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University of Houston Law Center names Professor Julian Cardenas as the Director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law

Professor  Julian Cardenas

Julian Cardenas is the Director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law at the UH Law Center.

Oct. 17, 2022 Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas was recently appointed as the Director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law at the University of Houston Law Center.

The Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, established in 2012, is the first independent research center in the United States dedicated to the study of Mexican law and legal aspects of U.S. – Mexico relations. 

“I am delighted that Professor Cardenas has agreed to take on the directorship of UH Law’s Center for U.S. and Mexican Law. Texas is a border state, and our nation’s relationship with Mexico is crucial to both countries’ mutual success. The law faculty, lawyers, and law students will benefit from learning and understanding each other’s laws. The Center is designed to facilitate understanding and comity in the legal community on both sides of the border. Professor Cardenas has the educational background, skill set and temperament to move the Center for U.S. Mexican Law forward to new heights,” said Leonard M. Baynes, Dean of the UH Law Center.

“I receive this appointment with great honor. It represents an extraordinary opportunity to continue the long-standing contribution of the Center to students, academics, practitioners, and institutions involved in the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Mexico,” said Cardenas.

Founded by the late UH Law Center Professor Stephen Zamora, the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law provides cross-border education and critical study of legal aspects of U.S. – Mexico relations. Current matters of relevance include immigration, energy transactions, international trade, labor and health regulation.

“The Center covers a broad variety of regulatory topics, however, during 2023 and 2024, a review and assessment of the Mexican Energy Reform would be fundamental, after a decade of the return of U.S. investments in the power and hydrocarbons sector in Mexico,” emphasized Cardenas.

Based in Houston, a gateway between the two countries, the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law collaborates with multiple prestigious Mexican institutions including the National Hydrocarbons Commission and PEMEX. One of the Law Center’s longest partnerships is a unique 30-year relationship with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The UH Law Center provides scholarships each year toward LL.M. degrees for Mexican Foreign Ministry Scholars and in turn UH Law Center students serve as summer interns at the Office of the Legal Adviser in México City.

As the director, Cardenas will work with UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes and Karen Jones, the Executive Director of UH Law’s Global and Graduate Programs. The goal is to extend the Law Center’s footprint in Latin America by providing educational and training opportunities for legal professionals. In addition, Cardenas will continue to teach courses at the UH Law Center in the areas of transnational energy transactions and arbitration.

Cardenas joined the UH Law Center in 2012 as an Energy Scholar and a Visiting Professor affiliated with the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center. At the EENR Center, he coordinated the "Inter-American Hydrocarbons Regulators Dialogue," an initiative conceived to create a nexus between national hydrocarbons agencies, the private sector and academia. 

He frequently works with companies, public authorities, and governments in various areas of oil and gas law and policy. Since 2013, Cardenas has been a visiting professor at the ITAM in Mexico City (2013-2014) and the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (2014-present) in Monterrey, Mexico. Since 2019, he has coordinated the UH Law Center’s Summer International Energy and Environmental Law Program for Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León students.

Before joining the Law Center, Cardenas worked as a foreign legal clerk at the Arbitration Department of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in Paris and served for nearly six years as a career diplomat for the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working on multilateral affairs with the Organization of the American States and the United Nations, and on bilateral affairs related to sovereign boundary issues.

He holds a Law Degree and a B.A. in International Relations from the Universidad Central de Venezuela; a Master of Laws in Arbitration and a Diplôme Superieur d'Université in Business Law from the Sorbonne University Paris II Pantheon-Assas; and an LL.M. with a Certificate in Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Law from the University of Houston Law Center. He was a Doctoral Fellow at the Research Center for Investment and International Trade Law (CREDIMI-CNRS) at the University of Bourgogne in Dijon, France.

Cardenas is also an accomplished violinist who has played with different symphony orchestras in Venezuela, France, and the United States. He has performed at the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall and the Sorbonne Amphitheatre.

Click here for more information about the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law. 


University of Houston Law Center media contacts: Carrie Anna Criado, UH Law Center Assistant Dean of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184,; Bonnie Buffaloe, Communications Manager, 713-743-9137,

About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) is a dynamic, top tier law school located in the nation’s 4th largest city. UHLC’s Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs rank in the U.S. News Top 10. It awards Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is more than just a law school. It is a powerful hub of intellectual activity with more than 15 centers and institutes which fuel its educational mission and national reputation. UHLC is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 47,000 students

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