Albertus Accolades

March 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.

Leonard Baynes delivered welcoming remarks and introduced race relations and anti-discrimination law expert Professor Tanya Katerí Hernández of Fordham University School of Law to Law Center faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors during the recent Yale L. Rosenberg Memorial Lecture on March 4. On March 13, Dean Baynes met with former Law Center dean Bob Knauss to discuss current events, activities, and the new law building. On March 19, Dean Baynes delivered congratulatory remarks at the 1L Top Student Academic Achievement Reception held in the Hendricks Heritage Room. He commended students on achieving this important milestone and reminded them that their passion, dedication, and professionalism to learning does not go unnoticed. Dean Baynes hosted an Alumni & Friends Reception on March 20 in Washington, DC at the Fiola Ristorante where alumni and friends gathered to network and hear an update about the Law Center and the building campaign. On March 21-24, Dean Baynes attended the 4th Annual National People of Color (NPOC19) Scholarship Conference in Washington, DC. He was invited to deliver welcoming remarks at the opening reception on March 21. Dean Baynes was also a presenter at the NPOC19 conference on March 22. The title of his talk was “What a Law School Can Do to Increase the Production of Excellent Law Review Articles.” On March 26, Dean Baynes welcomed Professor and civil rights leader Anita Hill to the Law Center. Professor Hill participated in a fireside chat with Professor Michael A. Olivas as part of the spring 2019 Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Dean Baynes provided welcoming remarks at the March 28 Admitted Student Day Reception. Faculty, staff, and newly admitted students gathered at Chapman and Kirby for a meet and greet and to network. On March 29, Dean Baynes delivered welcoming remarks and gave an overview of Law Center achievements and the new building campaign during Admitted Student Day. Over 65 admitted students, including their guests and families, assembled for the full day event. On March 30, Dean Baynes attended the 43rd Annual Law Gala and Auction where he delivered welcoming remarks to a sold out crowd of approximately 675 faculty, staff, alumni and friends, the largest attendance in ten years. Dean Baynes also presented the 2019 Dean’s Award to the King Family Foundation for outstanding loyalty and dedication to the Law Center. The Gala was held at the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston.

Dave Fagundes published two articles this past month: “Housing, Healthism, and the HUD No-Smoking Policy,” Northwestern University Law Review (with Jessica Roberts), and “Clown Eggs,” Notre Dame Law Review (with Aaron Perzanowski).

Victor Flatt has accepted an offer to publish “Disclosing the Danger: Climate Change Meets Legal Ethics” as the lead article in the Utah Law Review. The article will also be featured in the Environmental Law Institute’s Forum magazine with commentary. Professor Flatt presented “Climate Change Law and the Energy Industry” to the Houston Federal Bar Association on March 20. He will speak in a national webinar for the Energy Association of Risk Professionals on climate change law policy and business risks on April 17. On April 18, he will present about climate change and ethics to the Houston Bar Association’s Environment and Energy Law Section. Professor Flatt was quoted about the ITC accident on KPRC TV, and was featured on the Briefcase radio program about the Green New Deal with Dean Leonard Baynes. Professor Flatt’s op-ed “With One Tweak the Green New Deal Could be Good for Houston and the Energy Industry” was published in the Houston Chronicle on March 3.

Leah Fowler gave a lecture to the LoneStar LEND fellows on March 22. Her topic was "Disability Rights Law for Health Care Providers." She has an Open Peer Commentary forthcoming in the American Journal of Bioethics with Jessica Roberts entitled “A nudge toward meaningful choice.” On March 25, she recorded an episode of Briefcase with Dean Leonard Baynes discussing Medical Legal Partnerships. The paper and the radio segment will be available soon.

Whitney Heard moderated an International Women’s Day Panel for The Association of Women in Law (AWIL) at the Law Center on March 7. The panel was comprised of three female attorneys: a partner in a corporate immigration law firm, a partner in a family law firm, and the founder of a legal marketing agency.

