University of Texas School of Law
|The University of Texas
School of Law
|Parent institution||University of Texas at Austin|
|Location||Austin, TX, USA|
The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, also known as UT Law, is an ABA-certified American law school located on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The law school has been in operation since the founding of the University in 1883. It was one of only two schools at the University when it was founded; the other was the liberal arts school. The school offers both Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degrees. It also offers dual degree programs with the JD, such as an MBA, MPA, and PhD. The school is currently ranked No. 15 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and is consistently ranked among the top twenty law schools in the United States.
The school has 19,000 living alumni, over 4,000 of whom practice law outside of Texas.
UT Law is among the most selective law schools in the nation. For the class of 2010, 5,815 students applied and 24% were accepted with a class median LSAT score of 167. Although the minimum GPA to apply is 2.2, the median GPA for the admitted class is 3.71. The average age of admitted students is 24, and women make up 46% of the class. UT Law admits students from over 30 US states. Emphasizing its role as a public institution, UT Law reserves 65% of the seats in each first-year class for Texas residents.
Prior to the US Civil Rights Movement, the school was limited to white students, but the school's admissions policies were challenged from two different directions in high-profile 20th century federal court cases that were important to the long struggle over segregation, integration, and diversity in American education.
Sweatt v. Painter (1950) 
The school was sued in the civil rights case of Sweatt v. Painter (1950). The case involved Heman Marion Sweatt, a black man who was refused admission to the School of Law on the grounds that substantially equivalent facilities (meeting the requirements of Plessy v. Ferguson) were offered by the state's law school for blacks. When the plaintiff first applied to the University of Texas, there was no law school in Texas which admitted blacks. Instead of granting the plaintiff a writ of mandamus, the Texas trial court "continued" the case for six months to allow the state time to create a law school for blacks, which it developed in Houston.
The Supreme Court reversed the lower court decision, saying that the separate school failed to offer Sweatt an equal legal education. The Court noted that the University of Texas School of Law had 16 full-time and three part-time professors, 850 students and a law library of 65,000 volumes, while the separate school the state set up for blacks had five full-time professors, 23 students and a library of 16,500 volumes. But the Court held that even "more important" than these quantitative differences were differences such as "reputation of the faculty, experience of the administration, position and influence of the alumni, standing in the community, traditions and prestige." Because the separate school could not provide an "equal" education, the Court ordered that Hemann Sweatt be admitted to University of Texas School of Law.
Sweatt v. Painter was the first major test case in the long-term litigation strategy of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that led to the landmark Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Marshall and the NAACP correctly calculated that they could dismantle segregation by building up a series of precedents, beginning at UT Law School, before moving on to the more explosive question of racial integration in elementary schools.
Hopwood v. Texas (1996) 
In 1992, plaintiff Cheryl Hopwood, a White American woman, sued the School of Law on the grounds that she had not been admitted even though her grades and test scores were better than those of some minority candidates who were admitted pursuant to an affirmative action program. Texas Monthly editor Paul Burka later described Hopwood as "the perfect plaintiff to question the fairness of reverse discrimination" because of her academic credentials and personal hardships which she had endured (including a young daughter suffering from a muscular disease).
With her attorney Steven Wayne Smith, later a two-year member of the Texas Supreme Court, Hopwood won her case, Hopwood v. Texas, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that the school "may not use race as a factor in deciding which applicants to admit in order to achieve a diverse student body, to combat the perceived effects of a hostile environment at the law school, to alleviate the law school's poor reputation in the minority community, or to eliminate any present effects of past discrimination by actors other than the law school." The case did not reach the Supreme Court.
However, the Supreme Court ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), a case involving the University of Michigan, that the United States Constitution "does not prohibit the law school's narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body." This effectively reversed the decision of Hopwood v. Texas.
Students at the University of Texas School of Law publish twelve law journals.
- American Journal of Criminal Law
- Texas Environmental Law Journal
- Texas Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy
- Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal
- Texas International Law Journal
- Texas Journal of Oil, Gas & Energy Law
- Texas Journal of Women and the Law
- Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights 
- Texas Law Review 
- Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law
- Texas Review of Law and Politics 
- The Review of Litigation 
Notable alumni 
- Linda L. Addison—Partner-in-Charge, New York, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
- Robert B. Anderson—United States Secretary of Treasury
- William R. Archer—United States Representative from Texas (1971–2001) Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee
- James Baker—former Secretary of State; former United States Secretary of Treasury; former White House Chief of Staff
- Jack Balagia—General Counsel of Exxon
- Ben Barnes—former Lieutenant Governor of Texas; Prominent National Democratic Lobbyist
- Michael Barrera—CEO of United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Paul Begala—political consultant, commentator and former advisor to President Bill Clinton
- Lloyd Bentsen—former Secretary of the Treasury and United States Senator; former Chair of US Senate Committee on Finance; former candidate for US Vice President.
