One of Texas’s public law schools has reeled during the past year under the stress of a censure from the nation’s law school accreditor, exacerbated by personality clashes between leaders of the law school and central university.
A series of bad publicity has unveiled problems within Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. The first problem became public in July 2017, when the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, which accredits law schools, issued censures against the school for violation of an anti-discrimination accreditation standard, as well as multiple academic standards. Another round of negative press hit in October 2017, when TSU President Austin Lane abruptly canceled a law student organization’s event, which drew rowdy, disruptive protesters. The fiasco—participants said the university violated their free speech—was quickly followed by the resignation of interim law school dean James Douglas.
Documents obtained through a Texas Public Information Act Request reveal details pertaining to personality clashes and power struggles between Lane and Douglas. Interviews with Douglas and former dean Dannye Holley provide more insight about what happened behind the scenes, before and after the ABA’s censures.
PDF: Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall _ Texas Lawyer
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is visiting Houston on Jan. 26 to answer law students’ questions about her life story and sit down with a law professor for a talk about the role of legal education.
Sotomayor’s visit to the University of Houston Law Center will put her face to face with law and pre-law students, who submitted advance questions and will listen as law dean Leonard Baynes moderates a discussion with the Justice about the students’ queries. As Sotomayor has done at past events, it’s likely she will walk among the students in the law classroom during her talk. Students will enjoy that personal touch, Baynes said.
PDF: Justice Sotomayor Visiting Houston to Discuss Legal Education _ Texas Lawyer
Pummeled by Hurricane Harvey, federal and state courts along the Texas Gulf Coast have closed their doors and suspended all operations, grinding to a near halt one of the busiest jurisdictions in the country.
PDF: Houston-area Courts Crippled by Hurricane Harvey _ Law
Mark Womack, a Houston solo practitioner who beat back a legal malpractice case after eight years of litigation, said he’s gratified that the State Bar of Texas filed a disciplinary lawsuit against the lawyer who represented the plaintiff who sued him.
The Commission for Lawyer Discipline sued Houston solo practitioner Armando Lopez in Harris County District Court, alleging he violated rules that ban a lawyer from bringing a frivolous lawsuit, lying to a court or being dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful or misrepresentative. The original petition said that Lopez represented a plaintiff in an underlying malpractice suit against Womack, who eventually filed the grievance against Lopez.
“It was serious misconduct,” said Womack. “I’m gratified the state bar has made the decision to enforce the rules in this fashion. I think it shows the system works.”
Published on TexasLawyer.com on Aug. 8, 2017.
PDF: Disciplinary Suit Filed Against Lawyer for Filing Frivolous Legal Mal Case _ Texas Lawyer