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alumni serve locally and around the globe




The Way Home. Marc Eichenbaum ’08, Mayor Turner’s special assistant for homeless initiatives, outlines Houston’s plan for effectively ending chronic homelessness in 2017.


South Texas College of Law Houston



CONTENTS Message from the Dean In Brief Recent happenings, announcements, and accomplishments at South Texas


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Alumna’s service reaches from Texas to Pakistan


Judge by Day – Forgiver by Night


Quick Guide to the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics


The Way Home


A Seat at the Table


Texas Aggie Spirit Finds Second Home at South Texas


Raising the Bar


Rare Books Collection


D’Lisa Simmons ’90 takes the idea of community service beyond the borders of her hometown

Keith Giblin ’89 wears two hats — and robes — as both judge and priest

Get a brief overview of the clinics’ services and f ind out how to refer needy clients Marc Eichenbaum ’08 leads the charge in ending homelessness in Houston

Plamen Novakov, 3L, spends summer as a U.N. intern

Former Student creates scholarship to support next generation of STCL Houston Aggies

STCL Houston introduces new bar exam preparation program

Discover STCL Houston’s impressive collection of centuries-old legal texts


Stacks 36 Faculty Book Recommendations

Faculty Notes Class Notes

38 41



Donald J. Guter President and Dean Steve Alderman Vice President of Human Resources and General Counsel

Bruce A. McGovern Vice President, Associate Dean of Academic Administration, and Professor of Law T. Gerald Treece Vice President, Associate Dean, Special Counsel to the President, Professor of Law, and Director of Advocacy

Gregory A. Brothers Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Jeffrey Rensberger Vice President for Strategic Planning, Institutional Research and Professor of Law

Catherine Greene Burnett Vice President, Associate Dean, and Professor of Law

Diane Summers Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Maxine Goodman Vice President, Associate Dean of Academic Administration, and Professor of Law

John J. Worley Vice President and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law

Mindy Guthrie Vice President of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations Randy Marak Vice President of Information Technology and Director of Information Systems


J. Kenneth Johnson ’86 President Richard H. Anderson ’82 Larry Baillargeon ’74 Genora Boykins ’85 Darryl M. Burman ’83 Hon. Robert A. Eckels ’93

Stewart W. Gagnon ’74 Justice Eva Guzman ’89 Michael Hays ’74 Randy R. Howry ’85 Michael K. Hurst ’90 Don D. Jordan ’69 Nicholas J. Lanza, Jr. ’89 Joseph K. Lopez ’78 Michael W. Milich ’97 Imogen S. Papadopoulos ’84 Gordon Quan ’77 Jeff Rusk ’83 Andy Sommerman ’86 Randall Sorrels ’87 Amy Dunn Taylor ’82 James D. Thompson III ’86 Ruthie Nelson White ’96 ALUMNI ASSOCIATION


Nicholas J. Lanza, Jr. ’89 President Jon Paul Hoelscher ’05 President-Elect Elizabeth W. Dwyer ’07 Vice President of Admissions Committee Ryan Haun ’06 Vice President of Career Networking Committee

Brant J. Stogner ’06 Vice President of Development/Fundraising Committee K.C. Ashmore ’03 Timothy W. Ballengee ’09 Richard D. Berlin ’06 Courtney Carlson ’08 Adam P. Curley ’08 T. Aaron Dobbs ’05 Darcy M. Douglas ’07 Jennifer L. Falk ’06 Samantha E. Frazier ’11 The Hon. Keith F. Giblin ’89 Bradford J. Gilde ’04 Katherine D. Gonyea ’08 Misty A. Hataway-Coné ’01 Catina M. Haynes ’06 Christine D. Herron ’10 Trace A. Holmes ’10 Chastiti N. Horne ’98 Walter J. Kronzer III ’87 Lindsey C. Moorhead ’11 Desrye M. Morgan ’96 David W. Olson ’05 Gus E. Pappas ’88 J. Goodwille Pierre ’00 Wade R. Quinn ’88 Aaron M. Reimer ’07 Sharon Schweitzer ’89 Gabe T. Vick III ’07 Peter B. Wells IV ’05 David V. Wilson II ’93


Amanda Jackson Green Managing Editor Diane Summers Vice President of Marketing & Communications Claire Caton Manager of Public Relations Pete Vogel Art Direction & Design InRe is published by South Texas College of Law Houston for the law school’s alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends. Please direct correspondence or inquiries to: Amanda Jackson Green South Texas College of Law Houston 1303 San Jacinto, Houston, Texas 77002-7006 713-646-1760 COPYRIGHT ©2017



A Message from the President & Dean

In 2011, the board of directors at South Texas College of Law Houston adopted the law school’s current mission statement: “Provide a diverse body of students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional legal education, preparing graduates to serve their community and the profession with distinction.”

We carry each of these priorities with equal weight. Our curriculum is not just about giving our students the tools to succeed in the courtroom; STCL Houston faculty members strive to instill in our students a sense of responsibility to serve the community. For many students, the commitment to serve begins far before they walk through our doors. They come to us as teachers, police officers, military servicepersons, and social workers seeking the knowledge to take their service to the next level. Some give their time to worthy causes outside our campus, and still others devote hours to support underrepresented clients in our Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics. Our goal is to see every graduate carry these values with them after they leave STCL Houston. In this issue of InRe, you’ll read the stories of three alumni who are working diligently to serve others in their communities and abroad. Marc Eichenbaum ’08 is part of a team that is taking major strides toward ending chronic homelessness in Houston. Judge Keith Giblin ’89 spends his days on the bench and his evenings and weekends volunteering at the altar. And D’Lisa Simmons ’90 recently traveled to Pakistan, where she and others are determined to eradicate the polio virus, one vaccination at a time. I am proud of their service, especially because I know they represent the tremendous generosity, volunteerism, and care for others that is demonstrated by each of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. In addition to these stories on service, this issue features a brand-new design with fresh content, including several new sections that highlight what’s new on campus, a photo essay showcasing the Fred Parks Law Library’s impressive rare books collection, and new opportunities to get to know STCL Houston’s professors (including a chance to win some of their favorite books on page 36). I hope you enjoy the new InRe, and I encourage you to send your story ideas, questions, and comments to our editor at Thank you for your continued support of South Texas College of Law Houston! Kind regards,

Donald J. Guter President and Dean


| in brief |

Career Advisor Directory connects students with alumni mentors Last fall, South Texas College of Law Houston launched the Career Advisor Directory (CAD), a place for students and alumni to connect with graduates who have volunteered to share professional guidance and insight about a specific practice area. More than 100 alumni have registered to join CAD, opening the door for valuable mentorships by committing to provide thoughtful answers and resources in response to questions about career development, interview preparation, and other relevant topics. The program is designed to allow each career advisor to individualize the experience to his or her availability and workload. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, visit Energy Alumni Chapter flourishes Since it was chartered as the Alumni Association’s first affinity chapter in September 2015, the Energy Alumni Chapter has thrived under the leadership of Trace Holmes ’10, Ford Peters ’13, Gabe Lerner ’10, and Alex Kuiper ’13. The goal of the chapter is to provide valuable networking opportunities to alumni in this area of practice and help contribute to the growth and development of the law school. Since the chapter’s inception, its leaders have coordinated a poker night, networking receptions during the North American Prospect Expo (NAPE), a bowling night, and whisky socials to engage hundreds of alumni working in Houston’s




South Texas College of Law Houston



















Our alumni community is made up of more than 15,000 graduates, 26 percent of whom graduated in the past 10 years. Our network spans 19 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Among our alumni, 251 are active judges, 147 are partners at the nation’s 350 largest firms, and 13 serve as managing partners of firms ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s top tier.

energy sector. Additionally, the chapter supports the Harry L. Reed Oil & Gas Law Institute by creating a network of alumni with whom students entering the oil and gas field in Houston can connect upon graduation.

Trace Holmes ’10, Megan Rothermel ’16, Ford Peters ’13, Alex Kuiper ’13, and Gabe Lerner ’10 at the Texas Hold’em Poker Night. 6



Three alumni honored at Annual Meeting & Luncheon The South Texas College of Law Houston Alumni Association recognized three champions at the sold-out Annual Meeting & Luncheon held on October 14 at the Petroleum Club of Houston. Presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award was Gordon Quan ’77, a nationally recognized immigration lawyer and managing partner of Quan Law Group. Chastiti Horne ’98 received the Public Service Award for her work with Child Advocates Inc. as guardian ad litem, representing abused and neglected children who are in CPS custody. For the inaugural Young Alumni Award, Brant Stogner ’06 was honored for service to the law school as an Advocacy varsity coach and founding Young Alumni Council member as well as for his professional accomplishments as a personal injury lawyer.

J. Goodwille Pierre ’00, Gordon Quan ’77, Brant Stogner ’06, Chastiti Horne ’98, Dean Donald J. Guter, and Nick Lanza ’89

J. Goodwille Pierre ’00 presented the three awards, passed the gavel to incoming President Nick Lanza ’89, and introduced the other members of the 2017 Alumni Association Board.

Alumni provide a warm welcome for admitted students Alumni are some of the best advocates for South Texas College of Law Houston. In partnership with the Admissions Office, members of the newly formed Admissions Network are trying to help admitted students understand that STCL Houston is the right choice for them. Many have been admitted to other law schools, and alumni are in a unique position to share insights into what makes STCL Houston exceptional. In 2016, Admissions Network

volunteers contacted more than 250 of the top admitted students. By personally reaching out and sharing their stories, alumni can be valuable resources for admitted students to learn more than they could from a brochure. Admissions Network volunteers successfully reached out to 18 percent of the new students who enrolled in fall 2016. Additionally, Austin and Houston law firms hosted Admitted Student Receptions to create connections between alumni and admitted students in March, prior to the national seat deposit deadline.

Adriana Perez ’16, a mentor who passed the July 2016 bar exam, meets first-time bar examinee Selina Ferdous ’16 at the Ace the Bar Meet & Greet on Dec. 15, 2016.

Benny Agosto ‘95 and new student Jorge Garza mingled at the Admitted Student Reception at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz.

ACE the Bar Mentorship Program pairs test-takers with mentors In November, STCL Houston launched a new mentoring program as part of a comprehensive bar-preparation program.

The program, ACE the Bar, is designed to provide Accountability, Commitment, and Encouragement for all STCL Houston students and alumni preparing for the bar exam. For the February bar exam, the program matched 39 new graduates with mentors to help them with preparation, time and stress management, and study tips. Mentors agree to contact their mentees at least once a week to encourage them to persevere throughout their bar studies and pass the exam. The program will expand for the July bar exam, as more alumni typically take the test in the summer. For more information about the ACE the Bar program, visit ACEthebar.

New clinic helps low-income taxpayers navigate IRS system In fall 2016, STCL Houston established a pro bono Tax Clinic to educate low-income Houstonians on tax issues and help them resolve tax problems. Under the direction of Assoc. Dean Bruce McGovern and Staff Attorney Jeff Gold, the clinic’s students assist clients in negotiating with IRS examining agents, filing protests with IRS Appeals, and preparing and filing petitions with the U.S. Tax Court. The eight students in the clinic’s first cohort also delivered educational presentations — in person and online — on topics such as tax filing requirements, deductions, the earned income taxpayer credit, and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Maria Ivañez ‘16 wins statewide Law Student Pro Bono Award The Texas Access to Justice (ATJ) Commission recently honored South Texas College of Law Houston graduate Maria Ivañez with its annual Law Student Pro Bono Award, which recognizes a student from an accredited Texas law school who has most enhanced the delivery of quality legal services to lowincome Texans and underserved communities. For her exceptional pro bono service, she recently was named one of the National Jurist’s Top 25 Law School Students of the Year.


| in brief |

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg ’86 takes the oath of office at her public swearing-in ceremony, held on the STCL Houston campus in January.

STCL Houston hosts swearing-in ceremony for Harris County D.A. Kim Ogg ’86 In early January, newly elected Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg ’86 was sworn into office at her alma mater. South Texas President and Dean Donald J. Guter served as emcee for the event, which was held in the Joe Green Auditorium. Ogg vowed to uphold the law and protect the integrity of the office by reciting an oath administered by her father, former state Sen. Jack C. Ogg ’62. Theatrical performance raises $12,500 for Civil Practice Clinics Each year, legal charities across the city benefit from the hard work and talent of Night Court, the only charitable theatrical ensemble in Houston made up entirely of attorneys and judges. The fall 2016 production, “Texas: Law and Order,” a riff on the popular legal drama series, featured several STCL Houston alumni and Executive Vice President Emeritus Helen B. Jenkins, who took the stage for the 12th year. Proceeds from the show benefitted


South Texas College of Law Houston

Student Bar Association leaders Cara Woolet, Taylor Christie, and Earl Ingle — along with President and Dean Donald J. Guter and Asst. Dean Wanda Morrow — present Houston Food Bank Community Engagement Manager Yolanda Alexander with a check for nearly $38,000 for the “Share Your Holidays” food drive.

several local nonprofits, including the law school’s Civil Practice Clinics.

Houston Food Bank names STCL Houston “Largest Academic Donor” in holiday food drive STCL Houston has raised funds for the Houston Food Bank’s annual “Share Your Holidays” food drive for more than two decades. In fall 2016, the law school’s

Professor Helen Jenkins belts out a tune during Night Court’s 2016 production, “Texas: Law & Order.”

Student Bar Association broke an organizational record with a donation of approximately $38,000 to the food drive, the largest donation from an academic institution.


Last fall, the law school completed the final phase of a $2 million campus renovation project funded entirely by a generous gift from the Fred and Mabel R. Parks Foundation. The project included a complete redesign of the school’s front entrance and atrium, the addition of an outdoor patio and student lounge, and improvements to the building’s facade, signage, and street lighting.

The renovated campus entrance and atrium create a welcoming atmosphere for members of the STCL Houston community and visitors.

preLaw Magazine names STCL Houston “Best Moot Court of the Decade” The law school earned the title of “Best Moot Court of the Decade” in preLaw Magazine’s fall 2016 issue. The publication’s editorial board determined the award using a cumulative score based on its annual ranking, which assesses the quality of the competitions a school participated in, the size of the competitions, and the school’s performance in those competitions. The award coincided with the law school’s 123rd national advocacy championship, won by students Brad Eric Franklin, Hayley Hervieux, and Chase Newsom at the National Health Law Moot Court Competition at Southern Illinois University School of Law. The board of advocates has since secured three additional wins, for a total of 126. Law school wins back-to-back national ADR competitions Students at STCL Houston won two

Students Chris Piper (far left), Urvashi Morolia (second from left), and Lionel Sims (far right) celebrate their recent national championship at the St. John’s Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon in New York City with their head coach, Lynn Nguyen ’13.

national alternative dispute resolution (ADR) championships in fall 2016. Amanda Gordon won first place at the University of Houston’s Jeffry S. Abrams National Mediator Competition, which drew 16 competitors from nine law schools across the country. Weeks later, Urvashi Morolia, Chris Piper, and Lionel Sims formed the winning team at St. John’s Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon in New York City.


