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University of Tulsa

TU law students find injustice with Tulsa eviction cases

A study conducted by a group of students from The University of Tulsa College of Law’s Terry West Civil Legal Clinic shows Tulsans living in economic disparity face a legal system weighted against them, with only two out of 1,395 tenants prevailing in eviction proceedings in January. Tulsa has one of the top eviction rates in the country. The ease of eviction filings combined with barriers to justice for tenants has contributed to the growing problem. “Demand on the eviction docket makes it impossible to meet the competing pressures of fairness and efficiency,” said Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Roni Amit.

In 2019, landlords initiated 14,315 evictions against residential tenants in Tulsa County. As of March 12, eviction filings in 2020 had reached roughly 2,936, more than 1,000 per month before the court shut down on March 16. The COVID-19 crisis has brought little relief to the city or state’s housing issues. While eviction proceedings were put on hold, eviction filings were not, resulting in 2,680 eviction filings between March 16 and May 22, with 976 of those in Tulsa County. As the courts reopen, this situation stands to exacerbate existing problems in the eviction process, raising the prospect of increased evictions. The access to justice barriers identified in the report have been heightened as a result of the social distancing measures put in place by the court.

Eviction proceedings resumed on June 1 — at a time of increased individual and public health implications when identifying the justice barriers that contribute to evictions is essential. Students from the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic observed the Tulsa County eviction docket multiple times for a roughly two-month period from January through March 13, 2020, the last day that the court was open. Their report includes a data analysis of the eviction docket for the month of January, identifying trends and additional areas of concern. The report highlights that most cases are resolved through hallway negotiations in which tenants may be unaware of their rights and confused about the procedures in which they often are negotiating with a landlord’s attorney — a role they may not fully understand as representing the other side.

Read the full report or contact TU Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Roni Amit with the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic for more information.

Three faculty named Outstanding Researchers for 2020

The University of Tulsa is honored to announce the recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Researcher Award – a lifetime distinction, received only once in an individual’s career. It is intended to honor achievements that have been validated in the scholar’s professional field.

The 2020 recipients are:
outstanding researchersJoanne Davis, Professor of Psychology: Professor Davis’ research is broadly concerned with trauma and its consequences. Particular focus of this work is on the development of sleep disorders following traumatic events and the exploration of the effects of interpersonal violence. Notably, Joanne translates her research to make the findings useable for the broad, nonacademic community, providing seminars for organizations such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and NGOs in Tulsa including Family and Children’s Services and Domestic Violence Intervention Services.

outstanding researchersRobert Spoo, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law: Professor Spoo conducts his interdisciplinary work at the intersection of copyright law, theories of the public domain, informal norms, publishing, modern authorship, and law and literature. Robert combines these distinct disciplines in scholarship that is grounded in literary and legal history and nourished by his diverse roles as a literature professor, law professor, attorney, and journal editor.

outstanding researchersSean Latham, Professor of English: Professor Latham’s scholarly activities focus on modern literature and culture and have drawn inspiration from the likes of James Joyce and Bob Dylan. His work intertwines with a broad interest in the cultural context of modernist aesthetics and the meanings and uses of formal innovation in 20th century literature. Since 2001, Sean has been the editor of The James Joyce Quarterly, the pre-eminent journal of Joycean studies in the world, and he also serves as the director of the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities.

Candidates for the Outstanding Researcher Awards were nominated by deans from Kendall College of Arts & Sciences, Collins College of Business, Oxley College of Health Sciences, the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences and the College of Law. Nominees were selected for their recognition of outstanding research and scholarly achievements. Other considerations included pedagogical awards, honors from scholarly societies, grants, publication citation counts or other forms of public recognition. External recognition of a faculty member’s work also factored into the selection process.

Spoo honored with Outstanding Researcher Award

The University of Tulsa has selected Robert Spoo, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law, for the 2020 Outstanding Researcher Award. The accolade is a lifetime distinction, received only once in an individual’s career. It is intended to honor career-spanning achievements that have been validated in the scholar’s professional field.

spooSpoo’s interdisciplinary research focuses on authorship, copyrights and the public domain. He is a fellow in the 2020-21 Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University and will explore the courtesy norms that 19th century American publishers established to fill the U.S. copyright vacuum for foreign authors’ works.

His other prestigious awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016 from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Spoo joined the TU College of Law in 2008 after clerking for now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (then a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) and practicing law with major firms in New York, Tulsa and San Francisco. Prior to his legal career, he was a tenured English professor and editor of the James Joyce Quarterly at TU.

“Bob is not only a wonderful colleague but also an outstanding scholar, teacher, mentor and researcher,” said Lyn Entzeroth, dean of the TU College of Law. “We are proud of how his extensive research and writing has advanced the fields of law and literature.”

Candidates for the Outstanding Researcher awards were nominated by deans from the Kendall College of Arts and SciencesCollege of Engineering and Natural SciencesCollins College of Business and the Oxley College of Health Sciences. Nominees were selected for their recognition of outstanding research and scholarship achievements based on a single project or a cumulative contribution. Other considerations included pedagogical awards, honors from scholarly societies, grants, publication citation counts or other forms of public recognition.

