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A Note from the Office of
Dean Leonard M. Baynes

During May we recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage. This month is a time for us to celebrate and honor the many contributions of AAPI communities in the Houston area, Texas, and throughout the nation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, members of the AAPI community account for more than 24 million people in the U.S. In the legal profession, 5.5% of attorneys were Asian American in 2022, per the ABA National Lawyer Population Survey.

At the Law Center, 17.6% of the 2022 entering class was comprised of individuals who identified as members of the AAPI community. In addition, we are celebrating the accomplishments of three students of Asian American descent who have been selected by their peers as incoming editors-in-chief for three of our prestigious law journals: Lizzy Do (Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy), Samuel Kuang (Houston Business & Tax Law Journal), and Julia Tape (Houston Journal of International Law).  

Incoming UHLC law journal editors-in-chief are, from left, Julia Tape, Samuel Kuang and Lizzy Do.

I am also delighted to highlight the achievements of U.S. Attorney Alamdar “Al” Hamdani, a 1999 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Hamdani is the first person of Asian descent to hold this office in the Southern District of Texas. His parents emigrated from India to England and then to the Texas, where his father worked multiple jobs — one as a taxi driver — to support the family.

U.S. Attorney Alamdar “Al” Hamdani

U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani ‘99

In the U.S. Attorney role, Hamdani supervises the investigation and prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters in which the U.S. has an interest.

Hamdani joined the Southern District of Texas in 2014 and has been with the Department of Justice since 2008. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, he was primarily responsible for the investigation and prosecution of national security and official corruption crimes. From 2010 to 2014, Hamdani served in the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division in Washington, D.C., holding the position of deputy chief from 2012 to 2014. Prior to that, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

As a Law Center graduate, Hamdani has been generous with his time, serving as an adjunct professor from 2016-2022. Hamdani’s instruction included a course focused on national security and terrorism, how to investigate and prosecute such high-profile crimes and the related constitutional issues.

Prior to his government service, Hamdani was a partner at the law firm of Hamdani & Simon LLP from 2005 to 2008 where he litigated corporate disputes and civil rights matters. From 2001 to 2005, Hamdani was an associate attorney in the Houston office of the law firm Winstead P.C. Hamdani has given back to his community by working to establish the South Asian Bar Association of North America, holding various leadership positions in the organization, including president from 2007 to 2008.

Hamdani’s impressive career illustrates that there is not necessarily a direct path to becoming a U.S. Attorney. But with a J.D. from the Law Center and persistence, a multitude of unique opportunities can present themselves.

I congratulate the achievements of our trailblazing UH Law AAPI students: Lizzy Do, Samuel Kaung, and Julia Tape, and UH Law AAPI graduate Al Hamdani for their collective success, hard work and sacrifice to reach these achievements.  

There is incredible diversity within the AAPI community itself. From the many different languages spoken to the varied cultural traditions and customs, AAPI individuals and lawyers represent a rich tapestry of cultures and histories that have helped shape our nation. 

Please take a moment to click through the slideshow to see more about other AAPI alumni, staff, faculty, and students who have made significant strides in their industries, be it in law practice, academic institutions, or other entities.

Sincerely,

Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center

 


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