When you hire a South Texas grad,

You hire a champion. NATIONAL ADVOCACY WINNER: 126 times. No other law school has won half as many. Winner of more ABA NATIONAL APPELLATE ADVOCACY CHAMPIONSHIPS than any other law school in the U.S. Winner of more Scribes BEST BRIEF LEGAL WRITING AWARDS than any other law school in the U.S. Winner of 10 FIRST-PLACE National and International ADR Competitions, ranking as a top law school for ADR.

South Texas College of Law Houston builds champions.

Hire a South Texas grad: 1303 SAN JACINTO • HOUSTON, TEXAS • 713-659-8040

Passing the torch

South Texas alumni exchange general counsel role at Swift Energy Company WRITTEN BY CLAIRE CATON

Family and legacy are two words that embody the South Texas College of Law Houston culture — a tradition that extends well beyond the walls of the law school. No place is this more evident than at the family-run, publicly traded oil and gas company Swift Energy, founded by South Texas alumnus Aubrey Earl Swift ’68 in 1979. South Texas roots continue to run deep at the company today, nearly two decades later. In the spring of 2016, STCL Houston alumnus and board member Larry Baillargeon ’74 announced his retirement after 12 years as vice president and general counsel of the company, officially passing the general counsel “torch” to another South Texas alumnus, Chris Abundis ’05. Baillargeon remained on as of counsel through January 2017 to assist in providing a smooth transition. Baillargeon — who first joined the company as associate general counsel in 2000 and was appointed general counsel in 2005 by Swift Energy’s recently retired Chairman and CEO Terry Swift — was pleased to hand the reins to Abundis, who is honored to follow in his mentor’s footsteps. “I am reaping the benefits of Larry’s vision — and execution of that vision — because he made the department what it is today,” said Abundis. “When Larry joined Swift Energy, there was only one lawyer and virtually no staff or infrastructure. He methodically built a department that could support all facets of a publicly traded oil and gas company. Larry also created jobs for many people, which I consider a quintessential value-add to society.” Baillargeon, twice nominated as Houston Top General Counsel by the Houston Business Journal, is equally as effusive in praise of his successor. “Chris’s rise to the top was not an easy one,” he said. “He began as an associate counsel and, despite his young age, progressed through the ranks to counsel, senior counsel, and general counsel. He truly earned his success, and I cannot stress how proud I am of his hard work and dedication – and that of South Texas for preparing him so very well to meet this challenge.” Abundis agrees that his alma mater provides an outstanding foundation for budding lawyers. “I think South Texas graduates are hungry and ready to be successful,” he said. “I have a unique path going straight to a publicly traded oil and gas company right out of law school, but there was not a doubt in my mind that I was ready to be successful — which means being ready to practice from day one.”

South Texas College of “I think sometimes STCL Houston Law Houston alumnus can get pigeonholed as a courtroom advoand board member cacy school because of their national excelLarry Baillargeon ’74, lence in this arena. But, I believe the focus right, recently passed the torch of general on advocacy can be of value in a wider at Swift Energy range of circumstances, both personally and counsel Company to his fellow professionally. In my role, I am constantly alumnus Chris Abundis ’05, upon his retirespeaking to board members, investment and commercial bankers, large vendors, and ment after 17 years with the company. their counsel, so I must always be ready to advocate in many different situations on a variety of issues.” Baillargeon encourages students to be their own best advocates by seeking employment sooner, rather than later, through summer internships with law firms and corporate law departments. “I tell students to obtain a list of attorneys currently on staff with local public or private companies, seek out STCL Houston alumni, and contact them directly. Like me, South Texas alumni know the value inherent in the school’s graduates. “Throughout my career, I have hired our alumni first and foremost because they are highly educated and extremely wellprepared,” said Baillargeon. “Secondly, because as alumni, I believe we have an obligation to our students and graduates to provide them guidance and opportunity whenever possible.” This is a legacy espoused by South Texas alumni in general, and one Swift Energy Company’s founder, in particular, would approve. “The late Mr. Earl Swift would be extremely proud to know that the general counsel torch at Swift Energy continues to shine brightly under the auspices of yet another STCL Houston alumnus,” said Baillargeon. “Best of luck, Chris, and rest assured that all of your fellow alumni are extremely proud of your magnificent accomplishments.”


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South Texas College of Law Houston

D’Lisa Simmons ‘90

Alumna’s service reaches communities from


D’Lisa Simmons ’90, an administrative law judge for the U.S. Social Security Administration, takes the idea of community service beyond the borders of her hometown, supporting those in need across the globe.

On her personal time, D’Lisa Simmons volunteers with Rotary International, a global network of volunteers known as Rotarians whose goal is to create positive change in their respective communities and those abroad, guided by the principles of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. Local Rotary clubs, led by Rotary International and supported by the Rotary Foundation, direct their efforts to a myriad of good causes that focus on promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies. As a part of their mission to fight disease, Rotary made a pledge in 1979 to eradicate polio, a highly infectious virus that most commonly affects young children. This virus, typically transmitted through contaminated food or water, attacks the nervous system and can lead to paralysis. While the World Health Organization estimates that polio cases have decreased by more than 99 percent since 1988, the virus remains endemic in three countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria — and a risk of importing polio into polio-free countries still exists. Because the disease is incurable, the only way to eradicate it is to prevent further cases through education and vaccination. Simmons spent her Christmas holiday in Lahore, Pakistan as a part of that effort. Here, she opens up to InRe about her work with Rotary International, her visit to Pakistan, and how international service impacts her perspective as a legal practitioner.


InRe: You volunteer with other organizations outside Rotary, too. Service seems to be an important part of your value system. Where does that drive come from? DS: Service is very important to me. I grew up in a family of nurses and teachers, so that value was embodied all around me from a very young age. And I think the servant gets so much more out of the experience than those being served. InRe: You have dedicated a lot of time over the past three decades to volunteering with your local Rotary organizations, first with the Galleria club and now with the Houston Skyline club here downtown. But how did you first hear about Rotary International? DS: Growing up, Rotary was always that thing your dad or grandpa did. At that time, it was a men’s-only organization. It was something I had heard about, but my first real exposure was at a luncheon as a high school senior, where local Rotarians introduced us to Rotary service. Later, in law school, I took a year off to study abroad in Singapore on a Rotary scholarship, for which I was very grateful. InRe: A yearlong study-abroad experience is an opportunity not many law school students receive. How did that experience influence your remaining law school career? DS: I came back with a greater appreciation for the quality of education South Texas provides and for the liberties afforded to U.S. citizens. At the time of my visit, the Singaporean government was censoring the news media for criticizing the country’s leadership, which was unimaginable to me. I certainly had a new


D’Lisa Simmons ‘90

“The culture supports families and working women with creative solutions and flexible work schedules. And there is a shared ethos of caring for those who have less.” – D’LISA SIMMONS ’90 perspective going into my constitutional law courses! InRe: You were among the first class of women to join Rotary, and the first female district leader in Houston’s Galleria chapter. What was that like? DS: I joined Rotary in 1990, and the organization opened up to women in 1988. I think I was the third or fourth woman to join my club at that time. For the most part, I found the environment very welcoming, especially when older members saw our willingness to serve and the skills we brought to the table. InRe: You recently visited Lahore, Pakistan to connect with local Rotarians and support their efforts to immunize preschool and school-age children against polio. Was this your first trip with Rotary? DS: I have traveled with Rotary in the past, on trips to Mexico and Nicaragua. But this was my first trip to Pakistan for the polio initiative. InRe: What prompted you to go on this particular trip? DS: Pakistan has a very aggressive immunization campaign going on right now. Rotary, along with the World Health Organization and local health ministers there, hosts national immunization days during which the entire country is focused on immunizing millions of children. I’m especially passionate about this work because polio has personally touched my family. My 14

South Texas College of Law Houston

uncle contracted it as a child, and he has the characteristic withering and paralysis in his legs. That personal connection along with the knowledge that we are so close to ending this disease motivated me to get involved. I also want to bring awareness to the need for immunization efforts. It’s something that is not on many Americans’ radar because people here aren’t really affected by polio anymore. InRe: What was your initial reaction when you arrived in Pakistan? How were you welcomed? DS: Honestly, I started out a bit frazzled. I was the last one out of the airport, I lost my luggage, and I had a hard time finding my driver! So it was a bit disorienting. But when I did find my guide and driver, the whole experience changed for the better. They presented me with a garland of flowers and showered me with rose petals! It’s a Pakistani custom for greeting new friends or loved ones who have been away for an extended amount of time. It was such a warm and beautiful way to begin the trip, and my host family was so hospitable, too. InRe: How special! What other observations of Pakistani culture did you make throughout your stay? DS: Generally, the Pakistani people were polite and kind to me. There was a real sense of community and togetherness, as well as a reverence and respect for women. A lot of the leaders

I met — doctors, teachers, lawyers, political leaders — were female. The culture supports families and working women with creative solutions and flexible work schedules. And there is a shared ethos of caring for those who have less. InRe: Tell us a little more about your experience. Besides immunizations, what else did you do? DS: Well, on immunization days, we went door to door to administer oral vaccines. The groups of seven or eight volunteers are led by a local woman in the community who has communicated with the neighborhoods, so people were expecting us. We would mark each child’s right pinky with a purple permanent marker to signify they’d received the vaccine and prevent confusion. Then we marked the sides of homes with chalk so other volunteers who came behind us could easily see which homes had already been visited. We also did some outreach to educate kids in grade school about the disease and encourage them to discuss it with their parents. In addition to that, I had the opportunity to visit a free ophthalmology hospital, a children’s cancer center, and the local law school. The law school is led by a female dean and has only one male professor, which I thought was pretty notable. InRe: Aside from your international work, you do a significant amount of volunteering and supporting social issues here in Houston. How do your experiences as a volunteer shape your

professional work and vice versa? DS: While I think service is an important part of expressing compassion and care for others, I also think it helps me become more resilient and well-rounded as an individual. Service complements my profession by helping me see the world in new ways, become more culturally aware, and better understand other people’s actions and reactions. InRe: What would you say to other alumni and/or legal professionals who are considering engaging in volunteer work? DS: I would encourage everyone to find ways to get out of their comfort zone; that’s why this trip was so impactful for me. When we shake things up and find new perspective, it makes us better lawyers, better people, and more effective advocates and judges. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article do not represent the view of the Social Security Administration or the United States Government. They are solely the view of D’Lisa Simmons in her personal capacity. Simmons is not acting as an agent or representative of the Social Security Administration or the United States Government in this activity. There is no expressed or implied endorsement of views or activities of Rotary by either the Social Security Administration or the United States Government.



South Texas College of Law Houston

Keith Giblin ‘89


South Texas alumnus wears two hats – and robes – as both judge and priest WRITTEN BY CLAIRE CATON

ll judges must wear several hats in the daily implementation of jurisprudence, but most generally stick to one robe. Not so in the case of Judge Keith Giblin ’89, who wears a judicial robe during the workday and dons priestly vestments to lead thrice-weekly church services on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. His weekly responsibilities also include teaching religion to eighth-graders at All Saints Episcopal School on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings before driving to the courthouse for work. This year marks his twelfth as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Texas, and he recently celebrated his second anniversary as a priest and vicar of St. Paul Episcopal Church in Orange, Texas, a 40-minute commute from his hometown of Beaumont. Giblin is a case study in hard work and dedication. A man of many talents, he has enjoyed a myriad of roles on his circuitous route to the bench and pulpit.


Refinery worker to first in his family to earn a college degree

The son of a Mobil refinery worker and a housewife, Giblin followed the lead of family members and went to work at the Goodyear chemical plant in Beaumont immediately following high school graduation. Over time, he progressed from warehouse worker to tank truck driver to draftsman and, along the way, took advantage of the company’s tuition reimbursement program by enrolling at Lamar University. Originally an electrical engineering major, he earned an undergraduate degree in physics, becoming the first in his family to obtain a college degree. “It took me 10 years in total to graduate from college

because of my studies, shift work, and the demands of raising a family,” said Giblin. “While I loved engineering and physics, I came to the realization that I was a liberal arts person. That’s when I decided to go to law school.” Part-time law student to parent of two

Drawn by South Texas College of Law Houston’s reputation and location in downtown Houston, he applied and gained acceptance. “I had always heard great things about how South Texas turns people into great trial lawyers, and that is exactly what I wanted to be. “When I started in 1986, I instantly loved the school, my classmates, and my professors,” Giblin said. “The reading, studying, and interaction between students and professors was fantastic. The faculty seemed really concerned about us learning and showed great personal interest in every student. I had a great time in law school.” With a six-month-old son at home, Giblin commuted nearly 90 miles each way to attend classes at South Texas, and he and his wife Joyce, an emergency room nurse, welcomed their second son in Giblin’s second year of law school. Newly-minted attorney to federal prosecutor to U.S. magistrate judge

Upon graduation, he gained nearly two years of lawyering experience before becoming a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Beaumont. After spending 14 years in this role, which he “absolutely fell in love with,” he threw his hat in the ring to fill the vacated seat of his friend, recently retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Wendell C. Radford. Giblin received

This year marks his twelfth as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Eastern District of Texas, and he recently celebrated his second anniversary as a priest and vicar of St. Paul Episcopal Church in Orange, Texas, a 40-minute commute from his hometown in Beaumont.


Keith Giblin ‘89

STCL Houston alumnus, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, and Episcopal Priest Keith Giblin ’89 (right) stands with his wife Joyce, daughterin-law Lauren, and sons Aubrey and Anthony in church.

