Our program will be led by accomplished faculty who are committed to helping their students develop practice-related competencies for the real world of practice.
Royal Furgeson, Jr., United States District Judge, Northern District of Texas, was named as the Founding Dean of the UNT Dallas College of Law in January 2012. He assumed his position as Dean in mid-year 2013 after retiring from the federal district bench.
Royal Furgeson is the former Senior U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Prior to taking Senior Status, he served in the El Paso, Midland, and San Antonio Divisions of the Western District of Texas. He served as a federal judge for over eighteen years.
A native of Lubbock, Judge Furgeson graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and earned his law degree at the University of Texas School of Law, where he was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review. After law school, he served the U.S. Army for two years, attaining the rank of Captain. Following a tour in Vietnam, he returned to Lubbock as law clerk to the Honorable Halbert O. Woodward.
Before taking the bench, he was a practicing lawyer for twenty-four years with the Kemp Smith firm in El Paso, Texas. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute, and Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law. While in private practice, he was general campaign chair and president of the El Paso United Way, president of the El Paso chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and president of the El Paso Bar Association.
During his time on the bench, in addition to his ongoing district court obligations, he was a panel judge on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, President of the Federal Judges Association, and a member of the Judicial Branch Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He has also served as chair of the Judicial Resources Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
He has been honored on numerous occasions, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Texas Tech Alumni Association, the West Texas Legal Legend Award by the Texas Tech University School of Law, the 2010 Distinguished Counselor Award by the State Bar of Texas Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, the Luke Soules Award by the State Bar of Texas Litigation Section, the Leon Green Award by the Texas Law Review, and the Faculty Award by the University of Texas School of Law.
Professor Ellen S. Pryor is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. As Associate Dean, she oversees, along with Judge Furgeson, the design and implementation of the educational program. Before joining the UNT Dallas College of Law in January 2013, Pryor was the Homer R. Mitchell Endowed Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. Professor Pryor will teach Torts for the 2014-2015 academic year and Legal Methods for 2015-2016 academic year.
Ellen S. Pryor graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1974, from Rice University in 1978, and from the University of Texas School of Law in 1982. At the University of Texas School of Law, Professor Pryor served as Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Law Review, and received the "Am Jur" award for highest grades in the first year courses Torts, Property, Contracts, and Civil Procedure. She was also a member of the honor societies Chancellors and Order of the Coif. She received awards for outstanding student, student most likely to contribute to legal scholarship, and best student law review note. Following graduation, she served as judicial clerk for the Honorable Carl McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She then returned to her hometown of Dallas and worked for a civil litigation firm for four years. During that time, she received the Dallas Bar Association's Pro Bono Award of the Year, and the State Bar of Texas' Frank Scurlock Award for Delivery of Legal Services to the Poor.
She joined the faculty of the SMU Dedman School of Law in 1986, where she taught torts, advanced torts, insurance, and courses in professional responsibility. From Summer 2005 to Summer 2011, Professor Pryor served as an Associate Provost in the Office of the Provost, SMU. In Fall 2010 she was the D&L Straus Distinguished Visiting Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law. At SMU, she received the law school's Don Smart teaching award, the University's Rotunda teaching award, and the University's United Methodist Church Scholar-Teacher of the Year award. She was an inaugural recipient of the University's Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, and in 2005 was named a Piper Professor by the Minne Piper Foundation in the State of Texas.
Professor Pryor has recently begun work as Co-Reporter, along with Professor Kenneth Simons of Boston University School of Law, for the American Law Institute's Restatement (Third) of Torts: Intentional Harm to Persons. She has also served as Associate Reporter for Chapter 10 of the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm, and as Coordinating Reporter for the Restatement Third project.
She has been a co-author of several casebooks, and her writings in the area of torts, insurance, and compensation theory have appeared in, among other journals, the Harvard Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Journal of Legal Studies, George Washington Law Review, Maryland Law Review, Texas Law Review, Tulane Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, and the University of Chicago Press.
In 2006, she was named as the 20th annual recipient of the Robert B. MacKay Law Professor Award from the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association; the award recognizes "a commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship, and the legal profession as demonstrated by outstanding contributions to the fields of tort and insurance law."
