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

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Remembering John O’Quinn


John O’Quinn, the well known Houston plaintiff’s lawyer and alumni of the University of Houston Law Center passed away in a car accident this morning. He was a larger than life figure at the University of Houston and you couldn’t avoid seeing his name – it was on the law library, the football field and others.

Most students remember John for the talk he gave each year for the John Black Moot Court Competition – the intraschool oral arguments that are a rite of passage for all 1L students in the spring each year. John never missed a year in the time I’ve been here. He always gave the same talk. He told the story of John Black, a classmate of his at the University of Houston Law Center in much more modest times, a blue-collar guy who developed brain cancer after his first year but was so committed to the idea of becoming a trial lawyer who could represent the little guy that he kept coming to class even after the disease had robbed him of the ability to achieve that dream. When John Black passed away, O’Quinn, with some of the others in his class established the competition in his honor. John teared up every time.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Sitting at the University of Houston, November 3rd

University of Houston Law Center

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be sitting at the University of Houston Law Center on November 3rd, 2009. According to the Court’s calendar, the following cases will be heard:

Panel K: Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 10:00 A.M., The University of Houston Law Center

  • 2008-1288 DCT MBO LABS V BECTON [argued]
  • 2009-3104 MSPB RACHAL V MSPB [argued]
  • 2009-1210 BCA BEYLEY CONSTRUCTION V ARMY [argued]
  • 2009-1270 PTO IN RE CHAPMAN [argued]
  • 2009-3193 MSPB KNIGHT V MSPB [on the briefs]

Panel L: Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 10:00 A.M., The University of Houston Law Center

  • 2008-1418 DCT HUMAN GENOME V IMMUNEX [argued]
  • 2009-3155 MSPB ARMSTRONG V TREASURY [argued]
  • 2009-3200 MSPB GIBSON-MICHAELS V FDIC [on the briefs]

More information is available at the University of Houston Law Center Website

South Texas Law Grad Sues to Collect Defense Attorney’s Million Dollar Challenge to Disprove Client’s Alibi

The current job market for lawyers calls for some ingenuity. Dustin Kolodziej didn’t stop at sending out resumes. In the course of defending Nelson Serrano criminal defense attorney Cheney Mason claimed it was impossible for his client to have committed the murders in Florida and be in Atlanta motel 28 minutes later where he was captured on a security camera. In an interview on national television, he stated “I challenge anybody to show me, I’ll pay them a million dollars if they can do it.” Kolodziej went to Florida with a video camera and retraced the alleged flight of the suspect and clocked himself in at under the 28 disputed minutes. Mason has refused to make good on the challenge, contending that it was obviously a joke and no reasonable person could believe the offer was seriously made.

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Memoir of John Hill as Texas Attorney General


Texas Lawyer brought my attention to the publication of Ernie Stromberger’s John Hill for the State of Texas. John Hill, who collaborated on the book before his death in 2007, also served as Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court in his long career.

I had the pleasure of talking with Justice Hill before he passed on when I met him at a reception Winstead held for UH law students. He had a seemingly never ending reservoir of stories, but looking back the most remarkable aspect was that he never really let on who he was. He mentioned that he ‘had been a judge’ and had ‘worked for the state’ for a while. It would seem odd to describe such a larger-than-life personality as humble, but so he was.

Judge Russell Austin, RIP

I just learned that another friend of the UHLC has passed away. Judge Russell Austin suffered a stroke over the weekend and passed away yesterday. Judge Austin received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Houston and taught courses at both the University of Houston Law Center and South Texas College of Law. I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Austin only once but left impressed by his generosity and willingness to give back to the legal community through teaching and mentoring. I’ll consider myself fortunate if I have even half the impact in my career as he did in his.

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