Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall

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.

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PDF: Open Records Reveal Personality Clashes, Power Struggle at Thurgood Marshall _ Texas Lawyer

Justice Sotomayor Visiting Houston to Discuss Legal Education

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.

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PDF: Justice Sotomayor Visiting Houston to Discuss Legal Education _ Texas Lawyer

Don’t Know What Blockchain Is? You Should. This Law Prof Can Help.

Bitcoin. Ethereum. Blockchain. It sounds like a foreign language, clouded in mystery.

But with billions of dollars flowing through cryptocurrency systems, and governments and major companies looking to blockchain technology to reform a wide variety of critical record-keeping systems, law students and lawyers need to get up to speed.

Even with great change brewing, only a smattering of law professors have published research in the area, and even fewer have launched formal classes for law students.

Angela Walch is one of the first law professors who have latched on to the importance of digital currencies and blockchain technology. Starting research in 2012, Walch, who is a professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, has made a mark in the cryptocurrency community with research that suggested—despite the decentralized promise of blockchain technology—that actual identifiable people govern the systems, and furthermore, they should owe users a fiduciary duty. Walch’s law school course she started in 2013  was pioneering in teaching students about bitcoin and the blockchain.

This story published on law.com on August 7, 2017.

PDF: Don t Know What Blockchain Is You Should This Law Prof Can Help _ Texas Lawyer

ABA Fines, Publicly Censures Law School

Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law was publicly censured and must pay $15,000 for not complying with an American Bar Association standard that prohibits schools from discriminating against faculty members.

In the public censure, the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar also found Thurgood Marshall Law violated an ABA standard requiring schools to file complete, accurate, and not misleading information to the ABA each year. In a second matter, the ABA section ordered remedial actions that raise questions about the school’s legal education program, academic support for students and its admissions practices.

James Douglas, interim dean of Thurgood Marshall Law, denied that there is sex discrimination or sexual harassment happening at the school.

Published on TexasLawyer.com on July 21, 2017.

PDF: ABA Fines Publicly Censures Law School for Noncompliance With Anti Discrimination Standard _ Texas Lawyer