2020-2021 ADMISSIONS BULLETIN
Welcome to STCL Houston
South Texas College of Law Houston is located in the heart of the thriving downtown district— providing unparalleled access to internships and job opportunities in the city’s courts, Fortune 500 corporations, law firms, and nonprofit organizations. It’s a great place to earn your legal education.
THE SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
Difference: Practical education.
A strong supportive community with a welcoming culture and exceptional instruction prepares students to begin practicing law immediately.
Lifelong connections. A collegial student atmosphere, faculty mentors committed to student success, and access to a network of more than 15,000 alumni create lifelong connections that benefit graduates years beyond graduation. With a well-rounded legal education from STCL Houston, the possibilities are endless.
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A letter from the Dean What makes our law school unique? Community. Collaboration. Respect. A warm and inviting culture. Accessible faculty. Authentic relationships. Commitment. These words define what it means to be part of South Texas College of Law Houston. From our faculty’s open-door policy to programs like Law Suits — detailed on page 28 — STCL Houston continually demonstrates the importance and value we place on building lifelong connections. Each member of the South Texas community has a unique perspective on what makes our law school special – and an exceptional place to learn, grow, and serve. In the following pages you will read stories that demonstrate our unwavering commitment to fostering a collaborative learning experience for each student. In this supportive environment, you can take full advantage of our expansive curriculum taught by experienced legal experts and our nationally recognized extracurricular and clinical programs. Add your hard work and dedication, and you will graduate confident that you are ready to practice law from day one. I join our faculty, staff, and close-knit family of more than 15,000 alumni in inviting you to visit our campus in the heart of the dynamic city of Houston, learn more about our rigorous academic program, and experience the South Texas Difference for yourself. Sincerely,
Michael F. Barry President and Dean
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SOU TH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
Through hands-on client work in both on-site Clinics and externships, students develop practice-ready skills that open doors of opportunity in a number of practice areas. On-Site Legal Clinics The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics, housed on the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 10th floor, provide students with opportunities to interview, counsel, and advise underserved clients across 23 legal practice areas. Students gain invaluable experience in working alongside seasoned attorneys. Last year, students in the Clinics provided more than 35,000 hours of direct client services valued at nearly $1.8 million. Students mediate more than 150 disputes and assist with filing more than 40 trademark applications annually.
Civil Practice Clinics: n n n n n n n
Estate Planning Family Law Basic Family Law Advanced Guardianship Probate Veterans Youth Advocacy
Transactional Clinics: n Trademark n Patent
Special Focus Clinics: n Access to Justice n Actual Innocence n Animal Law n Asylum and Human Trafficking n Criminal Defense n Deportation Defense n Domestic Violence n Expunction/Non-Disclosure n Immigration n Introduction to Criminal Practice n Landlord/Tenant n Low-Income Taxpayer n Mediation n Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy n VITA Tax 2020-2021
The Fred Parks Law Library
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SOU TH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
Pro Bono Program
Students develop practical lawyering skills and build a professional network through extensive, vigorous externships. Our downtown location provides easy access to federal, state, and county courts, prosecutors’ and public defenders’ offices, legal departments in the medical center and museum district, and a host of nonprofit and legal-aid organizations.
This co-curricular program encourages, supports, and celebrates the professional value of ensuring access to justice. It complements our academic externship and clinical programs, while also providing a vehicle for service to students who may not be able to dedicate an entire semester to a clinic.
Externship Clinics n n n n n n
Criminal Process Clinic Government Process Clinic Hospital Law Clinic International Process Clinic Public Interest Clinic Judicial Process Clinics I and II
Students are encouraged to use our existing connections with many local nonprofit organizations or to tap into an ever-growing number of legal service opportunities in Houston. When a student has worked 50 service hours in this program, we recognize this important contribution with a notation on the student’s transcript, a certificate, and recognition at the annual student awards ceremony.
Opportunity Our simulated practice courses provide in-depth exposure to a specific area of the law. This experience and credential makes graduates more attractive to employers hiring in these fields. Three simulated practice programs offer students an intensive learning experience in different areas of law: Advocacy Program In the art of advocacy, no law school can compete with South Texas College of Law Houston. One of only three schools in the U.S. to rank consistently in the nation’s top 10 for trial advocacy by U.S. News & World Report, we offer a rigorous curriculum taught by some of the country’s best litigators. Professors and coaches, including practicing trial and appellate lawyers at the height of their careers, bring their knowledge of real-world, contemporary legal issues into the classroom and devote significant one-on-one time to students. The effort has paid off. South Texas Advocacy teams have won 131 first-place championships. No other law school has won half as many.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Program There is a growing need for lawyers with expertise in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Today, only three percent of civil lawsuits go to trial, and often the key to resolving conflict is negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. Our Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution offers a 40-hour basic mediation certification program that is open to both students and professionals. The school also offers eight
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ADR-related courses and a mediation clinic. The Center sponsors student teams for national and international competitions annually. In recent years, our ADR teams have garnered 17 first-place wins at national and international competitions, including the prestigious ICC Mediation Competition in Paris.
Transactional Practice Center Transactional lawyers work on deals rather than cases. They counsel individuals and organizations regarding business dealings, including commercial, corporate, energy, finance, international business, real estate, and tax matters. The Transactional Law Practice Certificate Program provides students with intensive, hands-on instruction in the knowledge, skills, and values essential to transactional lawyering, positioning STCL Houston as a first choice for employers seeking graduates who can immediately add value to their firms’ practice and to their clients’ business dealings. One of the first two programs of this kind in the nation, and the only one of its kind in Texas, the Transactional Law Practice Certificate Program provides students with a strong background in the skills essential to business transactional law practice.
T. Gerald Treece Courtroom
SOU TH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle Hall of Champions
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T. Gerald Treece Courtroom
Bar Exam Preparation Success on the bar exam is a top priority when developing curriculum and studentsupport services at South Texas College of Law Houston. At STCL Houston, we’ve developed a comprehensive bar preparation effort to support students in achieving this critical milestone. Bar preparation begins in the first year of law school and continues throughout a student’s law school career. Early introduction to analytical skills and problem-solving strategies help improve students’ law school grades, while preparing them for the bar exam.
Coaches — including seasoned attorneys and recent graduates who passed the bar — work one-on-one with students during the preparation process. STCL Houston offers skills-based workshops and practice exams, with near-daily extended workshops in the weeks leading up to the bar exam. These benefits are just a few ways that South Texas College of Law Houston remains distinctly student-focused.
