Law Center Professors Receive Teaching Awards

Today Provost Paula Short announced the 2015 Faculty Excellence Awards recognizing professors university-wide who have excelled in teaching and service to students. Of the 18 individual faculty teaching awards given, 4 recipients were from the law school. Professors Zachary Bray and Jessica Roberts were awarded the Teaching Excellence Award, Professor Geoffrey Hoffman was awarded the Clinical Teaching Award, and Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson received the Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award, which is given to a previous Teaching Excellence Award winner “who in ten or more years of teaching, has made sustained and significant contributions to education.”

This is a record number of wins in one year for the law school. We’re proud of our faculty and the work they do here, and it is great to see them recognized by the University. Congratulations to all of the 2015 award winners!

To read more about our faculty visit the UHLC Faculty page.

UH Law Center Ranks #6 in U.S. News List of Law Schools where Salaries Most Outweigh Debt

UH Law Center Ranks #6 in U.S. News List of Law Schools where Salaries Most Outweigh Debt

Last week U.S. News published a list of law schools whose private practice salaries most outweighed graduates’ law school educational debt.  The University of Houston Law Center was ranked 6th on that list and had the lowest average indebtedness of the ten schools listed. 

The UH Law Center is proud to be recognized for its value to students, combining affordability with fantastic career opportunities.  We have kept tuition costs steady for the past several years in an effort to make law school affordable for more students.  Further, our Career Development staff works hard to increase visibility among law firms and other potential employers and provides extensive programing and individual counseling for our students.  To learn more about opportunities provided through the career office you can visit their webpage at http://www.law.uh.edu/career or read the CDO Weekly Digest at http://uhlccareer.blogspot.com/.  

Character & Fitness

As you complete your law school application, you will notice there is a section with questions regarding your character and fitness.  Below are some friendly tips to make completing this section a breeze!

 Words of Advice

  • Big First Step – Answering these questions thoroughly and honestly is a big first step towards becoming a licensed attorney.  Pause and take a moment to consider your academic, disciplinary and/or criminal history, I promise this will save you a headache later! 
  • Board of Law Examiners (BLE) Your law school application will be submitted to the state bar association to which you apply.  The BLE performs background checks to ensure that you properly disclosed any character and fitness incidents on your law school application. 
  • Disciplinary Hearing – Nobody wants a disciplinary hearing.  If you do not disclose during the application process we will find out later from the BLE, and there will be a disciplinary hearing and possible sanctions.  Trust me, it is easier to disclose in writing than have to discuss your past transgressions with law schools administrators and faculty face-to-face. 
  • Don’t Be Intimidated – While all this may sound a bit intimidating, the typical incidents that applicants must disclose do not prevent admission. 

 Common Mistakes

  • Deferred Adjudication v. Expunctions – Sometimes applicants have agreed to deferred adjudication and think the incident has been expunged and “not on the record.”  Deferred adjudication may include probation, community service, or some other diversion program, in exchange for dismissal of the case.  However, the incident remains on the record.  To have an incident expunged you must go through a separate court process.  If you are not going to disclose an incident, ensure that you have completed this expunction process and have written documentation stating the incident was expunged. 
  • Failure to Appear Small traffic violations, which normally do not need to be disclosed, can turn into a failure to appear.  For instance, you obtain a speeding ticket and fail to pay the fines or forget to attend your court hearing.  Now in addition to the traffic violation you also have a failure to appear.  You must now disclose both incidents due to the failure to appear.
  • Dorm Violations Any dorm violations you received while in college must be disclosed.  The most common violations include noise violations and alcohol or drug possession.
  • Kids Count – Things that happened when you were “a kid” do count.  Some of the incidents from your past may be very old, but they do need to be disclosed.

The character and fitness questions are very broad and the exceptions are very narrow.  These are just a few examples and not intended as an exhaustive list. 

If you are in doubt as to whether you should include an incident in your application, please always err on the side of full disclosure.  If you have any questions, please contact our office.  You may remain anonymous when you call. 

For more information and a list of FAQs, please visit: http://www.law.uh.edu/admissions/apply-now-character-and-fitness.asp

A new face!

Hello to all the prospective students and other readers out in blog land!  I’m Liz Clearman, and I just joined the Admissions Office here at UHLC as the Assistant Director.  I will become a regular author on this blog, so I wanted to introduce myself.

I graduated from Texas A&M University in ’01 (whoop!), and went straight into law school here at UHLC, receiving my J.D. in 2004.  Having taken the bar exam early in December of 2003, I continued working for the 151st District Court under Judge Caroline Baker (for whom I had interned during law school) after I graduated, and then went on to obtain a position at the City Attorney’s Office as an Assistant City Attorney in the Contracts Division that fall.  After about a year, I decided that I was better suited for an alternative legal career, and moved back over here to the Law Center to work as a Career Counselor in the Career Development Office.

I remained in that position for two and a half years, at which point I resigned to stay at home with my new baby.  After making that and a home organizing business my career for almost 5 years, I re-entered the workforce as the Marketing Director for the Chick-fil-A at I-10 & Silber at the beginning of this year.  As much fun as that job was, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply for the job I now have in the Admissions Office, and I am so glad that I didn’t!  I truly enjoy being back in the university setting and getting to work with students, as well as the fantastic faculty and staff here at the Law Center.

Please contact our office with any questions you may have.  Although I’ve only been at my current position for just over a week, I’ve lived in Houston almost all of my life and am very familiar with UHLC in both my capacities as a former student and a staff member, so I’m happy to help in any way possible.  I look forward to meeting our prospective students!

UHLC Criminal Justice Institute Symposium

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The University of Houston Law Center Criminal Justice Institute was proud to host its annual symposium this year on November 14-15.  The symposium included commentary by many leading local federal practitioners, including two federal district court judges, as well as the Federal Public Defender, the Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Chiefs of the Appellate Divisions of both of those offices.  The program fostered an exciting dialogue between academics, practitioners, and members of the judiciary.  Many students and federal practitioners were in attendance.

The symposium will produce an introductory article and five law review articles by five of the top federal sentencing academics and a former chair of the United States Sentencing Commission.  These pieces will be published in a special edition of the Houston Law Review this spring.

The following news story further discusses the symposium – http://www.law.uh.edu/news/fall2013/1122CJI.asp

If you would like to review the program for the symposium please visit – http://www.law.uh.edu/cji/symposium.asp