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UHLC Dean Baynes stresses the importance of scholarships during discussion with students

Dean Leonard M. Baynes

UH Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes is joined by students, staff and faculty during the fall semester “Discussion with the Dean.”

Nov. 11, 2022 —Dean Leonard M. Baynes highlighted the future objectives and recent milestones of the University of Houston Law Center during the fall semester “Discussion with the Dean” sessions this week.

“Our goal now is to raise $10 million for scholarships. We need scholarships to recruit and retain great students,” Baynes said. “Philanthropy makes dreams come true.”

The Law Center scholarship fundraising is already underway thanks to support from alumni donors such as UH Law Foundation President Tom Hetherington ’98, Sen. Royce West ’79 and Muhammad Aziz ’04, among many others.

While addressing students, faculty and staff, Baynes noted several recent student achievements. UH Law Center is the American Bar Association (ABA) 2021-2022 ABA Competitions Champion. The UHLC Mock Trial Team won the Region 4 Champions in the All-Star Bracket Challenge and will compete at the National Trial Competition in November.

Baynes recognized pioneering law journal leaders — alumnae Charisma Nguepdo ’22, the first African American Editor-in-Chief of the Houston Law Review, alumnae To Nhu Huynh ’22, the first Asian American Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Health Law and Policy, student LaTheena Thomas, the first African American Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Health Law and Policy and student Adriana Young, the first African American Editor-in-Chief of the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal.

Giving an update on the Texas July 2022 bar exam, Baynes mentioned the UH Law Center’s passage rate for first-time J.D. test takers was 84.66%, compared to 80.47% for first-time examinees across all Texas law schools.

“I am heartened that the students did as well as they did, given that they had about two years of distance education. These examinees were 1Ls when the pandemic began. I am thankful that the faculty and our students rose to the occasion,” said Baynes.

With more than 3,000 total candidates taking the exam in July, Texas is the third-largest bar exam jurisdiction in the country behind New York and California.

Baynes noted several changes to the faculty and staff roster this year, including the appointment of Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas as the Director of the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, Ryan Marquez, appointed to Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Civil Justice Clinic, and Laurel Simmons appointed to Clinical Assistant Professor, and the hirings of Aman Gebru, Nikolas Guggenberger, Maikieta Brantley and Teresa Messer to the faculty.

Baynes gave an overview of the Law Center’s recent events, including highlights from the new John M. O’Quinn Law Building ribbon-cutting celebration and dedication conference, the Dean’s Diversity Dialogues and the Supreme Court Update CLE series.

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