: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Duke’s Lawyers – To my first point, your honor… we suck

According to ESPN, when the Duke Blue Devil football team pulled out of the final three games of a four game contract, Louisville sued for breach and asked for $450,000 in damages. Duke’s lawyers successfully employed the seldom used “comparative sucking” defense – the Blue Devils’ performance on the football field was so disastrous (6-45) that Louisville was not harmed by having to find a replacement.

Judge Phillip J. Shepherd of the Franklin County (Ky.) Circuit Court agreed – “At oral argument, Duke [with a candor perhaps more attributable to good legal strategy than to institutional modesty] persuasively asserted that this is a threshold that could not be any lower.”

Louisville would have perhaps done better to argue that in an era where big time coaches now worry that they might get Appalachian State-d out of some serious bowl money, a team so reliably pathetic is a rare and valuable commodity and Louisville should get the benefit of its bargain.

Charlie Rose talks with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Charlie Rose aired an interview with United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia last night. The video has not been published yet, but will no doubt be put up soon at this link – Charlie Rose, A Conversation with Justice Antonin Scalia.

My favorite quote – “It’s kind of a dead end… [referring to the job of Supreme Court Justice] …I mean what do you do for an encore?”

Scalia was previously interviewed by Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes and recently published an excellent book with Bryan Garner, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges

I See Law People…

I suppose I knew the perfunctory complaint that there are too many lawyers well before I came to law school, but now it really does seem like they’re everywhere. There are five of us, seemingly random people, sitting in the River Oaks coffee shop right now. The married couple just noticed that the guy in front of me was studying for the bar and we’ve now figured out that each and every one of us is either a lawyer or in law school.

I don’t know what to think about that.

A Tag Cloud of this Blog

Created with Wordle, not all too surprising I suppose.

Joe Vail, Recently Departed UHLC Law Professor, Remembered

Joe Vail, who ran the immigration clinic at the University of Houston Law Center for the past decade passed away on tuesday. The Houston Chronicle paid tribute in yesterday’s article, Joseph Vail, immigration lawyer (archived link). The funeral will be held Saturday, June 21 at the Sacred Heart Church in Havertown, Pa. The Law Center has established a memorial fund in his honor and is planning a remembrance at the start of the Fall Semester.

Joseph A. Vail, a well-known Houston immigration lawyer, judge and professor for nearly three decades, died Tuesday at his family home near Philadelphia. Vail, 56, directed the University of Houston Law Center’s Immigration Law Clinic, developing it into one of the largest in the nation after founding it in 1999.


Friends and colleagues say Vail’s work at the clinic was perhaps the most significant accomplishment in a career that included service as a federal immigration judge, running a private immigration practice and providing legal assistance to immigrant advocacy groups. In 1994, Vail was recognized by the State Bar of Texas for the free legal services he provided to indigent clients.

As a volunteer with AmeriCorps VISTA, the anti-poverty federal public service program, Vail assisted attorneys in the early 1980s who litigated the landmark Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court case that established the right of undocumented children to attend public schools.


Gordon Quan, a former Houston City Council member, described Vail as a saint whose conscience forced him to step down as a federal immigration judge, a post he held from 1995 to 1999, to open the UH immigration clinic. And he did it despite a large cut in salary.

”The guy gave up his judgeship because he felt the laws were unjust — I mean, how many people do that?” said Quan, an immigration attorney. ”He felt he was being a tool for the government in an unfair system, and everybody respected him for doing what he thought was morally correct.”

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