Student Profiles Extra Effort Goes a Long Way Growing up, Ryan Fuller enjoyed watching his aunt serve as a family court judge in Round Rock, Texas. He knew he wanted to become a prosecutor. His older brother graduated from South Texas College of Law Houston just a few years before Fuller decided to apply himself, but Fuller was waitlisted. “When I (later) got in, I took the mindset that I was going to give it everything I had because I was already wondering if I was qualified to be here,” he said. “I worked hard and put my nose down.” Fuller put in extra time after classes, participated in moot court competitions, and sharpened his skills. He attended new student events, where he also met South Texas professors and deans, some of whom are Ivy League graduates. Fuller found them surprisingly approachable. “They would welcome me into their offices and help me,” Fuller said. “These are some of the most loving and sweet people that I know.” For a year and a half, Fuller interned with the Harris County District Attorney (DA)’s office, where he tried cases and represented the state at hearings. “If I am matched up against a defense attorney who’s been in the business for 20 years, I don’t look at it as though I’m outmatched,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been well-equipped.” Fuller graduated from South Texas as the class of 2019 valedictorian and will start full time at the DA’s office in fall 2019, where he will realize his dream of becoming a prosecutor.
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Ryan Fuller ’19 Valedictorian
Mai Kelley J.D. Candidate Mission Ready: A Daughter’s Promise In 2007, at the age of 21, Mai Kelley moved from her native country of Vietnam to the United States. Mai’s mission from her mother was clear: to learn fluent English and support herself. Mai is honoring those wishes. Influenced by her mother’s keen ability to weigh decisions and genuinely care for others, Kelley initially considered other career fields until learning more about the legal system as she became a U.S citizen. Honoring her commitment to her mother, Kelley works full-time during the day and attends South Texas College of Law Houston at night as a part-time student. “[STCL Houston] has made it very achievable for me to juggle between life, school, and work,” Kelley said. “I’ve had the honor to study with some of the most sought-after law professors and national speakers here, even as a night student. I don’t know if you would get the same level of dedication from the faculty elsewhere.” After interning for the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps in summer 2019, Kelley plans to graduate in December 2021. She hopes to become a Navy judge advocate, advising commanders on crucial legal steps in the midst of war zones worldwide. “Everybody should give back to their country,” Kelley said. “My desire to serve my country and use my law degree to give back outweighs my own fear for my safety (in a war zone).” It’s a courageous outlook from a student maximizing her opportunities and fulfilling a promise.
Brittny Mandarino J.D. Candidate Leveling up to serve the underrepresented During her 10 years as an educator, Brittny Mandarino saw a startling gap in students’ access to resources tied to socioeconomic issues. Students from lower-income families frequently have limited education experiences and tools. As time goes on, these same students often make their way into the juvenile justice system. “I felt that I couldn’t do enough to help as a school administrator,” Mandarino said. “I needed to find a way to keep growing as a professional, an educator, an advocate, and a leader.” A colleague told her, “For women and especially women of color, you need a J.D. in order to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the policymakers in Austin and to bring about real change.” After much consideration, Mandarino applied to schools nationwide and was offered substantial scholarships from other law schools. However, STCL Houston was still the most affordable. She also learned that South Texas alumni comprise over 25 percent of Houston’s legal workforce, presenting strong networking and internship opportunities. “You can go anywhere to learn the law,” Mandarino added. “You come to South Texas to learn how to be a lawyer who contributes meaningfully.” “When it comes to Texas policy on juvenile justice reform, education reform, and reform of foster care, the only way that you can make change is to have a seat at that table,” Mandarino reiterated. “I’m going to be at the table.” 2020-2021
Gerald Ruiz J.D. Candidate Listen to Your Langdell
Steven Higginbotham J.D. Candidate Teacher Turned Student Steven Higginbotham spent the last decade as a high school teacher in Houston. Still, his interest in politics and public policy spurred him to consider law school. “I had considered being a lawyer earlier, but because of the expense of law school, I decided to teach for a little while,” he said. He was inspired by people who used their legal backgrounds to stand up for the “little guy.” Higginbotham also had a few friends who graduated from South Texas College of Law Houston and liked its singular focus on legal education. When South Texas offered Higginbotham a sizeable scholarship, it made the choice easy. He was surprised at how supportive the environment truly is. For instance, he developed a good rapport with his legal research and writing professor and excelled. The class size was smaller, with about 20 students, so there was a lot of one-on-one interaction. “I participated more than the average student, maybe because I used to be a teacher,” he laughed. “I was engaged in discussions and answering questions, and I ended up with the highest grade.” The professor recommended Higginbotham to a colleague who was looking for help on summer cases. He secured a paid internship, which is rare after the first year of law school. “I’ve learned the importance of kindness,” Higginbotham said. “In life’s tough circumstances, that’s exactly when you need a lawyer. I can apply my understanding of the law to involve kindness and be a more helpful person.” 14 SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
While working his full-time job, Gerald Ruiz recognized small businesses and communities needed legal help with transactional matters. He saw how underrepresented entities lost money and how it affected people. Ruiz knew he needed to go to law school to help them. Unfortunately, balancing a full-time job while attending law school is no easy task. After researching different programs, Ruiz decided South Texas College of Law Houston was the right choice. Now in his second year, Ruiz finds the school to be really accommodating. South Texas welcomes students who need to work part-time or full-time while pursuing their law degrees. That, coupled with some flexibility offered by his employer and the support of his family, has allowed him to focus on school and take a role helping fellow students. “I’ve been able to apply for programs and even become a Langdell [scholar],” he said. “I’m really grateful for everything South Texas has done for me.” The Langdell Scholar Program is a unique skill-building program in which upper-level students like Ruiz are nominated by faculty to give back. The Langdells help fellow students learn the critical skills needed to be successful in law school. “I really enjoy when students come to me at the end of a semester and thank me for helping them,” he said. “I get a lot out of being a small part of their success and knowing that I was able to help them.”
