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I'm in the "Spotlight" . . . of the AHA

I'm honored to be featured in the "Spotlight" of the American Historical Association . . . .
Recent posts

“Trust me, I’m a Historian” — Part 1

My brother just gave me the t-shirt in the attached photo, and it reminded me that one of the goals of my blog is to explore "Why history? and perhaps more specifically "Why legal history?"

I want to start broadly and simply, with the first question. . . . then I will proceed to get more "granular."

So, to begin, history--its research and its writing and the reading of it--is of fundamental importance, more and more, because the discipline requires its practitioners to footnote their work.

A book or an article by a historian is generally trustworthy, or at least highly worthy of respect and consideration, because in its footnotes (in articles) and endnotes (in books) the author cites the evidence relied upon for the statements made in the writing.

That is not to say that footnoting makes a text ipso facto reliable; but it is a huge step in that direction, the mere act of providing the author's sources.

The point for the moment is: the reasonably literate or…

Fraudulent transfer law . . . alive and well after five centuries

Several years ago, I published this article titled "The fraudulent-transfer risk in asset acquisitions and investments with financially distressed parties in the United States": This law has deep historical roots. As I said in this article:

"The law traces its origin to theStatute of 13 Elizabeth in the sixteenth century. Today the law exists in two forms in the US: as the fraudulent transfer provisions of the federal Bankruptcy Code and as fraudulent transfer statutes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. In the states, the law is reasonably uniform. In 1918, the National Commission on Uniform State Laws (NCUSL) promulgated the model Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act (UFCA). In 1978, Congress enacted the federal Bankruptcy Code, whose provisions include section 548, a self-contained fraudulent transfer statute, and section 544, which incorporates by reference any pertinent state fraudulent …

My newest article: "The Number NINE"....

I'm happy to announce the publication of a short legal-historical article that I entitled "The Number Nine: Why the Texas Supreme Court Has the Same Number of Justices As the United States Supreme Court."

     In the article I compare the Texas Supreme Court (the "SCOTX") and the U.S. Supreme Court (the "SCOTUS") and then ask the question reflected in the title, as follows:

     "A comparison of the two courts shows that the number of nine seatsis one of the fundamental ways in which the two courts are alike. The other two similarities are that each is created in organic law—the constitution—of the respective government—federal or state—of which each is a componentand that each is the court of last resort, or apex, of the judicial branch of its respective government and accompanying legal system.     Profound differences also obtain, of course. The SCOTUS is staffed by justices appointed by the President, and those justices enjoy lifetime tenure an…

The Legal History Discussion Group of the Dallas Bar Association

During the 39 years I practiced law, I continued to nurse along my own historical projects, mainly in the area of legal history; and I thought "There must be other lawyers in Dallas like me, practitioners who have maintained a keen interest in history and who have their own projects." Then ,eleven years ago, the redoubtable Peter Vogel (the first computer lawyer in Texas and a former President of the Dallas Bar Ass'n) suggested that I just create and announce my own group, informally but under the capacious umbrella of the Dallas Bar, and see who shows up. So I did, calling the ad hoc group the "DBA Legal History Discussion Group." I made the first presentation in October 2007, with a small handful of historically minded lawyers in attendance.

And then it took off. Over the past eleven years, I've organized 61 legal history presentations, almost even divided between academics, both historians and law professors, and Dallas lawyers who have a book or an arti…

Historical scholarship today, in print and electronic: my work on Hatton Sumners

I have been working on the subject of Hatton W. Sumners, who was a Congressman from Dallas for almost four decades of the first half of the 20th century, including archival work in his papers at the Dallas Historical Society and in the National Archives, for about half a dozen years. Last year ago I published a short piece about Sumners' role in the resolution of the 1937 court-packing crisis in NOT EVEN PAST, the blog of the History Department of the University of Texas at Austin. My article is here:

NOT EVEN PAST ( is a pioneering, award-winning blog that significantly connects UT Austin's History Department to the world. It features cutting-edge research, interviews, and thought-provoking essays and short articles (and podcasts) that demonstrate the broad ambit of historical research, writing, and teaching today.

I discovered recently that my online piece has cros…