Albertus Accolades

February 2019

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 has been offered, and accepted, a position on the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Law and Management. He is one of only two members from the United States.

Leonard Baynes, during two sessions of Discussion with the Dean on February 6, highlighted recent events at the Law Center, including student accomplishments and reaching the new building campaign goal of raising $10 million. Dean Baynes gave welcoming remarks at the inaugural Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property (WIPIP) Colloquium on February 8. He traveled to Austin, Texas, on February 12 as part of UH Day at the Capitol. He joined Law Center students and alumni in meeting with elected representatives to provide information about the need for $60 million in funding from the Texas legislature to construct a new state-of-the-art facility to house the Law Center. That afternoon, Dean Baynes hosted a pre-reception for Law Center alumni to provide an update on Law Center activities, including the new building campaign. In observance of Black History Month and as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series, Dean Baynes welcomed Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Harvard Law School professor Annette Gordon-Reed to the Law Center on February 14. Professor Gordon-Reed’s lunchtime and evening presentations examined confederate iconography and its implicit and explicit bias. On February 19, Dean Baynes introduced and welcomed Judge Jennifer Elrod, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as the first Jurist-in-Residence of 2019 for the Ruby Kless Sondock Lectureship in Legal Ethics Jurist-in-Residence Program. The title of her presentation was, “Trial by Siri: AI comes to the Courtroom.” Dean Baynes joined Victor Flatt, Dwight Olds Chair in Law and Faculty Director of (EENR), Sondra Tennessee, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, members of OUTLAW, the Law Center’s organization for LGBTQ students, and LGBTQ community member allies at an after school pizza party on February 20 at Pink’s Pizza. On February 27, Dean Baynes attended the Asian Law Students Association Alumni dinner reception at Kiran’s Restaurant. He gave a presentation on recent Law Center events, including an update on the new building campaign, and recognized leading Asian Pacific alumni who were “first” to achieve a noteworthy accomplishment at the Law Center.

David R. Dow spoke on February 22 in Austin at the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association's annual Capital Defense Seminar. His topic was "Preserving as yet Unidentified Issues in Capital Cases: Lessons from the Case of Christopher Young." He also argued a Witherspoon issue as appellee in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on February 7, on behalf of Demetrius Smith.

Barbara Evans spoke at the Law and Biomedicine Colloquium at the S.J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah on February 13 and attended a meeting of an NIH-funded genomic variant reinterpretation project at Columbia University on February 15 as part of a research team led by Jessica Roberts. She participated in teleconferences related to the NIH-funded LawSeq project throughout the month and conferred with NASA flight surgeons on questions related to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. She will meet with the Netherlands Vice Minister of Health to discuss FDA medical device regulatory issues affecting Dutch biotechnology and health software companies during a Netherlands trade mission to Texas on March 6-7. She has been asked to testify before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics in Washington on March 21 as it examines gaps in HIPAA’s privacy protections. Her chapter, “Ethical Standards for Unconsented Data Access to Build Genomic and Other Medical Information Commons,” just appeared in the Routledge Handbook of the Study of the Commons (Blake Hudson, Jonathan Rosenbloom, and Dan Cole, eds.). With co-author Susan M. Wolf, she penned a third article critiquing a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences that recommended reducing privacy protections for participants in genomic research. The first two pieces appeared recently in Science magazine and the longer, law review version, “A Faustian Bargain That Imperils People’s Rights to See Their Own Personal Information,” will appear in the Florida Law Review. She collaborated on new NIH and NSF grant applications with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgia State University, and the UH Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Victor Flatt did a presentation on carbon pricing at the Climate Citizen Council’s Gulf Coast meeting on February 9. Professor Flatt has also been invited to present on greenhouse gas emission pricing at the Federal Bar Association’s annual meeting in March, and to present on the ethics of climate change at the Houston Bar Association’s Environmental Section’s April meeting. He will also be assisting with Congressional briefings and hearings concerning climate change policies, in particular those related to carbon pricing. Professor Flatt and Dean Sondra Tennessee hosted the first OUTLAW social of the semester at Pink’s Pizza on February 20. Professor Flatt spoke on a panel on climate change solutions for Greenwatch TV on February 27. He will be doing presentations on ethical responsibilities of attorneys and climate change at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, on June 18 and at Vermont Law School on July 11.

