Academic Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights annual interdisciplinary conference on "Preparing for Climate Change in the Planned and Unplanned City," to be held in February 2019 at Texas A&M University.