Albertus Accolades

September 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.

Richard Alderman submitted the 2018-19 supplement to his book The Lawyer's Guide to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The supplement augmented each of the ten chapters, and included more than 70 new cases.

Leonard Baynes presented an update on the Law Center, including progress on the new building campaign, at a breakfast reception for UH Law Center alumni judges attending the Texas Annual Judicial Education Conference on September 5. On September 7, Dean Baynes delivered welcoming remarks at the UH Athletic Alumni Center where over 35 Law Center faculty, staff, alumni and LL.M. students gathered for the annual LL.M. Welcome Reception. The Law Center hosted members of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals on September 22 at Krost Hall. Justices Brett Busby, Marc Brown (’87), and Kevin Jewell (’93) heard oral arguments on civil and criminal cases and then answered questions from students during a Q&A panel moderated by Dean Baynes. The proceedings were open to the public. Afterwards, the justices joined faculty, students, and staff for lunch in the Heritage Room where Dean Baynes made Justice Busby a member of the UHLC Alumni Association. On September 23, Dean Baynes and Professor Craig Joyce joined Law Center alumni, faculty, staff, and friends gathered at Minute Maid Park for the 33rd Annual “Here We Go Again” Party and a Houston Astros game. Approximately 238 faculty, staff, family, and friends attended the last home game of the season and received a replica of the 2017 Astros World Series ring. On September 28, Dean Baynes attended a networking lunch with San Antonio-area alumni and gave a presentation about the Law Center and update on the new building campaign. Dean Baynes attended the 50th Anniversary Gala of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on September 28 in San Antonio, Texas. A special recognition from the Law Center was publicized in the Gala brochure congratulating MALDEF board member Professor Michael A. Olivas and MALDEF Southwest Regional Council Celina Moreno (’10) for their dedication and work on behalf of MALDEF.

Emily Berman presented her own work in progress, “Individualization in the Age of Big Data,” and commented on the drafts of seven other junior scholars from around the country at Chapman University Fowler School of Law as part of their 2nd Annual Junior Scholars Works-in-Progress Conference.

Victor Flatt presented “Insuring Survival: How the Insurance Industry Can be Used to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change” at the University of Vermont’s Law Review symposium on September 14. Professor Flatt was an author and co-editor of “Surviving to Thriving,” a suite of policy recommendations on law and climate disasters published by the Center for Progressive Reform on September 6.

Alissa Gomez will deliver a presentation on October 5 at the 2018 Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) Teaching Conference. Her presentation is entitled "Distributing Justice in the Digital Age: The Effect of Technology on Pro Bono Service, and What Law Schools Can Do About It." In addition, Professor Gomez and Professor Hilary Reed had a presentation proposal accepted for the LWI One-Day Workshop on November 30 at Chapman University Fowler School of Law. Their presentation will be about their experience teaching legal writing to undergraduate students in the Pipeline Program this past summer.

Whitney Heard was appointed to serve on the Teaching Grants Committee for the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD).

Janet Heppard has received notice that she has been selected to be a member of the Houston Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law affiliate of the American Inns of Court. The organization is designed to improve the skills, professionalism, and ethics of the bench and bar. Professor Heppard also had the opportunity to teach Lufkin area Girl Scout leaders of girls in fourth grade through twelfth grade about the Junior Girl Scout and Older Girl Scout programs.

Tracy Hester presented his article, “Consent Decrees as Common Law,” on September 22 at the Vermont Law School Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship. On September 14, Hester and Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti, UH’s chief energy officer, convened and moderated an invitational workshop on “Negative Emissions Technologies in the Energy Industry” at UH’s Insperity Center. This workshop brought together, for the first time, top negative emissions technologies researchers and leaders in the energy industry to discuss how these technologies may play a role in future energy strategies. On September 6, the Paul Hebert School of Law at Louisiana State University brought Hester to speak on “Environmental Law and Climate Engineering” as part of its invitational speaker series. While there, Professor Bret Wells and Hester participated in a half-day workshop hosted by LSU on their pending paper on “Abandoned But Not Forgotten: Improperly Plugged and Abandoned Wells May Pose Serious Concerns for Shale Development,” which is accepted for publication by the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law. On September 19, Hester gave an online lecture to law students at the University of Maryland, Pace University and UHLC on how climate change will affect the Superfund program and emergency response authorities. He was invited to speak as part of a series of national lectures on climate change and environmental laws. He finished the month by taking his environmental law class on a visit to the CES Environmental Services superfund response site on September 27, located conveniently near the UH main campus.

Geoffrey Hoffman was interviewed by Texas Standard regarding the future of the DACA program after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen (S.D. Tex.) declined to order that the U.S. government halt the Obama-era program. Audio is available here. Professor Hoffman was among a group of legal scholars who submitted an amici curiae brief in the case of Esparza v. Nobles County, which is before the Nobles County District Court of Minnesota. He attended the Migration Policy Institute’s presentation on “The Real Story: Future Outlook for Greater Houston Region Immigrants,” sponsored by HILSC at the MFA-Houston. He presented a lecture on Immigration Appellate Advocacy to the Tahirih Justice Center on September 14. He served as a volunteer attorney at the Baker Ripley Naturalization workshop held at Ripley House near downtown Houston. He represented UHLC at the executive committee of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative. He spoke on Petitions for Review before the Courts of Appeals and led a breakout section in the afternoon on district court litigation at the immigration advocacy CLE hosted by UHLC and organized by Rosemary Vega.