Janet Heppard served as the moderator of the Public Interest/Government Work luncheon panel sponsored by the Association of Women in Law student organization in celebration of International Women’s Day and their Women in Law week. Professor Heppard also had the opportunity to work with a group of 7th grade Girl Scouts teaching archery skills and assisting them in completing their archery badge at Girl Scout Camp Pryor in Nada, Texas and co-running the archery range at the Boy Scout Texas Skies Camporee at Camp Bovay near Navasota, Texas.

Tracy Hester presented his work-in-progress on the role of consent decrees in creating common law to UH faculty on March 1. He guest lectured at the UH College of Architecture on March 20 about the fundamentals of environmental law and how they affect project planning. On March 28, Hester brought UH law students to participate in a simulated terrorist attack as part of the regional emergency disaster tabletop drill at the College of the Mainland in Texas City. He joined a work session on March 26 with the City of Houston to identify decarbonization strategies for the City’s upcoming Climate Action Plan. And on March 6, he joined a delegation from Ukraine participating in the Rotary Club Global Scholars program to discuss U.S. energy law and regulations and compare them with Ukranian and European systems.

Renee Knake traveled to Auckland, New Zealand, where she delivered a plenary address on Global Innovations in the Delivery of Legal Services at the LawFest Conference on Technology and Innovation on March 21. She was a guest at the 15th Annual Client Choice Awards in Melbourne on March 27, and spoke about her Fulbright experience at an event on international scholarly exchanges at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology on March 29.

Alfonso Lopez de la Osa Escribano was a participant and moderator on the round table “The cross-Border Labor Puzzle: Cities, Crossings and Wages” at the Seminar “NAFTA 2.0: The Puzzle of North America as a Region,” organized by Texas A&M School of Law, and co-sponsored by the US-MEX LAW from UHLC, on March 1. In the panel, Lopez de la Osa pointed out that although the new USMCA doesn’t deal expressly with the social dimension of trade, the acknowledgment from Canada and the U.S. of the existence of Mexico’s labor unions and rights such as collective bargaining introduces somehow social fundamental rights in the discussion, such as those related to work. Lopez de la Osa exposed that besides the well-known first generation human rights (equality; freedom of speech, worship, ideology, conscience; voting rights; etc.), we find as well those second generation human rights (right to healthcare access; right to education; right to labor and all its derivatives, some of the latter included for Mexico in the USMCA). Those second generation human rights would be more or less expanded according to political, social, cultural and economic premises. The press note is available here. On March 21, Alfonso Lopez de la Osa gave the Houston Journal of International Law’s 18th Skelton Lecture on “Addressing Human Trafficking in Mexico and the United States: a Comparative Law Perspective.” He discussed the past and present of legislation in the U.S. and Mexico to fight sexual and labor human trafficking (for example, the former notion in both countries of white slavery—trata de blancas—and the evolution of the Mann Act; the need of a legal definition of human trafficking; the realities of this scourge; the international treaties dealing with it; and the evolution of Mexican and U.S. legislation) as well as drawing some conclusions to fight and generate awareness over it. Human trafficking is a domestic and international hidden crime. The latter dimension can be better addressed with transnational cooperation between Mexico and the United States.

Andrew Michaels spoke as a panelist on a USPTO Continuing Legal Education program entitled “Patent Appeals -- Nuts and Bolts at the PTAB and the Federal Courts” (March 19). Over 150 people attended (combined in person and online).

Douglas Moll’s presentation on “Breach of Fiduciary Duty and the Defense of Reliance on Experts” is being published in an upcoming issue of the Tennessee Journal of Business Law. The Journal hosted the 2018 Business Law Conference at the University of Tennessee College of Law and invited Professor Moll to deliver a talk. Professor Moll is currently working on an article with Professor Daniel Kleinberger that discusses the state of the oppression doctrine in the LLC setting. He is also working with Professor Beth Miller on a summary of Texas partnership and LLC cases over the past year in preparation for a presentation at the 2019 University of Texas CLE program on Partnerships and LLCs.