Jolene Robin-McCaskill J.D. Candidate A New Way of Learning Jolene Robin-McCaskill was a petrophysicist for ConocoPhillips when the market downturn in 2015 resulted in industry-wide layoffs. Approximately 200,000 people were out of work, making any job search challenging. With a master’s degree in applied physics from the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University, she researched her professional options and was drawn to intellectual property law (IP), especially patent law. Robin-McCaskill chose South Texas College of Law Houston because she appreciated the small class sizes. Plus, she felt she could have a real impact on campus. While she has an impressive academic record, Robin-McCaskill discovered that law school requires a different type of thinking. To share her lessons learned, she tutors classmates in the Advanced Legal Analysis class, giving her fellow students a chance to be their best. “No one is successful in a vacuum,” she said. “I’ve learned and can share a lot.” Her learning doesn’t end in the classroom though. Astonished at how few AfricanAmerican women are in patent law, she’s determined to encourage that career path. “We need African-American women in Law Review,” she said. “We need more diversity in legal professions across the board.” As she completes a second summer internship with Haynes and Boone LLP, she looks ahead to becoming the best IP attorney possible, while continuing to help others along the way. 2020-2021
Curriculum The Fred Parks Law Library
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SOU TH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
When considering law schools, examine the curriculum. Curriculum reflects the school’s commitment to legal education by showing the resources devoted to making graduates practice-ready. Check out our curriculum and faculty, and we know you’ll see the strong value of a degree earned at South Texas College of Law Houston. Our exceptional faculty members are leaders in their fields. They will inspire your learning, and you will be impressed by their level of investment in your success. PATHWAYS TO PRACTICE Our faculty has developed tools to help students determine which area of law to practice. Pathways to Practice helps students create an individualized curriculum that fits their desired career goals. Curated by our professors, the website features suggested curriculum plans and accompanying resources for the 15 most common career paths for lawyers, listed below. For more information, visit pathways.stcl.edu.
Business and Corporate Law In this practice area, attorneys may help create business entities, facilitate commercial dealings, finance business endeavors, or steward clients through bankruptcy proceedings. Some attorneys focus on one or more of the many fields that intersect with business and corporate law, such as employment, intellectual property, and environmental law. Others may focus on transactional work, dispute resolution, or a combination of the two. Employment opportunities are available in law firms, as in-house counsel, or with administrative agencies.
Civil Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) specialists are familiar with multiple ADR processes, including arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. The stages of litigation include discovery, motions, practice, and trial advocacy. Some attorneys practicing in this field focus on a specific
type of ADR, a specific stage of the litigation process, or a specific subject matter such as family law, personal injury, or commercial law.
Criminal Law A focus on criminal law can open an array of potential career choices, including state or federal trial practice as a prosecutor or defense attorney, as well as post-conviction practice, which includes direct appeals and habeas. Other career opportunities include working in crossover fields such as corporate compliance and corporate counsel, state and federal judicial and court staff careers, and employment with government agencies.
Energy Law Houston is the energy capital of the world. A multitude of career opportunities are available for graduates to pursue legal work in the energy sector, including legal work for oil and gas companies, oil field service providers, and law firms’ energy-industry clients. Attorneys practicing in this field also need to acquire a background in corporate finance, and business law; transactional drafting and negation skills; dispute resolution skills, both in and out of court; and environmental regulations.
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Environmental Law Environmental and natural resources law encompasses all areas of law dealing with the protection of air, land, water, plants, and animals. A technical background in public health, science, or engineering is not required to practice in this field, but it could be beneficial. Environmental law attorneys work for law firms, government agencies, public interest groups, and as in-house counsel. They may engage in compliance and planning work, transactional drafting, dispute resolution, and advocacy.
Estate Planning Law Estate-planning attorneys help clients arrange for the efficient transfer of wealth during life and following death. Estate-planning attorneys may be called upon to draft wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and prenuptial agreements, along with other planning documents. Estate planners may work in law firms, accounting firms, banks, trust companies, insurance companies, and brokerage firms.
Family Law Family law encompasses a variety of issues regarding domestic relations and the family unit, including divorce and custody. In addition to understanding the substantive law, family law attorneys must be well-versed in procedure and should develop familiarity with several dispute-resolution processes. Family law attorneys also benefit from understanding several subject matters that often intersect with family law, including estate planning, probate, the law and structure surrounding various business entities, and taxation.
Immigration Law Immigration law encompasses the avenues and procedures available to come to the United States temporarily or permanently. It also includes the rules that dictate whether and how to remove individuals from the country. Among other responsibilities, immigration attorneys help clients obtain visas to travel to the United States, and they represent clients when the government seeks to deport them. Immigration attorneys may work in law firms, government agencies, or public interest organizations.
Intellectual Property Law Intellectual property (IP) is the study of law relating to certain products of the mind, usually patented inventions, copyrighted expressions, trademarks used to symbolize commercial goodwill, and secret information used for competitive advantage. IP attorneys help clients secure intellectual property rights and ensure that others do not infringe on these secured rights. They also counsel businesses on ways to avoid infringing on othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; intellectual property and defend clients that are accused of infringement.
International Law and International Economic Law In our globalized economy, lawyers must be trained in more than domestic law. Increasingly, U.S. lawyers represent, litigate, or arbitrate with foreign clients and process transactions under foreign and international laws.
Labor and Employment Law The practice of employment law may be attractive to anyone interested in people, personalities, and the dynamics of personal relations in the workplace. Employment lawyers may practice in government agencies or private firms in a number of subspecialties, including employment discrimination, wage and hour law, employment benefits, and collective bargaining. 2020-2021
Curriculum Public Interest Law Public interest work includes legal-aid practice and targeted lawyering. In legal-aid practice, lawyers represent clients at or near the poverty level in an array of civil legal issues. Targeted lawyering takes place when an attorney works for a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization that advocates for one or more causes. In either the legal-aid or targeted model, the lawyer generally will engage in one of a variety of activities: direct representation of individual clients, general community awareness building, or advocacy reform efforts.
Real Property and Real Estate Law The primary areas of focus in property law include real estate and land-use law. Property law also can intersect with many other practice areas, including environmental and energy law. Legal work in this field is heavily transaction-based, but some attorneys choose to focus on dispute resolution. Attorneys may work for large law firms, small firms, or as solo practitioners. Property law offers a broad array of career opportunities at all levels of government and with public interest groups.
Solo and Small-Firm Practice Being a solo practitioner or member of a small practice provides an attorney with many unique opportunities, but also challenges. Such attorneys must understand how to establish, manage, market, and grow a practice. Additionally, solo and small-firm practitioners need to contemplate the type and scope of practice areas in which they plan to specialize.
Tax Law Tax attorneys provide tax-planning services and help clients resolve disputes with taxing authorities. They may work in law firms, accounting firms, in-house tax departments, or federal or state government agencies. The practices of most tax attorneys concentrate on the application of federal income tax to individuals and businesses, while others specialize in estate and gift taxation or employee benefits.
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Curriculum Curriculum plans for first-year law students in the full-time or part-time programs are shown below. Students can begin their coursework full-time or part-time in the fall, or full-time in the spring.
