The University of Houston Law Center has launched an academic center focused on the intersection of U.S. and Mexican law.
Administrators billed the center as the first of its kind in the United States, and said that Houston's close proximity to Mexico makes the law school a logical choice to house the project.
"The creation of an independent research center on Mexican law at a U.S. university is long overdue," said law professor Stephen Zamora, who will head the center. "Trade and investment between the United States and Mexico continues to grow as our economies become increasingly integrated, thanks to our NAFTA partnership."
Zamora noted that 33 million people in the United States are either Mexican citizens or their descendants, yet Americans have little understanding of Mexican law or legal institutions.
The center aims to change that disconnect through research and analysis, and by promoting connections between students, judges and legal professionals in both countries and Canada. The center also will host symposia and residencies by visiting scholars. Thus far, Justice Jose Ramon Cossio Diaz of Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation has agreed to be the center's first jurist in residence. Miriam Grunstein, a law professor at CIDE University in Mexico City, has been named an affiliated scholar.
The center has agreements with the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the country's national oil company, Petroleos Mexicano, to provide scholarships to help lawyers from both entities obtain master of laws degrees at the Law Center. The Mexican entities will accept Houston law students as summer interns.