I am pleased to announce four new faces — and the welcome return of a fifth —among the ranks of Law Center faculty this fall. These outstanding hires will enhance and expand our reputation in the areas of environment, energy, and natural resources law, our clinical programs, and our library services for students and faculty. After rigorous national searches, these five rose to the top for their teaching, scholarship, legal expertise and experience, and service to the community. In short, they are top tier, and perfect additions to the already excellent Law Center faculty.
Victor B. Flatt
Dwight Olds Chair in Law and Faculty Director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Center
Victor returns to the Law Center, will hold the Dwight Olds Chair in Law, and resumes his duties as faculty director of the school's Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources ("EENR") Center. He also holds an appointment as a distinguished scholar of carbon markets at the University of Houston's Global Energy Management Institute.
He taught from 2002 to 2009 at the Law Center, and was the inaugural A.L. O'Quinn Chair in Environmental Law. From 2009 to 2017, he taught at the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was the inaugural Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law and co-director of the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics.
A recognized expert on environmental law, climate law, and energy law, Victor's research focuses on environmental legislation and enforcement, with particular expertise in the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. He is co-author of a popular environmental law casebook and has written more than 40 law review articles, six of which have either been a finalist or have won the best environmental law review article of the year.
Victor earned a B.A. in Chemistry and Math from Vanderbilt University in 1985 and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1988. He clerked for The Honorable Danny J. Boggs of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Victor teaches courses in Environmental Law, Torts, Environmental Markets, Environmental Regulation and the Energy Industry, Interagency Environmental Cooperation, and Administrative Law.
Norton Rose Fulbright Distinguished Visiting Professor
Carmen Gonzalez is visiting the Law Center as the Norton Rose Fulbright Distinguished Visiting Professor. She is a permanent faculty member at Seattle University School of Law and will be teaching Torts and International Trade at the Law Center this semester.
Carmen was a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina, a visiting fellow at Cambridge University in the U.K., a visiting professor at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China, and a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow. During 2011-2012, Gonzalez served as chair of the Environmental Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools. She is a member of the board of trustees of Earthjustice, a member of the governing board of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Academy of Environmental Law, and a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. Earlier this year, Carmen served as the George Soros Visiting Chair at the Central European University School of Public Policy in Budapest, Hungary.
She is co-editor of the book, "Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia," and co-authored "International Environmental Law and the Global South."
Carmen earned a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. Before joining the Seattle law school faculty in 1999, she clerked for The Hon. Judge Thelton E. Henderson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and practiced law at Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro. She later served as assistant regional counsel in the San Francisco office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Christopher D. Heard
Director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic and Clinical Assistant Professor of Legal Practice
Chris came to the Law Center from the Houston office of Bracewell LLP where he was senior counsel, representing lenders and borrowers in the structuring, negotiation, and documentation of a wide array of commercial lending transactions.
Chris is director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, which was formerly known as the Transactional Clinic. As director, Chris oversees student attorneys as they represent Third Ward entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations jumpstart their enterprises. Students help with entity formation, drafting and negotiating commercial contracts, raising capital, buying and selling equity and assets, working with employees and independent contractors, and other transactional business law matters.
During his 12 years of private practice, Chris co-authored a publication in "The Banking Law Journal" that discussed defaulting lender provisions in syndicated credit agreements. He was recognized as a Thomson Reuters Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Chris earned a B.A., magna cum laude, with majors in Economics, Philosophy and Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2001 and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004.
Professor of Law
Prior to joining the Law Center faculty, Blake was an assistant professor of law at Stetson University College of Law from 2009 to 2012. He then held a joint appointment as a full professor of law with the Louisiana State University Law Center and the LSU College of the Coast & Environment from 2012 to 2017. Prior to joining academia, Blake practiced law from 2007 to 2009 at Baker Botts LLP in Houston.
Blake's research explores how property, land use, and natural resources law and policy intersect with environmental and constitutional law, with specific focus on the issue of federalism as it relates to land use and the environment. One branch of his research centers on commons scholarship and the complicated role of private property rights and government institutions as solutions to common dilemmas. He has published in numerous law reviews and other legal and peer-reviewed journals and has authored a book, "Constitutions and the Commons: The Impact of Federal Governance on Local, National, and Global Resource Management."
Blake earned a bachelor's degree in Biology and History with minors in Pre-law and Political Science at the University of Montevallo, where he was a scholar-athlete. He graduated magna cum laude in 2007 from Duke University School of Law and also graduated with a master's degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.
Blake teaches Natural Resources Law & Policy, Water Law and Property Law.
Director of the John O'Quinn Law Library and Assistant Professor of Law
Amanda joined the Law Center faculty as assistant professor of law and director of the John O'Quinn Law Library, after a seven-year stint at the Tulane University School of Law where she served as associate director of the library and adjunct associate professor.
In addition to her supervisory role at Tulane, Amanda taught legal research, researched and applied for grant funding, provided reference services, and advised on technological matters that arose throughout the law school. She is proficient in information technology.
At the Law Center, Amanda leads a team of eight librarians and six full-time staff members. She has plans to modernize library services as well as better utilize the library's space. She will teach in the areas of advanced legal research and employment law. Her scholarship focuses on library information services and employment discrimination. She co-authored "Understanding and Utilizing Digital Authentication, in Digital Rights Management: The Librarian's Guide."
Amanda earned a B.A. from Mississippi University for Women in 1998, a J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2001, and a M.I.S. from the Florida State University School of Information in 2006.
We are excited to attract such highly qualified scholars and educators to add to the ranks of an already highly regarded community faculty.
Leonard M. Baynes
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center
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