UHLC Dean Baynes details building study, faculty hiring in talk with students


Dean Leonard M. Baynes brings students up to date on Law Center matters during Tuesday’s “Discussion with the Dean.”

Feb. 10, 2015 -- University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes told students Tuesday that efforts are proceeding to find funding for a new, state-of-the-art facility, to hire new faculty, and to better connect students with alumni, among other initiatives of his new administration.

Baynes said that since he held his first “Discussion with the Dean” in October, a feasibility study has almost been completed on the potential for tapping UHLC’s extensive alumni network to help raise approximately $100 million for a new building. Results of the study expected to be completed this month will be made publicly available

Baynes said he also will travel to Austin on Feb. 23 as part of the biennial “UH Day” to press the school’s need for a modern facility, and other UHLC priorities, to lawmakers.

“We have to think about ways to get as many people as we possibly can to get engaged in the enterprise,” he said. “If we’re going to get a new building, we’re going to need a lot of people to be engaged.”

Baynes also recounted his travels across the state and country, most recently in Washington, D.C., and the Rio Grande Valley, to meet with alumni. He stressed that he wasn’t merely sharing “my travel blog,” but emphasizing his continuing efforts to reconnect alumni with the Law Center and its students.

He said the Law Center is in the process of creating new opportunities for students to network with alumni, including at the upcoming 39th Annual Law Gala and Auction, which will include a “Houston Showcase” during which students will visit courts, law firms,  and other points of interest around the city, and a special pre-Gala reception for students.

Baynes also touted several events UHLC held in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s recently concluded Annual Midyear Meeting, held for the first time in Houston since 1981. Those included a panel discussion on gender and race issues in the legal profession held at the school. 

“It’s important for us to be a global law school, to be a national law school, and to be a metropolitan law school,” he said.

Baynes also announced the newest faculty hire, James D. Nelson, whose scholarship is in corporate governance and constitutional law. Nelson is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia Law School in New York. Another potential high-caliber faculty member is “still in play,” Baynes said.

The dean announced that UHLC is expanding its summer externship programs with 10 new “global” positions, some of them with PEMEX, the national oil and gas corporation of Mexico. There is the potential for others in Canada and India, he said.

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