Faculty Focus is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center Faculty.

October 2012


Editor, Katy Stein kastein@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.



Erma Bonadero has been selected as a new member of the Garland R. Walker American Inn of Court, an organization designed to improve the skills, professionalism, and ethics of the bench and bar.  This organization -- consisting of judges, lawyers, law professors, and law students -- holds programs and discussions to help lawyers and judges rise to higher levels of excellence, professionalism, and ethical awareness.


David R. Dow was the keynote speaker at the LifeLines Human Rights Conference, held at Amnesty International in London, on October 13. His talk was titled "Why Death Penalty Supporters and Death Penalty Opponents Cannot Hear One Another."  On October 25, he spoke at the UP Experience in Houston. His topic was "What is the Value of Killing Someone?"  In connection with the centennial anniversary of Rice University, Dow was identified as a notable alum.   


Jim Hawkins was awarded a grant by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Endowment for Education to study title lending customers. Along with two economists from Vanderbilt University working on the project, he will survey customers about their demographics, perceptions of title lending, and behavior.  Professor Hawkins' paper, The CARD Act on Campus, was selected for a poster presentation at Stanford Law School as part of the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies.


Tracy Hester presented his article on Criminalizing Catastrophe:  Constitutional Limits on Applying Environmental Criminal Law to Disasters on Oct. 12 at Vermont Law School’s Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship.  He also spoke at a panel on Oct. 10 about the ethical issues facing environmental attorneys during criminal investigations of their clients at the Houston Bar Association’s Environmental Section meeting. On September 26, Prof. Hester presented the results of a year-long research initiative on the effectiveness of NAFTA’s environmental submissions process conducted by a consortium of law schools in Canada, Mexico and the United States under the auspices of the North American Conference of Legal Educators (with the assistance and leadership of Prof. Steve Zamora). Prof. Hester offered these results at a conference on Human Rights and Access to Environmental Justice held in Mexico City by Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights. Last, Prof. Hester, Prof. Jacqueline Weaver and Adjunct Prof. Lynn Bortka met on Sept. 20 with a delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Oil, and Iraqi legislators from the Parliament’s Health and Environment Committee to discuss energy and environmental law and policy initiatives in Iraq.


Geoffrey Hoffman spoke about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at Iglesia Bautista as part of a two day conference on immigration issues. In late September Professor Hoffman also spoke on a panel with Michael Olivas on the same subject to a group of University administrators. Professor Hoffman taught the Immigration Law class during the People’s Law School event held at UHLC. On October 1, 2012, Professor Hoffman gave a lunch talk to faculty entitled, “Considerations of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Professor Hoffman attended Green Card Stories, a panel discussion held at Brazos bookstore led by Cornell professor Steven Yale-Loehr and Charles Foster. Professor Hoffman also served as a volunteer attorney with law students at a Neighborhood Centers outreach advising deferred action applicants held in Pasadena, Texas. Additionally, he presented on a panel to appointed criminal defense attorneys as part of a CLE discussing the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.


Craig Joyce submitted the manuscript of the first in a series of five historical essays celebrating the 50th Anniversary year of Houston Law Review.  He also was reappointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.for his 25th consecutive year of service.


Sapna Kumar gave a talk on her forthcoming article, The Accidental Agency?, at the GW Law School’s Intellectual Property Colloquium.


Douglas Moll has submitted the manuscript for his Concise Hornbook on the Law of Business Organizations (West Publishing, with Rich Freer).  He is now working on the 12th edition of his casebook on Business Organizations (West Publishing, with Jon Macey). Professor Moll has also secured a contract for a casebook on Business Torts, which he will turn his attention to after his current project is completed.


As Chair of the AALS Section on Agency & Unincorporated Businesses, Professor Moll has planned a program on the Scholarship of Larry Ribstein “featuring” Professor Roberta Romano of Yale Law School.  Professor Moll will serve as the moderator for the program.  He has also accepted an invitation to attend a conference at George Mason University School of Law on Larry Ribstein’s legal regulation scholarship.  In addition, Professor Moll has accepted an invitation to serve as a panelist on shareholder oppression for the Texas State Bar Annual Program on Business Law/Securities issues.  Other panelists include Chief Justice Myron Steele of the Delaware Supreme Court.


Finally, Professor Moll’s scholarship was recently cited in judicial decisions from the Supreme Court of South Carolina, the Supreme Court of Kentucky, and the Houston Court of Appeals.


Michael A. Olivas was busy on a recent speaking tour in Los Angeles, where he spoke on several immigration-related topics at UCLA and USC:

UCLA Law School, Epstein Public Interest Law Program (Undocumented Lawyers, Doctors, and Teachers? Deferred Action and Admission to the Licensed Professions);

USC, Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (DREAM Act Students); UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center (2012 State and Federal Developments in higher education and immigration); and the Keynote Address, Annual Latina/o Education Summit. He and Professor Geoff Hoffman conducted a session for UHS senior administrators on the Deferred Action policy initiative, and he delivered the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Annual Lecture at TAMU-Corpus Christi, on the Hernandez v. Texas SCOTUS case.


Jordan Paust’s essay Propriety of Self-Defense Targetings of Members of al Qaeda and Applicable Principles of Distinction and Proportionality has been published in18 ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 565-80 (2012).  His essay Kiobel, Corporate Liability, and the Extraterritorial Reach of the ATS, has been published in 53 Virginia Journal of International Law Digest 18-35 (2012), available at http://www.vjil.org/assets/pdfs/vjilonline3/Paust-v10-PostProduction.pdf.


Jessica L. Roberts' article, ‘Healthism': A Critique of the Antidiscrimination Approach to Health Insurance and American Health-Care Reform is the subject of a forthcoming review by Elizabeth Weeks Leonard on JOTWELL (Journal of Things We Like (Lots)). Professor Roberts was also selected to participate the Disability Law Section panel during the AALS 2013 Annual Meeting.


Susan Sakmar published Politics and US LNG Export Projects Heat Up, in theNatural Gas & Electricity Journal, 29:1-9, (Oct. 2012), available on-line at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gas.21636/abstract. Professor Sakmar presented “The Future of Shale Gas: Global Opportunities, Global Challenges & Global Solutions,” to delegates at Gastech London 2012, Oct. 8-11, 2012.  Gastech is the world’s largest global gas event and attracts over 2,000 delegates (www.gastech.co.uk). Professor Sakmar also chaired a Gastech Special Panel Debate: “Best-practices in Unconventional Gas Project Delivery: How do you Overcome Public Concerns?”


Sandra Guerra Thompson toured the facilities of the Houston Police Department Crime Lab and the FBI Crime Lab as part of her duties on the board of directors of the Houston Forensic Science LGC (local government corporation).  She also completed work as part of a subcommittee of the board in identifying nominees for the board’s technical advisory group. 


Jacqueline Weaver gave a talk entitled “The Path to Global Best Practices in Deepwater Drilling: in the Wake of Macondo;” to the State Bar of Texas Minority Counsel Program in Houston on October 4, 2012.


Bret Wells' article, Tax Base Erosion and Homeless Income: Collection at Source is the Linchpin, (with Cym Lowell) was published at 65 Tax Law Review 535 (2012).