University of Texas School of Law
|The University of Texas
School of Law
|The University of Texas at Austin|
|Location||Austin, TX, USA|
The University of Texas School of Law (UT Law) is an ABA-certified American law school located on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. In 2014 the law school was 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 also ranked No. 1 for the biggest return on investment among law schools in the United States. 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 has 19,000 living alumni, over 4,000 of whom practice law outside of Texas. The law school has graduated the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark as well as a number of heads of state and corporate executives.
According to UT Law's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 77.2% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.
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.
In 2014, the law school was the subject of an admissions scandal, currently under investigation by Kroll, Inc. Records obtained through the Texas Public Information Act revealed that students were admitted with LSAT scores as low as 128. In connection with the admissions inquiry, a study of those UT graduates who failed the Texas Bar on multiple occasions included children of legislators, legislators and Capitol staff members. The law school suffered one of the lowest bar passage rates in all of the state's law schools in February, 2014. The bar passage rate was the lowest of all Texas schools, only 59% of those from UT having passed.
On the last day of Attorney General Greg Abbott’s tenure, his office released a year-long investigation into the improper use of unreported and unapproved ‘unforgivable loans’ and other compensation to UT Law faculty.
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
Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, located at the University of Texas School of Law, serves as a focal point for critical, interdisciplinary analysis and practice of human rights and social justice.” The Rapoport Center was founded in 2004 by Professor Karen Engle, Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law, thanks to a generous gift from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation to the University of Texas School of Law. The Rapoport Foundation was founded in 1986 by Bernard Rapoport and his wife Audre. In 2010, Daniel Brinks, Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, became co-director of the Center. The Center has over one hundred affiliated faculty members from various schools and departments within the University of Texas at Austin.
In February 2013, the Rapoport Center received a three-year, $150,000 grant from the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation to highlight the life and career of Sissy Farenthold, an American Democratic politician, activist, lawyer and educator, perhaps best known for her run for Texas Governor and for her nomination for Vice President in the 1972 Democratic National Convention. The project documents Farenthold's contributions to Texas and U.S. politics, the women's peace movement, and international human rights and justice. The Rapoport Center will work with the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History (where Farenthold’s papers are housed) in order to process and preserve Farenthold's papers, digitize archival documents and images, produce videotaped interviews, and expand the content of the Rapoport Center's website.
Center for Women in Law
In 2008 the law school announced the creation of the Center for Women in Law, "To eliminate the barriers that have thwarted the advancement of women in the legal profession for the past several decades, and thereby enhance the legal profession and its ability to serve an increasingly diverse and globally connected society."
Continuing Legal Education
The University of Texas School of Law Continuing Legal Education is one of the oldest and most distinguished providers of professional education in the country, offering over 50 advanced conferences annually that provide CLE and CPE credit to national legal and accounting professionals.
Some of the School's signature programs include Stanley M. Johanson Estate Planning Workshop, Taxation Conference, Jay L. Westbrook Bankruptcy Law, Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law, Immigration and Nationality Law and Page Keeton Civil Litigation, which have been offered continuously for over 35 years. Other highly regarded programs in the portfolio include Mergers and Acquisitions Institute, International Upstream Energy Transactions, Parker C. Fielder Oil and Gas Tax (presented with the IRS) and Patent Law Institutes presented in Austin and at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- Linda L. Addison – Managing Partner, New York, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
- Robert B. Anderson – former United States Secretary of Treasury
- William R. Archer – United States Representative from Texas (1971–2001) Chairman of United States House Committee on Ways and Means
- James Addison Baker, III – former Secretary of State; former United States Secretary of Treasury; former White House Chief of Staff
- Rex G. Baker, Sr. – General counsel of Humble Oil & Refining, later Exxon
- Jack Balagia – General Counsel of Exxon
- Ben Barnes – former Lieutenant Governor of Texas; Prominent National Democratic Lobbyist
- Michael Barrera – former CEO of United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Pat M. Baskin (Class of 1950) – state court judge and city council member in Midland
- 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)
- Charles Robert Borchers (Class of 1966) – district attorney of the 49th Judicial District Court, 1973-1980
- Jack Brooks – U.S. Member of Congress; Chair of United States 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; Texas Land Commissioner, elected 2014.
