A new era is on the horizon for Texas law graduates taking the bar exam—but many current and prospective law students might not know anything about it.
The Texas Supreme Court has approved a recommendation to replace the Texas bar exam with the Uniform Bar Examination, effective in February 2021. It’s a big deal, because reciprocity will allow graduates to transfer UBE scores to 34 other states. Another perk is the fewer topics and essay questions than the existing Texas bar exam.
“Most law students are so focused on the normal day-to-day of law school that they don’t pay much attention to the bar exam. They just know the bar exam is hard and they’ll have to take it one day,” said Femi Aborisade, president of the student bar association at The University of Texas School of Law in Austin.
The number of law schools offering a two-year J.D. program for international lawyers has grown steadily over the past eight years, and observers expect the trend to continue.
“I just think people are seeing there’s a market for it. They see there’s demand. From our perspective, the other impetus behind this is it really adds to a richer experience in the classroom,” said Amanda Wolfe, director of global programs at The University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson. “We put a premium on an international experience here.”
Wolfe said Arizona Law had the nation’s first two-year J.D. for international lawyers, and each year since its launch in 2010, she’s noticed other schools launching their own programs. Both Wolfe and Andrew Horsfall, assistant dean of international programs at Syracuse University College of Law in New York, which launched its two-year J.D. for foreign attorneys in 2015, said they expect more such offerings.
This article first published in The International Jurist on Oct. 16, 2018.
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Law students were on summer break when outrage erupted nationwide over the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant parents and children who crossed the country’s southern border.
But summer didn’t stop Texas immigration law professors from taking action, and in the coming school year, they’re planning opportunities for law students in their schools’ immigration clinics to help reunited families seek asylum or fight deportation.
Law professors all over Texas jumped into action at various levels to help immigrant families the government separated.
Houston law graduates Ieshia Champs and Shartory Brown have inspired many people with their stories surviving childhood homelessness and teenage pregnancy and then succeeding in law school while raising multiple kids.
Texas Lawyer spoke with Brown and emailed Champs for advice for other law students about juggling a strict schedule, coping with overwhelming demands, and tapping into their inner strength and resiliency. Here are their answers, edited for clarity and brevity.
Two Houston law graduates who defied tough odds to succeed in law school have inspired people across the country.
Other law students can learn about resilience and the power of priorities through the stories of May graduates Ieshia Champs of Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and Shartory Brown of South Texas College of Law Houston.
Both Brown and Champs were homeless at times during their childhoods and became teenage mothers. Tragedies and heartache could have derailed their lives—yet they persevered through college and law school, all while raising multiple children. The two women share so much in common that they became good friends while interning together at the Harris County Attorney’s Office in the spring of 2018.
In 1991 when Brad Toben became dean of Baylor University School of Law, the Lone Star State was headed by Texas Gov. Ann Richards, the U.S. president was George H.W. Bush and the Soviet Union dissolved, ending the Cold War.
Now on the job for more than 26 years, Toben is the second longest-serving law dean in the whole country, according to Rosenblatt’s Deans Database, a repository of information about law deans at Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. Toben’s tenure is beat only by the first longest-serving dean, John O’Brien, the 30-year dean of New England Law Boston.
Toben has far outpaced the average of four years of service that most law deans put in and also beat all other Texas law deans by a long shot. In fact, the Texas dean who comes closest is South Texas College of Law Houston dean Donald Guter, who is the 21st longest-serving law dean with nine years of service and who plans to retire next year.
Everyone knows that eating fast food, candy and sugary drinks can cause weight gain, but aside from the battle against the bulge, there’s another great reason for law graduates to strive toward more healthful eating while studying for the Texas bar exam. Science has shown that a good diet can boost brain health and mental functioning, helping good eaters to acquire knowledge, retain memories and better process mood and emotions. Even though it’s difficult to find the time, there are strategies that law students can use to change their eating habits for the better, whether they cook at home or dine out.