Paul Janicke spoke on August 26 in Austin at the first joint meeting of the three Texas Intellectual Property Inns of Court – from Houston, Austin, and Dallas. The topic was litigation trends in intellectual property law. The talk was followed by a panel of three federal district judges.

Renee Knake’s article “The Legal Monopoly” was published by the Washington Law Review, and she was named a subject matter expert by the National Conference of Bar Examiners for the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam. Her proposal for an AALS Discussion Group on “Building Bridges between Theory and Practice: Incorporating Lawyering Skills into Doctrinal Courses” was accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Sapna Kumar discussed the Supreme Court’s recent decision in WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp. at the Chicago-Kent College of Law’s 9th annual Supreme Court IP Review.

Douglas Moll spoke on “Breach of Fiduciary Duty and the Defense of Reliance on Experts” at the Business Law: Connecting the Threads II conference at the University of Tennessee Law School. Professor Moll was also asked by the publisher O’Connor’s to serve as an editor of Texas Business Organizations Code Plus.

Sarah Morath will publish “Our Plastic Problem” in the ABA publication Natural Resources and Environment this spring. She was also selected to present her work in progress, “Organic 2.0,” at the Association of American Law Schools, Environmental, Natural Resources & Energy Law and Agriculture & Food Law Sections joint works in progress workshop in January 2019. This December she will present “Don’t Take My Word for It: Incorporating the Advice of Experts in your LRW Class” at the Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop held at University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law. Professor Morath was also appointed to the 2019 ALWD Conference Program Committee.

Michael A. Olivas spoke at Ohio State University, in the Strategic Excellence Series, on “Occupational Licensing for Non-citizens: A National Survey and Five State Case Studies”; he also met with the OSU student affairs staff to discuss DACA and immigrant student issues. He serves on the Board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and he and Dean Baynes attended the organization’s 50th anniversary dinner in San Antonio. He also recorded a UHLC/KUHF Briefcase show on “Entertainers Dying Intestate,” based upon the recent death of Aretha Franklin.

Laura Oren’s article “No-Fault Divorce Reform in the 1950s: The Lost History of the ‘Greatest Project’ of the National Association of Women Lawyers” appeared in the online version (print version to follow) of the Law and History Review.

Lauren Simpson has been appointed chair of the 2018-19 By-Laws Committee of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. She has also been appointed to the University of Houston Faculty Engagement and Development Advisory Board. Professor Simpson also continues her community service in support of pollinator conservation and urban wildscaping. In September, the Houston Chronicle interviewed Professor Simpson for an article on the importance of using native plants to support pollinators in home gardens. Also in September, the Law Center's Briefcase magazine featured Professor Simpson, focusing on her advocacy for pollinators, their conservation, and the wildscapes supporting them. Relatedly, she has also begun a series on the what, why, and how of wildscaping on her Facebook educational community, St. Julian’s Crossing-wildlife habitat (the first two installments are available here and here). And continuing her community talks on wildscaping, Simpson spoke to the Jersey Village Garden Club in September, and she has accepted two further invitations to speak: at IHS Markit in November 2018, and at the January 2019 meeting of the Shepherd Park Plaza Garden Club.

Ken Swift was named to the joint Association of Legal Writing Directors/Legal Writing Institute Survey Committee. The committee conducts the annual survey on legal writing programs and the annual survey of legal writing faculty and reports the results of both surveys to the membership of ALWD and LWI.

Sandra Guerra Thompson was quoted on Houston Public Media’s Houston Matters program on August 29 discussing hate crimes. She was also quoted in a Houston Chronicle article discussing the recent ruling in the 2016 class-action lawsuit against Houston over the city’s treatment of persons jailed following warrantless arrests. Her 2016 article, co-authored with Visiting Professor Nicole Casarez, entitled “Building the Infrastructure for ‘Justice Through Science’: The Texas Model,” was listed this month on SSRN's Top Ten download list for the Forensic Science eJournal and the Criminal Justice Research ejournal for Forensic Science. Their second article, “Three Transformative Ideals to Build a Better Crime Lab,” was published this month in the Georgia State University Law Review. Both articles were published by invitation for symposia.

Gina S. Warren was selected to present “Energy Law – The Basics and Then Some” at the inaugural Institute for Energy Law’s Leadership Class on September 20 in Houston.

Bret Wells made a presentation on the “Risk of Hydraulic Fracturing in Close Proximity to Improperly Abandoned Wells” at a symposium hosted by LSU Law School on September 7. 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).

Kellen Zale joined in an amicus brief filed by several local government law and employment law professors in the Texas Court of Appeals in support of the City of Austin in the state's preemption challenge to the city's earned sick time ordinance. On September 25, she presented her work-in-progress, “Part-time Government,” at the annual State and Local Government Conference at Fordham University School of Law.