Jan. 18, 2022 – University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes was the recipient of the Clyde Ferguson Award from the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Minority Groups. Baynes received the accolade during a recent virtual ceremony.
He was introduced by Emeritus Professor and William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law Michael A. Olivas, who won the inaugural Award, along with Prof. Anita Hill, over 20 years earlier.
“Dean Baynes is an accomplished academic and advocate, as well as becoming an increasingly-influential leader in the ranks of legal education,” Olivas said. “It is amazing with all his busy time, including building a new facility and all the other things deans do especially in a pandemic, that he is able to remain an active scholar and advocate for communications issues in the basic legal domain and their profound impact on discourse and minorities.
“I remember speaking with the chancellor and provost who made the final decision to hire Dean Baynes. I had come to know him, and thought he would be an exceptional dean. I said to them: 'Run, do not walk to hire this man.'”
In his acceptance remarks, Baynes commented on the advantage of the Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline program and similar initiatives for underserved populations.
“In terms of my career and life’s work, it's important for me to make sure there's a next generation of lawyers of color,” Baynes said. “I am always asking myself what I can do to make a difference. There is hope in pipeline programs.
“At the Law Center, the Pipeline Program has made a huge difference. It has increased LSAT scores significantly affording many students who participate in the program the opportunity of going to law school. We all have to do more so that there is a next generation of lawyers of color. And, by having more lawyers of color, we will have more diversity of thought and perspective in the legal academy.”
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