Houston earns #2 spot on America’s Favorite Place list

Student author Christina Gonzalez is a rising 3L at the University of Houston Law Center, and is a student worker for the Admissions Office.

The decision of which law school to attend comes with many questions, and one will find that the process of answering them involves weighing just as many factors. One of the biggest factors is the city in which you think you will want to practice after graduation (although things can certainly change, so being flexible is also important). If Texas – and more specifically Houston – is on your short list for law schools, a recent article published in Texas Monthly might help persuade you. This article contains the results from a survey conducted by Travel + Leisure, inviting readers to vote for America’s Favorite Place on their website. Survey participants voted on a variety of subjects, including the best burgers and wine bars, festivals, attractions, and the friendliness of the locals.

Other factors in the rankings included the locals in each city, (considering their quirkiness, hotness, or charming geekiness), affordability (Houston is one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the nation), and walkability. Warm, sunny weather also played a part, and Houston has this in spades. Three cities in Texas landed in the top ten cities listed in the survey as the friendliest, with Houston coming in at number two. Whether you live here or have simply visited, I think we can all agree that Houston is well deserving of its silver star ranking.

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The article can be found here: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/howdy-survey-finds-texas-friendliest-cities/, along with the Travel + Leisure article here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-places/friendliest-cities.

If you are considering making the University of Houston Law Center your destination for law school and have questions that need answers, please contact the admissions office at lawadmissions@uh.edu.

Cougar Athletics and UHLC – an update

More than two years ago, I blogged about the current state of athletics at the University of Houston.  See what’s new around campus since then with this update!

In 2014, after completing TDECU Stadium, the University of Houston made the decision to part ways with football Head Coach Tony Levine and brought in former offensive coordinator and Broyles Award winner, Tom Herman.  In Coach Tom Herman’s first year, UH not only gained its first conference championship since 2006 but also beat the Florida State Seminoles in the “New Year’s Six” Peach Bowl on December 31, 2015.

In men’s basketball, 2016 saw a return to post-season play with the team receiving a bid to pay in the NIT.  While still looking for a return to Phi Slama Jama glory, the 2016-2017season will see construction start on the next generation of basketball facilities.

2014 saw the addition of the women’s golf team to Cougar Athletics.  Not only was an invitation received to the NCAA San Antonio Regional received in its inaugural year but woman’s golf received a follow up invitation to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional in year two.

It’s no secret that the University of Houston is working hard to put itself in the best position possible to attract one of the “Power Five” athletic conferences should the winds of expansion blow through college athletics, once again.

With the increased interest in Cougar Athletics, it’s positive to note that tickets to athletic events remain free to all Cougar Card carrying students!

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Completed TDECU Stadium.

Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

The University of Houston Law Center is located on the University of Houston’s main campus.  As a law student, you have access to all of the amenities the main campus has to offer.  This includes the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC).  As a current student, you are automatically a member!

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The CRWC is a 264 thousand square foot facility available to all students, faculty/staff and alumni.  The following video provides a short tour of the facility: https://youtu.be/fSYCEk5-O9M

The CRWC offers group fitness classes, personal training, intramural sports, and outdoor adventures.  In addition, you will have access to both the indoor natatorium and outdoor leisure pool.  Not a strong swimmer? No worries, sign up for adult swim lessons at both the beginner and intermediate levels. American Red Cross certifications are available in CPR, AED and first aid. You can also participate in lifeguard training classes.

To learn more about the CRWC or schedule a tour, please visit: http://www.uh.edu/recreation

 

 

Student perspective: the benefits of a clinical legal education

Nneka Morah is a 2017 J.D. candidate at the University of Houston Law Center, the Treasurer of the Black Law Students Association, and a Student Attorney with UHLC’s Immigration Clinic.

 

This past week I could not help but notice that the spring semester is quickly winding down. As I reflect on how much I have grown as an aspiring attorney this past year, and the many experiences that have brought me this far, most notable are my clinic experiences at the Law Center.