Whitney Werich Heard and Hilary Reed were invited to present “Legal Citation: Striking the Right Balance” at the Biennial Empire State Legal Writing Conference at New York Law School in May 2019.

Tracy Hester spoke at the opening session of the Public Interest Environmental Conference’s 25th anniversary meeting on February 7 at the Levin School of Law in Florida State University, where he addressed systems of legal governance for regional climate intervention projects. On February 22, he joined an invitational workshop at Arizona State University on legal and governance issues arising from solar radiation management technologies.

Geoffrey Hoffman travelled to New Orleans for a Fifth Circuit asylum case with Clinical Lecturer Rosemary Vega and students Bryan Perez (2L) and Vanessa Garza (3L). The case was a collaboration with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Texas A&M Immigrant Rights Clinic. Professor Hoffman spoke along with Professors Emily Berman and Michael A. Olivas on the border wall and possible litigation surrounding a declaration of a national emergency at a panel on February 12 at the Law Center sponsored by the American Constitutional Society. Professor Hoffman has been invited to join the ABA’s Commission on Immigration. He is an invited speaker at the AILA Immigration Law workshop from February 28 to March 1 in Miami, Florida, speaking on two panels.

Renee Knake was a keynote speaker on February 19 at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University’s Engaging for Impact Conference 2019, a three day event of academic and industry speakers across panels, interactive workshops, master classes, tours, fast pitches and installations. She spoke about ethical innovation and industry transformation. On February 7, she met with the Commissioner of the Victorian Legal Services Board as part of her Fulbright research. She traveled to Canberra to present her Fulbright project, Law Democratized: A Blueprint for Access to Justice, at the Australian-American Fulbright Commission Gala on February 28.

Sapna Kumar completed the first month of her Fulbright-Schuman grant in France at the University of Strasbourg's Center for International Intellectual Property (CEIPI). While at CEIPI, Professor Kumar delivered a lecture titled "Advancing Nationalism Through Patent Rights" as part of the (Re)thinking Intellectual Property series, and she guest-taught a class to LLM students about U.S. patent litigation. She then attended the Fulbright EU-NATO Seminar in Luxembourg and Belgium, where she presented research on how the U.S. could utilize technically-qualified patent judges. Professor Kumar is now researching at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich.

David Kwok gave a presentation, “The Whistleblower as Corporate Frenemy,” at the Belmont Criminal Law Journal’s White Collar Crime Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee. On February 25, he participated in a panel hosted by the American Constitution Society of Houston: “White Collar Crime: Under-Enforced, Out of Control,” held at South Texas College of Law Houston.

Rick McElvaney wrote an op-ed on consumer privacy that appeared in the Houston Chronicle.

Andrew Michaels spoke at a symposium at Boston University Law School on "Intellectual Property in a Globalized Economy: United States Extraterritoriality in International Business," where he presented his paper, “Implicit Overruling and Foreign Lost Profits,” which will be published in the summer issue of Boston University’s Journal of Science and Technology Law.

Sarah Morath was appointed to the 2019 AALS Legal Writing, Research, and Reasoning Nominations Committee.

Jeff Newberry participated in a panel discussion about the clemency process in Texas at the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s annual conference on February 16.

Thomas Oldham’s work has recently been cited by two different courts. The Delaware Supreme Court cited his work regarding premarital agreements in Silverman v. Silverman, 2019 WL 964060, while Gray Miller cited his work regarding marital property and the conflict of laws in United States v. Berry, 2018 WL 6602184.