Assistant Professor Edward T. Hart is the Assistant Dean for Law Library. He will oversee the services and collections of the Law Library, including legal research skills instruction. Before coming to UNT Dallas College of Law in August 2013, Hart was Head of Technical Services and Adjunct Professor of Law at University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Edward Hart is a native of Valdosta, Georgia, where he graduated from Valdosta State University in 1992 before going on to the New England School of Law, graduating in 1999. He earned his Master's in Library Science from Simmons College in 2002 and an LLM in European Union from Northumbria University in 2006. He started his library career while attending NESL as a student assistant and later served as the Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian (2000-2005). He then moved to the University of Florida where he started as Acquisitions Librarian (2005-2008) before his promotion to Head of Technical Services (2008-2013). While at University of Florida he also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law teaching Advanced Legal Research.
Hart is the author of the chapter “Technical Services 2.0” in Law Libraries in Digital Age. He has published several articles that have appeared in such journals as International Journal of Legal Information, Legal Information Management, and Journal of Southern Legal History.
He has been a member of the American Association of Law Libraries since 2000. He was a Fellow of the AALL's first Leadership Academy in 2007. He served as president of the Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries in 2012-13 and is currently the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Government Documents – Special Interest Section as well as Vice-Chair of the AALL Committee on Indexing of Legal Periodical Literature.
Jonathan Bridges joins the faculty of UNT Dallas College of Law as Assistant Professor of Law beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year, having recently served as a partner in the premier litigation firm of Susman Godfrey LLP. Professor Bridges will teach Property, Evidence, Legal Writing, and other subjects.
Before attending law school, Professor Bridges spent five years teaching English to high school students and also completed a master’s degree in English. He then attended Notre Dame Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Notre Dame Law Review and graduated magna cum laude.
After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Thomas M. Reavley of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During 14 years of practicing law at Susman Godfrey, Professor Bridges handled high-stakes commercial litigation, including cases involving real estate, oil and gas interests, coal mining, power plants, zoning, eminent domain, patents, copyrights, and movie theater chains.
Respected legal writing expert Brian Garner, in his book The Winning Brief (3rd ed. 2014), features a brief authored by Professor Bridges and introduces it with these comments: “How good is this brief? Let’s just say that many experienced appellate lawyers have told me they consider it to be the best they’ve ever seen: a beautiful marriage of rhetorical skill, thorough research, and humane lawyering.”
Angela Downes joins UNT Dallas College of Law as Professor of Practice and Assistant Director of Experiential Education beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year. She is a graduate of Mercer University and Texas A&M School of Law (formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law).
Professor Downes’ law career has focus on public service, policy, and legislative efforts to protect the public trust. After positions with the Collin and Dallas counties’ District Attorney’s offices, Professor Downes served as the Attorney for Court Programs at the national office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the largest nonprofit dedicated to drunk driving and impaired driving issues. She is a former Senior Attorney at the National District Attorneys Association in Alexandria, Virginia, where she focused on child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, victims’ rights, and elder abuse.
She has provided training, policy expertise and technical assistance to non-profit agencies on the interpersonal violence issues of child abuse, child protection, domestic violence, human trafficking, and elder abuse. She is a recognized subject matter expert on interpersonal violence issues.
In 2008, Professor Downes was appointed by the governor to serve on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and was re-appointed in 2013. The Board is the regulatory and licensing agency for psychologists in the state. She also served as a member of the Texas Violent Gang Taskforce from 2001-2004. Professor Downes also serves as an associate municipal judge for the City of Glenn Heights, Texas.
Ernest R. Higginbotham joined the College of Law in April 2015 on a part-time basis to serve as Mentorship Program Facilitator to help evaluate and implement the innovative Louis A. Bedford, Jr. Mentorship Program. His legal experience includes large firm private practice, corporate law department management, and extensive participation in professional organizations. He also brings over forty years’ involvement in the religious, cultural and civic life of Dallas.
A native Texan, Ernie Higginbotham attended public school in Dallas and graduated from Carthage High School in East Texas. He attended Princeton University where he graduated cum laude in History. In 1969-70, he saw combat in Vietnam and Cambodia as a Field Artillery officer and was awarded two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal for valor.