After graduating from law school, Giblin remembers his friends and associates repeatedly telling him, “You belong in the pulpit – you’re going to be a priest one day.”

unanimous support from the district’s judges and began his tenure on the federal bench. “When I first entered court as a newly barred attorney — and then later as a U.S. magistrate judge — I was nervous, but I wasn’t scared,” said Giblin. “The legal foundation I received at South Texas instilled in me a confidence that I had what it took to succeed.” Usher and vestry member to shepherd of his own congregation

After graduating from law school, Giblin remembers his friends and associates repeatedly telling him, “You belong in the pulpit – you’re going to be a priest one day.” Giblin recalls, “When I look back over my life, the times when I was really, really happy, I was in church. I began feeling a strong pull to seminary and the call to enter the priesthood.” After meeting with a core discernment group at his church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont, over the course of a year, he entered the Episcopal Diocese of Texas’ Iona School for Ministry at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas. His enrollment marked a return to commuting for the full-time judge, who committed one weekend each month for three years en route to his ordination. Throughout it all, Giblin has remained a loyal advocate and supporter of South Texas College of Law Houston, including 18

South Texas College of Law Houston

his current role as a member of the school’s Alumni Association board of directors. While two separate careers have brought additional responsibilities and a much busier workload, “I have never second-guessed my call to the priesthood,” he said. “I can’t say enough about my congregation. I get more from them than they get out of me. It is humbling to grasp what an important role I play in the lives of my parishioners. From performing weddings to burying loved ones to ministering at the bedside of sick patients during my lunch break as a judge, it’s all a tremendous privilege.” Giblin, who takes home no pay for his role as a vicar, is now the father of four sons. He enjoyed the honor of performing two of his children’s wedding ceremonies, and he looks forward to baptizing his first grandchild, due to arrive in May. When asked how he makes it all work, Giblin noted that – in addition to becoming extremely efficient with his time – he has help from a higher power. “When you’re supposed to be doing something, God makes the time and space for it,” he said. “I love being a judge and I love being a priest, and I firmly believe that my experiences on the bench make me a better priest in the pews, and vice versa. I’m blessed to be doing exactly what I was created to do.”

The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics

The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics could be considered the “service arm� of South Texas College of Law Houston. Each year, the faculty, staff, and students in the clinics provide hundreds of underrepresented Houstonians with free legal services valued at more than $1 million. Read on for a brief overview of services you can find right on our campus and guidance on referring clients to the program.


The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics


Civil Practice Clinics The law school’s Civil Practice Clinics provide free legal assistance for low-income and disadvantaged populations throughout the Houston metropolitan area. Clinic legal services include direct client representation, legal advice and counsel, outreach, community education, and pro se assistance.

n Estate Planning Clinic: assists with preparing end-of-life documents, including powers of attorney, advance directives, and final wills

n Family Law Basic Clinic: represents couples in divorce cases with no substantial property or children

n Family Law Advanced Clinic: represents couples in divorce cases involving children; modification of custody/ conservatorship/support; original suits affecting parent-child relationship; and amicus appointments

n Guardianship Clinic: assists those seeking guardianship and other alternatives for incapacitated adults and special-needs minors

n Probate Clinic: provides representation for post-death transfer of property, including small estate affidavits, independent and dependent administrations; as well as advice and counsel for real property forfeiture proceedings

n Veterans Clinic: Our 18 onsite clinics and six externship clinics provide students with an opportunity to gain firsthand experience in practical lawyering while giving back to the community and learning more about the obstacles to justice faced by low-income Texans.

assists veterans and family members with applications for benefits and basic civil legal services

n Youth Advocacy Clinic: addresses the special needs of unaccompanied minors apprehended by customs agents and youth aging out of the foster care system

Transactional Clinics n Trademark Clinic: assists individuals, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses in filing trademark applications as part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Certification Program

n Patent Clinic: assists inventors in filing for patents as part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Certification Program


South Texas College of Law Houston

The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics

Special-Focus Clinics

Academic Externships:

helps clients develop strategies for change and community action initiatives in addition to traditional litigation alternatives

A faculty-guided learning experience in which students work in the field under the direct supervision of a judge or attorney. Local, state, national, and international placement opportunities are available in these areas:

n Actual Innocence Clinic:

n Public Interest:

investigates and assists in post-conviction challenges based on claims of innocence and wrongful conviction; conducts materiality reviews for selected prosecution offices; studies and recommends criminal justice reform

traditional nonprofit placements, whether direct provision of services or study and advocacy efforts

n Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic:

state and federal agency placements

represents vulnerable populations in state and federal jurisdictions with an emphasis on litigation, investigation, and community awareness

n Judicial:

n Domestic Violence Clinic:

n Criminal:

represents immigrant women confronted by domestic violence; studies both international and domestic patterns of domestic violence and evaluates local response

prosecution and defender placements

n Access to Justice Clinic:

n Immigration Clinic: represents clients and provides community education in a wide array of immigration matters (excluding defenses to pending removal actions and employment-based visas)

n Mediation Clinic: serves as a third-party neutral to help disputants resolve conflict in a variety of settings, ranging from small claims court suits to employment discrimination claims

n Marshall-Brennan Clinic:

n Government:

state and federal chambers at both trial and appellate levels

n Hospital: general counsel’s office placements

n International: judicial, public interest, criminal and nongovernmental organization placements

Client Referrals We may be able to assist clients who cannot afford the representation offered by your firm or organization. To make a referral: Call 713-646-2990, or submit a request for services at

educates at-risk high school students in constitutional law and oral advocacy; classes meet weekly for an entire academic year

n Tax Clinic: represents low-income taxpayers in “matters in controversy� with the Internal Revenue Service in both administrative and Tax Court settings, and provides community education and outreach

n VITA Tax Clinic: helps clients prepare and file federal income tax forms




South Texas College of Law Houston

Mark Eichenbaum ’08



ouston is on track to become the first city in the nation to effectively end chronic homelessness by the end of this year.” In early January, Marc Eichenbaum ’08 made very clear his goals for the year. Eichenbaum is Mayor Sylvester Turner’s special assistant for homeless initiatives. In this role, he manages the city’s response to homelessness and helps coordinate a coalition of more than 100 partner

“It takes patience, political will, a lot of money, and the effective persuasion of different organizations to look beyond old concepts and try something new.”


organizations that comprise The Way Home, an initiative to reduce homelessness in the Greater Houston region. While this may seem like a tall order to some, Eichenbaum’s confidence is — like every action he takes in his job — based on hard data. When the program began under Mayor Annise Parker in 2011, Houston had the sixth-largest homeless population in the U.S., with more than 8,500 homeless people in shelters and on the streets on any given night. Since then, the city has reduced that number by an average of 15 percent annually, and in June 2015, the coalition announced the effective end of veteran homelessness in Houston. With numbers like this, it is no surprise the program has gained national attention, becoming a model for other large cities. Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, New Orleans, Orlando, and San Antonio have sent delegations to the Bayou City to uncover the secret to Houston’s success. “It takes patience, political will, a lot of money, and the effective persuasion of different organizations to look beyond old concepts and try something new,” Eichenbaum said. The first step was to centralize the fragmented efforts of over a hundred nonprofit, governmental, and private organizations to create a streamlined and efficient homeless response system. “We had dozens of shelters, health service providers, and Marc Eichenbaum ’08, outreach programs who were focused on the homeless poputhe mayor’s assistant lation, but they weren’t really collaborating,” Eichenbaum said. for homeless initiatives, “And in many cases, they were actually competing against each uses a data-focused other for government and private funding.” approach to help city representatives, To effectively remove this barrier, local stakeholders created service organizations, the Houston/Harris County Continuum of Care, known as and volunteers in the The Way Home – a federally-recognized, collaborative goverfight to end chronic nance body that service agencies and funders can join. homelessness.


Mark Eichenbaum ’08

Total homeless count: January 2016


Comparing the counts 10,000

1,046 Harris County 1,046 Harris County Unsheltered Unsheltered 2,513 Harris County 2,513 Harris County Sheltered Sheltered

57% decrease in

overall homelessness since 2011, and a 21% decrease in overall homelessness since 2015.










73% decrease in unsheltered homelessness since 2011.

Sheltered Sheltered Unsheltered Unsheltered Total Total




2015 2016




4 Fort Bend Unsheltered 4 Fort Bend Unsheltered 63 FortSheltered Bend County Sheltered 63 Fort Bend County

Key findings



2011 2012

71% of homeless individuals counted were sheltered, compared with 64% last year, and 48% in 2011.

2012 2013

2013 2014

71% reduction in

chronic homelessness since 2011.

2014 2015

There were no unsheltered families with minor children found on the night of the 2016 homeless count.

The Way Home uses a data-driven “housing first strategy,” which focuses on immediately placing homeless individuals in housing without barriers first, then offering an array of support like job placement, medical care, behavioral counseling, and rehabilitation services. The Way Home has committees that focus on different segments of the homeless population, including youth, families, chronically homeless individuals, and veterans. Funding entities pool their resources together, and The Way Home’s Steering Committee distributes funds in accordance with the coalition’s collective priorities and performance standards, allowing the member organizations to concentrate their efforts for greater impact. The city and local funders have incentivized membership in The Way Home by directing all of their homeless funding to the initiative. “There is power in numbers,” Eichenbaum said. “The Way Home centralizes and organizes local efforts to maximize our collective impact.” The Way Home’s first order of business was to reassess the priorities of homeless intervention and determine the most effective means to reach their goal. This is where the secret comes in. Traditional models focus on 24

South Texas College of Law Houston

managing an individual’s immediate, basic needs: food, shelter, and medical attention. Eichenbaum said data shows the problem with this model is threefold. “For one, providing supportive services on the streets is highly ineffective and cost-prohibitive. Secondly, when the goal is simply feeding people and giving them a bed for a night, we are merely managing the issue with Band-Aids and lose sight of the end game: solving the issue with permanent solutions. There was an organizational culture among both funders and service providers that inadvertently valued volume over substance. You know, ‘Hooray, we served 1,000 more people this year than we did last year!’ But, our focus should be on reducing the number of people we serve — because that means we are creating sustainable solutions to keep them off the street.” The third issue is economic. The average chronically homeless person costs taxpayers over $40,000 per year in the form of things like emergency room visits,

jail stays, ambulance rides, and temporary shelter, which means Houston was spending more than $100 million per year to support the chronically homeless, which only accounted for about one-quarter of the region’s homeless population. Eichenbaum noted, “It is actually more expensive to merely walk by the homeless on our streets than to house them. By placing the chronically homeless into housing with supportive services, we can cut costs by up to 70 percent.” Armed with this knowledge, The Way Home developed a comprehensive action plan for ending chronic homelessness by 2017. The Way Home uses a data-driven “housing first strategy,” which focuses on immediately placing homeless individuals in housing without barriers first, then offering an array of support like job placement, medical care, behavioral counseling, and rehabilitation services. “What we have found is, when individuals are placed in a stable housing environment on their own accord and



South Texas College of Law Houston

Mark Eichenbaum ’08

Since 2011, the partners of The Way Home have:

reduced overall homelessness by more than 57%;

housed 4,736 Veterans and effectively ended Veteran homelessness;

housed 3,195 chronically homeless individuals;

and housed 821 individuals and families.

“We are focused on getting people into positions where they can make an income starting right where they are, then building them up from there.” – MARK EICHENBAUM ’08

without requirements, they begin to make more rational decisions, overwhelmingly accept the services they need, and are less likely to return to homelessness,” Eichenbaum said. Teams from various agencies, embedded at shelters and on the streets, use a centralized, real-time electronic system to triage, assess, and connect clients to supportive housing and income opportunities. The standardized assessment establishes the direct cause of an individual’s homelessness — such as unemployment, mental health issues, or domestic violence — identifies their specific needs, and determines the best intervention needed to end their homelessness. Focusing on the most vulnerable first, The Way Home places individuals into one of over 10 communities developed for the formerly homeless, or in thousands of market rate units throughout the city, with landlords who have agreed to work with the program. Either way, housing options are fully funded.

Next, clients meet regularly with case managers from area nonprofits who connect them with supportive services tailored to their needs. One such program is Income Now, a partnership with Workforce Solutions that pairs those experiencing homelessness with employment counselors who are specially trained to help them find jobs that meet their current skill set. “Job training programs are great, but they require time,” Eichenbaum said. “We are focused on getting people into positions where they can make an income starting right where they are, then building them up from there.” The results are impressive. The program has placed over 3,600 chronically homeless individuals into permanent supportive housing, 93 percent of whom are still housed a year later and nearly 90 percent of whom remain housed after two years. Eichenbaum, however, is keen to avoid getting too comfortable with this success. There is work yet to be done.

Major priorities for 2017 include expanding the Income Now Program, exploring ways to make The Way Home’s initiatives more scalable, and joining local law enforcement in the fight against synthetic marijuana, which is notoriously marketed to young people and the homeless because of its low cost compared to other street drugs. New challenges continue to present themselves, but Eichenbaum thinks Houston has what it takes to meet them. “Our system is a prime example of the power of public and private partnerships and the ability of local governments to lead social transformation by setting policy priorities, focusing on collective impact, and providing leadership. We are moving in the right direction,” he proclaimed. “We just have to keep the wheels turning and stay solution-focused.”


PLamen Novakov United Nations intern

Country of origin: Bulgaria

Proficient in five languages:

> > > > >


Bulgarian Russian French English Macedonian

South Texas College of Law Houston

Plamen Novakov, 3L

A SEAT AT THE TABLE South Texas student spends summer as a United Nations insider WRITTEN BY AMANDA GREEN

lamen Novakov, a 3L at South Texas, is a Bulgarian native who immigrated to the U.S. with his parents, both doctors, at age 13. As a child, Novakov spent most of his school vacations with his grandparents, taking trains to neighboring European nations and boarding flights to such far-flung destinations as Egypt and China. “I developed a fascination with other cultures, languages, and history from a young age,” Novakov said. “People often tell me I’m an old soul. I learned early on the power of language to connect with people.” Novakov took to heart his belief in the power of language. He is proficient in five languages: Bulgarian, Russian, French, English, and Macedonian (a South Slavic language spoken by only 3 million people worldwide). His interest in the law began at a young age, too. He had always looked up to his grandfather, a lawyer in Bulgaria’s equivalent of the JAG Corps. As a history major at Sam Houston State University, Novakov’s leanings toward the legal profession were affirmed as he became increasingly aware of the law’s recorded influence on the progress of societies. As he learned more about how the United Nations (U.N.) takes these efforts to a global level, Novakov set his sights on a highly competitive U.N. internship as an undergraduate.


During annual sessions, representatives for all 193 member states of the United Nations convene in the General Assembly Hall to discuss global issues.

However, it was law school where his confidence caught up with his aspiration. Novakov found the encouragement he needed in Professor Amanda Harmon Cooley’s Legal Research & Writing class, when the professor shared a personal story about her own days as a law school student at University of North Carolina School of Law. She, too, had been an eager student aiming

“It was an experience of a lifetime. Representing a nation at the U.N. is the kind of awesome responsibility that ultimately changes a person. It was overwhelming sometimes, but I loved it. I could do this for the rest of my life.” – PLAMEN NOVAKOV, 3L


Plamen Novakov, 3L

U.N. lingo: In addition to the five languages he already speaks, Novakov had to master the U.N. lingo.