- Samuel T. Bledsoe—President of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway 1933–1939
- Robert Lee Bobbitt—Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives (1927–1929), Attorney General of Texas (1929–1930), state court judge (1935–1937), chairman of the Texas Highway Department (1937–1943)
- C. C. Bridgewater – Judge of the Washington Court of Appeals, Division II
- Jack Brooks – U.S. Member of Congress; Chair of U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
- J. E. "Buster" Brown (Class of 1972) – Texas Senator, District 17 from 1981 to 2002
- William C. Bryson—United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- George P. Bush—son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, nephew of President George W. Bush
- Orville Bullington (1882–1956, Class of 1906) —Wichita Falls lawyer; Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1932
- James Caldwell CEO of Omni Hotels
- Kent Caperton—lawyer, lobbyist in Austin and former state senator from Bryan
- Waggoner Carr—Attorney General of Texas
- James Cicconi—worldwide head of government relations for AT&T
- Tom C. Clark—former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and United States Attorney General
- John B. Connally, Jr.—former Governor of Texas, former Secretary of the Navy, former Secretary of the Treasury
- Tom Connally—former United States Senator from Texas
- William C. Conner (1920–2009)—federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Christi Craddick—member of the Texas Railroad Commission
- Henry Cuellar United States Representative from Texas; member of House Democratic leadership
- Dick DeGuerin—prominent criminal defense attorney based in Houston
- Adam Dell—prominent Venture Capitalist; brother of Michael Dell; dated Padma Lakshmi
- Lloyd Doggett—member, U.S. Congress
- David Frederick—successful appellate attorney; has argued over 21 cases before the United States Supreme Court
- Kathryn S. Fuller—Chair of the Ford Foundation and former President of the World Wildlife Fund
- Gustavo C. Garcia, Carlos Cadena, James DeAnda - Attorneys for landmark 1950's civil rights case Hernandez v. Texas which determined that Hispanics have Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment
- Orlando Luis Garcia—United States District Judge, Western District of Texas
- Bryan Garner—editor in chief of Black's Law Dictionary and author of numerous books and articles on language and writing, including "A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage"
- Pete Geren—Former Member of Congress; Secretary of the Army; Secretary of the Air Force
- Mike Godwin—first attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and current general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation
- Leon A. Green—long-time dean at Northwestern University School of Law and professor at UT and at Yale Law School; authored pioneering works in tort law
- Rick Green—former state representative, District 45; motivational speaker
- Thomas Watt Gregory Attorney General of the United States
- Timothy Hall – current President of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, former law professor at The University of Mississippi
- Kent Hance – Chancellor of Texas Tech University System; Former Member of Congress who defeated George W Bush in his first Congressional race.
- Mark Harris – CEO and founder of Axiom Legal
- Will Ford Hartnett - lawyer and member of the Texas House from Dallas County
- Grady Hazlewood—district attorney from Potter County and state senator from District 31 in Amarillo (1941–1971)
- Hayden W. Head, Jr.—Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- Jeb Hensarling— Member of US Congress, Chair of House Republican Conference; Chair of US Debt "Supercommittee"
- John Hill— Attorney General of Texas
- Robert Scott Horton—prominent Human Rights attorney, columnist for Harper's, and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School
- Herbert Hovenkamp—Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law; prolific author and expert in Antitrust law; member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Kay Bailey Hutchison—senior United States Senator from Texas
- Joe Jamail—billionaire litigator and philanthropist
- Joe Jaworski—Mayor of Galveston
- Andrew L. Jefferson, Jr.—noted Houston lawyer, former Harris County judge, former federal prosecutor and former federal judicial nominee
- Wallace Jefferson—First African American Chief Justice of Texas Supreme Court
- Edith Jones—Chief Justice of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- William Wayne Justice—Senior United States District Judge, Western District of Texas, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Texas, storied civil rights judge
- George P. Kazen—Senior United States District Judge, Southern District of Texas;
- W. Page Keeton—1931 graduate and Dean from 1949 to 1974; expert in Torts
- Joe M. Kilgore - 1946 graduate; U.S. representative from Texas's 15th congressional district from 1955 to 1965.
