Around the Campus- Your own little piece of the Law Center

A glimpse of the Section C study carrels (on a sunny Saturday morning.)

A look at the Section C study carrels (on a sunny Saturday morning–evidence that law students don’t study ALL day).

carrel 4

The carrels provide a semi-private study space and include a lockable cabinet for books and personal items.


One popular stop on our prospective student tour is the visit to the study carrels. At the Law Center all first-year students are assigned to a personal study carrel, which is yours to use for the first year of law school.  Carrels are organized by section so each 1L section has its own “home base.”  The study carrels are part study space, part social hub, and–at the risk of sounding cheesy–are where many life-long relationships are forged.

A tour of the carrels can give you a glimpse into the personality of that section and the students in it.  Students sometimes personalize their carrels with family photos, plants, or memorabilia collected throughout the year. Students further enhance the feeling of community by bringing shared coffee machines or refrigerators and even decorate for the holidays, as you can see from the pictures to the left showing Section C’s Lunar New Year decor. (My pictures really don’t do them justice. They’re impressive.)

Over the years I have seen both serious and cheeky motivational posters, flyers for upcoming social events and SBA elections, and signs admonishing noisy passersby to respect the study space. I have witnessed post-final exam celebrations and pre-interview pep talks, and walking through my old section’s carrels always brings back happy memories. The carrels are a small perk of the 1L year that play an integral role in student life.

Houston team wins world title in Paris (again)

The UHLC Blakely Advocacy Institute posted its second major victory in less than a week with the first-place win at the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France, one of the most prestigious advocacy competitions in the world. Teams representing 67 law and business schools from around the world competed in the 10th annual competition which tests students’ commercial dispute resolution skills. Congratulations to 2L Rose Badruddin and 3L Brandon Schrecengost on this fantastic accomplishment. The UHLC team was coached by alumni Kevin Hedges, Lucy Tyson, Niki Roberts, and Will Sprott.

As a result of winning the competition, Badruddin and Schrecengost will have the opportunity to intern with one of two global law firms– Evershelds or Linklaters.

The University of Houston Law Center is the first repeat winner of the competition, having won the tournament 10 years ago.

UH Law Center students win Costello National Criminal Mock Trial Competition

UHLC students win national title

National Champions– Barira Munshi, Travis Holland, and Ashley Ellerin.

University of Houston Law Center students Ashley Ellerin, Travis Holland, and Barira Munshi took first place at the Costello National Criminal Mock Trial Competition last weekend in Fairfax, Virginia. The competition included 32 teams, and our students defeated teams from Brigham Young University, Emory University, University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Buffalo. The UHLC team was the highest scoring prosecution team, scoring higher than the University of Texas, whose team also made it to the semi-finals. The final win was against Buffalo, securing the national championship.

The Nitty Gritty: Houston Facts and Figures

Houston is well-known for many things around the nation ~ its foodie culture, vast expanse of land, and its uncanny ability to withstand economic downturns. Here are just a few tidbits of information to illustrate how we stack up to other cities in the United States.*

  • Houston is expected to lead the state and nation in population and employment growth between 2015-2040.
  • Clocking in at 6.3 million residents for the greater Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area, we are the fifth most populous metro area in the nation, behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth (as of July 2013).
  • The actual city of Houston, excluding all the surrounding areas, comes in at the number four most populous city in the nation, with almost 2.2 million residents within the city limits.
  • Our GAP (gross area product) for 2013 was $532.9 billion. Our economy would be larger than that of Norway or Venezuela if we were a country, according to the World Bank. That’s impressive!
  • According to a survey done of more than 1.7 million one-way truck transactions in the year 2013 by U-Haul International for its The 2013 Top 50 U.S. Destination Cities, the city of Houston is the number one destination for people looking to relocate. This is the fifth year in a row that Houston has topped the list.
  • Houston is known as the Energy Capital of the World and of the U.S. About half of our economic activity is comprised of the energy industry, making us a hot spot for 40 of the nation’s 145 publicly traded oil and gas companies. Nine more companies out of the top 25 oil and gas firms have a division or branch here.
  • Twenty-eight companies ranked on the 2014 Forbes Global 2000 list have their world headquarters in Houston, including ConocoPhillips, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Marathon Oil.
  • We have a hugely diverse workforce, with our labor force occupying more than 2.7 million jobs.
  • Houston employs more people than 35 other states in America.
  • Houston was the first major metropolitan area to recover from the recession, and we’ve added more jobs since the bottom of the recession than any of the other 20 most populous metro areas in the nation.
  • Because of our location (close to the Port of Houston, midway between the east and west coasts, and housing two major airports), we offer a vast number of options for businesses looking to nationally distribute their goods.
  • Our city is constantly being named to the tops of various lists in metro comparisons. For example, we’ve recently been named the Top U.S. Metro (Site Selection magazine), the Top U.S. Manufacturing City, and the Best City for Your Career.

*All data obtained from the Greater Houston Partnership:

What’s in a GPA?

That which we learn in class

By any other feedback would be as stressful

With law school applications coming in across the country (insert declining national applicant pool joke, here), I thought it would be nice to provide a little insight into what admissions offices see when it comes to G.rade P.oint A.verages (aka GPAs).

When I am reviewing an applicant’s GPA, I endeavor to avoid all thought of the final numbers LSAC has provided for us in your CAS (Credential Assembly Service) report, until I’ve gained context. That being said, it’s important to note that LSAC, through proprietary methods, will standardize and provide a calculation of your GPA which may in fact be different from what you see on your transcript. This calculation includes all course work attempted except for courses from which you properly withdrew at all institutions that provided course credit toward your Bachelor’s degree. Eventually, I will review the final calculated Undergraduate “Cumulative GPA” (which includes grades from all attended programs) and the “Degree (Summary) GPA” which only includes grades from the program you’ve graduated from. Before that, I like to look at a number of different factors to provide the abovementioned context for what you GPA means to me and to the University of Houston Law Center.

Factors taken into consideration (in regard to your GPA):

  • What does your GPA look like from a year to year basis?
  • How many hours did you take and what GPA did that yield?
  • In looking at your transcripts, what classes did you take?
  • Does your resume indicate you were working while obtaining your bachelor’s/post-secondary degree?
  • What was your major?
  • What is your GPA in relation to other students from your degree granting program (i.e.; is it in the 50th percentile, the 99th percentile, the 1st percentile)?

As you can see, your Cumulative GPA provides our Office of Admission with a significant amount of information beyond just the numbers. Keep in mind that you are not a number, you are, potentially, a great addition to the Cougar Community and we want your APPPLICATION (in its entirety) to show that!

Whether you had the best GPA in the world or you were the certified “last in your class,” (don’t worry, that’s not really a thing) it would behoove each of you to understand that in your first semester you are not only ranked number one in your law center entering class, but you are also ranked number last in your law center entering class. Every law student, despite his or her academic beginnings in his or her undergraduate (or graduate, or doctorate) program, has a 0.00. Take advantage of your fresh slate and in all instances, exceed your expectations. After all, you can only go up from a 0.00!