Permanent Mission A mission is a nation’s delegation to the U.N. The mission’s staff represents their nation’s political, economic, social, legal, military, and diplomatic interests on a global scale.

General Assembly (GA) The main deliberative, policymaking, and representative body of the U.N. Major decisions in the U.N. require a two-thirds majority in the GA.

Informal informal meeting You’re not seeing double. The second “informal” signifies an agenda has not been finalized.

SIDS An acronym for “small island developing states,” low-lying coastal nations that tend to share similar challenges related to sustainable development.

Sixth Committee The U.N. ‘s workload is divided among six main committees, which discuss issues, seek areas of harmony, then draft resolutions and decisions for consideration at the GA’s plenary session.

Zero draft A final draft of a proposal or resolution that has not yet been adopted by the GA.

for a coveted position: a spot as a clerk for a federal judge. In 2003, when women were still vastly underrepresented in federal clerkships (while the gap has narrowed, there is still significant disparity), a determined Cooley typed, printed, and mailed her résumé to every federal judge in the country. Her efforts paid off; the Honorable Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas offered her a clerkship upon graduation. “When Professor Cooley shared that story with us, something lit up in me,” Novakov said. “If she could go through all that work to get what she wanted and deserved, surely I could submit this application online and see what happened.” He did just that — taking the first step in the U.N.’s extensive, demanding selection process — and his story ended the same as Professor Cooley’s. He got the internship, and because of his dual citizenship, he was offered his choice of the U.S. and Bulgarian posts. He chose the office where he thought he could do the most good during his six weeks in New York City. “The Bulgarian mission has a much smaller staff, and I knew I would be able to get more experience and make a greater impact there,” he said. Novakov would work directly with Nikolay Vanchev, the first secretary of Bulgaria’s Permanent Mission to the U.N., second in command after the country’s permanent ambassador. He was assigned to the U.N.’s Sixth Committee, which drafts resolutions regarding international law and counterterrorism for consideration at U.N. General Assembly meetings. If it was experience he was looking for, Novakov got it. His first assignment on day one was to draft a memo to the president of Bulgaria, advising him on an upcoming vote for the U.N.’s next secretary general. The days got more interesting from there. Here, he shares an overview of a typical day on the job. 30

South Texas College of Law Houston

Plamen Novakov, 3L

Plamen Novakov, 3L, shares a glimpse into a day as a United Nations intern at Bulgaria’s mission to the U.N. in New York City.


I wake up, eat a quick breakfast, and take a brisk walk from my hotel to the European Union Delegation to the U.N. on Third Avenue.

7 A.M. - 9 A.M.

I attend a coordination meeting of the E.U. delegation to the U.N.; we work to build consensus on our approach to today’s consultative process on the zero draft of “The Fifth United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” (GCTS). It is our first meeting since the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and all the representatives begin their presentations with condolences to the U.S. I’m heartened by the way such a terrible event could galvanize support from people across the world, and I’m so thankful to be a part of a community like this.

After roll call, we get to business reviewing each passage of the GCTS. The meeting runs long as others try to assuage the concerns of some nations over a clause that requires participating nations to include lessons about the ills of terrorism in primary school curriculums. While it seems pretty innocuous to me, phrasing and cultural context can make even the simplest matters more complex here.

10 A.M. – 2 P.M.

It’s time for the Sixth Committee’s informal informal meeting on the GCTS. I take a seat behind the Bulgaria nameplate. So surreal. With a deadline looming, we work past the two hours allotted to finalize our counterterrorism resolution, which will be delivered at the General Assembly in September.

2 -3:30 P.M.

We break for a working lunch. I spend it with Mr. Vanchev, reviewing our notes for the Sixth Committee meeting this afternoon. The meeting will cover policies related to the U.N.’s Division for Ocean Affairs and the Laws of the Sea (DOALOS). During my first week as an intern, I took a crash course on DOALOS; at the end I was certified as an expert. When I later attended the DOALOS convention, I was listed as an “expert and distinguished delegate for the Republic of Bulgaria.” Pretty cool.

4 P.M. – 6 P.M.

I represent Bulgaria at the Sixth Committee meeting on the “United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea.” Sadly, I learn that experts project the world’s oceans will contain more tonnage of plastic than fish by 2020. This issue especially impacts SIDS, which have minimal resources to direct toward environmental initiatives. It’s humbling to sit across the table from leading environmental experts, professors, dignitaries, and representatives from the plastics industry, discussing the effects of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and possible solutions to end this global crisis.

7 P.M. – 10 P.M.

Over dinner in my hotel room, I review my notes from the day and draft memos to the foreign ministry. Since Bulgaria’s time zone is seven hours ahead of the East Coast, the ministry staff will read my notes while I sleep, and responses will be waiting when I wake up in the morning. The U.N.’s daily schedule is finalized and posted at 10 p.m. each night, so I check it before bed and make note of what’s on my agenda for tomorrow. Then it’s time for rest. Another big day ahead.


Supporting his own Stafford Brantley, Christopher Robertson, and Scott McCormick — the first recipients of the law school’s Texas A&M Aggie Award — share a laugh with fellow Aggie and scholarship donor Patrick Mahoney ‘88. Mahoney established the honor to reward high-achieving Aggies studying law at STCL Houston.


South Texas College of Law Houston

Patrick D. Mahony ’88

ast fall, Patrick D. Mahoney ’88 resurrected the Texas A&M Aggie Award at South Texas to reward hardworking, high-achieving students with financial need who embody the core Aggie values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, and selfless service to the community. Mahoney, who graduated from Texas A&M University in 1971 and STCL Houston in 1988, is board certified in commercial and residential real estate law. Three outstanding students — Stafford Brantley, Scott McCormick, and Christopher Robertson — are the first, proud recipients of the Texas A&M Aggie Award at the law school. Brantley, current president of the South Texas Aggie Law Student Association and director of the STCL Houston board of advocates, is the son of two Texas A&M former students, who he notes instilled Aggie character traits in him from an early age. “To me, the Aggie Spirit exemplifies personal integrity, loyalty, and service — which are not only hallmarks of current and former students, but defining traits of lifelong leaders and change-makers,” he said. “I am very grateful for Mr. Mahoney’s generosity, and I hope to be able to follow his lead in financially supporting fellow Aggies and South Texas students one day.” To McCormick, who plans to graduate this May, the Texas A&M Aggie Award has provided vital support for his legal education. “I have had to take on significant student loan debt to finance my education,” he said. “Generous awards such as this one do wonders not only to pay for tuition, but to provide a cushion as students enter the workforce and try to find a job that fits their needs.” Robertson, who holds a certificate in leadership study and development from Texas A&M University’s School of Military Sciences, served on the school’s student senate for three years and held leadership positions within the Corps of Cadets. “I am honored to be a recipient of the values which this award seeks to



South Texas The Texas Aggie Spirit reaches far and wide across the state and nation, and a generous graduate of South Texas College of Law Houston has extended its reach to the law school.



Patrick D. Mahony ’88

“The Texas Aggies who are now at South Texas are going down the same path we took when we were students at the law school. Our duty is to assist them now as we were supported by those who came before us.” — PATRICK MAHONEY ’88

AGGIE & SOUTH TEXAS ROOTS RUN DEEP When South Texas College of Law Houston alumnus Patrick D. Mahoney ’88 recently reestablished the Texas A&M Aggie Award at the law school, he had substantial support from his friend, fellow Aggie, and STCL Houston professor, Gary S. Rosin. In addition to contributing to the award for high-achieving Aggie law students, Rosin serves as faculty advisor of the South Texas Aggie Law Student Association. Mahoney’s association with Rosin dates back to his first days of law school, when the two met at a new student reception on campus. At the time, Mahoney was beginning his law studies, and Rosin was a young law professor. “Patrick loves to tell the story of how I saw his Aggie ring at the reception, I introduced myself, and asked what Aggie class he was in,” said Rosin. “He answered ‘ ’71,’ and asked about my class. I told him ‘ ’72.’ Because he was in the class ahead of me, I then asked him if he was going to make me do pushups! I believe our longstanding friendship began that day.” Following their association as professor and student, the two maintained their friendship after Mahoney launched his legal career in commercial and residential real estate. From time to time, the alumnus will contact his former professor for a consultation on Agency and Partnership for a case. “Patrick and the three deserving recipients of the inaugural Texas A&M Aggie Award represent the qualities that make Texas A&M and Aggies remarkable,” said Rosin. “It’s nice to see the Aggie Spirit alive and well at South Texas.”


South Texas College of Law Houston

reward. As I am paying for school from my savings and student loans, this financial aid will greatly impact my life.” Mahoney aims for his contributions to launch a similar outpouring of support from his fellow Aggies and South Texas alumni. “I hope that my donations to the Texas A&M Aggie Award at South Texas College of Law Houston are merely the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “All Aggie graduates and friends of South Texas, far and wide, can and should contribute to the legal education of Texas A&M graduates who are at STCL Houston, thereby supporting our own and spreading the Aggie Spirit throughout the state’s legal community. “The Texas Aggies who are now at South Texas are going down the same path we took when we were students at the law school. Our duty is to assist them now as we were supported by those who came before us.” Aggies who would like to contribute to the Texas A&M Aggie Award at STCL Houston are encouraged to contact Jessica Keener, assistant director of philanthropy, at 713-646-1759 or

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

The IRA charitable rollover provision brought about by the Pension Protection Act provides an annual exclusion from gross income up to $100,000 for “qualified charitable distributions” from an IRA.


There are six basic requirements for an IRA distribution to qualify as a “qualified charitable distribution” under the IRA charitable rollover provision: 1. The distribution must be made for only an IRA (other qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s are not eligible). 2. The recipient must be an eligible charitable organization, such as STCL Houston. 3. The IRA owner must be at least age 70½. 4. The distribution must be made directly from the IRA custodian to the charity. 5. The donor will not receive an income tax charitable contribution. 6. The distribution will not be counted in taxable income. The benefits of an IRA “qualified charitable distribution” include: 1. Can satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution from your IRA, but is not included in taxable income. 2. Supports the important work of STCL Houston with a tax-free gift. Not over 70½, have other retirement plan assets, and want to support STCL Houston? Options include: n Over 59½? Withdrawals from an IRA or other tax-favored retirement plan accounts do not trigger an early withdrawal penalty. The withdrawal/gift may be taken as a charitable deduction. n Designate retirement plan assets to STCL Houston and non-retirement plan assets to heirs. The combination of income and estate taxes on retirement plan accounts your heirs inherit may, in some cases, amount to the bulk of a retirement plan account's value. Please explore our easy-to-use web tool to discover a charitable gift which may fit your goals. It is estimated that 10% of our nation’s wealth is in cash and 90% is in noncash assets. See what noncash assets you may use to create your legacy at STCL Houston. Our website is easy and fun! Give it a try! Please consider leaving STCL Houston in your will. Suggested bequest language: “After fulfilling all other provisions, I give, devise, and bequeath ___% of the remainder of my estate or trust [or $_______, if a specific amount] to South Texas College of Law Houston [Tax ID# 74-1554976], a charitable organization incorporated under the laws of Texas, and presently having offices at 1303 San Jacinto Street, Houston, TX 77002.” For more information, please contact Dean Don Guter at or 713-646-1819, or visit

“When I decided to go to law school, I had a full-time job and a young family at home. South Texas allowed me an opportunity to study law that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise. I have made donations to South Texas over the years because I am a strong believer in providing scholarships. I hope my gifts will be a helping hand to the next generation. This year, I made a donation to South Texas through a qualified charitable distribution from my IRA. It is an easy way to make a gift without an additional tax burden. It really is a win-win. I hope that others will think about donating to South Texas.”

- Jerry Starkey ’81



1 2




We’re giving away a full set of this issue’s

RECOMMENDED BOOKS to one lucky reader!

Visit by May 5, 2017 and complete a brief reader survey for your chance to win!


South Texas College of Law Houston

We’ve turned the tables and given the professors some homework. In this new feature of InRe, STCL Houston faculty members review books they love or have read recently—from heartwarming novels to motivational nonfiction — in 150 words or less.

James Paulsen Professor of Law

1 Tracking the Chupacabra by Benjamin Radford. The “chupacabra,” known to some as the “Mexican goat-sucker,” is a mysterious creature that has been blamed for the curious deaths of thousands of animals since the 1990s. In this investigative analysis, Radford — a professional skeptic and writer whose works are marked by meticulous research and an easy writing style — draws on published reports of the creature as well as personal interviews and convincing psycho-political analysis to draw his own conclusions about the beast of legend. A hint? Good rumors always have more traction than the boring truth.

Andrew Solomon Professor of Law

2 You Win in the Locker Room First: The 7 C’s to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith. The authors of “You Win in the Locker Room First” are Mike Smith, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, and Jon Gordon, an author renowned for his ideas on leadership, culture, and teamwork. The book discusses the importance of building a winning foundation for any team, organization, or business by implementing the 7 C’s — culture, contagiousness, consistency, communication, connection, commitment, and caring. With mantras like, “Focus on the root, not the fruit,” the book’s main premise is that success starts with the deliberate implementation of a winning process. The philosophical framework is supported by examples that have worked for different organizations and sports teams, and concludes with an action plan for changing a team’s culture.

Helen Jenkins EVP Emeritus, Professor of Law

3 The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams. The book is a motivating thought piece on the manner in which we seek, define, and prioritize joy in our personal existence. These two spiritualists emerge in conversation over five days, steeped in philosophy unrestricted in application to all faiths, over the pursuit of joy in difficult times in a troubled world. With poignant humor and shared wisdom, they impart hope and inspiration that is applicable irrespective of religion, culture, or political views. Contextualizing the unfathomable human struggles of these two giants, this book will move you deeply.

Amanda Peters

Helen & Harry Hutchens Research Professor

4 The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. This book chronicles the ecological disaster of the Dust Bowl, which affected parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and Colorado in the 1930s, as the nation was trying to recover from the Great Depression. The author filled the book with interviews of survivors who told amazing stories that were hard to believe. For example, shaking someone’s hand as a custom ceased because the static electricity created by the dust storms and dry air killed hand shakers upon contact! While some of the stories are sad, others demonstrate the kindness, resilience, and heroism of people and communities. What made the book all the more compelling to me was knowing that my own family members lived through this terrible and difficult time.

