Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What's in a name?

The other day I received a letter from something called the Houston College of Law. The letter stated that Houston College of Law was the new name for South Texas College of Law (the law school I attended). The letter also contained the usual gibberish about strategic plans, mission statements and the like.

Apparently someone along the line decided that the name of the school needed to be changed. Never mind that South Texas has a sterling reputation when it comes to advocacy competitions. Gerald Treece has put together one of the best advocacy programs in the entire country.

But someone with a market research firm decided that didn't matter. And, to top it off, that firm decided that the scales of justice should be white against a red background. Hmmm. Doesn't that color scheme sound familiar?

So we are supposed to forget about 96 years of history and pretend that a law school is just as much a commodity as soda, shoes, cars and phones. Not that law schools are paragons of virtue as they have marketed their schools without a thought to what fate awaits their graduates. Apparently that federally guaranteed student loan money is just too much to ignore.

However, as Lee Corso would say "Wait just a minute!"

On Monday the Board of Regents for the University of Houston filed suit in federal court against South Texas College of Law arguing that the name and color change is a trademark infringement and designed to confuse the public and seeking an injunction to prevent the name change.

I hope UH is successful with its suit. I hope that South Texas has to crawl back downtown with its tail between its legs. Allowing a marketing firm to dictate the name of a school is beyond ridiculous and every member of the board of South Texas the participated in this process and that voted to make the name change violated their fiduciary responsibility to the students, faculty and donors. This exercise in stupidity will result in untold legal fees and expenses that would have been much better used to enhance the education of the law school's students.

The President and Dean of the law school, Donald J. Guter, should do what Roy Hodgson did after England lost to Iceland yesterday - resign.

I should probably go down and buy as much gear as I can with the new name on it because once the court rules against South Texas, all that merchandise could beome collectible - or at least be a conversation starter.

See also:

"University of Houston Law Center files suit against unranked law school," Above the Law (6/27/16)

"UH files suit over Houston law school name change" Houston Chronicle (6/27/16)

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