UHLC's Baynes updates 'state of the school' during sessions of 'Discussion with the Dean' 

University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes details the school’s latest developments during a talk with students, faculty and staff.

University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes details the school's latest developments during a talk with students, faculty and staff.

Oct. 6, 2016 - Dean Leonard M. Baynes provided students, faculty and staff with a broad overview of recent happenings at the University of Houston Law Center during two "Discussion with the Dean" sessions on Wednesday.

Topics included new faculty and administrative appointments, faculty and administration hires and promotions, new college professorship appointments, and preliminary plans for a new law school building.

"I'm really appreciative for the opportunity to speak to students and the community about what's going on at our campus," Baynes said.

Baynes began the discussion by introducing the Law Center's entering class of 214 J.D. students and 65 LL.M. students. The class' median credentials are a 159 LSAT score and a 3.53 GPA. The class is the most diverse in Law Center history with 40.7 percent being students of color.

"Our entering class' statistics are excellent," Baynes said. "We have a record number of students of color, from minority groups, at almost 41 percent. It's a great accomplishment to excellence and diversity at the same time."

Several Law Center professors recently earned college professorships. Professors Jim Hawkins, Sapna Kumar, Jessica Roberts and Bret Wells have been named George Butler Research Professors.

Professor Barbara J. Evans is the new Alumnae College Professor in Law and Professor Ron Turner will now serve as the A.A. White Professor in Law.

Professor Darren Bush has been named to the Leonard B. Rosenberg College Professor in Law. Professor Ellen Marrus was named the Royce Till Professor in Law. Professor Greg Vetter is the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association College Professorship in Law, which will eventually be renamed the Paul Janicke College Professorship in Law.

Baynes noted three administrative appointments: Pilar Mensah to Interim Assistant Dean for Admissions, Allison Hickey Regan as Interim Assistant Dean for Alumni Relations, and Tiffany Tucker as Interim Assistant Dean for Career Development.

The following faculty hires and promotions were also announced:

  • Jessica Mantel was tenured and promoted to an associate professor.
  • Tasha Willis was promoted to clinical associate professor and Emily Lawson was promoted to associate law librarian.
  • Bush has been appointed as director of the Environment, Energy, & Natural Resources Center.
  • Professor Meredith Duncan has been elevated to director of Metropolitan Programs.
  • Sapna Kumar is now co-director of the Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law.
  • Richard McElvaney was selected as the director of the Consumer Complaint Center.

Baynes mentioned bold plans that would allow funding for a new building, the Cornerstone Club. The plan proposes the participation of 40 individuals and law firms to make either a $250,000 lump sum payment or $50,000 payments over five years. The goal of the Cornerstone Club would be to raise $10 million toward a new building. Donors would have input on the facility's design, first rights to naming opportunities, and permanent recognition on a prominent donor wall of honor.

Baynes also spoke about the Law Center's new Briefcase Radio segments broadcast on Houston Public Media 88.7 FM. The weekly segments debuted on Sept. 7 and air at 5:49 a.m., 7:49 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2:39 p.m. every Wednesday. Baynes hosts a different Law Center faculty expert each week to discuss trending topics in their field.

"Briefcase Radio will be a great way to extend the reach and acclaim of our faculty and the Law Center," he said.

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