Full-time students First Semester course
Civil Procedure I Contracts I Criminal Law Introduction to Law Study Legal Research and Writing I Torts I Total hours
Part-time students First Fall Semester credit hours
3 3 3 1 3 3 16
Second Semester Civil Procedure II Contracts II Legal Research and Writing II Property I Torts II Total hours
3 3 2 3 3 14
Third Semester Constitutional Law 4 Evidence 3 Federal Income Taxation 3 Property II 3 Total hours* 13 *Students may add elective courses for a maximum of 16 credit hours
Spring semester start For students who begin their studies in the spring semester, the first semester for full-time students listed above is the spring semester, and the second semester is the fall semester. A spring-start student who takes one or more required courses during the summer following the studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first semester can take fewer hours in the fall or take a third-semester course along with the required courses in the fall.
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Contracts I Introduction to Law Study Legal Research and Writing I Torts I Total hours
3 1 3 3 10
First Spring Semester Civil Procedure I Criminal Law Legal Research and Writing II Total hours
3 3 2 8
First Summer Contracts II Torts II Total hours Second Fall Semester
3 3 6
Civil Procedure II Constitutional Law Property I Total hours
3 4 3 10
Second Spring Semester Evidence 3 Federal Income Taxation 3 Property II 3 Total hours* 9 *Students may add elective courses for a maximum of 11 credit hours
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In addition, both full-time and part-time students will need to do the following: n Take Professional Responsibility (by 60th credit hour), Criminal Procedure, and First Amendment Law courses; n Write a substantial research paper as a condition of graduation; and n Complete at least six hours of professional skills courses.
Part-time students attend classes in the evening for the first 30 hours of study. Thereafter, on a space-available basis, they will have the option of registering for daytime classes. A candidate for the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree is required to earn at least 90 semester hours of credit with a passing grade and a cumulative grade average of 2.3 or better within seven years of the date of first enrollment. No more than 30 semester hours may be earned at other law schools. For more information on admissions, visit www.stcl.edu. 2020-2021
Curriculum South Texas College of Law Houston offers a focused curriculum through seven institutes of excellence. Institutes of Excellence n The Advocacy Program n The Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution n The Harry L. Reed Oil and Gas Law Institute n Institute for International Legal Practice and National Security n Legal Research and Writing Program n The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics n Transactional Practice Center
Study Abroad Take advantage of several opportunities to travel abroad and earn academic credit hours while studying comparative and international law. Challenging courses are coupled with exposure to another culture to provide students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In prior years, Supreme Court Justices have participated in instruction of select study abroad programs, including Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Roberts, and Antonin Scalia. Summer programs are structured so that students can return in time for a clerkship or some time off before fall classes resume. Summer-abroad and semester-abroad programs are available. More information can be found at www.cile.edu. Study abroad sites include: n London, England n Valletta, Malta n Galway, Ireland n Prague, Czech Republic n Santiago, Chile n Leiden, Netherlands (full-semester abroad) n Aarhus, Denmark (full-semester abroad)
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Malta During the studyabroad program, students will have an opportunity to explore their unique location.
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The far-reaching success of the law school’s legal research and writing program extends into scholarly publications. Students have an opportunity to publish in one of six scholarly periodicals and sharpen the vital skills of legal research, writing, editing, and managing the legal scholarship of others. STUDENT SCHOLARLY PUBLICATIONS Law Review South Texas Law Review is a quarterly journal, edited and published by second- and third-year students who have exemplary grades and who successfully participate in a writing competition and technical editing exercises. Law Review members write a case note for publication on the Review’s website during their first semester, then produce a publishable original comment over successive semesters. Since 1990, the Law Review has hosted an annual Ethics Symposium, which is widely cited within legal academia and the state and federal courts.
Construction Law Journal The Construction Law Journal is a biannual State Bar of Texas publication filled with articles written by practitioners in the multifaceted area of construction law. STCL Houston students edit the journal’s articles, honing valuable research and writing skills while networking with practicing attorneys.
Corporate Counsel Review The Corporate Counsel Review, published twice each year and distributed to more than 4,000 subscribers, is the scholarly journal of the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas. The journal is edited by second- and third-year students competitively chosen based on their writing, editing, and interest. A small group of senior editors leads the journal under the direction of a faculty member.
Currents: The Journal of International Economic Law Edited and published by STCL Houston students, Currents is the official journal of the Institute for International Legal Practice and National Security. Currents serves as a research tool and reference guide for enterprises with global markets, with a focus on the latest legislation,
treaties, cases, and trends affecting international commerce. The journal contains both lead articles authored by noted attorneys and members of the international business community, and student-written articles.
Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy The Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy is the newest scholarly publication at South Texas College of Law Houston. Its mission is to provide a forum for the expression and dissemination of multidisciplinary scholarly work on issues that affect the Hispanic community in the United States. The Journal is edited and published once a year by students under the supervision of faculty and alumni.
Texas Journal of Business Law The Texas Journal of Business Law is a publication of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Students participate in the solicitation of submissions and selection of articles from the state’s business law attorneys and professors. Students also edit articles and write summaries of significant developments in business law for inclusion in the journal, which is published three times a year.
Faculty Profiles Ken Williams Professor The Heart of the Matter
W. David East Professor Seasoned Perspective. Community Impact. As a professor at South Texas College of Law Houston for nearly four decades, David East offers a seasoned perspective. He teaches transactional law with courses on mergers, real estate development, sales, and various financing matters. At age 74, East could have retired, except he loves what he does. “I love being in the classroom. I love teaching,” he said. “I love the feeling that I’m preparing students for a career, not necessarily as litigators, but a career where a law degree will be very helpful.” This congenial professor says his quirky sense of humor may help him connect with some students, although he often thinks he sounds like a preacher in the classroom. He was instrumental in creating the school’s superior transactional practice program 20 years ago, based on student requests. “We have some of the best teaching faculty that can be found anywhere,” he said. Still, East is quick to highlight the 23 legal clinics that South Texas offers. “Students get to work with real lawyers to help people who can’t afford a lawyer,” he explained. “We give students a chance in law school to be lawyers, work with real lawyers, and help real clients.” The hands-on experience is invaluable, but there’s also the side of reaching out to the community to help people who are less fortunate. “That’s really important for us as an institution, and it’s important for the students to get that feeling that they’ve just done something really meaningful for somebody else.” 26 SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
His previous work dealing with the complexities of capital punishment and criminal law is at the heart of what motivates Professor Kenneth Williams to continue his 27-year teaching career. Williams strives to “help students be the best lawyer they can be, so they can help other people.” He advises incoming students to realize the study of law takes critical and creative thinking. “That may be a muscle that takes time to develop,” he said. “At South Texas College of Law Houston, the faculty have a lot of interaction with students outside of class and office hours. It’s quite a different experience than other law schools.” Williams knows that experiencing different career paths is an important factor in students’ law school performance and their success afterward. He points to the school’s downtown Houston location as foundational to the students’ education. “Our location puts students in the heart of the legal world for all of South Texas,” he said. “The offices of the district attorney and the public defender, both of whom are STCL Houston alumni, are just steps away. The number of internships at neighboring corporations and law firms makes it easier for students to balance their workloads.” Williams enjoys intellectual encounters with students, other faculty, and practicing attorneys. At the heart of it all is a man who is dedicated to helping others and enjoys the company of those who want to do the same.
