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Global Law and Policy for the Americas Initiative

Who we are

Affiliated Faculty, Advisory Council and members include faculty of the University of Houston Law Center and other researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working on projects and research connected to the work of GLPA and its extended mission, and are interested in mutual collaboration.

Elizabeth  Trujillo

Elizabeth Trujillo

Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law
Founding Director, Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas

University of Houston Honors College (BA)
University of Houston Law Center (JD)

Elizabeth Trujillo is the Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law and the Founding Director, Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas, who specializes in international trade and investment law, sustainable development and energy, contracts, and international law. Immediately prior to UH, Professor Trujillo was a Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law where she was also the co-convener for their new Global and Comparative Law Program and an Affiliated Faculty member with the Texas A&M University Energy Institute. She also was a Professor of Law at Suffolk University School of Law in Boston where she also served as co-director of their International Law Concentration, a Visiting Professor at Florida State University School of Law, and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University Law School. Prior to entering academia, she worked for the Houston office of the New York law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene and MacRae (later known as Dewey and LeBoeuf) in the areas of corporate law, project finance and international business transactions, with an emphasis on energy and Latin America.

Her publications, which have appeared in top 50 law reviews, books, and peer-reviewed journals, examine the relationship between international trade and investment with domestic regulatory structures, specifically in the areas of energy and the environment, sustainable development, and international consumer protection law. Her recent research focuses more specifically on the trade implications of local decarbonization strategies in national efforts to mitigate for environmental challenges. Due to her expertise on NAFTA and international trade, she has been interviewed by media outlets including the Dallas Morning News and Bloomberg BNA News, and most recently, invited to be part of the NSF Engineering Research Center funded grant Team on Resiliency Enhancement and Disaster-Impact Interception (READII) in the Manufacturing Sector. This research project, sponsored by Texas A&M University Energy Institute and Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station and partnered by other academic institutions such as the University of Texas, Louisiana State University, Florida Atlantic University, Mississippi State University, and Tuskegee University, will focus on Gulf Coast disaster control strategies for the manufacturing sector.

Professor Trujillo was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship to write her book, Reimagining Trade through a Sustainable Development Framework, which will be published with Cambridge University Press in 2020. In furtherance of this book project, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

In 2017, Professor Trujillo was elected to the American Law Institute and in 2018, to the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law where she also serves on the Strategic Initiatives and Book Awards Committees. The Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys named Professor Trujillo “Latina Trailblazer in the Law” in 2012. She currently serves on the Action Committee of the Texas Bar International Law Section.

Emily  Berman

Emily Berman

Associate Professor
Royce R. Till Professorship

B.A., Duke University
J.D., New York University School of Law
LL.M., New York University School of Law

Emily Berman’s scholarship examines the unique separation-of-powers challenges that arise in the constitutional, statutory, and regulatory regimes governing national-security policy. She focuses in particular on ways to impose traditional conceptions of government oversight—such as checks and balances and democratic accountability—on law enforcement and intelligence operations, where such oversight is frequently absent. Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center faculty in the fall of 2014, she taught for two years as a visiting assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School. She previously was a Furman Fellow and Brennan Center Fellow at New York University School of Law and held positions as counsel and Katz Fellow at the Brennan Center, where she developed policy recommendations, drafted reports, and engaged in advocacy regarding U.S. national security policy and its impact on civil liberties. After graduating from law school, Berman clerked for the Hon. John M. Walker, Jr. of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Berman’s work has been published in top journals, such as the Minnesota Law Review, the Fordham Law Review, the Indiana Law Journal, and the New York University Law Review; her opinion pieces have appeared in JustSecurity, The Atlantic Online, the National Law Journal, Legal Times Online, and, among others. Berman teaches National Security Law, Foreign Affairs Law, and Constitutional Law.