Returning home, he attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he was a member of the Texas Law Review, Order of the Coif, and graduated with honors. After law school, he served as Briefing Attorney for Texas Supreme Court Justice Ruel C. Walker. Moving to Dallas, he joined the firm of Strasburger, Price, Kelton, Martin & Unis (now Strasburger & Price, L.L.P.), where he practiced for 27 years with an emphasis on antitrust and commercial litigation. After taking early retirement as a Senior Partner, he joined Canada-based international technology company Nortel Networks as Vice President, Litigation, to develop and manage a team with global responsibility for the company’s varied litigation. To cope with serious challenges to the company’s accounting practices, he helped organize and coordinate a team of U.S. and Canadian lawyers to respond to investigations by the S.E.C., Ontario Securities Commission, F.B.I. and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as class actions in the U.S. and three Canadian provinces. Before joining the College of Law, he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Government Affairs, for UnitedLex Corporation, a global legal consulting, technology and outsourcing company, where he assisted corporate and law firm clients in managing electronic stored information (ESI) in litigation.
His participation in professional organizations includes American Law Institute (Life Member), State Bar of Texas Antitrust and Business Litigation Section (former Chairman), Texas Law Review Association (former President), Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association, Litigation Sections of both the State Bar of Texas and the American Bar Association, American Bar Foundation (Life Fellow), Texas Bar Foundation (Life Fellow), and Dallas Bar Foundation (Charter Fellow). He has been included in The Best Lawyers in America (Business Litigation) and has served as a faculty member of ALI-ABA Course of Study on Civil Practice and Litigation Techniques in Federal and State Courts and on the Board of Editors of Federal Evidence Practice Guide.
His prior community involvement has included Greater Dallas Community of Churches (President), Dallas Theater Center (Secretary and General Counsel), Dallas Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Vice-President), First Presbyterian Church of Dallas Foundation (President), Leadership Dallas (Class of 1983), Presbyterian Communities and Services (Secretary).
He is currently involved in First Presbyterian Church of Dallas (Elder, Sunday School Teacher), weekly meal service volunteer at the Second Chance Café at The Bridge homeless assistance center, lead volunteer for monthly Family Stabilization Food Program at The Stewpot, and Synod of the Sun (Assistant Stated Clerk). He currently serves on the boards of Evergreen Life Services and the Presbyterian Historical Society.
Diana K. Howard joins the UNT Dallas College of Law as a Professor of Practice in fall 2014 specializing in the area of writing and writing resources. She will work individually with students, provide writing resources, and coordinate with other faculty in design and implementation of the writing components of the curriculum.
Professor Howard graduated from Rice University and the University of Texas Law School. She practiced law for ten years with firms in Dallas, New York, and Houston. She then received a master’s in English from SMU, serving as a Teaching Assistant, Teaching Fellow, and then Adjunct Lecturer in English and Rhetoric at SMU.Starting in 2006, she joined the SMU English faculty as a Lecturer in English and Rhetoric, teaching freshman English and Rhetoric and also directing a student honors program known as the Hilltop Scholars. She received SMU’s 2010 Rotunda Outstanding Professor Teaching Award. Professor Howard also has taught English at the Dallas County Community College.
Michael P. Maslanka joins the faculty of UNT Dallas College of Law as Assistant Professor of Law effective with the 2015-2016 academic year. Professor Maslanka will teach Contract Law, Employment Law, and other courses.
Professor Maslanka is widely regarded as one of the top employment and human resources lawyers in Texas. After earning his J.D. from Tulane Law School with honors, Professor Maslanka served as a trial attorney for the National Labor Relations Board; his legal career in Dallas includes being an associate and partner with Clark, West, Keller, Butler and Ellis; serving as partner and head of Labor and Employment group at Godwin Gruber; and serving as managing partner of the Dallas office of a national employment law firm, Constangy, Brooks, and Smith.
