Yesterday the South Texas College of Law announced that it was renaming itself the Houston College of Law.  According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Board Chairman J. Ken Johnson said in a statement the name was changed in part to create a stronger association with the 93-year-old law school and the nation’s fourth-largest city.  “The law school has been an integral part of downtown Houston for almost a century,” he said. “Our students are within walking distance of some of the nation’s biggest law firms and the city’s courthouses are in our back yard. With our diverse student body that mirrors Houston’s population, we will remain dedicated to educating future generations of attorneys.”

Not surprisingly the University of Houston Law Center’s Dean is none too pleased according to this statement:

We learned today that South Texas College of Law has stated it is changing its name to Houston College of Law.  The University of Houston issued the following statement regarding this development:

“It has come to the University of Houston’s attention that South Texas College of Law has announced that it is changing its name to Houston College of Law.  The University of Houston Law Center has an established history of nearly 70 years in the City of Houston. The University of Houston is concerned about the significant confusion this creates in the marketplace and will take any and all appropriate legal actions to protect the interests of our institution, our brand and our standing in the communities we serve.”

As Dean, I will protect the integrity and interests of the University of Houston Law Center.

Impacting a law school’s brand is big news.  I’ll be interested if litigation ensues and whether the two schools can work it out.  What’s doubly interesting about this is there was talk in the 90s or the 00’s about Texas A&M acquiring South Texas, and many believe that the University of Houston worked behind the scenes politically to keep that from happening.

Art Hinshaw is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Director of the Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program at ASU Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law. His research and teaching interests focus primarily on mediation and negotiation, often bridging ADR theory and practice. He is an avid writer and contributor to ADR Prof Blog.