Michael F. Barry President and Dean
Small steps accomplish bold goals An avid marathon runner, president and dean Mike Barry sees parallels between earning a J.D. and training for a race. In both pursuits, he says, the work you put in before the event can be as important as the event itself. This disciplined approach has served him well—whether working in corporate law, in a law school environment, or in training for a competitive race. As a runner, Barry is the 107th member of the 50sub4 club, an elite group of runners who have completed an under-four-hour marathon in each of the 50 U.S. states. As a leader, Barry uses an inquisitive, creative approach at South Texas College of Law Houston, always exploring new ways to enhance the student experience. Building on the law school’s nearly 100-year history, Barry is excited to develop STCL Houston’s potential to continue as an innovator in a rapidly changing legal landscape. “As trends in legal practice shift, so do firms’ expectations of new associates,” he said. “Law school graduates need to be able to hit the ground running. They need to be technologically savvy, and they need to be able to accomplish the tasks that technology can’t. We have a responsibility to prepare our graduates for this new reality.” Barry’s leadership is mission-focused and student-centered. He is committed to “uniting the South Texas community around common goals: educating practice-ready legal leaders in scholarship and service to the community; building on an excellent culture of success, access, diversity, and commitment; and enhancing the law school’s reputation as one that anticipates and prepares for the future of legal education.”
Daniel Correa Professor Paying It Forward
Amanda Peters, Shelby Moore, and Gena Singleton Faculty and Staff Law Suits: Outfitting students for success Ask our students what makes South Texas College of Law Houston special, and you’ll likely hear words reflecting the positive culture. The law school’s values of integrity, respect, collaboration, and service to others create bonds of support among faculty, students, staff, and alumni. This sense of community is demonstrated in the Law Suits program. Many students struggle with how to “look like a lawyer,” as they go on interviews, especially when personal resources are scarce. Law Suits is a clothing program designed to provide students with suits and accessories in professional styles and colors. The program began years ago, when Professors Amanda Peters and Shelby Moore visited with two students who did not have professional attire to wear to summer internships. This sparked the realization that there likely were many students in this situation who would benefit from having access to gently-used, professional clothing. Peters and Moore recruited Gena Singleton, assistant dean for student academic affairs, to help them in this effort. Hence, Law Suits was born. What began in a single room with a few donated suits for women has grown into a large two-room operation with commercial-grade clothing racks holding hundreds of items for men and women. Many students are grateful for the support, and the Law Suits program continues to grow—in donations, and in use by deserving students. “We know that South Texas College of Law Houston provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to practice in the legal profession. Law Suits helps them look like they belong in any law office,” stated Peters. 28 SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
After dropping out of high school, Daniel Correa was unsure of his path in life. He eventually enlisted in the United States Army. After serving his commitment to the Army, he enrolled in college and excelled academically. He went on to attend New York University (NYU) Law School and became a law professor himself, but his journey in life hasn’t been easy. “I didn’t know how to navigate the educational system,” he said. “I had some people that went out of the way to help me, and I feel obligated to pay it forward in a big way.” While Correa is a new faculty member at South Texas College of Law Houston, he already feels at home. The school’s downtown location presents indispensable access to the courts, judges, and law firms. Plus, students are wellprepared through the school’s national leadership in trial advocacy and moot-court competitions. Yet what spoke to him most is the school’s mission: to provide a diverse body of students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional legal education. “I want to provide both students who have similar backgrounds to mine and those who had better opportunities than me with the same opportunity to make whatever it is they want out of their life come to fruition. That’s what I want.”
Katherine Vukadin Professor Finding Fun in the Classroom Although she is a new professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, Katherine Vukadin brings nearly two decades of legal and teaching experience to the campus. Vukadin enjoys the ever-changing nature of legal research and writing courses that keeps her on her toes. The biggest change she believes is the need for brevity. “There’s more focus on getting the point across quickly,” Vukadin said. “It’s all about doing the correct legal analysis and communicating it in a way that’s reader-friendly. These days that means shorter.” The trend may be for legal writing to be more succinct, but Vukadin is ready to invest more time with her students at South Texas. She’s an advocate for developing mentoring relationships with students, not just for the three years of law school but beyond that. The fun she introduces in the classroom likely contributes to the positive relationships she has with her students. “Students learn best when they are relaxed, happy, and able to be creative,” Vukadin said. “When I walk away from the class feeling that the students mastered a new concept and they’re laughing, excited, and talking, it puts a smile on my face,” Vukadin said. Legal study can be very serious, but Vukadin insists the classroom doesn’t have to be.
Sharon Finegan Professor Inspiring students One thing that Sharon Finegan noticed 12 years ago when she first moved to Houston for her professorship at South Texas College of Law Houston was the number of South Texas alumni that she met in the local community. “We have a strong alumni presence,” she said. “It provides a really solid network for students and graduates of our law school—from a Texas Supreme Court Justice, to federal judges, to partners at many law firms.” Finegan teaches criminal law, evidence, and skills courses at South Texas and loves seeing that “lightbulb moment” when students really understand a subject. She prides herself on building relationships with her students both in and outside of the classroom. In fact, she especially likes meeting with students in her office because “working with a student one-on-one is where you really get to make an impact,” she said. Her favorite memories are tied to the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project—the annual law competition for which South Texas law students train and coach economically disadvantaged high school students to compete. While the high schoolers know little about the law at the onset, they eventually argue complex constitutional issues in front of law school professors with skill and accuracy. Many of these high school students will be the first in their families to attend college. “I see the passion that our students have in doing this for someone else,” Finegan said. “It allows us to give back, but it also gives our students confidence in their own abilities.” 2020-2021
Community Ask any student at South Texas College of Law Houston what makes the school special, and you’ll likely hear words related to the school’s strong sense of community, their sense of belonging, or STCL Houston’s culture of inclusiveness and acceptance. This sense of community spills over into the work performed by students — in the school’s on-site Clinics, through volunteer efforts, or through participation in any of the 29 student organizations that match passion with action. Clinics students draft animal law legislation The Animal Law Clinic is one of 23 specialized clinics in the law school’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics. Students in the Animal Law Clinic recently partnered with faculty, staff attorneys, and the Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force to research, develop, and draft an amendment to the state’s Animal Cruelty Statute to include a deadly weapons enhancement, which would increase the penalty and eligibility for parole for animal abuse with a deadly South Texas College of Law Houston weapon. Designed to protect students gather in the rotunda of the both animals and human Texas Capital after urging state legislavictims of domestic violence, tors to support an amendment to the the amendment was filed by a state’s Animal Cruelty Statute which Texas state representative, and they helped research, draft, and lobby. students traveled to Austin to voice their support. Additionally, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office fully supports the ongoing, wide-ranging work of South Texas’ Animal Law Clinic—the only legal clinic of its kind in the state of Texas. 30 SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
The Asylum & Human Trafficking Clinic interviews a 37-year-old Honduran woman and her daughter, whom South Texas students and staff helped rescue from extreme human trafficking abuse.