- Orville Bullington (1882–1956, Class of 1906) – Wichita Falls lawyer; Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1932
- 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
- Frances Tarlton "Sissy" Farenthold – Texas House of Representatives, First female officeholder nominated for Vice President at the 1972 Democratic National Convention.
- 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
- Tom Greenwell – first Republican judge of the 319th District Court in Corpus Christi; committed suicide in 2013
- Thomas Watt Gregory – Attorney General of the United States
- Timothy Hall – President of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, former law professor at The University of Mississippi
- Kent Hance – Chancellor Emeritus of Texas Tech University System; Former Member of Congress who defeated George W Bush in his first Congressional race.
- Doug Harlan – Texas political consultant, lawyer, educator, public official from San Antonio
- 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 the United States House Committee on Financial Services; Chairman of House Republican Conference; chairman 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
- Thad Hutcheson – former chairman of the Texas Republican Party, U.S. Senate candidate in 1957, Houston lawyer
- Kay Bailey Hutchison – former U.S. senator from Texas
- Joe Jaworski – Mayor of Galveston
- 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;
- Michael Keasler – Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals since 1999
- W. Page Keeton – 1931 graduate and Dean from 1949 to 1974; expert in Torts
- Bill Keffer – 1984 graduate; Dallas lawyer, Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 107 (2003-2007)
- 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
- Edward S. Knight – Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Regulatory Officer of NASDAQ
- Cyndi Taylor Krier (Class of 1975) – former state senator and county judge from San Antonio
- Royce C. Lamberth – Chief Judge United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- Bob Lanier – former Mayor 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 and J. Hugh Liedtke—brothers who cofounded Zapata Petroleum Corporation with President George HW Bush; acquired South Penn Oil Company which they renamed Pennzoil
- Eddie Lucio, III – State Representative from Texas' 38th District (Cameron County)
- 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
- Thomas M. Melsheimer – Dallas Managing Principal for Fish & Richardson; 1986 magna cum laude graduate
- 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 T. Montford (Class of 1968) – former Chancellor of Texas Tech University System, 1996-2001; member of the Texas State Senate, 1983-1996; businessman in San Antonio, since 2001
- 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
- Pete Olson – United States Congressman from Texas
- George Peddy – Texas lawyer and politician
- 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
- Jack Pope (1913-) – Lawyer, judge, and Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice 1982-1985
- Paul Pressler (1930-) – Lawyer, judge, and leader of the Southern Baptist Convention Conservative resurgence
- 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
- Randell C. Roberts – Texas personal injury attorney and author.
- 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
- Max Sherman (Class of 1960) – former state senator and former president of West Texas A&M University
- Robert Allan Shivers – Governor of Texas
- Gerald Shur – founder of the Federal Witness Protection Program, and co-author of WITSEC—Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program
- Kristen Silverberg – U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
- Barry Smitherman – departing member of the Texas Railroad Commission
- James M. Spears – General Counsel of Pharmaceutical and Research Manufacturers Association (PHRMA)
- John Thomas Steen, Jr. – San Antonio lawyer and the 108th Secretary of State of Texas
- Robert Schwarz Strauss – former United States Ambassador to Russia; former United States Trade Representative; Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee
- Russell Sullivan – Staff Director U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
- Mac Thornberry – U.S. representative from Texas' 13th congressional district; Chair of United States House Committee on Armed Services
- Ray Thornton – former United States Representative from Arkansas and Arkansas Supreme Court justice
- Corbin Van Arsdale – former state representative from District 130 in northwestern Harris County, 2003-2008; lawyer and lobbyist in Austin
- Jason Villalba – state representative from District 114 in north Dallas County; member of Haynes and Boone law firm in Dallas
- Gary Watkins – state representative from Ector County, county administrative judge, and state district court judge
- 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
- Paul Womack (J.D., 1975) – Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1997-2015; resides in Georgetown in Williamson County
- 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
According to UT official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 77.2% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. UT's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 10.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at UT for the 2013-2014 academic year is $53,698 for residents and $70,050 for non-residents. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $197,389 for residents and $254,278 for nonresidents.
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- 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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