Debra Berman

Director, Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution

5 The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. This historical thriller is based on the legal dispute between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse regarding who actually invented the lightbulb. The book, written from the perspective of Westinghouse’s attorney, depicts the largely unknown war to bring electricity to America. It’s an enlightening and extremely entertaining read.


| faculty notes |

JAMES ALFINI Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law

James Alfini, dean emeritus and professor of law, participated in several speaking engagements, including a presentation on “Benefits of Mediation through Access to Justice Lenses” at Tbilisi Mediation Days sponsored by Tbilisi State University National Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Republic of Georgia. He delivered the annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism at Northern Illinois University, titled “Judicial Ethics and Professionalism in the 21st Century.” In addition, he delivered two lectures on ethical dilemmas in mediation at both the 14th Annual Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute of the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Section at Arizona State University and the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association Annual Meeting. JOSH BLACKMAN Associate Professor of Law

As a preeminent expert on the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the intersection of law and technology, Blackman actively is sought by national and international news media for his legal insight into breaking news stories. From the New York Times, Washington Post, National Law Journal, The Financial Times, Associated Press, ABA Journal, CNN International, Bloomberg Law, USA Today, and Forbes, to BBC Radio and the Australian Broadcasting Channel on the international stage, Blackman’s media resume is prolific. Over the past year, he has


published multiple editorials in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, the Washington Post, and other top-tier newspapers and publications on a variety of topics including Supreme Court nominees, presidential executive orders, separation of powers, healthcare reform, and Obamacare, among others. Also of note, he has published articles in the Harvard Law Review, Texas Law Review, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, George Mason Law Review, and the University of Chicago Law Review Online. In 2016, he published his second book, “Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power,” with Cambridge University Press. ELAINE CARLSON Stanley J. Krist Distinguished Professor

Professor Carlson continues to serve as an appointed member of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. Recently, she was appointed chair of a subcommittee tasked with recommending amendments to the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct that will give guidance on permissible social media use by the judiciary. The subcommittee will also study and make recommendations as to whether and under what circumstances a lawyer may properly view or request access to a juror’s social media activity. Professor Carlson authored “New Developments in Superseding Civil Judgments on Appeal” and presented the paper at the State Bar of Texas Business Disputes Seminar. She also served on a panel with Justice Kevin Jewell discussing supersedeas developments before the Houston Bar Association Appellate Section.

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Professor Carlson coauthored with Courtney Taylor Carlson “Texas Civil Procedure Update” and presented that topic at the University of Texas Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals. She also presented an update to that paper at the 40th Annual Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference sponsored by the University of Texas. Professor Carlson completed an annual update of her six volume treatise, “Texas Civil Practice” (West Publishing Co.). In addition, she coauthored the 2016-2017 edition of “Texas Civil Procedure: Pretrial Litigation” as well the 2016-2017 edition of Trial and Appellate Practice with Professors Dorsaneo, Crump, and Thornburg. (Lexis Nexis Publication). Recent citations of Professor Carlson’s publications by appellate courts include: Professor Carlson’s treatise, McDonald & Carlson, TEXAS CIVIL PRACTICE, West Publishing was cited by the Fifth Circuit in Arbuckle Mountain Ranch Of Texas, Inc. v. Chesapeake Energy Corp., 810 F.3d 335, 344 * (5th Cir. 2016) as well as by the Amarillo and Fort Worth Court of Appeals in Tregellas v. Archer, 2016 WL 7439191, *11 (Dec. 2016) and Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Standard Renewable Energy, LP, 2016 WL 4247969, *9 (Tex. App.-Ft. Worth, Aug. 11, 2016). Professor Carlson’s law review article, “Reshuffling the Deck: Enforcing and Superseding Civil Judgments on Appeal After House Bill 4,” 46 S. TEX. L. REV. 1035, 1062 (2005) was cited by the San Antonio Court of Appeals in Fe Express, LLC v. Contreras, 2016 WL 7445014 (Tex. App.-San Antonio, Dec. 28, 2016). The Austin Court of Appeals cited Professor Carlson’s law review article, “Tort Reform: Redefining the Role of the Court and the Jury,”

47 S. Tex. L. Rev. 245, 259 (2005) in Albright v. Rhea & Sons Enterprises, Inc., 2016 WL 6156231, *3 (Tex. App.-Austin, Oct. 19, 2016). Professor Carlson’s article “Offers of Settlement, STATE BAR OF TEX. LITIGATION SECTION REPORT 6” (Fall 2003) was cited by the Texarkana Court of Appeals in Bobo v. Varughese, 2016 WL 7175290, * 7 (Tex. App.-Texarkana, Oct. 20, 2016). The law review article “Navigating Procedural Minefields: Nuances in Determining Finality of Judgments, Plenary Power, and Appealability,” 41 S. Tex. L.Rev. 953, 965 (2000) coauthored by Professor Carlson & Karlene S. Dunn was cited by the Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Butler v. Amegy Bank, N.A., 2016 WL 3574685 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.], June 30, 2016).” RICHARD CARLSON Professor of Law

On January 19, 2017, Professor Carlson spoke on “Developments in Texas Employment Law” at the State Bar of Texas’s Advanced Employment Law Program in Dallas Texas. ELIZABETH DENNIS Assistant Dean, Director of Academic Internships, and Associate Professor

Assistant Dean Dennis was invited to the Czech Republic in October 2016 to speak at a two-day conference titled “Regional Responses to Forced Mass Migration.” As the only American professor among law faculty from Europe, South Africa, Australia, and Asia, Dean Dennis focused her remarks on the efforts the U.S. pri-

vate bar has put forth in pro bono legal representation of the most vulnerable migrants. The conference was co-sponsored by the law faculties of Palacky University of Olomouc, Czech Republic and the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. MATTHEW FESTA Professor of Law

Professor Festa was appointed as a Kinder Fellow at the Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research, where he is working on interdisciplinary projects with scholars and experts from various fields on research into legal issues for land use and urban development. He participated in numerous media interviews as a land use and state and local government expert with Bloomberg News, Next City, the Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, and other media outlets. He serves as an advisory board member and instructor in the Texas A&M Citizen Planner certificate program for local government officials. He recently completed a three-year term as a professor of international operational law at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, where he taught all aspects of the law of armed conflict to military, civilian, and international students and served as the U.S. Army’s subject-matter expert on post-conflict governance, security cooperation, and rule of law. He was an editor of the U.S. Army Operational Law Handbook and the U.S. Army Law of Armed Conflict Deskbook, resources provided to all U.S. military attorneys worldwide.

DR. DEREK FINCHAM Professor of Law

Professor Fincham gave a talk in Lucca, Italy to a meeting of European lawyers considering new legislation for the Council of Europe to stem the trade in stolen art. He published a work in the Mississippi Law Journal titled, “Authenticating Art by Valuing Art Experts.” He also wrote a brief essay for the Cumberland Law Review, in which he examined the authenticity of new work attributed to Harper Lee. DONALD J. GUTER

in our Constitution. Our servicemen and women need to know that our leaders do not condone torture or detainee abuse of any kind. We look forward to working with you in the future on this and any other issues as you serve our great country.” AMANDA HARMON COOLEY Wayne Fisher Research Professor

Professor Harmon Cooley’s article, “The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Youth and The Need for State Legislation on Marijuana-Specific Instruction in K-12 Schools,” was published in the Pepperdine Law Review.

President and Dean

Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter, JAGC, USN (Ret.) is an internationally recognized expert on military law. He speaks frequently with reporters from top national newspapers and magazines about the law as it applies to current political and military events. In January, Guter — along with 175 other retired flag officers from all branches of the U.S. Military who together boast over six thousand years of combined military leadership — signed a petition discouraging then President-elect Donald J. Trump from the use of torture and other enhanced interrogation techniques. Reinforcing the McCain-Feinstein anti-torture ammendment passed by Congress last year, the petition underscores torture as illegal, unnecessary, counterproductive, and a violation of the nation’s core values. In closing, the petition noted, “Our greatest strength is our commitment to the rule of law and to the principles

R. RANDALL KELSO Spurgeon E. Bell Distinguished Professor

Professor Kelso recently published an article, “The Structure of Modern Free Speech Doctrine: Strict Scrutiny, Intermediate Review, and ‘Reasonableness’ Balancing,” in 8 Elon L. Rev. 291 (2016). CHRIS KULANDER Professor and Director of Harry L. Reed Oil & Gas Law Institute

Professor Kulander, director of the law school’s nascent Harry L. Reed Oil & Gas Law Institute, participated in a number of symposia during the 2016-2017 school year. He again served as course director for the school’s 29th Energy Law Institute for Attorneys and Landmen in August, also known as the “Institute’s Institute.” He covered recent oil and gas case law developments in both his presentations before the Houston Bar Association Oil and Gas

Section in February and before the aforementioned Institute at South Texas. His talk “Judicial Interpretation of the Joint Operating Agreement” was so well received at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s sold-out program entitled Oil & Gas Joint Operations and the New AAPL Form 610 Model Form Operating Agreement in November that he has been invited to reprise the talk this December in Denver. In August 2016, Professor Kulander presented a talk titled “The Executive Right to Lease: A Primer and Recent Developments” to the Dallas Bar Association at the Review of Oil & Gas Law XXXI. Two months later, he presented a talk titled “The Oil and Gas Lease: Defining the Royalty Obligation” before the Oil and Gas Law Annual Short Course of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. The 2016-17 school year will end with presentations at the Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Journal Symposium at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law and the Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Course at the University of Texas Energy CLE program, both in April. Professor Kulander published three articles during the school year: (1) “The Executive Right to Lease after KCM Financial, LLC v. Bradshaw and a Louisiana Solution to a Texas Problem” in the St. Mary’s Law Journal; (2) “Fixed vs. Floating Non-Participating Oil & Gas Royalty in Texas: And the Battles Rage On” in the Texas A & M Law Review; and (3) “2015 Oil & Gas Case Law Update” in the Thurgood Marshall Law Review. Finally, Professor Kulander taught International Energy Law at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania before returning to continue serving as an


| faculty notes |

editor for the IEL Oil & Gas Reporter and to make two appearances in Texas Lawyer magazine. JOSEPH LEAHY Professor of Law

Professor Leahy presented “Is a Corp. Political Contribution a Business Judgment?” at the 2016 National Business Law Scholars Conference sponsored by University of Chicago Law and at the Texas Legal Scholars Workshop at Southern Methodist University School of Law. His article titled “Intermediate Scrutiny for Corporate Political Contributions” was accepted for publication in the Florida State University Law Review, Volume 44. BRUCE MCGOVERN Associate Dean and Professor of Law

Dean McGovern was elected as a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, an honor reserved for a limited number of U.S. tax lawyers at the top of their chosen profession. He spoke on recent developments in federal income taxation at the Southern Federal Tax Institute in Atlanta, the Tulane Tax Institute in New Orleans, the ABA Tax Section’s midyear meeting in Orlando, and several other conferences. In addition, Dean McGovern now serves as Director of the school’s new Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, in which students provide supervised representation of taxpayers in controversies with the IRS. The new Tax Clinic was featured in stories by New Tang Dynasty Television, a Chinese-language television station; preLaw Magazine; and local NPR affiliate KUHF.


FRAN ORTIZ Professor of Law

Professor Ortiz was elected chairwoman of the Animal Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) for the 2016-2017 term. Professor Ortiz’s article “Looking for a Good Home: Balancing Interests in the Disposition of Impounded Animals to Owners and Rescues” will appear in Volume 67 of Syracuse Law Review. She also has published two articles in the ABA’s Animal Law Committee’s newsletter: “No Shelter for Shelters: Applicability of the Owner-Exemption in Veterinary Disciplinary Actions” and “Police Power Questioned: Municipal Authority to Terminate Title to Impounded Animals.” At the ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee Symposium on Shelter Law held in October, Professor Ortiz presented on “The Law of Ownership: Resolving TItle Disputes over Companion Animals.” PHILLIP PAGE Professor of Law

Professor Page served as a guest on Houston Public Media’s “Bauer Business Focus” radio show to discuss the Super Bowl trademark. AMANDA PETERS Helen & Harry Hutchens Research Professor

Professor Peters recently wrote a legal textbook titled “Texas Criminal Procedure,” which was published by Wolters Kluwer in January. Last December, the federal Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act was

South Texas College of Law Houston

enacted, which was shaped by Professor Peters’ 2010 law review article titled “Lawyers Who Break the Law: What Congress Can Do to Prevent Mental Health Patient Advocates from Violating Federal Legislation.” The U.S. House of Representatives committee responsible for conducting the hearings on the law read and referred to Professor Peters’ article, as did several people who testified before Congress. Professor Peters traveled to Lubbock in November to speak at the Texas Tech Law Review’s Mental Health Law Symposium. She spoke to attorneys, judges, law enforcement officials, and mental health professionals about the legal and personal challenges insanity acquittees face post-acquittal and the problems with national laws and procedures pertaining to conditional release. She will speak on the same topic this summer at the 35th International Congress of Law and Mental Health, which will be held at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. SCOTT REMPELL Godwin Bowman & Martinez PC Research Professor

Professor Rempell published the article “Unpublished Decisions and Precedent Shaping: A Case Study of Asylum Claims” in Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 31, Iss. 1. CHARLES W. “ROCKY” RHODES Vinson & Elkins LLP Research Professor

Professor Rhodes and his co-authors recently published the third edition of the text “Questions and Answers: Constitutional Law.” His article “Over

the Threshold of Constitutional Adjudicative Retroactivity” is being published by the Nevada Law Journal, and his coauthored article “The Business of Personal Jurisdiction” will be published in a symposium issue on Business and the Roberts Court in the Case Western Reserve Law Review. He presented a paper, “Jurisdictional Discovery under the New Federal Rules,” at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools annual conference and moderated a panel on recent Supreme Court rulings impacting individual rights. He also made his annual presentation to the Federal Bar Association for the Southern District of Texas on the Supreme Court’s term. He has continued his frequent media commentary, discussing constitutional and procedural issues with such outlets as National Public Radio’s program The Texas Standard; the Houston PBS television show Red, White, and Blue; Houston Public Media’s program, Houston Matters; the Texas Tribune; the Houston Chronicle; and local and statewide radio programs. MARK R. SIEGEL Professor of Law

Professor Siegel published an article titled “The Need to Look Back for Sales of a Principal Residence” in Southern Illinois Law Journal, Volume 41 No. 1.

| class notes |

1970-1979 The Honorable William L. Blackwell ‘76 is retired and enjoys fishing, hunting, and traveling. Damon J. Faldowski ‘76 was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to serve as a trial judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, PA and assumed the position on July 12, 2016. His term expires on Dec. 31, 2017. Bruce H. Fleisher ‘73 continues to specialize in the defense of criminal cases in state and federal courts in Florida and throughout the U.S., in addition to the representation of plaintiffs in PI, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and product/ premises/cruise ship liability cases. He is also a legal consultant on several crime films and had a big part in one which is currently in production. Michael J. Guarino II ‘74 is engaged in the practice of criminal and general litigation law at The Law Office of Mike Guarino in League City, TX. Mike spent 20 years as the Galveston County Criminal District Attorney, retiring in 2002 to join the Galveston firm of Bettison, Doyle, Apffel & Guarino, P.C. where he was a partner for 14 years. Mike and his wife, Jeannie, enjoy time with their two grandsons who live nearby, as well as world travel. James A. Johnson ‘75 was recognized for his law review article: “The Right of Publicity and the Student

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Athlete” (7 Elon L. Rev. 537 (2015). It was published in the 2016 edition of the Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook by Thomson Reuters (West). David T. Lopez ‘71 is the sole arbitrator in an upcoming international case involving a $5 million claim, 7 lawyers, 13 witnesses from 5 countries, and many documents. Tina L. Mohr ‘75 is currently an adjunct professor at William & Mary Law School. She teaches Non-Profit Law and Employee Benefits/ ERISA. Mark F. Mooney ‘77 is really close to retirement. The Honorable Paul E. Olson ’76 relocated to Kotzebue, Alaska after graduation, where he served as a VISTA volunteer for Alaska Legal Services, providing legal services in Kotzebue and the surrounding Inupiat villages. He remained in Alaska and enjoyed opportunities to travel throughout the state as an assistant district attorney, engage in private practice, serve as a hearing examiner for the state public utility commission, and as a District and Superior Court judge. After more than 40 years, he retired as a Superior Court judge in January 2017. Robert O.W. Pelton ‘75 was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

Award from the STCL Houston Alumni Association. James W. Skelton Jr. ‘75 coauthored the second edition of the textbook “Doing Business in Emerging Markets: A Transactional Course” (Foundation Press 2015). He is a member of the Council of the Int’l Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and the Int’l Human Rights Committee of the SBOT. Norma Levine Trusch ‘77 recently finished teaching a two-day intersession training seminar on collaborative law at STCL Houston. The law school was the first in Texas to offer collaborative law courses to its students (thanks to Dean Alfini).

