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Nancy Rapoport says the University of Houston Law Center was the only school that could tempt her away from Nebraska. Now, as dean, she’s working on her goal of transforming the law center into a major, national law school. She’s begun by focusing on the center’s accomplishments and is strengthening two of its well-known law programs: intellectual property and health. Rapoport also wants to improve the school in another area. “The new area we want to grow in is transactional,” she says. “I’d like us to be leaders in teaching transactional law.” The law center is hiring new faculty members and developing new projects to reach its goal. The center has 40 full-time faculty members and 80 adjunct members. In the health law area, the center will concentrate on its strengths in two areas, bioethics — from the issue of cloning to the question of when death occurs — and corporate health finance, which becomes increasingly important if there’s a recession, Rapoport says. Two new hires, announced Feb. 22, will be teaching at the center’s Health Law and Policy Institute beginning in the fall semester. They are a married couple, Professor Joan Krause, now at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and Assistant Professor Richard Saver, now associate general counsel for the University of Chicago Hospitals. In the intellectual property area, the school is looking for a faculty member to teach about cyberlaw trademarks, Rapoport says. To improve training in transactional law, the center is developing new interdisciplinary studies. The program is still in the planning phase, but the center is involved in some interdisciplinary studies. One professor has a joint appointment, teaching at the law school and in the history department. Another law professor does empirical research in the social sciences area. Rapoport, who came to Houston in August 2000 from the University of Nebraska, where she was dean of the law school, used to be a bankruptcy lawyer, doing litigation and transactional law. She believes schools don’t do so well teaching transactional law — something she wants to change in Houston. Lawyers are problem-solvers and can reach solutions through more ways than litigation or arbitration, she says; they can make deals and work out agreements that work in the first place, before litigation or arbitration is needed, she says. “To do transactions well, it’s not enough to know the law,” Rapoport says. “You have to know people and how they think. “Lawyers and law students have been mistakenly under the impression that law fixes all ills. People are complex, and there’s a wide range of why they do things.” LAWS OF SCIENCE DNA seems to come up a lot in court these days as defense attorneys argue for new testing of old evidence. But science intersects with the law in a lot of other ways, and Texas Tech University School of Law Professor Victoria Sutton has outlined many of them in a new casebook called “Law and Science, Cases and Materials.” The book and a companion supplement, “A Toxic Tort Case – Manchester v. Chromex,” will be published this spring by Carolina Press. Sutton, who teaches a class in law and science at the Lubbock-based school, says there’s been an increase in the use of scientific evidence in court. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court recently heard a case, Kyllo v. United States, involving thermal heat detection, she says. Danny Lee Kyllo of Oregon, who was convicted of one count of manufacturing marijuana, claimed the warrantless use of a thermal imaging device outside his home to detect high-intensity lights used to grow marijuana indoors was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The high court heard arguments in the case on Feb. 20. Far from scaring away law students, science in the legal field has generated a lot of interest, Sutton says. The book also could be useful to students in other fields, she adds. “The book focuses on issues of interest to both scientists and lawyers,” she says. “I’m trying to bring the material together for law students and graduate science students.” Sutton has law and science in her background. She has a J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law, a doctorate in environmental sciences from the University of Texas at Richardson, a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University, and bachelor’s degrees in zoology and animal science from North Carolina State University. Among other jobs, she has served as assistant director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and as special assistant for policy, planning and evaluation for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The book looks at historical cases with scientific aspects and examines topics such as regulation of the scientific and medical communities; science, law and religion; disclosure of medical information; DNA; and toxicological and epidemiological evidence. ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIP Lubbock’s Texas Tech University School of Law has named Timothy Floyd the J. Hadley Edgar Professor of Law. Floyd, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1989, teaches criminal law, legal ethics, pretrial litigation, law and literature, internship, and various lawyer skills courses. He earned his J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law. The professor’s primary research interest is legal ethics, especially the role of spirituality and religious faith in the practice of law. He is an expert in death penalty law. The endowed professorship honors Professor Emeritus J. Hadley Edgar, who retired from the Texas Tech law school in 1991 after 20 years on the faculty. The endowment was made possible by contributions from former students and friends in response to a challenge grant provided by Richard Hile of Austin and Martin Dies of Orange, Texas. The two lawyers have a partnership, Dies & Hile; Hile also has a sole proprietorship, and Dies is a partner in Dies, Henderson & Carona. GO TEAM Students from South Texas College of Law have scored wins in two recent competitions. A team from the Houston school won the Best Brief Award at the 51st Annual Association of the Bar of the City of New York National Moot Court Competition on Feb. 2, officials there say. The students, Ann Johnson, Mark Junell and Robert Cowan, received second place in oral arguments. Johnson also was named second-best oralist in the competition. More than 140 law schools from across the United States participated. The topic of this year’s contest was privacy in relation to an intercepted cell phone call. And on Feb. 14, student advocates won the top writing award at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition South Central Regionals at Tulane Law School. The team of John Ben Blackburn, John Card, Patrick Cohoon and Laura Dale wrote the successful briefs, which will be entered in an international competition in Washington, D.C.

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