Julian  Cardenas Garcia

Julian Cardenas Garcia

Research Assistant Professor

Professor Cardenas joined the University of Houston Law Center in 2012 as an Energy Scholar and a Visiting Professor affiliated to the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center (EENR Center), focusing on transnational petroleum law and arbitration. As a visiting professor, he has also taught the investment law of major industrial projects (energy, mining, and construction), arbitration, and oil and gas industry practices at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) in Brazil; the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL) in Monterrey, and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México – ITAM, in Mexico City, Mexico; the University Externado, in Bogota, Colombia; and the University Paris Sud, France.

He frequently works with companies, public authorities, and governments in various areas of oil and gas law and policy. At the EENR Center, he is the coordinator of the "Inter-American Hydrocarbons Regulators Dialogue," an initiative conceived to create a nexus between national hydrocarbons agencies, the private sector, and the academia. Since June 2019, he sits on the Ad Hoc Administrative Board of Directors of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Venezuelan National Oil Company.

He is a conference speaker on transnational oil and gas law, investment law, international arbitration, best oil and gas industry practices, and oil and gas geopolitics. He has been a guest speaker in conferences related to these issues in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Gabon, and Kuwait. Also, Professor Cardenas is frequently interviewed by media outlets on Latin American affairs and oil and gas industry matters.

Professor Cardenas has been retained as an independent expert in international arbitrations regarding the upstream petroleum sector in Venezuela and has also been involved in ICC, AAA, and ICSID arbitration cases concerning downstream petroleum transactions, direct foreign investments, and international construction projects.

Before joining the EENR Center, he worked as a foreign legal clerk at the Arbitration Department of Dewey & Leboeuf in Paris, and also 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 (OAS) and the United Nations (U.N.), and bilateral affairs related to sovereign boundary issues. He works effectively in Spanish, French, and English, and has some working proficiency in Portuguese.

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, Dijon, France.

Professor Cárdenas is a violinist who has played with different symphony orchestras in Venezuela, France, and the U.S. He has performed at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Carnegie Hall, and the Sorbonne Amphitheatre, among other venues.

Victor  Flatt

Victor B. Flatt

Dwight Olds Chair in Law

Professor Victor B. Flatt returned to the University of Houston in 2017 as the Dwight Olds Professor of Law and is the Faculty Co-Director of the 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 Gutierrez Energy Management Institute. He was previously the inaugural O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Law at UHLC from 2002-2009.

Professor Flatt is a recognized expert on environmental law, climate law, and energy law, and the intersection of these areas. Since 2019, he has created and taught the first law school courses in the country concerning how law relates to sustainability planning and ESG policies in corporations, offering the courses at UHLC, Vermont Law School, and University of Utah Law School.

His research focuses on environmental legislation and enforcement, with particular expertise in the Clean Air Act, NEPA, and Climate. He is co-author of a popular environmental law casebook, and has authored more than 50 law review articles, which have appeared in journals such as the Notre Dame Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, The Ohio State Law Journal, Washington Law Review, Houston Law Review and the Carolina Law Review. Seven of his articles have been recognized as finalists or winner of the best environmental law review article of the year, and one was recognized by Vanderbilt University Law School and the Environmental Law Institute as one of the three best environmental articles of 2010, leading to a seminar and panel on the article in a Congressional staff briefing.

Professor Flatt’s teaching career began at the University of Washington’s Evins School of Public Affairs, and he has previously taught at Georgia State University College of Law, and most recently at the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was the inaugural Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law and the Director of the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics (CE3). He has been a Visiting Law Professor at the University of Georgia Law School, the University of Washington Law School, and Seattle University School of Law. He has been honored as a Distinguished Environmental Scholar in Residence at Vermont Law School, Pace Law School (Elisabeth Haub Distinguished Scholar), and Widener University Delaware Law School.

Professor Flatt has served on the AALS committees on Natural Resources and Environmental Law, and was chair of the AALS Teaching Methods Section. He has served on many other board and committees in his career including the national board of Lambda Legal, and the Law School Admission Council’s Gay and Lesbian Interests section. He is currently a member of the ABA’s Section on Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Law Congressional Liaison Committee, and a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform.