Professor Maslanka is a prolific writer and speaker on employment law, and also on topics relating to professionalism, ethical decision-making, and law practice. Among his regular writings are: Work Matters, a monthly column in the Texas Lawyer on professionalism, and on employment law; The Literate Lawyer, a quarterly column in the Texas Lawyer on how literature makes us better lawyers and better human beings; and the Texas Employment Law Newsletter, a monthly newsletter. He is also the author of Human Resources Forms with Commentary (Warren, Gorham & Lamont 1998); Maslanka’s Field Guide to the FMLA (4th ed. 2015); Maslanka’s Field Guide to the ADA (2012); and Maslanka’s Field Guide to the Texas Labor Code (2012), among other books.
He developed “The Adaptable Lawyer” in conjunction with the Texas Bar CLE annual program at the Texas Bar Convention; the program is designed to help solo and small firm lawyers adapt to the changing practice of law. His extensive teaching in continuing legal education has addressed employment law, as well as topics of effective client communications, dealing with professional challenges such as dysfunctional counsel, and professionalism.
Brian L. Owsley joins the faculty of UNT Dallas College of Law as Assistant Professor of Law. Professor Owsley will teach Torts, Constitutional Law, and other courses beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Professor Owsley received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He served as Executive Editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. He also received a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.
After law school, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Janis Graham Jack, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas; served as Leonard H. Sadler Fellow for Human Rights Watch in New York City; and clerked for the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. After his appellate court clerkship, he practiced with the Southern Poverty Law Center as a legal fellow in Montgomery, Alabama; the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C.; and with a private law firm in Washington, D.C., which now has merged with the international firm of Troutman, Sanders.
After private practice, Professor Owsley returned to government practice, working as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Following this period, he was appointed as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas, where he served from 2005 until 2013. With this extensive and varied practice and judicial experience, he entered law teaching in 2013. He has taught at Texas Tech and Indiana Tech Law Schools.
Assistant Professor Thomas P. Perkins, Jr., joined the inaugural faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law after eight years of service as the Dallas City Attorney. Professor Perkins will teach in the areas of legislation, civil procedure, negotiation, and problem-solving.
Perkins obtained his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from Loyola University School of Law. He started his legal career with the Federal Trade Commission, and then moved into private practice, engaging in public finance law, commercial and insurance litigation, and trial and appellate work.
In 1992, Perkins was appointed Division Chief of the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas. As Division Chief for five years, he had primary responsibility for enforcement of the State’s consumer protection and antitrust laws; this also entailed supervision of staff attorneys in regional offices across the State of Texas.
Following his work with the Attorney General, Perkins returned to private practice before being named as First Assistant City Attorney and Chief of Litigation for the Dallas City Attorney. In 2005, the City Council appointed him as Dallas City Attorney.
In his position as Dallas City Attorney, Perkins was the chief legal officer for the City, and supervised approximately 100 attorneys in the Litigation Division and the General Counsel Division. His responsibilities included advising the City Council, council members, and all city departments. In overseeing the work of the Litigation Division, his responsibilities included litigation relating to employment, personal injury, zoning, environmental, and class actions. The General Counsel division, which he also oversaw, advised all city departments (including boards and commissions) and drafted all procurement contracts, ordinances, and opinions. As City Attorney, Perkins also managed outside counsel and the City’s risk fund, and managed all Municipal Court prosecutions, including the Office’s nationally recognized Community Prosecution team and Community Courts.
In 2010, the Dallas Business Journal named him as the “Best Corporate Counsel” with a staff of 11 or more.
Perkins’ service to the legal and civic community includes serving as Council Member of the State Bar of Texas’ Antitrust and Business Litigation Section, membership on the Court Advisory Committee for the Northern District of Texas, and membership on the Boards of Texas Appleseed, C.C. Young Retirement Center, and St. Mark’s School of Texas.
Assistant Professor Eric Porterfield joins the inaugural faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law in June 2014, after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he taught Legal Writing and advanced classes in the areas of Civil Procedure and Evidence. Professor Porterfield will teach Civil Procedure, including advanced procedural courses, as well as Legal Writing.