Clinics students rescue woman from extreme trafficking abuse The Asylum and Human Trafficking Clinic played a vital role in rescuing a 37-year-old woman and her young children from years of terror caused by a vicious perpetrator of human trafficking. Using their classroom learning to combat a real-life threat, and honing their legal skills in the process, students helped save and radically improve the lives of the mother and her young children. Collaborative intervention and care included teams from federal law enforcement and social services programs to ensure the victim gained the benefits to which she was entitled. Several STCL Houston student teams have worked to help give her and her family a second chance to rebuild their lives and live in freedom from their tormentors.
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Student Organizations provide leadership opportunities With 29 active student organizations across campus, whatever your professional or personal area of interest, you’ll find an organization that matches your passions. Student organizations provide meaningful opportunities for leadership and philanthropy — on campus, in the community, or as far reaching as you can imagine.
Student Bar Association leaders present an oversized check during a holiday food drive.
Student Bar Association raises funds for food drive For two decades, the Student Bar Association at South Texas College of Law Houston has raised funds for a local holiday food drive. The law school has earned the honor of being the “largest academic donor” for the past seven years, and last year students raised nearly $17,000 for this worthy cause, providing approximately 50,085 meals for hungry Houstonians. While much of the student body participated in the campus-wide drive, South Texas faculty also played a large role in encouraging donations by offering first-year students incentives — including extra study sessions for upcoming exams — for their contributions, in addition to matching their students’ financial donations to the drive.
Aggie Law Students Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Advocates American Constitution Society AMICUS Animal Legal Defense Fund STCL Houston Chapter Asian Pacific American Law Students Association Black Law Students Association Christian Legal Society Criminal Law Society Delta Theta Phi Environmental Law Society Family Law & Probate Legal Society Federalist Society Health Law Society Hispanic Law Students Association Immigration Law Society Intellectual Property & Technology Law Society International Law and National Security Society Jewish Law Students Association Oil & Gas Law Society Phi Alpha Delta Phi Delta Phi Real Estate and Construction Law Society Republican Law Students Sports and Entertainment Law Society Student Bar Association University of Texas Exes Women’s Law Society
Journals and Co-Curricular Activities: Board of Advocates Construction Law Journal Corporate Counsel Review Currents: The Journal of International Economic Law Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy South Texas Law Review Texas Journal of Business Law
A hallway mural promotes student scholarly publications.
Admissions We enroll students who represent a wide range of backgrounds, experience levels, and ages. Admissions Each year, the Admissions Committee thoughtfully reviews the applications of hundreds of talented, enthusiastic, and diverse students who are considering attending South Texas College of Law Houston. Applications are reviewed only upon completion of a candidate’s application file, and applicants are encouraged to apply early. To read more about the admissions process, visit www.stcl.edu/apply.
Admissions Deadlines Fall Semester: March 15 Spring Semester: October 1 Our Admissions Office is available to answer your questions. Please contact the office at 7 13-646-1810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Applicants Applicants with degrees from foreign institutions are required to take the LSAT and register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Applicants are urged to use the J.D. Credential Assembly Service (JDCAS). This service is available for all applicants who have completed work at any foreign institution outside of the U.S. or Canada, at no additional expense to the applicant beyond the standard CAS fee. Any student who is not a U.S. citizen and holds a temporary visa (F-1 or J-1) is classified as an international student. In addition to meeting standard admissions requirements, these applicants, if admitted, must submit the following: n Non-U.S. citizens must include a copy of immigration documents (such as current U.S. visa or permanent resident card) when submitting the application. n Letter of Financial Backing and Statement of Understanding (U.S. citizens and permanent residents are exempt.)
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TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Applicants who obtained their degree from a country in which English is not the official language of instruction must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and submit results to South Texas College of Law Houston. For specific instructions, please visit stcl.edu/admissions.
Transfer Application Deadlines Fall Semester: June 15 Spring Semester: November 15 In order to be admitted with advanced standing, a transfer applicant must have earned credit for at least 24 semester hours at an ABAaccredited law school. The law school will not award credit for more than 30 semester hours earned at another law school. Transfer applicants are required to submit the following: 1. Completed application for admission 2. A $55 nonrefundable application fee 3. An official letter of good standing from the law school from which the applicant is attempting to transfer. 4. Personal statement 5. Résumé 6. Official transcript reflecting all law grades earned. If you are waiting for your final grades, we ask that you send your application, supporting documentation, and official transcript as soon as they are available. Decisions on transfer applications cannot be made until all of the above items are received.
Visiting Applicants A student from another ABA-accredited law school may apply to South Texas College of Law Houston as a visiting student, subject to availability of space. Visiting students must submit the following: 1. Application for admission 2. A $55 nonrefundable application fee 3. An official letter of good standing from the applicant’s law school, indicating that the transfer credit will be accepted toward the student’s current degree program.
Application Review Process When reviewing applications for admission, the Admissions Committee considers a variety of factors, including but not limited to LSAT scores, cumulative undergraduate grade point average, rigor of undergraduate coursework, performance in graduate programs, letters of recommendation, personal statements, addenda, extracurricular activities, work experience, demonstrated skills, diverse life experiences, and adversity. Applications are reviewed holistically. Applicant files are reviewed on a rolling basis; therefore decisions are made when the file is complete. All decisions are disseminated electronically. Review begins in late February for the fall class and mid-September for the spring class. The decision of the Admissions Committee is final. Admissions and Bar Information South Texas College of Law Houston admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or
ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, age, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or other school-administered rights, privileges, programs or activities generally accorded or made available to students at the law school. South Texas College of Law Houston does not represent, warrant, or claim that by attending or graduating from the law school, an accepted applicant will pass the bar exam or be accepted to the bar in any state. In addition, South Texas College of Law Houston does not represent, warrant, or claim that by attending or graduating from the law school or by subsequently being admitted to the bar of any state, an accepted applicant to the law school will become employed in a legal position or will receive a higher average starting salary than such applicant might otherwise be in a position to receive. While every effort is made to provide accurate and current information, South Texas College of Law Houston reserves the right to change, without notice, statements in the Admissions Bulletin concerning rules, policies, fees, curricula, or other matters. Publications of South Texas College of Law Houston are not
contractual. The faculty and administration may make changes at any time and may make them applicable to students, regardless of when the changes are made with respect to the studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enrollment. Qualifications for the Bar In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. It is the applicantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s responsibility to research the character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in the state(s) in which the applicant intends to practice. Academic Dismissal from another law school Additionally, if you have been academically dismissed from another ABA law school, South Texas College of Law Houston requires that you sit out the recommended two years before reapplying to begin your studies as a first-year student.