Sarah Morath’s forthcoming article, “Our Plastic Problem,” was the most downloaded article on SSRN’s Food Law and Policy eJournal and the fifth most downloaded article on SSRN’s Environmental Law and Policy eJournal between January 27 and March 27. She is working with Cambridge University Press on a book with the same title. Professor Morath was selected for the Association of Legal Writing Directors’ (ALWD) inaugural Leadership Academy in May. Her proposal, “Using the MPT to Teach Legal Writing,” was selected for the Global Legal Writing Skills Webinar in April.

James Nelson received the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. He was also named Professor of the Year by the Order of the Barons.

Michael A. Olivas participated in a fireside chat with Professor Anita Hill, from Brandies University, to discuss the effect of the #MeToo movement, particularly in the entertainment industry and how sexual assault and harassment remain widespread in the US workplace. This was Michael’s fourth such effort, including visits with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Simon Tam of The Slants, and former U.S. Attorney General Albert Gonzales (at UH-Downtown).

Teddy Rave filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court’s partisan gerrymandering case Rucho v. Common Cause, No. 18-422. The brief is available here. Professor Rave was also named an Academic Fellow of the Pound Civil Justice Institute.

Lauren Simpson has been appointed to a working group charged with drafting a diversity statement for the Association of Legal Writing Directors. Additionally, at the invitation of the UH Office of Faculty Engagement & Development, Professor Simpson spoke on effective teaching this month on a “Mastering the Craft of Teaching Workshop” panel. Also this month, she served as a mock-trial judge for the Law Center’s Street Law Program for high school students. Professor Simpson continues her community service in support of pollinator conservation and urban wildscaping. Earlier this month, she discussed pollinators, the challenges they face, and the native plants sustaining them at the “Pollinators Eat Local, Too” class, organized by Edible Houston magazine. She has also accepted an invitation to speak at two sustainable-landscaping events for the Woodlands Township in fall 2019. First, at the September Woodlands Landscaping Solutions event, Professor Simpson will teach short classes on creating pollinator-supportive gardens in suburban landscapes using native plants. Second, at the October Sustainable Gardening Class, she will discuss pollinators and the challenges facing them, how to create suburban gardens that please neighbors and support wildlife, and some local covenants and restrictions affecting this kind of gardening. Finally, in April, she will be educating a local Girl Scout Brownie troop on insects and their conservation to assist the girls in obtaining their Bugs Badge.

Greg Vetter organized, with faculty colleagues, the 2019 Works-in-Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium (WIPIP), hosted by the University of Houston Law Center's Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law (IPIL) on February 7 to 9. WIPIP brought more than seventy IP scholars from across the world to Houston and the Law Center. Professor Vetter represented the Law Center and IPIL at the February 21 dinner given by the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association (HIPLA) honoring the federal judiciary. He represented the Law Center at the Yale Rosenberg Memorial lecture and reception on March 4. He represented the Law Center and IPIL at the March 7 dinner of The Honorable Nancy F. Atlas Intellectual Property American Inn of Court in Houston. He represented the Law Center at the Houston Journal of International Law’s 18th Annual Skelton Lecture and banquet on March 21. Professor Vetter also attended the Law Center’s admitted student reception on the evening of March 28.

Jacqueline Weaver conducted a Skype class on March 18 with Professor Suzana Tavares of the Coimbra University law school in Portugal. The topic was a wide-ranging discussion of shale oil and gas development in the United States, its externalities, its market impact and its geopolitics. The students are in a seminar class and several are writing on topics related to shale development and energy security in Europe. One of the Law Center’s former LLMs, Tania Calvao, is working on her Ph.D. in law at Coimbra and connected the two professors.

Bret Wells, on March 1, made a morning presentation on “US International Taxation” as part of the First Annual Denney L. Wright International Energy Tax Conference. At lunch on March 1, Professor Wells made a presentation on “Economic and Design Features of the 2017 Tax Act” to the Texas Community College Teachers’ Association Annual Meeting. Professor Wells and Jacqueline Weaver this month published an oil and gas law casebook that is available in print and as an e-book, and is entitled Texas Oil and Gas Law: Cases and Materials (LawCarta 2019).