In 2001, Professor Porterfield earned his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin with highest honors with a double major of Government and German, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the National Golden Key Honor Society. In 2004, Professor Porterfield graduated as the Valedictorian of his law school class at Baylor Law School, earning his J.D. degree summa cum laude. He earned the highest score in the class in many of his first year classes, including Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Torts. He also served as Senior Executive Editor of the Baylor Law Review, making initial publication decisions, and as Managing Editor of the 2004 edition of Texas Practice, Baylor’s inaugural special issue focusing on Texas evidence and procedure.
Also while at Baylor, Professor Porterfield competed successfully in several advocacy competitions. His team won the inaugural 2003 National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Tournament and he was named the Best Oral Advocate of the competition as his team went undefeated to claim the championship. His team also claimed the Regional Championship of the 2004 Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now AAJ) Mock Trial Competition, beating another Baylor team in the finals, and was a National semi-finalist, placing third on points overall. His brief was also named Third Best Brief of the 2002 New York Bar Association Moot Court Tournament.
After graduating from Baylor, Professor Porterfield served as a law clerk to the Honorable David C. Godbey, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. While a law clerk to Judge Godbey, Professor Porterfield was an assistant coach of Baylor’s National Championship Mock Trial Team in the 2005 ATLA Competition. The Texas House of Representatives issued a congratulatory Resolution describing the school’s success in the 2003, 2004, and 2005 competitions. See Texas House Resolution 2058 (May 26, 2005).
Professor Porterfield then joined Carrington Coleman, a large Dallas law firm. He defended a variety of medical and legal professionals in malpractice and administrative licensure actions, health care institutions in a variety of matters, and corporations in multi-national disputes, helping to resolve a global dispute in London involving parties from three continents. While at Carrington Coleman, he was active in pro bono work for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, helping victims of domestic violence and exploited consumers. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Dallas Wind Symphony from 2006-2009.
In 2009, Professor Porterfield joined Lee Brown at the Brown Law Firm in Dallas – a firm specializing in complex automotive product defect cases. He represented catastrophically injured consumers in these complex cases against car manufacturers and automotive component suppliers from around the world. Professor Porterfield has tried several multi-week product liability cases and has litigated these cases in courts all across the country – including Hawaii – at all stages, from pretrial through trial and appeals, including briefing to the Courts of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.
In 2012, Professor Porterfield left the Brown Law Firm to pursue an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he researched and specialized in international civil litigation and published his first article with the Temple Law Review, entitled “Too Much Process, Not Enough Service: International Service of Process Under the Hague Service Convention,” a critique of the treaty governing international service of process, including suggestions for reform. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013 and his LL.M. Thesis, which earned Honors marks, focuses on reforming personal jurisdiction and judgment enforcement rules, including a critique of the Hague Judgments Convention. He continues to research and write in the areas of Civil Procedure and Evidence.
Melissa Bezanson Shultz joins the faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law as Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Legal Writing effective with the 2015-2016 academic year. In late 2014, she relocated to Dallas, Texas, where she served as Director of Conflicts and Information Services with the firm of Gardere Wynne & Sewell. She served as Adjunct Professor at College of Law in Spring 2015.
Following graduation from law school, Shultz joined the global firm of King & Spalding LLP, in Washington, D.C. At King & Spalding, she focused her practice on business litigation and civil and criminal antitrust law. She managed complex cases, drafted dispositive motions and appellate briefs, prepared corporate clients for trial, and represented an inmate on death row. In addition, she represented corporate and individual clients before the grand jury and conducted civil and criminal antitrust and SEC investigations. Late in 2006, Professor Shultz left King & Spalding and co-founded ReLegal Group LLC. She relocated to Dallas in late 2014.
Shultz attended the University of Texas School of Law, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Texas International Law Journal and received the Vinson & Elkins’ Scholarship for Excellence in International Law. Before law school, Professor Shultz graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in English and a concentration in Global Development Studies in 1998. After graduation, she worked for the Japanese government as an English teacher in the Tokushima prefecture of Japan.
Christine M. Tamer joins the faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law as Professor of Practice and Assistant Director of Legal Writing effective with the 2015-2016 academic year. After clerking for firms including Fulbright & Jaworski, Haynes & Boone, and Susman Godfrey, she joined the firm of Baron & Budd with a focus on appellate law and motion practice. She served as Adjunct Professor at College of Law in Spring 2015.