Tuition and Financial Aid
South Texas College of Law Houston is consistently ranked among the best values in the country for a private law school. In fact, our tuition and fees are among the lowest of the 118 private law schools in the nation. To view current tuition rates, visit www.stcl.edu/tuition. 34 SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
Applying for Financial Aid Full-time and part-time applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for financial aid. We recommend students begin the financial aid application process early to ensure aid is available. This may require applicants to begin the financial aid application process even before they learn if they are accepted for admission to South Texas College of Law Houston. For assistance, contact the Scholarships and Financial Aid office at 713-646-1820. An application for admission is not an application for federal financial aid, but does constitute an application for new student merit scholarships administered by the Admissions office. Student merit scholarships are soley based on LSAT score and undergraduate GPA.
SOU TH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
This academic year, STCL Houston is projected to provide more than $4 million in scholarships, grants, and awards to deserving students. Scholarships
Other Forms of Financial Assistance
Scholarships and grants come in varying amounts from different sources. Scholarships are organized into four categories:
Students use a variety of methods, in addition to scholarships, to cover costs for their legal education, including:
1. Admissions scholarships, 2. Scholarships awarded to continuing students by the Faculty Financial Aid Committee, 3. Scholarships funded and awarded by donors outside the law school, and 4. Tuition Equalization Grant funds from the State of Texas.
College Access Loan Program – Funds are available to Texas residents. This loan carries a fixed interest rate and is credit-based.
Last year approximately 88 percent of students received at least one scholarship or grant.
Student Emergency Loans – The law school provides emergency, short-term loans to students through the Spurgeon E. Bell Scholarship and Student Aid Fund, which is funded by external donations and proceeds from campus vending machines. Depending on availability, the fund offers 60-day, interest-free loans of up to $1,000.
Admissions Scholarships All entering students are automatically considered for Dean’s Merit scholarships based on their undergraduate performance and LSAT scores. These scholarships range from $750 to $15,000 and typically are renewable for each year the student is enrolled at STCL Houston, provided the student maintains a 3.1 or higher grade point average. For more information on scholarships, contact the Admissions office at 713-646-1810.
Direct Loan Program – Funds are available to students through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and Graduate PLUS Loan programs, both of which have fixed interest rates. The Graduate PLUS Loan is credit-based.
Federal Work Study Program – The Federal Work Study Program provides qualified students with part-time jobs and competitive wages at the law school and a few outside public and nonprofit agencies.
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More than 15,000 STCL Houston alumni live and work across the U.S. and the globe. Lifelong Connections Alumni demonstrate their passion for the law school and our students by generously giving of their time and talents, and this support continues into the employment realm as well. Our alumni return to campus to hire interns and graduates because they know firsthand the quality of education provided at STCL Houston. Hiring a graduate from their alma mater will deliver an employee who has a strong work ethic, is prepared to practice law, and is immediately productive.
Career Resource Center Access to valuable career resources begins the first semester, through comprehensive programs, individual career counseling and coaching. The Career Resource Center (CRC) helps students explore various career options, build job search skills, understand their unique strengths and abilities, and take responsibility for their own career planning throughout the process. Our CRC organizes on-campus interviews and résumé collection for prospective employers to connect with our students. Even after graduation, the CRC offers services to alumni, such as counseling, résumé editing, and interview preparation.
Ring the Bell It’s difficult to visit South Texas College of Law Houston without seeing the large Liberty Bell replica prominently placed in the school’s atrium. Decades ago, the bell was donated to the school after the nation’s bicentennial celebrations. Not long after its arrival, students assigned the bell a special purpose. Upon completing their last final exam before graduation, students meet friends and family in the atrium and exuberantly ring the bell. It’s a festive celebration marking the completion of a student’s journey to a law degree.
Alumni Profiles The Power of Relationships People always told Aparna Dave that they could see her as a litigator. After graduating from Houston Baptist University, she decided to attend law school. The strong reputation of South Texas College of Law Houston’s advocacy program made the school quite attractive. Dave said most students don’t think about building up a professional network because so much of law school generally focuses on making good grades. An advantage of South Texas was its friendly culture and the networking activities that the school sponsored. “Some of the skills that you develop are around building relationships,” she said. “South Texas really prepared me to try new opportunities and go out and meet a lot of different people.” While she worked three years in litigation after graduation in 2002, she discovered another area of law that grabbed her interest. She moved to marketing law with Wells Fargo and today manages a team focused on the company’s global brand, marketing, copyright and trademark work. Hard work aside, she attributes her success to the professional development skills and good legal foundation she gained at South Texas. Dave encourages students to use all the resources that South Texas makes available. “Take advantage of opportunities to meet alumni at events,” she said. “Instead of just staying with your circle of friends, build authentic, thoughtful relationships. The law students who come up to me and pick my brain are the ones that I really want to help.”
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Aparna Dave ’02
Calvin McClean ’16
Launching a Career in the JAG Corps
A Second Career with Great Reward
When Lauren Inocencio interned with a family law firm in undergraduate school, she intended to address the psychological and sociological impact on children who were involved in Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. Instead, her eyes were opened to how many criminal issues were occurring in these cases. “I never thought I would be an attorney,” she said, “but my heartstrings got pulled.” With her family in Houston, South Texas College of Law Houston made logistical sense. The school’s reputation for its advocacy program was also impressive. “I knew that to practice criminal law, I’d need to be an outstanding litigator,” she said. “If I was going to tell a child’s story in court, I needed to be able to speak confidently and think clearly on my feet, and South Texas is known for producing practice-ready attorneys who are able to do that.” Without any family members in the legal field, Inocencio gravitated to South Texas because she felt the law school’s smaller student population would create an environment where students could more easily learn legal principles and address their concerns with professors more quickly, without being lost in a crowd in a big auditorium. Inocencio found that professors were always available to help in any way they could and guided her in her search for which area of the law would fit her passions and skill set the best. When she decided to apply for the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, she counted on the counsel of three professors—all former JAGs. “I can’t say enough about the professors,” she added. “They truly care about the students here at South Texas and want to see us succeed. I never felt like I was just another student.” Inocencio is scheduled to begin the USAF JAG training program in summer 2019. While her first year as a JAG will cover a broad array of law, she’ll then be able to pursue her passion for prosecuting criminal offenses at bases worldwide.