Professor Flatt received his B.A. in Chemistry and Math from Vanderbilt University where he was a Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholar, and his J.D. from Northwestern University, where he was a John Henry Wigmore Scholar. After graduating from Northwestern, Professor Flatt clerked for the Honorable Danny J. Boggs of the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tracy  Hester

Tracy Hester

Instructional Associate Professor of Law

Professor Hester teaches environmental law at the University of Houston Law Center. His research focuses on the innovative application of environmental laws to emerging technologies and unanticipated risks, including climate engineering, deep decarbonization (particularly in energy production), nanotechnologies, artificial intelligence, genetic modification, and advanced wind, solar, and other renewable power systems. Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center, Prof. Hester served as a partner in Bracewell LLP for sixteen years and led that firm's Houston office's environmental group.

In Fall 2019, Prof. Hester taught the first U.S. law school course on Climate Intervention Law, which focused on emerging climate engineering technologies and legal challenges. He also teaches classes on Environmental Law, Natural Resource Damages Liability, Environmental Law in Oil & Gas, Climate Change Liability and Litigation, Environmental Enforcement, Emerging Technologies and Environmental Law, and Advanced Hazardous Waste Law. He originated and teaches an innovative Environmental Practicum that matches students with multiple leading environmental attorneys to work on practical projects and to develop innovative environmental initiatives. He also teaches the first year course on Statutory Interpretation and Regulatory Practice.

Prof. Hester is currently the co-director and a co-founder of the Center for Carbon Management in Energy at the University of Houston. During the summer of 2014, Prof. Hester served as the interim Director of the North America Commission on Environmental Cooperation's Submission on Environmental Matters Unit in Montreal, Canada. The Environmental Law Institute also named him as its Environmental Scholar in Residence for 2015.

Prof. Hester was inducted into the American College of Environmental Lawyers in 2015 (and named a Regent in 2018), elected as a member of the American Law Institute in 2004, and named the Top Environmental Lawyer in Houston in 2011 by Best Lawyers of America. He was also elected to the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) in 2011 through 2014, and he currently chairs SEER's Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecological Services Committee. Prof. Hester is the past chair of SEER’s Special Committee on Congressional Relations as well as its Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee .

Geoffrey  Hoffman

Geoffrey Hoffman

Clinical Professor
Director, Immigration Clinic

A.B. Columbia University (magna cum laude); J.D. Tulane Law School (cum laude), LL.M. Harvard Law School.

Professor Hoffman specializes in immigration-related federal court litigation, deportation defense, asylum cases, and appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has represented numerous immigrants in a variety of settings including before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Homeland Security, and in the federal courts. Professor Hoffman served as co-counsel before the Supreme Court of the United States in the precedent-setting immigration case, Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder. He is co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at UHLC, as well as a founding member of the Board of Editors for the AILA Law Journal.

Professor Hoffman comments on immigration law and policy. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Mother Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg News, Houston Chronicle, among other outlets. He has published articles in the following representative law reviews, Maryland Journal of International Law, Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice at the University of Iowa, Houston J. of Int’l Law-Sidebar, Houston Law Review-Online, Nova Law Review, Loyola L.A. Int’l and Comparative L.J. He also has published pieces in, Jurist, Immigration Professor’s Blog, Lexis Nexis Immigration Legal News, Notice and Comment, a blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation, among other venues.

Prior to joining the Clinic, he practiced immigration law at Kurzban Kurzban Weinger & Tetzeli, P.A. in Miami, Florida. Previously, he taught at the University of Illinois, Tulane Law School and the University of Miami. In addition to his practice and teaching experience, Professor Hoffman served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Paul V. Gadola, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for a two-year term.