Tamer has successfully authored numerous appellate briefs in courts across the country as well as two successful Motions for Rehearing in front of the Texas Supreme Court. She recently represented a family in a jury trial resulting a $48 million verdict that was included in the Top 100 Verdicts for 2012. She has published two law review articles: “Arab Americans, Affirmative Action and a Quest for Racial Identity,” 16 Tex. J. on C.L. & C.R. 101 (2010) and “Toddlers, Tiaras and Pedophilia: The Borderline Child Pornography Embraced by the American Public,” 13 Tex. Rev. Ent. & Sports L. 85 (2012). She is licensed in Texas and California.
Tamer graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2011, receiving her degree with highest honors. She served as an Associate Editor on the Texas Law Review, and graduated as a member of Order of the Coif and Chancellors. She also served for several years as a “Teaching Quizmaster” in the law school’s first year legal writing and research program. She received Dean’s academic achievement awards in Brief Writing and Oral Advocacy, and in Legal Research and Writing. She was honored by the Texas Supreme Court for receiving one of the top three scores on the Texas Bar exam.
“Rey” Valencia joins the UNT Dallas College of Law as Visiting Professor of Law and Interim Associate Dean of Operations as of July 2015. Professor Valencia will teach Business Associations in the 2015-2016 academic year.
He previously served as Associate Dean for Administration and Finance, and held the Ernest W. Clemens Professorship for Corporate and Securities Law at the St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. He was the founding director of the Center for Latina/Latino Legal Studies at St. Mary’s.
Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle, Professor Valencia is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. Following law school, he practiced law with Jones, Day in Dallas for 5 years, in the areas of commercial litigation and corporate bankruptcy.
He joined the St. Mary’s law faculty in 1995. He was appointed by President Clinton as one of 16 White House Fellows for 1999-2000, and worked in the White House Office of Chief of Staff, focusing primarily on race, civil rights, immigration, and Hispanic education issues. He is the lead author of Mexican Americans and the Law: ¡El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido!
Valencia has received the 2012 Equality Texas Becky Cross Anchor Award in recognition of work with and support of LBGTQ students; the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Award from St. Mary’s Law School; and the Outstanding Legal Achievement Award (2003 and 2006) from the Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio. He has served, by appointment, on: the Supreme Court of Texas Task Force for Gender Fairness; several committees of the Law School Admission Council; and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity.
Professor Cheryl B. Wattley joins the inaugural faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, where she served on the faculty from 2006 through 2013, and was Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Education. At UNT Dallas College of Law, Professor Wattley will teach Criminal Law in the first-year curriculum; she will also be the Director of Experiential Education and teach courses in professional skills, criminal law, and professionalism. Professor Wattley is the author of a new book, "A Step Toward Brown v. Board of Education: Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher and Her Fight to End Segregation," published in October 2014, and winner of the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award, Non-Fiction category.
Professor Wattley graduated from Smith College, cum laude, with high honors in Sociology. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Boston University College of Law, where she was a Martin Luther King, Jr. fellow and recipient of the Community Service Award. She also served as a summer intern for the General Counsel's Office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Professor Wattley began her legal career as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Connecticut representing the United States in civil litigation. Through her actions, the United States participated as litigating amicus curiae in Connecticut ARC v. Thorne, the lawsuit that led to the entry of a consent decree overhauling the system for serving persons with mental retardation in Connecticut.
She later transferred to the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas, located in Dallas, where she focused on the prosecution of white collar crime and served as Chief of the Economic Crime Unit. During her service as a prosecutor, she received two Department of Justice Special Achievement Awards, the United States Postal Inspection Service National Award, and commendations from the Department of Treasury, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Customs Department.
Professor Wattley then went into private litigation practice, where her work included white-collar criminal defense, civil rights litigation, federal and state criminal defense, and post-conviction proceedings. After joining the OU College of Law faculty in 2007, Professor Wattley continued to represent clients on a pro bono basis, primarily involving post-conviction relief.