 

At the end of my first year, I decided I would try to take a clinic class every semester until I graduated. To me it presented an amazing opportunity to learn by doing, but also, to give back. Thus, I began my second year of law school with my first clinic class, the Consumer Dispute Resolution Clinic. There I learned about most of the dinner table law topics while helping the people of my community with legal issues ranging from landlord-tenant disputes to health insurance contract questions and car purchase agreement issues. At the end of the summer, I walked away with a basic knowledge of some of the critical everyday situations even I face. I remember how grateful an older lady was after I helped read through her health care contract, answered a few questions she had, and subsequently referred her to a health care attorney.

 

Next I registered for the Mediation Clinic. I had previously completed the 40-hour mediation training. During the fall of 2015, I volunteered my time, mediating cases at the Justice of the Peace court. Before the end of the semester, I decided to complete the Family Mediation training as well. Through this experience I got to see some of the processes of the alternative dispute resolution system in our country. This turned out to be a great networking opportunity as well. To this day, a Houston businessman whose case I settled thanks me for my service whenever he sees me.

 

This spring I have spent hundreds of hours in the Immigration Clinic. I have worked on a wide variety of cases. From helping an abandoned minor get legal status, to preparing and filing an asylum appeal, representing clients in immigration court, helping others get work authorization documents, and more, my knowledge of immigration laws has broadened. In addition to working independently and with co-counsel for my clients, I have learned timekeeping as well as billing. I can say I got to see the full picture of an immigration attorney’s busy and sometimes hectic life. This experience has been amazing and rewarding beyond measure. In fact, I received a summer job offer as a result of my work in the immigration clinic this semester.

 

As a result, I walk away from my second year of law school better able to take on the role of an attorney. I can honestly say that if at graduation my only choice was to become a solo practitioner, I am ready to take on the challenge. The clinic classes have prepared me for that possibility, and I am so glad that I didn’t miss out on all of the valuable experiences I have had this year in law school.

 

I look forward to taking more clinics in the coming year, and I am curious to see how many more lives will be impacted by my decision. To those who struggle with the decision to take a clinic, I say to you – look past the grades at the learning opportunities, life experiences, and people in need you help with every case, and give yourself this valuable opportunity.

 

Advocacy at UHLC

Mariam Abdelmalak is a 2018 J.D. candidate at the University of Houston Law Center.

First year law classes include substantive law courses, such as Contracts and Property, in addition to Procedure and legal writing. These offerings are practical in that they provide an understanding of foundational areas of law and allow students to develop legal research skills. After all, as summer clerks and future associates, law students will spend most of their time researching legal issues and drafting case documents. However, many first-year students, both those who have no prior legal experience and those who do, want to begin developing oral advocacy skills.

 

The Advocates is a student-run organization that provides all students with mock trial, moot court, mediation, and negotiation experience through intramural competitions. The Advocates runs six competitions each year, only one of which is not available to first-year students. All of the competitions require students to compete in two-person teams, and most of the competitions are judged by actual judges and attorneys. Two of the five competitions that are available to first-year students, the Hippard Novice Mock Trial Competition and the John Black Moot Court Competition, cater specifically to first-year students. The Hippard Novice and John Black competitions focus less on knowledge of substantive law and more on oral delivery and preparation.

 

During my first year at the Law Center, I participated in three Advocates competitions. Although, like many 1Ls, I was reluctant to sacrifice study time to these competitions, I am glad that I allowed myself to gain the practical experiences I did. The Alternate Dispute Resolution Competitions (mediation and negotiation) gave a great perspective on how to deal with client demands as an attorney. Preparing and delivering oral argument for the moot court competition was both fun and encouraging. My partner and I competed against amazing orators and got to engage with dedicated judges. Getting feedback on my style of delivery was a great way to start working on my courtroom presence and learn to better structure my argument.

 

For students who are unsure whether to pursue litigation or transactional work, Advocates competitions can help simulate the skills best suited to each of these two tracks. Advocates intramural competitions are also great practice for trying out for the Law Center’s intermural mock trial, moot court, and alternative dispute resolution teams. These teams are all part of the Law Center’s distinguished Blakely Advocacy Institute and compete nationally.

 

To find out more information about the Advocates and the Blakely Advocacy Institute, use the following links:

http://www.law.uh.edu/organizations/advocates/homepage.asp

http://www.law.uh.edu/blakely/