Outstanding Teachers selected for devotion to students and mentoring

Collins Professor of Computer Information Systems Lori Leonard, Stanley Rutland Professor of American History Andrew Wood and Associate Professor of Law Matt Lamkin are TU’s Outstanding Teachers for 2020. Their devotion to teaching and mentoring molds the character and work ethic of students, preparing them for successful careers and lives.

The university inaugurated the Distinguished Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1980. Honorees may receive the award once in a lifetime, and only three awards are given annually. The award is especially meaningful because it must be initiated by a student’s nomination, and the winners are selected by colleagues who serve on the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate. Each honoree receives a medal and a stipend.

Matt Lamkin

outstanding teachersSince joining the College of Law faculty in 2013, Lamkin has earned the praise and admiration of his students. He has been recognized by students for his outstanding teaching every semester he has taught in the TU College of Law, translating to many awards. In his first two years at TU and again in 2018-2019, students voted to recognize Lamkin with the College of Law Outstanding First Year Professor Award. In 2015-16, he was honored as the Outstanding Upper-Class Professor.

Lamkin’s teaching philosophy is “driven by a desire to teach his students critical skills that will endure beyond their recollection of any particular law school subject matter.” He achieves this by teaching analysis and argument and helping students engage with the course materials in effective ways.

Student Comments:

  • “Helped me with my writing ability and had a continuing conversation about my paper and what I needed to do to write a paper effectively.”
  • “Professor Lamkin always made himself available for us to meet with him and was always very helpful and provided bonus sessions, which were a huge help to preparing for the exam. I also enjoyed the ‘life lesson’ talks he would give on occasion; they were an encouragement to me.”
  • “This has been my favorite class so far. I really like it that Lamkin takes his time to explain the different concepts. It’s useful when we move on to the next topic and they correlate.”

Lori Leonard

outstanding teachersWith over 25 years of teaching experience, Leonard has called TU home for the past 21 years. Beyond the lives she’s impacted along the way, she has even more to show for her time as a professor. In total, she’s collected 15 teacher awards, one Mayo Teaching Excellence Award from the Collins College of Business, two Most Valuable Professor awards and one mention as an Exceptional Mentor.

Course evaluations and student comments reinforce the care and concern that Leonard gives her students to ensure they thrive as professionals. She advises approximately 15 students every semester for enrollment while also mentoring many in the computer information systems major. Many TU students are on campus, at least partially, because of Leonard. Until she became associate dean of the Graduate School, she was heavily involved in meeting with prospective undergraduates. Now she continues to meet with prospective graduate students.

Student Comments:

  • “I absolutely would not be where I am today without your impactful mentorship and considerate advice.”
  • “Thank you for being such an influential person, not only in my life, but in the lives of so many others! The thoughtfulness and care you exude for your students does not go unnoticed!
  • “I still am grateful you fit me (a junior…who was having a mid-life crisis at 21) into your schedule to talk about what CIS was.”

Andrew Wood

outstanding teachersWith a TU tenure of over 20 years, Wood is dedicated to the instruction of diverse material. He largely teaches general education block courses with international and cross-cultural influences that provide a well-rounded, college-level liberal arts education. As a passionate, committed and experienced professor, Wood deploys a variety of pedagogical techniques including dynamic lecture mixed with Socratic Method, humor, music, film, discussion groups, class presentations, posters, field research and various online web interventions/engagements.

In the classroom, Wood focuses on fostering fundamental critical thinking skills, a curiosity about the world and an active concern for basic democratic values. In course evaluation comments, students frequently commend Wood’s subject knowledge, engaging presentation style and sense of humor, as well as his clear and supportive explanations and assignment feedback.

Student Comments:

  • “In my three years at The University of Tulsa, I have yet to encounter a more dedicated, hard-working or caring professor as Dr. Wood.”
  • “I have constantly been impressed by his dedication to making history come alive in the classroom and impressing on his students the importance of studying the history of those who have been oppressed and forgotten in history.”
  • “Very knowledgeable and his investment in the class motivated the students to want to learn.”


TU Law named among the Princeton Review’s Best Law Schools for 2019

TU Law named among the Princeton Review’s Best Law Schools for 2019

The University of Tulsa College of Law is one of 165 outstanding law schools featured in the Princeton Review’s list of Best Law Schools 2019. TU was selected based on data collected from the surveys of more than 17,000 students and administrators at law schools nationwide. See the complete list.

best law schoolsThe 2019 release of best schools focuses on academics, student life, admissions information, career prospects, graduate employment data and campus diversity. The complete list of 165 schools is not ranked, but 12 ranking lists are reported among the cohort, naming the top 10 schools in a specific category. Schools are scored from 60 to 99 in five rating categories. TU College of Law scored 87 or above in the five rating areas of academic experience, interesting professors, accessibility of professors, admissions selectivity and career. Learn more about the methodology.

In addition to the College of Law, TU is featured in several other Princeton Review lists including the 2018 edition of Guide to 399 Green Colleges, 2019 College Guide Best 384 Colleges.

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company that helps millions of college and graduate school prospects achieve their education and career goals.