Professor Wattley continues to work with Centurion Ministries, a non-profit organization based in Princeton, New Jersey, devoted to the vindication and liberation of persons wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Through Centurion, she served as one of the attorneys for Kerry Max Cook, a former Texas death row inmate. In 2009, Professor Wattley represented Richard Miles in his release from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Professor Wattley has served on a variety of civic and professional boards and committees, including the State Bar of Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals; District 6 Grievance Committee; Dallas Bar Foundation; and the Board of Regents for Texas Woman's University. She was appointed to serve on "Dallas Together," a mayoral committee appointed to address racial issues within the City of Dallas, and also was appointed Vice Chairperson for the 1990 and 2000 City of Dallas Redistricting Commissions. She has been an instructor for National Institute of Trial Advocacy programs.
Professor Wattley received the Dallas Bar Association’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in 1994. She is also the recipient of the DaVinci Institute Fellow Award for Innovative Teaching (2013), the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award (2012), the Association of Black Lawyers’ Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Award (2012), and the University of Oklahoma Regents’ Award for Superior Professional and University Service and Public Outreach (2011).
A native of Ohio, Wondracek chose to pursue her undergraduate studies in the warmer climate of Charleston, SC. Wondracek graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.S. in Business Administration, a B.A. in Political Science, and a minor in Economics in 2000. In 2003, Wondracek earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Licensed to practice law in North Carolina in NC, Wondracek went on to become a Staff Attorney at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services in Raleigh, NC. Family obligations changed Wondracek’s career path, and in 2006 she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with her Masters of Library and Information Science. Wondracek also obtained her Florida bar license in 2006. She has since worked as a law librarian and legal research instructor for Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Elon University School of Law, and University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Wondracek is the co-author of a forthcoming book chapter “Librarians & MOOCs” in Creating the 21st Century Academic Library published by Scarecrow Press (November 2014) and author of journal article “The E-FAC – One Year Later” in the January, 2015 issue of the Florida Bar Journal. Wondracek has also published in several newsletters and was a blogger and Editor for the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.
Wondracek has been a member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) since 2005. She has served on the AALL Copyright Committee, as Secretary/Treasurer of the Government Document Special Interest Section, and as current Chair of the Research, Instruction, and Patron Services Special Interest Section. In July 2014, Wondracek coordinated the first AALL Hackathon at the Annual Meeting. In addition to AALL, Wondracek is a member of the Southeastern Association of Law Libraries, American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, Florida Bar Association, and Dallas Association of Law Librarians.
Jessica Haseltine is the Law Librarian – Reference at UNT Dallas College of Law, and she will be lead librarian for services for the evening division. Haseltine joins the COL from Texas Tech University School of Law where she served as the Reference Assistant. Beside references services, she is drafting the library’s research guides and will provide assistance with Canvas, among other services. She will also teach Legal Research during Spring Semester to the part-time evening division.
Haseltine earned her B.S. From Abilene Christian University in Composite Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing in physics, math, and English, and her Master of Science in Environmental Management from Hardin-Simmons University. While pursuing her J.D. at Texas Tech University School of Law, Haseltine was an editor for the Journal of Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Biodefense, and was active in student organizations and Texas Tech's advocacy program. She served as Vice Chair of Administration for the Board of Barristers and was selected for induction into the Order of the Barristers.
Prior to attending law school, Haseltine worked in the software industry, and she is currently a registered patent agent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While working at Texas Tech, she coached traveling negotiations teams and developed an international negotiations program. She served as faculty advisor for the Eloquent Raiders Toastmasters Club and was part of the core planning committee for TEDxTexasTechUniversity, a TED event independently organized by the Texas Tech Community. In the library, Haseltine coordinated programming for National Library Week and reimagined Texas Tech's online research guides, in addition to providing individual reference assistance to faculty, staff, and students.
Haseltine is currently pursuing her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Science. At the 2014 American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting and Conference, she presented a poster on creating graphical aids to help visual learners understand legal resources. She is also working with AALL Spectrum, the national organization magazine, for the publication of an article discussing how to teach Legal research to the Millennial generation.
This page will provide additional information about the founding faculty of the UNT Dallas College of Law as appointments are completed and made public.
Page last modified on September 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm.