Five minutes of fame: law professor thankful to UH for Mexican-U.S. relations
Training generations of lawyers and with a combined teaching service of more than 150 years, five faculty members of the Law Center who will soon be retiring, was recognized on Thursday for their service and accomplishments during their time here. Professor Stephen Zamora will be one of those five professors to be recognized for his successes and achievements.
Zamora, joined the Law Center faculty in 1978, and served as the Law Center’s Dean from 1995 to 2000. Zamora also directs the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law which is the first research center in any U.S. law school devoted to the independent, critical study of Mexican law and legal aspects of U.S. – Mexico relations. He also serves as Director of the North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE) which is comprised of 13 participating law schools in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The general purpose of NACLE is to promote and share understanding of the legal systems within North American countries.
Although Zamora will be retiring from teaching in January 2015, he will continue to direct the Center for US and Mexican Law at the UH Law Center, and will direct the North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE) as well as work with the Law Center’s Global Law Alumni Network, which he helped create.
Professor Zamora spoke to The Cougar about his accomplishments and experience with the Law Center.
The Cougar: What was your reaction when you were first notified that you would be one of the five faculty members honored and celebrated for your lifetime of service?
Stephen Zamora: Retirement doesn’t come upon one quickly, I found out through email and what I appreciate is was that we can be recognized together, because I have been colleagues with the fellow professors who will also be recognized at the event for such a long time.
TC: Is there anyone in particular that has helped you along the way that you hope to give thanks to?
SZ: I have always been thankful for the support I have received from the deans of the law school for the projects I did, and when I was dean for five years I found it really rewarding to help colleagues with the projects they were working on. Also, I am very thankful for all the support from my wife.
TC: You were once a Dean of the Law center, how has that experience affected your career?
SZ: It was a tremendous honor and opportunity to serve as dean of the law center. When you move into the Deans office, you are able to learn about every different aspect of the law school. You are in close contact with the alumni, you are involved in many programs, and you get to know all of the staff. It made me appreciate what an incredible institution UH is. Overall, it was a very powerful experience for me and made me see how hard people work.
TC: You direct the Center of U.S. and Mexican Law. How long have you been the director for and how his this position affected your overall experience at the law school?
SZ: In 1978, the dean of the Law Center at that time asked me to direct the summer program in Mexico, where law students were able to travel to Mexico to learn about Mexican law from Mexican law professors. For the next 15 years, I went to Mexico and started teaching law. Gradually I started to research about Mexican law, and started to write more about U.S. – Mexican Relations; and because of that a few years ago, I decided we should institutionalize that and founded the first center of and Mexican law in U.S. I have to be thankful to UH for introducing me to Mexico and U.S – Mexican relations.
TC: What characteristic of yours do you think has been critical to your success?
SZ: The most important characteristic that has been helpful for me in my accomplishments has been persistence. Overtime if you keep working at something and keep applying your skills, you can accomplish amazing things.