Originally from North Carolina, Calvin McLean joined the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, for more than two years. As a veteran, he joined the Waco Police Department, where he proudly served for 16 years. He loved his profession, but his lifetime dream of becoming an attorney became a real possibility through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services for Veterans with Disabilities program. While he researched several law schools, South Texas College of Law Houston repeatedly presented itself with the friendly competitiveness that McLean found enticing. “I’m a people person, and I’m a competitor as well,” he said. “I wanted to compete, but I wanted to be able to help my classmates or vice versa. That’s what I expected at South Texas, and that’s what I got.” McLean participated in Law Review and even wrote an article on family law with now-retired Judge David Farr. The experience was amazing, especially for a law student. He also appreciated that students were rewarded financially for making the Dean’s List. The mailed check was an added bonus for this full-time student, who also worked part-time. Now an attorney with the Law Office of William W. Johnston in Waco, McLean continues to use the tools and alumni network that he developed at South Texas. He keeps in touch with professors and classmates 20 years his junior. “The people at South Texas make the difference,” he said.
Lauren Inocencio ’18
Alumni Profiles Michelle Haws ’16 Practical Experience. Numerous Paths.
Kaitlyn Nicole Garcia ’16 Passion into Practice Kaitlyn Nicole Garcia always wanted to be an attorney with her own practice. Fate brought her to South Texas College of Law Houston. Garcia, a native of Tampa, Florida, took an LSAT prep course taught by a South Texas alumna, who mentioned the great network of alumni living and working in Florida. “I was attracted to the alumni network and having that support system,” Garcia said. After relocating to Houston, she jumped into student organizations that helped her get to know her peers and grow as a leader. Garcia later became the vice president of the South Texas chapter of the Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA), a role that would prove helpful in her career. “Getting involved in different organizations gave me a sense of being a part of a family, which made being away from home easier,” Garcia said. After graduating and passing the State Bar exam, she made quick use of the Alumni Association. At the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), she sat with a classmate. In casual conversation, she discovered this alumna was working in immigration law and her firm was hiring. This connection led Garcia to her first job. Today, she has her own practice, KNG Law, with offices in Tampa and Houston. “I always wanted to start my own law firm,” Garcia said. “The practical experience I gained at South Texas, matched with my own ambition and an incredible team, has made KNG Law a reality.” 40 SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW HOUSTON
Michelle Haws always knew she wanted to be a litigator. She started her legal education at the University of Texas at Austin, and after taking some time off for family matters, didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to finish law school in her hometown of Houston. “I knew I could go to South Texas, finish law school, and get a good education without having to uproot my life back to Austin,” Haws said. Her father also graduated from South Texas, and Haws saw how South Texas presented him with many opportunities throughout his career. The lifelong professional connections and personal friends her father made in law school gave Haws confidence that South Texas would be a good choice for her, too. Now an associate in the litigation section of a large national law firm, Haws values the practical experience she gained at South Texas. The numerous clinics, practical classes, and professors who emphasized real-life application of the law were key factors in her learning. In fact, she tied for the highest score on the February 2017 Texas bar exam. “Every law school doesn’t apply that same practical approach,” Haws said. “One of South Texas’ strengths is that it can help you envision being successful in a variety of paths. That’s a huge advantage over being at a school where they may be focused only on a handful of outcomes.”
Jeremy Dunbar ’15
Maximizing the Network A native Houstonian, Jeremy Dunbar felt strongly about attending law school in his hometown. He admired South Texas College of Law Houston’s advocacy program. As a law student, he took full advantage of it, participating in seven national moot court competitions. In fact, Dunbar maximized many opportunities offered through South Texas. A law review colleague helped Dunbar land an internship with Judge David Hittner of the U.S. District and Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. That internship ultimately led to a two-year, post-graduate clerkship with Judge Hittner. After completing a year as an associate at Bracewell LLP — representing energy companies in commercial disputes and municipalities in constitutional disputes — he will spend one year as a clerk for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit before returning to private practice. The critical thinking skills that he learned at South Texas have been instrumental. “South Texas is proudly not an Ivy League school; we out-work and out-think Ivy Leaguers,” Dunbar said. “That was key to my success in law school, and it has been a key to success in my career.” This philosophy helped him earn the honor of being top scorer on the February 2016 Texas bar exam. He credits the school’s extensive alumni network for invaluable connections that have helped him along the way. From Lynne Liberato, a partner with Haynes and Boone, LLP, to Randy Sorrels, president of the State Bar of Texas, Dunbar stays connected to fellow alumni. “For a young lawyer, there are difficult professional rivers to navigate, and it’s great to have mentors who help you make those decisions,” Dunbar said. “My biggest mentors have been South Texas alumni.” 2020-2021
South Texas College of Law Houston is located in the heart of the thriving downtown district.
Houston is the fourth most populous city in the United States. This past year, Houston created 86,200 jobs, a 2.8 percent increase from the prior year. As of April 2019, employment stands at 3,151,300, the highest point on record. Among the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 20 most populous metros, Houston ranked third in job creation and rate of growth, only behind New York and Dallas, and ahead of Los Angeles and Chicago.
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ALLENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LANDING (Birthplace of Houston)
SESQUICENTENNIAL PARK (Bush and Baker monuments)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER
HARRIS COUNTY CIVIL COURT
JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER
COURT OF APPEALS
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HARRIS COUNTY FAMILY LAW CENTER HARRIS COUNTY COURTHOUSE
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CAPITOL BOB CASEY FED. COURTHOUSE
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THE SHOPS AT HOUSTON CENTER
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STCL Houston Quick Facts Founded in 1923, the oldest and only private and independent law school in downtown Houston.
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.
Named a best value by National Jurist magazine. Consistently ranked in the top 10 for trial advocacy by U.S. News & World Report. Winner of 131 national advocacy championships. No other law school has won half as many. Winner of 17 first-place national and international ADR competitions. Nationally recognized faculty provide relevant and practical contributions to the national and international legal community. 15-time winner of the ABA national appellate advocacy competition — more than any other law school. Winner of five first-place best brief awards (more than any other law school) in the Scribes competition — the nation’s most prestigious legal writing competition. Tuition and fees among the lowest of 118 private law schools in the U.S. 23 on-site clinics enable students to provide more than $1.8 million of pro bono service to Houston’s underserved community.
1303 SAN JACINTO STREET, HOUSTON, TEXAS