Michael A. Olivas briefed several reporters on immigration and higher education topics. He spoke on a panel with Professors Emily Berman and Geoff Hoffman, sponsored by the American Constitutional Society, on the DREAM Act and the Southern border wall; on the second subject, he drew deeply from his earlier life, teaching fiction and freshman composition. With the UHLC Intellectual Property Student Organization (IPSO), on February 19, he hosted Simon Tam, the leader of the Asian-American rock group The Slants, whose trademark action was decided in their favor by SCOTUS (8-0), allowing them to protect their group name, notwithstanding its “disparaging” character. Mr. Tam spoke about trial strategy and the aftermath of the decision. On February 15, Michael also participated in a Fireside Chat with former US Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, sponsored by the University of Houston-Downtown.

Teddy Rave accepted an offer from The Georgetown Law Journal to publish his article “It’s Good to Have the ‘Haves’ on Your Side: A Defense of Repeat Players in Multidistrict Litigation” (with Andrew D. Bradt, Berkeley).

Hilary Reed has been invited to be a regular blogger on the Appellate Advocacy Blog. She has also been selected to be on the AALS section on Legal Writing's Outreach Committee.

Robert Schuwerk has sent off the final corrections for his portion of the three-volume 2019 edition of the Handbook of Texas Lawyer and Judicial Ethics, published by Thomson Reuters. His co-author, Ms. Lillian B. Hardwick, is also a graduate of the Law Center. The 2019 edition is expected to be published in March.

Lauren Simpson has been nominated for a 2019 position on the Board of Directors for the Association of Legal Writing Directors. She has also accepted an invitation to speak in March 2019 on a “Mastering the Craft of Teaching Workshop” panel, offered by the UH Office of Faculty Engagement & Development. Professor Simpson continues her community service in support of pollinator conservation and urban wildscaping. In January 2019, she completed the “Monarch Workshop: Train the Trainer,” sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. Also in January, Professor Simpson hosted the Shepherd Park Plaza Gardening Club for an educational presentation on pollinators and wildscaping, including a tour of her wildlife-habitat gardens. An interview with Professor Simpson spotlighting her gardening with native plants to support pollinators was featured in the February 2019 edition of Edible Houston magazine, in an article entitled “Our Pollinators Eat Local, Too!” In February, she gave a presentation entitled “The Importance of Pollination Gardens” to the Garden Club of Houston. And Professor Simpson has accepted five more invitations to speak on pollinator conservation and wildscaping: (i) “Pollinators Eat Local, Too” class, organized by Edible Houston magazine (March 2019); (ii) “Easy Tips for Gardening for Wildlife in your Own Backyard,” for the Clear Lake Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (May 2019); (iii) “Hold the Phone!: Tips for Photographing Native Plants and Wildlife with Your Smartphone,” for the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (May 2019); (iv) “Easy Tips for Gardening for Wildlife in your Own Backyard,” for the Garden Oaks Civic Club (May 2019); and (v) a breakfast educational presentation on pollinator conservation to Solos Supporting Solos–Houston (September 2019).

Sandra Guerra Thompson has accepted an invitation to assist Harris County officials as they work to implement the MacArthur Safety & Justice Challenge, which aims to reduce the jail population without impacting public safety. She also attended the February meeting of the Houston Forensic Science Center Board of Directors, on which she serves as Vice Chair.

Bret Wells and Tracy Hester’s article entitled “Abandoned But Not Forgotten, Improperly Plugged and Orphaned Wells May Pose Serious Concerns for Shale Development” was published this month at 8 Mich. J. Env. & Admin. L. 115 (2018). On February 26, Professor Wells made a presentation on US International Taxation to the Wednesday Tax Forum of Houston.

Kellen Zale attended the Planning, Law, and Property Rights Conference at Texas A&M University College of Architecture on February 22, where she gave a presentation entitled “The Sustainability Implications of Local Government Boundary Change and Formation.” Her article “When Everything is Small: The Regulatory Challenge of Scale in the Sharing Economy” (53 San Diego L. Rev. 949) was listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for Transportation Policy in February 2019.