1980-1989 Genora K. Boykins ‘85 was named one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women by Houston Woman Magazine. Nancy Byrd Bunin ‘83 was presented with the Unsung Hero award for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

Gordon J. Quan ‘77 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Texas Lawyer Magazine as well as the 2016 Distinguished Alumni

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Alexander A. Bunin ‘85 was presented with the Champion of Public Defense Award by the National Associ-

ation of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) for exceptional efforts in making positive changes to a local, county, state, or national public defense system. Louis B. Chapman ‘84 settled in North Jersey, where his wife is from. He has enjoyed his own practice for over 30 years and his son, Michael, is now a lawyer working with him. He looks forward to retirement. Brian S. Clary ‘87 published his first novel, “Amicus Curiae,” in 2015. His second novel, “Unfinished Business,” was published in November. He is currently working on his third book. Karen C. Corallo ’84 joined the Washington, D.C. office of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP as of counsel in its health & FDA business practice. Karen previously served as the director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Division of Drug Imports, Exports, Recalls, and Shortages. Roland Garcia Jr. ‘86 was appointed chairman of the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Committee, and serves as a board member for the Memorial Hermann Health System. He also was appointed as co-chair of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hispanic Advisory Board. Additionally, Roland successfully won a unanimous appellate court

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| class notes |

victory in the Fifth Court of Appeals on behalf of Corpus Christi-based Hacient Records and Recording Studio, among others, regarding a copyright infringement lawsuit over a Tejano song. Mr. Garcia led the legal team in the trial court victory, and was lead counsel in the appellate court victory as well. Michael F. Hancock ‘87 was named president of Carrollwood Bar Association. Mike is a second-generation Tampa native and a member of the Florida Justice Association, Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and CABA. His firm, Hancock Injury Attorneys, was ranked No. 54 on the 1st Annual Law Firm 500 Award Honorees List of America’s Fastest-Growing Law Firms. The published list recognizes law firms that have achieved significant growth in revenues. Mike has earned, among other honors, an “AV-Preeminent” rating by Martindale-Hubbell, “Superb/10.0” rating by, and membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He has been named one of Florida’s Super Lawyers and one of Tampa’s Top-Rated Lawyers. Sherry Strickland Hibbert ‘80 received the American Bar Association’s award for 2016 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer in the In-House Counsel category. She has been the general counsel at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Inc. since 2010. Prior to that, she was vice president and general counsel at Houston Baptist University. Jeffrey A. Hirt ‘89 has been an assistant professor of business at Lone Star College Cy-Fair since January 2016.


Steven C. Howard ’83 recently opened his own firm, Steven C. Howard, P.C., which focuses on dispute resolution and mediation in Houston, Texas. This change comes after 35 years as a trial lawyer with Taunton, Snyder & Slade. R. Glenn Kelly ‘82 retired as a colonel judge advocate after more than 29 years in the United States Marine Corps. Irene Kosturakis ‘86 has taught International Business Transactions for more than 10 years as an adjunct professor at STCL Houston. She co-teaches this course — which is offered by the Center for Transactional Excellence — with full-time professor Cherie Taylor. Denise L. Kurt ‘88, regional services attorney with the Texas Health & Human Services Commission, received certification as a master advertising specialist from the Promotional Products Association International. Steven C. Laird ‘80 earned a Master of Laws Degree in Trial Advocacy from the Temple University Beasley School of Law. Nicholas J. Lanza ‘89 serves as president of the STCL Houston Alumni Association for 2017. Gene L. Locke ‘81 was appointed by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett to complete El Franco Lee’s term on Commissioners Court. Francis X. McIlvaine ‘84 retired from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in February 2016 after more than 17 years of service as an assistant district attorney. John P. Melko ‘84 received Individual Chambers recognition for his work in bankruptcy/restructuring law in Texas.

South Texas College of Law Houston

Larry C. Morris ‘86 has made the 10-year mark with his country law practice in the central Texas town of Calvert, population 1,000. Larry also practices law in Houston. Sheryl W. O’Briant ‘89 mediates full time with her partner at Thamm & O’Briant Mediations after 25 years of managing a firm and handling first-party bad faith cases. She keeps in touch with members of her STCL 1989 graduating class. She lives in Austin, travels extensively, and mediates all over Texas. Allen H. Orenberg ‘80 recently was elected president of the Simon E. Soboloff Jewish Law Society located in Montgomery County, Maryland. Matthew G. Pletcher ‘87 joined the new Houston office of Dallas-based trial law firm Deans & Lyons, LLP. Mary E. Samaan ‘89 was presented with the Unsung Hero award for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. Randall O. Sorrels ‘87 was named to the Top 100: Texas Super Lawyers, Top 100: Houston Super Lawyers, and Texas Super Lawyers listings for 2015. He was named Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year in Houston. This is Randy’s third year to be honored with this title. G. Thomas Vick Jr. ‘81 was elected as the next president-elect of the State Bar of Texas for the 2016-2017 year. He will serve as president from June 2017 to June 2018.

1990-1999 Bernardino “Benny” Agosto Jr. ‘95, partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz; has been recognized as one of the Top Latino Lawyers in the U.S. for 2016 by Latino Leaders magazine. Mr. Agosto was also honored by the magazine in 2011 and 2012 as one of the 101 Most Influential Leaders and in 2015 and 2016 as one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanic Lawyers. He has also been selected for the 2016 Nation’s Top One Percent list by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC). This is the second consecutive year he has been recognized by the NADC. James M. Alpert ‘93 has been living and working in the D.C. suburbs since 2004, and is currently an associate attorney with Posz Law Group PLC. He is a registered patent attorney representing both domestic and foreign clients at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. R. Christopher Bell ‘92 has shifted the practice of Chris Bell P.C. to focus primarily on personal injury matters and relocated his office in December to the Park Laureate Building, 10000 Memorial Drive. James N. Bradley ‘97 is now a solutions delivery leader at HEB. Fran Brochstein ’90 has been elected to a second term as president of the Association of Conflict Resolution - Houston Chapter. Patrick S. Browning ‘93 recently was named department administrator for the University of Texas Police Department at Houston, which provides service to MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Albert J. Charanza Jr. ‘92 had three big trials in 2016. In August 2016, he had a jury finding of a client incompetent to stand trial for a capital murder. He is now fighting the law related to civil commitment in the same case and challenging the civil commitment statute. This was followed by a murder trial in September 2016 that resulted in a hung jury and a retrial in December 2016 of the same case that resulted in an acquittal. Both cases were tried in Angelina County, Lufkin, Texas. In June 2016, he retired from the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a lieutenant colonel after serving 26 years. James F. Chester ‘97, managing partner of Chester Siekierski LLP in Dallas, has cofounded Attorney VENUE, the ideal office environment for independent attorneys. VENUE members have access to work and meeting space, internet, mail service, reception, kitchen/ coffee, as well as 20+ hours of CLE and management/development training annually — plus they become part of an elite network of fellow independent professionals. The initial location is in Dallas, but plans are to open in other cities — including Austin and Houston — in the near future. Therese “Terry” M. Cirone ‘93 joined the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. as vice president of safety. Gregory A. Duffey ‘97 opened his own practice on Pennsylvania Ave. in D.C., continuing to focus on IP litigation (ITC and district courts) and inter partes review trials at the USPTO after 19 years in BigLaw, most recently as partner at Winston & Strawn.

Dane K. Friend ‘98, vice president of human resources at Baylor College of Medicine, was named Executive of the Year for the 2016 C-Suite Award by the Houston Business Journal. The Honorable Kristen Brauchle Hawkins ‘99 was elected judge of the 11th District Court in Harris County. It is the oldest court in Texas, and she is the first woman elected to this bench. Chastiti N. Horne ‘98 was honored to receive the 2016 Public Service Award from the STCL Houston Alumni Association for her volunteer work with Child Advocates, Inc. She also was chosen as a Woman on the Move in 2014 by Texas Executive Women. Michael K. Hurst ‘90 was elected as president-elect of the Dallas Bar Association (DBA), becoming the first South Texas grad to lead the 11,000+ member organization. He also won the DBA’s Outstanding Committee Chair for the second time this past fall for chairing the Morris Harrell Professionalism Committee and leading the Day of Civility and Professionalism initiative. Michael has been selected as a Super Lawyer top 100 in Texas for the 11th time in the past 12 years and was once again voted Best Lawyer by D Magazine and Best Lawyers in America. Jerry D. Lambright ‘97 was re-elected and began his second term as Montgomery County Attorney in January 2017. As the chief legal advisor for the County, JD oversees a staff of approximately 30

attorneys, legal support staff, and investigators. Under JD’s leadership in his first year in office, the County Attorney’s Office was recognized as the Department of the Year for 2013. This is the first time in the history of this recognition program that the office has received this prestigious award. JD was selected as Montgomery County’s Boss of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. Prior to being elected county attorney, JD was in private law practice for 13 years. Before opening his own law firm in 1999, JD enjoyed a 25-year career as a geophysicist/electrical engineer at Shell Oil Co. and Shell E&P Technology Co. in Houston. Steven C. Levatino ‘90 obtained a million-dollar verdict for his client in Dec. 2016 for a business dispute case involving breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Sherry Applewhite Lott ‘93 is general counsel for Ayrshire Corporation (Land Investment and Development) and has served as a municipal court judge since 1997. She recently married after 32 years of widowhood. Robert F. Loughran ‘92, Foster LLP partner, published an article in ERC’s Mobility Magazine titled “Refugees are Not a Threat… They are a Staffing Opportunity” on the potential benefits of employing Syrian refugees. The article also discusses best-practice procedures employers should follow when hiring refugees. Robert also was honored with the 2017 Meritorious Service Award by the Worldwide ERC organization. The award is given to individuals who have made

significant contributions to the global mobility community. Michael P. Lyons ‘99 was named among the Best Lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine. The Honorable Debra Ibarra Mayfield ‘99 recently joined Enterprise Products Partners, LP as in-house senior counsel handling capital land projects and eminent domain after five years of service on the bench. Eric O. Morehead ‘97 launched Morehead Compliance Consulting in January 2016. Before starting his own firm, Eric was the head of advisory services for the Governance Services Division of the New York Stock Exchange. He is also a former assistant general counsel for the United States Sentencing Commission. Eric has over 15 years’ experience working with organizations seeking to cure compliance issues and build effective compliance and ethics programs. Morehead Compliance Consulting provides program assessment, policy and code of conduct development, live training, benchmarking services, and advice. Matthew L. Motes ‘93 was recently elected managing partner for Decker Jones, P.C. in Fort Worth, Texas. M. Scott Norman Jr. ’96 was honored by the National Association of Home Builders® (NAHB) with its inaugural State Executive Officer of the Year Award in January 2017. Norman has held the title of executive director for the Texas Association of Builders (TAB) since 2008 and has been with the association since 2003.


| class notes |

Anne Marie Odefey ‘94, a partner at Roberts, Roberts, Odefey & Witte, LLP, would like to announce that Carly W. Wall has become a partner. The firm will continue as Roberts, Roberts, Odefey, Witte & Wall, LLP. Mark J. Oehl ‘96 was admitted to practice for the Supreme Court of the United States. Michael B. Patronella ‘92 is about to celebrate his fourth anniversary as partner with the litigation firm of Lubel Voyles LLP in Houston. He will continue to handle mesothelioma and asbestos cases as well as other PI and wrongful death cases. Charles W. Peckham ‘91 has limited his mediation practice exclusively to employment law mediations. He has been board-certified in labor and employment law for almost 18 years. Ajmal A. Rahim ‘99, senior counsel with Chamberlain Hrdlicka, has received Texas Board of Legal Specialization’s (TBLS) board certification in immigration and nationality law. Rahim is one of only eight attorneys to achieve board certification in immigration and nationality law in 2015. Phillip L. Sampson Jr. ‘93 was elected to serve a three-year term on Bracewell’s firm-wide management committee. Timothy B. Soefje ‘94 formed the new law firm of Seltzer Chadwick Soefje, PLLC with Dick Seltzer ‘81. Also, James Jameson ‘84 has joined the firm as of counsel. The firm is a corporate, professional liability, employment, and bankruptcy boutique law firm with offices in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Rachel P. Steely ‘94 received individual Chambers recognition


for her work in labor & employment law in Texas. David V. Wilson II ’93 of the Houston office of LeClairRyan was inducted into the Houston chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates as an associate member.