In 2016, Professor Hoffman received the Ethel M. Baker Faculty Award for community service. In 2015, Professor Hoffman received the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award, a University-wide award established by the UH Provost. In 2015, he was awarded the Certificate of Excellence for service to the Law Center and University. In 2014, Professor Hoffman received AILA's Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award. The UHLC immigration clinic under Professor Hoffman’s leadership was awarded the Pro Bono Hero Award for the Central Region by AILA for 2015.

Zachary  Kaufman

Zachary D. Kaufman

Associate Professor of Law and Political Science in the Law Center;
Co-Director, Criminal Justice Institute

J.D., Yale Law School; D.Phil. (Ph.D.) and M.Phil. (both in International Relations), Oxford University (Marshall Scholar); B.A. (Political Science), Yale University


Sapna  Kumar

Sapna Kumar

Professor of Law
John Mixon Chair
Co-Director for the Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law

(713) 743-4148

B.S., B.A., University of Texas at Austin
J.D., University of Chicago

Professor Kumar is an expert in U.S. patent law and has written extensively about administrative and international law issues relating to patents. She is a 2018–2019 Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Grant recipient, which enabled her to conduct research on the use of technically-trained judges at the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies in Strasbourg and at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich. This research resulted in the article Judging Patents, which was published in the William & Mary Law Review in 2021. She has presented her research around the world, including at invited talks and presentations at Hokkaido University (Japan), Tilburg University (Netherlands), and the Ludwig Maximilian University (Germany).

Professor Kumar received her J.D. at the University of Chicago, where she served as a staff member of the University of Chicago Law Review. From 2003 to 2006, she practiced intellectual property litigation in Chicago at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and at Pattishall McAuliffe. She then spent two years at Duke University Law School, where she was a Faculty Fellow and part of the Center for Genome Ethics Law & Policy. After completing her fellowship, Professor Kumar clerked for the Honorable Judge Kenneth F. Ripple on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Professor Kumar is also passionate about teaching. She has received both the University of Houston Teaching Excellence award and the Student Bar Association's Faculty of the Year award.

Daniel  Morales

Daniel I. Morales

Associate Professor of Law; George A. Butler Research Professor

Professor Daniel I. Morales is a scholar and theorist of immigration law. His research addresses the legal problems that arise because immigration law acts on noncitizens, yet is made by and for the citizenry. His scholarship has appeared in leading law reviews, including the N.Y.U. Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, and Wake Forest Law Review. Prof. Morales joins the Law Center faculty from DePaul University, where he was honored with the College of Law's Excellence in Teaching Award and the University's Spirit of Inquiry Award for research excellence. Professor Morales began his academic career as a William H. Hastie Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School and subsequently clerked for both the Hon. R. Guy Cole Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, and the Hon. Joan B. Gottschall, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He received his JD from Yale Law School and his BA, magna cum laude, from Williams College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He has practiced law at Jenner & Block LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He will teach Immigration Law, Crimmigration, and Latinos and the Law at the Law Center.

Gina  Warren

Gina S. Warren

Professor of Law
A.L. O'Quinn Chair in Environmental Studies
Co-director of EENR

J.D. Rutgers School of Law
B.S. University of Arizona

Gina S. Warren is the A.L. O’Quinn Chair in Environmental Studies and co-director of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Center. Prior to joining the Law Center in 2016, she taught at Texas A&M University School of Law (2011-2016) and Duquesne University School of Law (2010-2011). Warren also taught internationally at the University of Cologne in Cologne, Germany (2011) and in coordination with the University of Guanajuato in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (2015). At the Law Center she serves a faculty mentor to 1L students and is involved in the Law Center’s Pipeline program. Warren was voted the Student Bar Association Professor of the Year in 2018 and nominated as faculty graduation speaker by the class of 2020.

