National Juvenile Justice Advocates to Converge on UH Law Center for Professional Development Training

Law Center Hosting Zealous Advocacy Conference May 16 - 17

Juvenile rights, education and national juvenile defense standards will be the focus of the 12th Annual Zealous Advocacy Conference to be held May 16-17 at the University of Houston Law Center. Co-sponsored by the Center for Children, Law & Policy and the Southwest Juvenile Defender Center, the two-day seminar is the premier training for juvenile public defense attorneys practicing in the Southwestern United States.

“This is the only conference in Texas that is specifically designed to help attorneys who defend children in delinquency court,” said Ellen Marrus, co-director of the Center for Children, Law & Policy and the George Butler Research Professor of Law at the UH Law Center. “It gives defenders from various states an opportunity to come together and exchange ideas. We try to make sure our presentations are on the cutting edge.”

This year, the conference opens with keynote speaker David Domenici discussing alternative education in juvenile facilities. Domenici is the co-founder of the Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools, a network of alternative schools in the District of Columbia, and a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress. He is also the director of the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings. He is credited with taking one of the country’s worst schools for incarcerated youth and transforming it into a national model.

Juvenile justice attorney Francis Guzman will lead day two of the conference. Guzman was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 15 years in the California Youth Authority at the age of 15. After serving six years of his sentence, he was released on parole and began pursuing a career in law. He won a coveted Soros Justice Fellowship, a two-year grant that will fund his work at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland to study alternatives to placing youths who are first-time offenders of serious crimes in adult prisons.

Later in the day, Houston Mayor Annise Parker will discuss what effects economic growth educational opportunities have on young people. Parker has held the city’s highest elected office since 2010. Prior to this, she served six years as a City Council member and six years as city controller. She is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary’s Advisory Council.

Other presenters include:

  • Professor David Dow, University of Houston Law Center
  • Hon. Angela Ellis, associate judge of the 315th District Juvenile Court of Texas
  • Professor Sally Terry Green, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Hon. Patrick J. Garza, associate judge of the 386th District Juvenile Court of Texas
  • Professor Michael Lindsey, Southern Methodist University
  • Professor Ellen Marrus, University of Houston Law Center
  • Chris Phillis, director of the Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate
  • Miriam Riskind, Isenberg & Riskind
  • Hon. Michael Schneider, presiding judge of the 315th District Juvenile Court of Texas
  • Professor Joseph Tulman, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
  • National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) Training Team

Attorneys in attendance will be awarded 13.75 hours of continuing legal education credit including 4.25 hours of ethics. Early registration is now open for $80. After April 26, registration will be $200. Visit for more information and to register.

For more information: Media Contacts: Carrie Criado, UH Law Center Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, 713-743-2184,; or John T. Kling, UH Law Center Communications Manager, 713- 743-8298,


About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.


About the University of Houston Law Center

The University of Houston Law Center is the leading law school in the nation's fourth-largest city. Founded in 1947, it is a top-tier institution awarding Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees. The Law Center is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.