2000-2009 Richard D. Berlin ‘06 was promoted to managing attorney of the Houston Regional Office of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas’s Consumer Protection Division. Daniel E. Bolia ‘08 recently joined the legal department at Exxon Mobil Corporation as counsel in the Investigations and Compliance Litigation group. Rafael T. Boza ‘09 accepted a position with Sarens USA as regional legal counsel for the Americas region. Robert A. Broadbent ‘00 retired from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps after 20 years of service and joined the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Office of General Counsel, Mission and International Law Division as an assistant general counsel. Matthew D. Cavenaugh ‘07 was elected partner at Jackson Walker’s Houston office. Lynn M. Clements ‘05 is retired and spending a lot of time in the Florida Keys. Stephen A. Cooney ‘02 is now board certified in commercial real estate law and focuses on general corporate and real estate transactions. He assists businesses with day-to-day operating needs, negotiating and drafting business contracts; asset and stock sales;

South Texas College of Law Houston

business governance issues, and the formation of business entities. His real estate practice includes representing buyers and sellers in negotiating and preparing documents relating to the sale, purchase, lease and operation of commercial properties. He also advises clients regarding land use issues, deed restrictions, and property owners association formation and operation. Adam P. Curley ‘08 married Angela Stout ‘07 in Hawaii in September 2016, and they are expecting their first child in July 2017. He also joined the firm of Gordon & Rees as an associate in September 2016. Olivia Carbajal de Garcia ‘07 became a partner at Schlanger, Silver, Barg & Paine, LLP. Olivia’s practice focuses primarily on estate planning, probate guardianship, and family wealth transfers for U.S. citizens and foreign individuals with U.S. assets. She represents a wide range of individuals, including successful business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals; clients with significant life insurance; clients with blended families; and clients with aging parents and adult disabled children. John P. Denholm II ‘08 was presented the Torch of Liberty award for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. Dawn T. Dittmar ‘03 started her solo practice immediately after graduating. She now focuses on handling business and real estate. She has been in charge of a few very large mergers and acquisitions for a couple of clients. Both of her children have graduated college, and her stepson is starting college in the fall, with plans to attend law school one day.

Karen D. Donnelly ‘00 started law school the same day her daughter, Shannon, started kindergarten. Karen was able to hood Shannon at her STCL Houston graduation in May 2016. Joe A. Flores ‘01 is a national speaker and authority on health fraud prevention and representing healthcare providers and entities on compliance and state and federal issues. Joe also is a board-certified nurse practitioner, has a house call practice, and develops healthcare business models. He and his wife, an RN, and his daughter, a ballerina for Concert Ballet, reside in Corpus Christi. Toby B. Fullmer ‘03 started a solo practice in 2013, Toby B. Fullmer L.L.C., focusing on litigation and general counsel duties for his clients. Toby has been recognized by Texas Monthly magazine as a Rising Star (2011-2015) in the legal profession; by H Texas Magazine as one of Houston’s Top Lawyers handling matters involving civil litigation (2013-2015); by the Million Dollar Advocates Forum as well as the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum with Lifetime Membership (2013); by Rue Rankings with a Lifetime Charter Membership as one of the “Best Attorneys of America;” and by Houstonia magazine as a “Best of Houstonia: Top Lawyer” (2015). Bradford J. Gilde ‘04, of Gilde Law Firm, PLLC, is now of counsel to Johnson Law Group. He has been named a Texas Rising Star nominee by Super Lawyers for the fourth year in a row and has been named a Top 40 Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers. Katherine D. Gonyea ‘08 is a senior associate at the recently renamed firm Dow Golub Remels & Gilbreath PLLC alongside fellow Senior Associate Stephanie A. Hamm ’09. Keith M. Remels ’89 is one of the named partners.

Misty A. Hataway-Coné ‘01 recently was selected as one of H Texas Magazine’s “Top Lawyers in Houston.” This is Misty’s fifth year to receive this recognition. Additionally, she has been named to the 2016 Texas Rising Stars listing for an eighth time. Dawn S. Holiday ‘04 joined Steptoe & Johnson PLLC as of counsel in the litigation department, handling a variety of multiparty lawsuits in the areas of professional liability, commercial litigation, personal injury, complex civil litigation, and general liability defense. Jason L. Hughes ‘06 was elected as a principal at Germer PLLC in January 2017. He previously served as an associate attorney from 20072014 and senior trial counsel from 2015-2016. Gwendolyn L. Hulsey ‘06 was elected partner in the tax practice at Baker & McKenzie. J. Daniel Johnson ’04, former partner-in-charge of Sutherland’s Houston office, and Juan C. Garcia ’04, a former senior partner with Sutherland, have formed Johnson Garcia LLP, a new law firm dedicated exclusively to helping individuals and businesses recover damages. Chase G. Jones ‘09 was named Spring ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year and was awarded a new car from Planet Ford in Spring. Natalie Cobb Koehler ‘02 was re-elected to her third term as Bosque County Attorney. She was appointed by Governor Greg

Abbott to the Texas Farm and Ranchlands Conservation Council, which works to conserve Texas’s farms and ranches that provide our state’s critical resources.

counsel, chief compliance officer, and land manager. P.O.&G. is a privately owned oil and gas company focused on the acquisition of U.S. Lower 48 onshore reserves that provide the opportunity for production and reserve growth through the disciplined application of technology and capital. Courtney E. Palm ‘03, previously with Kane Russell Coleman & Logan, is now with Hoover Slovacek LLP. J. Goodwille Pierre ‘00 was appointed to be the director of compliance for the Office of Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar.

April B. Leibman ‘04 and her husband Ben ’04 have 2 kids, Levi (6.5) and Penelope (4.5). Ronald C. McCallum ‘01, with Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC, has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas. Benjamin P. Miller ‘06 was named a Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers/Texas Monthly Magazine for the third year in a row. He is a member of Sponsel Miller Greenberg PLLC in Houston, where he practices commercial real estate and corporate law. He is board-certified in commercial real estate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Jordan K. Mullins ‘09 was elected to partner at McGinnis Lochridge in the oil & gas litigation section and recently was named to the 12 Under 12 at Texas A&M University. George A. Oggero ‘07 has joined P.O.&G. Resources, LP as its general

Jeremy J. Sanders ‘00 has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout Texas. Roger D. Scales ‘04 joined Coats Rose, P.C. as of counsel and will head the firm’s oil and gas section. Roger, a 25-year veteran of the oil and gas industry, has built an extensive oil and gas practice focusing on matters involving title examination, due diligence title reviews, and the negotiation and evaluation of all manner of oil and gas agreements. Roger also has assisted clients in matters involving wind energy, solar energy, and groundwater leasing. James C. Scott ‘06 lateraled over as a partner to Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP in Fort Worth from Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Dallas in July 2016. Brant J. Stogner ‘06 was named partner at the firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz. He was introduced as a new

member of the American Board of Trial Advocates on October 24 and has been selected for the 2016 Nation’s Top One Percent list by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC). This is the second time he has been recognized by the NADC. CeCelia E. Valentine ‘01 was sworn in as a member of the board of directors for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Justin E. VandenBout ’07 was promoted to income shareholder at Chamberlain Hrdlicka, where he will maintain a general litigation practice with an emphasis on commercial litigation and complex insurance coverage litigation at the firm’s Houston office. Collin G. Warren ‘01 joined the firm of Fisher Phillips as a partner. Cory M. Weidmeman ’06 was promoted to firm partnership at Duane Morris LLP in January 2017. He focuses his practice on complex commercial, intellectual property, and employment litigation. Amanda A. Zimmerman ‘08 was elected partner at Jackson Walker’s Houston office.

Amy Zolkoski Cann ‘07 and her husband, Taylor Cann, welcomed the newest addition to their family, Emma Claire Cann, on September 21, 2016. Everyone is doing great and Emma’s big brother, Henry, is adjusting very well to life with a baby sister.


| class notes |

Joshua M. Zudar ‘08 was elected to partner at Burnett Wilson Reeder in Tampa, Florida.

2010-2016 Adam R. Aldrete ’14 recently accepted a position as senior manager legal counsel for CPS Energy in San Antonio, TX. Previously, Adam served as corporate counsel for Cosentino North America, where his department was honored by Texas Lawyer as its 2016 Corporate Compliance Department of the Year. Amir R. Befroui ‘12 recently moved back home to Houston after working in Dallas for the past year. He’ll be continuing his work in civil litigation at Lone Star Legal Aid, where his practice will focus on assisting his clients with protecting their homes from foreclosure, getting a better understanding of their rights in consumer financial transactions, and obtaining financial relief through bankruptcy. Thomas J. Bonura ’12 has joined Baker Donelson’s Health Law Group in Houston as an associate and will focus on advising healthcare organizations and professionals in the transactional, operational, and regulatory aspects of the healthcare industry. L. Michelle Brockway ‘10 is currently senior counsel at Strasburger & Price, with an emphasis on commercial litigation and health law. Michelle A. Ciolek ‘12 joined the firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz as an associate attorney. Ryan J. Daley ‘12 recently opened The Law Offices of Daley & West, PLLC in downtown Austin, TX. In May 2015, Ryan graduated from the 46

M.B.A. program at Arizona State University and recently was awarded a Pro Bono College Award by the State Bar of Texas for completing over 75 hours of pro bono legal work in 2015, including obtaining a fully favorable Social Security Administrative Law Judge decision in front of the Honorable James Linehan. Jarett J. Dillard ‘15 was hired by Coats Rose, P.C. as an associate in the firm’s Houston office, where his practice is focused on construction, surety, real property and litigation.

Trace A. Holmes ‘10 transitioned to Range Resources in September 2016. Thomas J. Holmes III ‘13 married Sarah Kittleman in 2015, and they have one daughter, Audrey. After graduating from law school, Thomas began with an energy practice focusing on transactions and title work. In 2014, he started his own firm, Holmes Law, PLLC which is a general practice focusing on the following: corporate matters from entity formation to business transactions and disputes; oil, gas and mineral transactions, opinions and disputes; and real estate.

Benjamin A. Fedorko ‘14 joined the Houston office of Gray Reed & McGraw. He will work on the firm’s trust and estates team. D. Alex Gonzalez ‘12 was recently elected as president of the Mexican-American Bar Association of Houston (MABAH), the largest Hispanic bar association in the state of Texas. Alex previously served as MABAH’s vice president and law school liaison. Amber Maxfield Gracia ‘15 recently joined the Quan Law Group, PLLC in its immigration litigation section. Kelsie M. Haaland ‘16 joined Thompson & Knight LLP as an associate. Lauren Bricker Hodge ‘14 joined Coats Rose as an associate in the Houston office’s affordable housing practice group.

South Texas College of Law Houston

Kevin D. Hunter ‘14 launched a family law firm, Boudreaux|Hunter & Associates, with his business partner, Shannon Boudreaux ’03, in 2016. Jill E. Jester ‘10 was voted Best Civil Lawyer in the Best of Denton County magazine, and her law firm, Minor & Jester, P.C. was voted Best Civil Law Firm and Best Bankruptcy Law Firm. She was also selected as a Rising Star with Super Lawyers, published in Texas Monthly magazine for 2016. Joseph K. Jones ‘10 recently graduated from the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers’ College, a nationally recognized and highly competitive institution for trial attorneys and judges throughout the United States with a focus on creating

more effective and compassionate trial lawyers.

Victor F. Mendoza ‘13 married Jessica Hartman ‘14 on October 29, 2016. The couple resides in downtown Austin where Jessica is in the Office of the General Counsel at the Texas Railroad Commission. Earlier in the fall, Victor was promoted to deputy general counsel in the Office of the Speaker, Texas House of Representatives. Nicholas J. Nieto ‘15 has joined Coats Rose, P.C. in the litigation section, where he focuses primarily on construction, surety, and real estate law. Carlos G. Pazos ‘13 started as an assistant state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Benjamin W. Penticoff ‘14 got married to Heather McAbee on December 17, 2016.

Andrew J. Riley ‘14 has lived in Pittsburgh for the past three years. However, three years seems to be his threshold for living in the same place, so up next is Chicago in summer 2017. Another bar exam... awesome.

Susan Herbst Soto ‘10 was named one of Houston’s Top Lawyers by H Texas magazine for the second consecutive year in 2016. She also was included on Houstonia magazine’s Top Lawyers list in 2016.

Lauren M. Rouhana ‘14 wrote an article titled “Adoption of Foreign National Children” which was published in the December issue of Houston Lawyer Magazine.

Michael P. Vargo ‘10 began a law practice in Houston focusing on energy and commercial law matters.

Andrew M. Scott ‘10 obtained a defense verdict for CrossFit, Inc. and its affiliate, P3 CrossFit, following a weeklong jury trial in Harris County District Court. After a week of evidence, expert testimony, and argument in a very contentious case, the jury found in favor of both defendants on all questions submitted in the jury charge. Neither defendant was found negligent nor found to have violated Texas law. The verdict was a complete and total victory for CrossFit and its affiliate. J. Will Seyer ‘13 joined Coats Rose, PC as an associate in the real estate practice group of the Houston Office. Beatriz “Bea” A. Sosa-Morris ‘11 started a firm with her colleague John Neuman. Sosa-Morris Neuman Attorneys at Law focuses primarily on employment law, personal injury, workers compensation, and medical malpractice. Bea’s entire career has been devoted to representing employees and injured people. Bea is an executive board member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, a member of the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, and a member of the Houston Young Lawyers Association.

Paul B. Wyatt ‘13 joined the firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz as an associate attorney.

New Arrivals Karen Smith Andreas '15 and Eric Andreas welcomed Eva Claire Andreas on May 22, 2016. She weighed 7 lbs. 7.9 oz and measured 20 inches long. Richard D. Berlin '06 welcomed Benjamin Austin on December 6, 2016 in Houston, Texas.

tensen, on August 5th. He is happy, healthy, and already a major handful. Stephanie R. Enriquez ’16 welcomed Everly Rose Enriquez, born on November 13, 2016 in Houston, TX. She was a month early and still weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 19 inches long. Michael M. Essmyer Sr. '80 is proud grandfather to his daughter’s twins, Harry and Addie. Scott Good '89 became a grandfather when Ewan Patrick McDonald was born on April 29, 2016. Nazleen Faizullah Jiwani ’08 welcomed Kaysan Jiwani on June 12, 2016 in Houston, TX. He loves to kick, eat, and talk to his big brother, Hayden. Kaneshia R. Moore ’16 welcomed Dylani Rhylenn Moore on December 19, 2014 in Houston, Texas while she

Lauren Tunstall Bernard ’09 and Zach Bernard ’10 welcomed Parker Tunstall Bernard on January 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas. He joins big brother Knox Edward Bernard. Miguel Z. Cervantes, Jr ’16 is expecting a son, Miguel Angel Cervantes III, on April 28, 2017. Whitney Campbell Christensen '11 and Ross Christensen welcomed their first child, Walker Lee Chris-

C. Austin Stout '13 and Katy P. Stout '13 finalized the adoption of their sons Kannon (age 5) and Roman (age 3) on June 2, 2016, and eight days later they welcomed their daughter Ava into the world! Jennifer L. Zenero ’15 welcomed Jace Robert on October 4, 2016.

was a 2L. Sarah M. Ostriyznick ’08 and her husband Craig welcomed a little girl, Hadley Estelle Ostriyznick, on September 13, 2016 in Houston, TX. She was 8 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 inches long.