Her teaching and scholarship focuses on the nexus between the environment, property, social justice, and energy. Her scholarship has appeared in top 20 law review journals, books, and peer-reviewed journals. She is an internationally-recognized scholar with publications in prominent journals such as the Boston University Law Review, the Maryland Law Review, the Missouri Law Review, the Nebraska Law Review, the Idaho Law Review (peer reviewed), theUniversity of Cologne (Germany) Business Law Journal, and the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law. Warren’s research has also been cited by the Colorado Supreme Court and showcased by the Washington Post, among others. Warren authored a book chapter on U.S.-Mexico relations in energy and the environment, and her scholarship has been excerpted in prominent energy and renewable energy textbooks.

She is the past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Natural Resources and Energy Law, is a member of the Environmental Law, Property Law, and Women’s Law sections, and has served for the last several years on the sections’ sub-committees. Professor Warren has also served on many other committees and boards in her career, including being the law school representative for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and an advisory board member for the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. She is currently the chair of academic outreach for the Institute for Energy Law.

Professor Warren was in private practice for several years prior to entering academia. She worked as a litigator in land use, environment, and utility law for the international law firm of Perkins Coie based in Seattle, Washington as well as a litigator in a prominent regional firm Post & Schell based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Professor Warren also completed a clerkship for the Honorable Michael Winkelstein of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington.

Bret  Wells

Bret Wells

Professor of Law,
Law Foundation Professor of Law

713 743 2502

J.D., with honors, University of Texas Law School
B.B.A., summa cum laude, Southwestern University

Professor Douglas Bret Wells is a Professor of Law and Law Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center. Professor Wells teaches in the area of federal income taxation, corporate taxation, and international taxation. Professor Wells also teaches and writes on Texas Oil and Gas Law.

Professor Wells is the lead co-author on one of the premier treatises on U.S. international taxation. See Joseph Isenbergh & Bret Wells, International Taxation: U.S. Taxation of Foreign Persons and Foreign Income (Wolters Kluwer 6th Ed. 2021). He has testified on international taxation issues to the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures.

Professor Wells places significant emphasis on teaching materials used in his courses. He is a co-author on four of the leading casebooks on federal taxation, including the following: (i) Daniel L. Simmons, Martin J. McMahon, Bradley T. Borden, and Bret Wells, Federal Income Taxation (Foundation Press 8th ed. 2020); (ii) Martin J. McMahon, Daniel L. Simmons, Charlene D. Luke, and Bret Wells, Federal Income Taxation of Corporations (Foundation Press 5th ed. 2019); (iii) Martin J. McMahon, Daniel L. Simmons, Charlene D. Luke, and Bret Wells, Federal Taxation of Partnerships and S Corporations (Foundation Press 6th ed. 2020); (iv) Martin J. McMahon, Daniel L. Simmons, Charlene D. Luke, and Bret Wells, Federal Income Taxation of Business Organizations (Foundation Press 5th ed. 2020);. Professor Wells is a co-author on a leading law student resource on international tax law. See Joseph Isenbergh & Bret Wells, International Taxation (Foundation Press Insights & Concepts Series, 4th ed. 2019).

Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Wells was an executive officer of a leading oil and gas service company where he had significant exposure to oil and gas issues in the upstream context. Since joining the faculty, Professor Wells has written repeatedly on Texas oil and gas issues with a particular focus on the legal challenges raised by today’s development in unconventional shale formations. Professor Wells also is a co-author on a leading casebook on Texas oil and gas law. See Jacqueline L. Weaver and Bret Wells, Texas Oil and Gas Law: Cases and Materials (LawCarta 2d Ed. 2021). Professor Wells is a frequent speaker at conferences on oil and gas law matters.

In 2020, Professor Wells became an elected member of the American Law Institute.


Advisory Council


Sabrina Ragone, Universita di Bologna


David Gantz, University of Arizona and Rice University Baker Institute


Rogelio Vernet Cruz, Cruz Vernet/ Trade & Customs Law


Professor René Urueña, Universidad de los Andes

University of Houston Law Center

4170 Martin Luther King Blvd
Houston, TX 77204-6060

713-743-2100 General
713-743-2094 Legal Clinics