University of Houston debuts new ultramodern legal center named for fierce and legendary local lawyer
Fierce and fiery, Houston trial attorney John M. O'Quinn was famous — and infamous — for his dogged pursuit of wrongdoers and his ability to charm and sway juries with his charismatic, powerful presence.
The man who boasted a car collection valued at more than $100 million — including what was considered to be the world’s oldest running motor car — sadly died in 2009 in a single-car accident, but left a legacy of helping those in need and especially for philanthropy — notably, with his alma mater University of Houston.
Fitting, then, that, UH will officially open the John M. O'Quinn Law Building Thursday, September 22. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, set to take place at 6 pm, will be a celebration with UH president Renu Khator; UH Law Center dean Leonard M. Baynes; UH alumni, donors, and dignitaries.
Students and visitors can lounge at the James and Carol Roach rooftop lounge.
Years in the works, the $93 million, state-of-the-art law center is the newest law building in Texas. Designed by the women-owned architecture firm Shepley Bulfinch, the five-story, ultramodern building offers 180,000 square feet of space for research, clinics, courtrooms, and events.
UH Law students now have amenities such as a two-story library, meditation room, commuter showers with changing rooms, an outdoor terrace with dramatic views of campus and downtown Houston, a student lounge, and a convenience store.
“This has been a decades-long dream of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends who wanted a new building that represented the quality and caliber of the Law Center,” said University of Houston Law Center dean Leonard M. Baynes.
The roof of the building's William D. Wood atrium.
O’Quinn graduated from the UH Law Center in 1967 and would go on to be one of the Bayou City’s most-recognizable and bold-faced names. After his 2009 death, his John M. O’Quinn Foundation donated more than $16 million to support the Law Center and building construction.
The new law center is located at 4170 Martin Luther King Blvd., at the northeast corner of the UH campus. Students, faculty, and staff began using the building earlier this semester.
John O'Quinn was one of UH's most famed graduates.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of UH's Law Center, which was established in 1947. It is home to the university’s J.D. and LL.M. degree programs as well as nationally ranked clinics, specialty institutes, pre-law pipeline programs and career services
Three of the center’s law programs rank in the top 10 nationally by U.S. News & World Report : No. 6 in Intellectual Property Law, No. 7 in Health Care Law, and No. 9 in Part-time law degree program.