If you are celebrating a recent birth, submit a Class Note with your baby’s name and we’ll send you a free “Future Graduate” onesie.

Samantha J. Rodriguez ’14 welcomed Alberto Rodriguez, Jr. on October 25, 2016 in Houston, Texas.


| in memoriam | Dedicated to the memory of our friends and colleagues. Received January 1, 2016 – February 1, 2017

1923-1959 Thomas T. Barnhouse '48, March 24, 2016 John W. Coolidge Jr. '59, January 13, 2017 Frank T. Rea '52, December 17, 2016

1960-1969 James E. Bobo '67, February 20, 2016 John C. Breed '62, May 5, 2016 Norma R. Johnson '65, March 25, 2016 Glenn H. McCarthy Jr. '67, January 12, 2017 Robert R. McNatt '69, July 25, 2016 A.M. "Mel" Moncrief '66, March 25, 2016 John L. Moore III '69, December 27, 2016 Robert M. Moore '65, December 16, 2016 William B. Portis Jr., January 24, 2016 John O. Roark '66, January 23, 2016 Raymond J. Snokhous '62, February 26, 2016 Merritt E. Spencer '67, February 25, 2016 Richard A. Tindall '69, June 20, 2016 Colonel J. E. Williamson '63, October 13, 2016

1970-1979 Fredric J. Attermeier '75, January 26, 2016 Janet Boyle '77, February 21, 2016 Harold P. Brelsford '77, June 25, 2016 Arnold S. Cohn '74, June 1, 2016 Gerald A. Cornick '72, March 15, 2016 Donald G. Davis '76, April 5, 2016 Elbert L. Grisell III '77, May 8, 2016 Sharon J. Hartnett '78, May 21, 2016 The Honorable Magnus S. Hjalmarson '76, August 8, 2016 J.R. "Ronnie" Horsley '70, August 15, 2016 James T. Jongebloed '71, June 10, 2016 Warren G. King '78, February 26, 2016 Henry C. McGuffey '76, January 11, 2016 E. Wayne Mercer '71, October 6, 2016 Dennis Ng '79, April 29, 2016 Ronald D. Perry '78, August 17, 2016 L. Keith Slade '79, September 29, 2016 Michael C. Walters '70, May 12, 2016 Roger E. Yarbro '74, January 17, 2016


South Texas College of Law Houston

1980-1989 David A. Abdalla '85, February 9, 2016 John E. Kehn Jr. '86, March 20, 2016 Dwade R. King '84, July 2, 2016 Wendy L. Larson '83, September 24, 2016 William R. LaVanier '88, May 1, 2016 Frederick T. Lowe '85, September 11, 2016 Walter J. McCoy '85, March 19, 2016 Sam J. Mortellaro Jr. '84, July 8, 2016 Linda E. Startz '82, April 11, 2016 Dianne Walsh '85, June 24, 2016

1990-1999 Ronald N. Brown '96, May 29, 2016 Norman A. Desmarais Jr. '95, August 14, 2016 David P. Grabowski '90, November 20, 2016 Theodore R. Kenyon Jr. '92, March 10, 2016 Katalin M. Lazzara '95, March 25, 2016 R. Brian Lewis '94, December 15, 2016 Dr. Robert A. Ostman '91, February 21, 2016 Brad M. Wilder '99, July 8, 2016

2000-2010 Cynthia J. Dresden '05, January 22, 2016

South Texas Community W. Tom Arnold, M.D., Former Board of Directors, March 29, 2016 Peggy Kimbro, Former Library Assistant, January 30, 2017 Peter W. Lewis, Professor of Law, December 23, 2016 John H. Lindsey, Former Board of Directors, May 20, 2016 Clinton F. Morse, Former Board of Directors, October 3, 2016 Janean K. Reagan, Senior Accounting Assistant, September 7, 2016 Nathaniel S. Rogers, Former Board of Directors, February 22, 2016 Mabel E. Welch, Former Director of Special Activities, April 29, 2016 South Texas alumni, faculty, staff, and students are the law school’s greatest legacy. When members of the South Texas community pass away, they are remembered and their spirits live on. Send information about deaths to If you are interested in making a gift to honor alumni and friends who have passed, you may make a secured gift online at

tracing our roots

South Texas College of Law Houston has a nearly century-long history, which comes with a slew of major milestones, influential figures, and moments to remember. A new timeline installation near the law school’s atrium offers passersby an overview of South Texas history at a glance, with space remaining for history in the making.


My Testimony

HE SPECIAL BONDS THAT ARE MADE AT SOUTH TEXAS, AND IN ADVOCACY, TRULY DO LAST A LIFETIME. y first day of law school was in August of 1976. I arrived in Houston from Pueblo, Colorado, and the very first people I met were Jim Evans ’79 and his wife Diane, newlyweds from Denver who also had recently relocated to Texas. Jim and I became fast friends and soon became a winning team in local, regional, and state mock trial competitions, along with John Morabito ‘80. We also won regional and state Client Counseling Competitions in 1977 and 1978. Jim and I both worked full-time while we attended South Texas, so our victories were hard-earned and well-celebrated. We spent many hours together practicing and planning our strategies, and we often met at Jim and Diane’s apartment for last-minute rehearsals. After graduation, Jim and Diane returned to Denver to raise their family, and I remained in Houston with my sons and maintained my own practice for many years. We stayed in touch and remained good friends throughout the years. In 2015, Jim and his bride decided to celebrate and offer thanks for their 40th wedding anniversary by walking the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in northern Spain which tracks the steps of Saint John the Apostle on his way from the Holy Land to Santiago de Compostela, where he is said to be buried. The couple invited me to accompany them on a new challenge, much different from the one we embarked on nearly 40 years earlier. We met in Santiago de Compostela on June 21 and traveled to Sarria, Spain, where we started our five-day, 80-mile journey by foot. Nearly four decades after we dominated on the advocacy trail, Jim and I were pitted against daunting, “saucy” hills, blisters, heat rash, and muscle aches, only to dig deep and


Donna Hilsher ‘79, Diane Evans, and Jim Evans ‘79.


South Texas College of Law Houston

“The couple invited me to accompany them on a new challenge, much different from the one we embarked on nearly 40 years earlier.” enjoy the experience as we persevered and prevailed yet again — this time with lots of laughter and the addition of Diane to our team! We celebrated our victory at the Pilgrims’ mass and received our compostelas, the official certificates identifying us as Pilgrims! Taking on the Camino together was just the best experience ever. It was without a doubt a very steep climb and a long and tiring walk, but the three of us did it, and boy are we proud. Happy Anniversary to Jim and Diane, and continued success to the winning advocacy team of Jim and Donna! Best Regards, Donna M. Hilsher ‘79

MY TESTIMONY In this new InRe feature, we’ll share firsthand stories, opinions, and accounts from your fellow alumni. Want to share something notable you’ve done recently? A tale of your first time in the courtroom? Some insight you’ve gained since graduation? Email us at with the subject line: “My Testimony.”

law school introduces new bar exam preparation program



Raising the Bar

South Texas College of Law Houston is dedicated to preparing graduates who are ready to practice law; this is a commitment the law school has maintained for more than 93 years. STCL Houston’s curriculum combines theory with experiential education so students graduate with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in law practice. Of course, a major component of being practice-ready is having the ability to pass the bar exam — a task that law students across the country are finding increasingly difficult. According to the ABA Journal, the mean test score on the February 2016 administration of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) fell significantly for the fourth consecutive time, to a 135 — its lowest score since 1983. In Texas,

“There is a lot of speculation about this national trend of lower bar exam scores, and I suspect that multiple factors are at work.” – JOHN WORLEY

the statewide pass rate has dropped in recent years from just under 90 percent to approximately 75 percent. Several theories about this downward trend have circulated through the legal education community — from lower nationwide admissions standards to questions regarding the test’s relevance to modern practice. Whatever the reason, law schools certainly are facing a new normal. “There is a lot of speculation about this national trend of lower bar exam scores, and I suspect that multiple factors are at work,” said John Worley, associate dean for Aacademic Affairs. “Whatever the explanation, we have a moral obligation to be responsive to the data specific to our students and to make every effort to help our students be successful on the bar exam.” Success on the bar exam always has been a priority when developing 52

South Texas College of Law Houston

curriculum, academic policies, and support services at South Texas. In addition to building MBE and Texas-specific components into required coursework, the law school has for many years offered a bar preview course, academic support for at-risk students, and the popular Barapalooza bar preparation workshop. Students who are at risk are required to take a more heavily bar-oriented curriculum, and all students receive counseling about how to structure their law studies with a view toward bar exam readiness. However, the new normal requires a fresh look at these programs. The law school’s Office of Assessment and Research collects and analyzes data — including undergraduate GPAs, LSAT scores, law school GPAs, and commercial bar prep statistics — to help the law school’s faculty and administration reach meaningful conclusions about what changes have the most significant potential for impact on bar exam success rates. For South Texas, a student’s law school GPA is more predictive of bar exam performance than either undergraduate GPA or LSAT scores. Data from bar exams administered between 2012 and 2014 shows that nearly 100 percent of students with a South Texas GPA of 3.1 or above passed the exam on the first try. For the same cohort, the average pass rate steadily declined as GPAs declined. Although data from the July 2015 bar exam shows a downward trend across the board, a GPA above 3.1 was still a strong predictor of bar passage. However, the variance between the passage rate for these students and the passage rate for students in the 2.5 to 3.1 range increased significantly. This information helped the law school’s Academic Success & Bar Performance Committee determine a threshold

Raising the Bar

for identifying at-risk students and implement changes to current programs and services that will help these students. Bar Preview Course

For many years, the law school has sponsored a bar preview course, open to all students in their final semester and required for those with a GPA of 2.8 or less. The course will be mandatory for all students with a GPA of 3.2 or less. Starting in the 2017-2018 academic year, the bar preview course will become a for-credit, graded class, and students required to take the course must earn a passing grade to obtain the law school’s certification to take the bar exam. “The new requirements are intended to ensure that students who are required to take the course will have skin in the game,” Worley said. “The course has long been required for students on academic supervision, but because the course was offered on a non-credit, pass/fail basis, students had few incentives to engage seriously and to take full advantage of its benefits.” South Texas also has partnered with Themis Bar Review, a commercial bar preparation service, to enrich the lecture-based course which covers the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), three Texas-specific essay subjects, and seven MBE subjects. The bar preview course serves as a supplement, rather than a substitute, for a commercial bar review course. The partnership with Themis, which began this fall and is sponsored by a generous donor, will help the law school offer a more comprehensive course with more robust study materials and quicker feedback on student practice work (the service includes grading of practice exams and essays).

Academic Supervision and Support

Open to all students and previously required for students with a 2.2 GPA or lower after the first semester of law school study, the Academic Success Course now will be mandatory for all 1L students with a GPA of 2.4 or less beginning fall 2017. The course is designed to help students build the necessary foundation for success in their legal studies by developing their legal analytical and problem-solving abilities as well as their study and test-taking skills. Since the students required to take the course are those who also are at risk of failing the bar exam, the course also will help students shore up skills required to succeed on the bar exam. Like the bar preview, the course will be for-credit, and students taking it will receive a pass/fail grade. Mentoring and Coaching

In partnership with the Alumni Association, the law school recently launched its “ACE the Bar” Mentorship Program this month. The program is designed to provide Accountability, Commitment, and Encouragement (ACE) for students and alumni preparing for the bar exam. Alumni mentors are matched with exam takers to help them with preparation, time and stress management, and study tips. Jocelyn Limmer, assistant dean of Academic and Professional Achievement, hopes weekly mentorship calls will help the law school stay connected to recent graduates who may otherwise not have reached out for help. “In the two months between graduation and the bar exam, some graduates feel like they are on their own, and that just isn’t true,” Limmer said. “Whether they need help laying out their study plan or professional counseling for a personal

YOU CAN HELP You can help South Texas grads pass the bar exam. Visit: to get involved with the Alumni Association’s ACE the Bar program.

issue that has come up, we are here to make sure they get the support required to meet their goals.” In addition to these program changes, Worley has led the faculty in auditing every bar-related course in the curriculum to assure that the law school’s curricular content and teaching objectives and outcomes align with MBE outlines provided by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. Faculty members also conducted a thorough review of more than ten years of essay questions on the Texas-specific portion of the exam, which identified a few subjects that will receive stronger emphasis in future instruction. “We are committed to reevaluating and improving our curriculum and instruction continually in order to provide our students with the best possible legal education,” Worley said. “The bar exam, our student body, and the legal education landscape will keep evolving — and so will South Texas.”



The Fred Parks Law Library is home to an impressive

collection of more than 3,000 rare books dating back to the 15th century. Focusing on the seminal works in English

Common Law, Spanish and Mexican law, Maritime law, and Texas legal history, the collection highlights the

chronicles of law and the artistry of early bookmaking. In this issue, we give you a glimpse of the Spanish Law

collection. As a part of New Spain, Texas was shaped by

Spanish colonial law. Following Texas’ independence in 1836, the republic largely adopted English Common Law while maintaining elements of Spanish judicial procedure,

land titles, water law, and family law. Many of the distinctive features of modern Texas law have roots in Spain.

Book cover:

1842, Diccionario Razonado de Legislacion Civil, Penal, Comercial y Forense Joaquin Escriche


South Texas College of Law Houston



Novîsima Recopilacion de las Leyes de España – spine detail

Fuero Real de España – fore edge branding detail



Gaspar de Hermosilla’s Notae – spine detail

Gaspar de Hermosilla’s Notae – title page detail


1820 IllustraciĂłn del Derecho Real de EspaĂąa Juan Sala, 1731-1806 Opposite: Handwritten notations on end papers


South Texas College of Law Houston


1543 Fuero real de EspaĂąa Opposite: Interior page detail


South Texas College of Law Houston


| in brief |

1675 Dissertationum iuris controversi JosĂŠ Vela, 1588-1643 Opposite: Title page detail


South Texas College of Law Houston


chambers Step into my office. Professor Tobin Sparling expresses his individuality with treasured family heirlooms displayed in his office, including a selection of French paintings and antique furnishings from his extensive personal collection.


South Texas College of Law Houston


South Texas College of Law Houston


1303 San Jacinto Street


Houston, Texas 77002


Help us honor you and your peers. • accepting nominations now through july 1, 2017 •

distinguished alumni award public service award young alumni award Visit

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