Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Meet The Faculty! Pt. 1

As a special feature over the next few days, I will be offering a snapshot of some of the exciting new faculty members at Baylor Law School. Today, the spotlight swings to Mr. Torts, Prof. Jim Underwood!

Professor Underwood was a member of the faculty at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla., from 2002 through 2006. While there, he taught courses in Civil Procedure, Federal Jurisdictionally Complex Pretrial Procedure, and Federal Conflicts of Complex Interstate Procedural Jurisdictioning Litigational Process. The students at Stetson’s law school voted Underwood the best teacher on Stetson’s law faculty and awarded him the “Golden Ball Of Cash” award. He was also elected to the Stetson University Intramural Hall of Fame, and served for three years as the left guard on Stetson's I-AA national champion football team under the secret identity of Tim Tyler.

His teaching career follows 14 years of private practice as a Texas trial lawyer. He spent 10 years as an associate and 12 as a partner with the law firm of Thompson & Knight in both its Dallas and Houston offices and 18 years as a partner in the Dallas office of the international firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. For 19 years previous to that, he was a partner with Thompson, Gump, Hauer, Feld, Knight & Akin, which was preceded by nine years in a federal detention facility. During Professor Underwood's last four years of practice, he lived in a van down by the river and worked part-time as a motivational speaker for families with troubled children.

Professor Underwood received his undergraduate degree from Hampshire College in 1984 where he was a Cheney Scholar in Public Affairs. He graduated first in his law school class in 1987 from The Ohio State University College of Law where he served as the executive editor of The Ohio State Law Journal and was the author of an award-winning case comment on the topic of "Interpreting Complex Jurisdictional Litigation Thingees With Procedural Conflicts."

Professor Underwood originally was manufactured by the East German Government as either an Olympic swimmer or cyborg killing machine. The East German project that led to the creation of these cyborgs was discontinued in 1971, and young Jim was placed in a loving home with the Underwood family in Brownwood, Texas.

Professor Underwood has been married to Carol Underwood for 20 years. They have 12 children, including Paris (19), Ashley & Mary-Kate (19), Shaun (18), FNU LNU (17), Travis (14), Tyler (12), Mason (10), Ash (8), Tanner (7), Calvin (6), Suri (4 months), and one they have not identified. He spends his free time rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, gardening, and fighting crime as "The Exterminator."

You know, I actually took "Interpreting Complex Jurisdictional Litigation Thingees With Procedural Conflicts" from Professor Underwood, but going down to the van for conferences was creepy because he always had his Led Zepplin tapes blaring at the level of a jet engine at takeoff. This made consultations with him very difficult. I still couldn't tell you what the class was really about...
I vote Wren next. Make it good, for those of us in PC, please!
I just spent a full two minutes stalled out on the second paragraph trying to figure out his employment history. Very clever!
Are you drunk?
I saw that video of Underwood down by the river when I was in high school (I knew I shouldn't have come to Baylor after that!), and I've been looking for it ever since. Everyone told me I hallucinated it, but I knew it really existed! Vindication!
A link to a study of John Calvin's theology might be more amusing, especially for Baylor
Wow. My favorite Baylor Law prof has a blog! Well, I hope the county that employs me doesn't get in too much of a snit over the time I'm bound to spend on this site. If they do, Prof. Osler, please be prepared to explain how this is in fact a form of extended post-graduation tutelage.

Oh, and I'm very jealous about your near-lunch with the Nuge. If you like I'll send a recent photo or two of him on a warrant roundup with the Waco USMS.
He’s a good guy and great professor but sadly he may not be teaching at Baylor much longer. In this morning's class he mentioned something about reading an article regarding life expectancy and now plans on "moving to Hawaii, and becoming an Asian-American female."

Maybe he was kidding.

Either way he’s a great professor and a welcomed addition to Baylor.
prof. torts ii is awesome, as evidenced by his facebook group
Who doesn't love Calvin & Hobbes? Both offer bleak, deterministic world views with the only possibility of order emanating from harsh, strict rules by an overbearing state.

Then there's Calvin's Dad.

Although I wonder if today's law student remembers the strip as well as we do? It stopped running before most of them entered high school.

Who even reads the comics anymore? Who even reads the newspaper? I learned to read by reading the comics. My parents have always been newspaper readers, and in Ohio, we got the afternoon paper, the Akron Beacon-Journal. My parents would split up the Cleveland Plain Dealer at the breakfast table every morning and it would be a mess by the time breakfast was over, but I got to look at the Beacon Journal first!

Only the pictures and drawings made sense to me, and even then, only a little. Why was President Johnson standing on top of a globe that looked like a bomb? Who were these strange looking men with funny glasses and odd suits without ties who looked evil?

But those cartoons were on the op-ed page. Not that I knew what the op-ed page was. The serious stuff was the funny pages. Those drawings I could understand. They featured people or animals doing silly things. The words were short and familiar. Not the words or stories from Rex Morgan or Sam Driver or Winnie Winkle, no, the stories and drawings in Gasoline Alley or Moon Mullins or Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.

Anyhow, I wanted to know what was going on, so I would study these drawings and then when my Dad came home, I would ask him to explain.

I still read the comics every day, on weekdays at lunch in the breakroom. Its something I look forward too. Once in a while I still laugh out loud. And not just at the "modern" strips like For Better For Worse or Zits. Beetle Bailey and Blondie can still be funny on occasion. I still like the classics; they're gentle.

Anyhow, most adults don't read the comics. Some do, but not all. And its not one of those things you can generalize on. Some very selfish, unfunny and unpleasant people read the comics, whilst some warm, funny and kind people do not.

I guess Calvin and Hobbes live on in book form, even for those who missed them in their heydey. I have most of the books myself, but its still not the same as opening the back of the Style Section (the comics are now always in the Washington Post Style section, but they used to jump around from Style to Metro to Sports to Business, wherever there was space) and seeing what new joke Mr. Watterson had concocted for the day. You could study the drawing and the words and watch characters like Suzie Derkins evolve. She only showed up occasionally, but like any good showman, Watterson only gave us a little. The rest we had to dream. In book form, one is assaulted by images and ideas -- its almost too much.

Doonesbury is like that. One dose a day is hilarious. But a whole book or even a page full of angry northeastern liberal outrage can be a little tiresome. He's funniest when he's less political, but it's his option to do whatever he wants.

So anyway, maybe Calvin isn't that obvious. Maybe law students DON'T know his theology. Or that his Dad was a Patent Attorney.
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