- Ron Kirk—former mayor of Dallas, Texas; United States Trade Representative
- Cyndi Taylor Krier (Class of 1975) —former state senator and county judge from San Antonio
- Bob Lanier—Mayor of the City of Houston
- Debra Lehrmann—former 360th District Court Judge in Fort Worth; Texas Supreme Court Justice (2011– )
- Michael R Levy—Founder and Publisher of Texas Monthly Magazine
- Bill Liedtke & J Hugh Liedtke—brothers who cofounded Zapata Petroleum Corporation with President George HW Bush; acquired South Penn Oil Company which they renamed Pennzoil
- William S. Lott—retired Texas state Judge
- Oliver Luck—former NFL player; former executive with NFL Europa and the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer; current athletic director at West Virginia University
- Earle Bradford Mayfield—former United States Senator from Texas
- Hugh "Skip" McGee—Global Head of Investment Banking Barclays
- Harry McPherson—White House Counsel; Key Advisor to President Lyndon Johnson
- Walter Mengden—1954 graduate; former member of both houses of the Texas Legislature from Harris County
- Thomas Mengler—dean of the law school at University of St. Thomas (Minnesota); former dean at the University of Illinois College of Law
- John Montford—former Chancellor of Texas Tech University System
- Dan Moody—Governor of Texas
- William T. "Bill" Moore—1949 graduate; state senator from Bryan known as the "Bull of the Brazos" and the "father of the modern Texas A&M University"
- Steve Munisteri—retired Houston attorney and chairman since June 12, 2010, of the Republican Party of Texas
- Gene Nichol—law professor at the University of North Carolina; former professor and President of the College of William and Mary; former dean of the law schools at North Carolina and Colorado
- Federico Peña—former Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Energy; former Mayor of Denver
- Colonel Alfred P.C. Petsch (1887–1981)—Lawyer, legislator, civic leader, philanthropist, member of Texas House of Representatives 1925–1941
- Sam Rayburn—longest-serving Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and United States Representative from Texas
- Eddie Rodriguez - Member of the Texas House of Representatives
- Tom Schieffer—former US Ambassador to Japan; former US Ambassador to Australia; President of the Texas Rangers Baseball Team
- A.R. "Babe" Schwartz—former Texas State Senator, helped author the landmark Texas Open Beaches Act
- John Sheppard—former Attorney General of Texas
- Morris Sheppard - U.S. Senator, author of the Eighteenth Amendment
- Barry Smitherman - member of the Texas Railroad Commission
- Robert Schwarz Strauss—former United States Ambassador to Russia; former United States Trade Representative; Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee
- Kristen Silverberg—U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
- Morris Sheppard—former United States Senator from Texas
- Max Sherman (Class of 1960) —former state senator and former president of West Texas A&M University
- Robert Allan Shivers—Governor of Texas
- James M. Spears—General Counsel of Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers Association (PHRMA)
- Russell Sullivan—Staff Director U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
- Mac Thornberry—U.S. representative from Texas' 13th congressional district
- Ray Thornton—former United States Representative from Arkansas and Arkansas Supreme Court justice
- Sarah Weddington—represented Jane Roe in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade
- Bill White—former Mayor of the City of Houston
- Harry Whittington—Texas attorney famous for getting shot by Dick Cheney in a hunting incident; professionally known for eminent domain cases
- Diane Pamela Wood—Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, considered potential candidate for a seat on the Supreme Court during the Obama administration
- Ralph Yarborough—former United States Senator from Texas
- John Andrew Young—former United States Representative from Texas
- Frances Tarlton "Sissy" Farenthold—Texas House of Representatives, First woman nominated (nonsymbolically) for Vice President in the 1972 Democratic National Convention.
- "History of the Law School". The University of Texas School of Law. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "Quick Facts". University of Texas School of Law. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- "Best Law School Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "Admissions". University of Texas School of Law. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- Julius L. Chambers, "A Tribute to Justice Thurgood Marshall," Stanford Law Review, Vol. 44, Summer, 1992, p. 1249
- Burka, Paul. "Law – Cheryl Hopwood." Texas Monthly (Sept. 1996)
- Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932 (5th Cir. 1996)
- See Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) (stating that the Supreme Court's purpose in deciding Grutter's case was "to resolve the disagreement among the Courts of Appeals on a question of national importance: Whether diversity is a compelling interest that can justify the narrowly tailored use of race in selecting applicants for admission to public universities. Compare Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932 (CA5 1996) (holding that diversity is not a compelling state interest) with [another case] holding that it is."
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