June 28, 2010
Texas Lawyer magazine named “The 25 Greatest Texas Lawyers of the Past Quarter-Century” in their special anniversary edition that hit newsstands on Monday. St. Mary’s University School of Law Associate Professor Albert Kauffman is the sole law professor on the list.
Kauffman, who spent 20 years as a civil rights lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), gained notoriety as lead counsel in the landmark case of Edgewood v. Kirby, one of the most recognized decisions in recent Texas history. Kauffman represented a group of 13 underprivileged school districts against the Texas Education Commissioner claiming the school-funding system was unconstitutional. The case paved the way for an overhaul of school funding in Texas that significantly reduced the gap in educational opportunities and funding between rich and poor school districts.
Kauffman also represented the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and other organizations in a similar case striving for more state funding for colleges along the Texas-Mexico border. These efforts lead to the 1993 South Texas Border Initiative, which has channeled more than a half-billion in funding to public universities in the Texas border area.
Another of Kauffman’s notable achievements was serving as one of the drafters and advocates for the “top 10 percent rule” in the Texas Education Code, guaranteeing entry into any Texas public university for the top 10 percent of public high school graduates in any high school in Texas.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Professor Kauffman’s achievements in education and civil rights and it is fitting he be among Texas Lawyer’s 25 Texas greats,” said St. Mary’s School of Law Associate Dean Reynaldo Anaya Valencia. “Professor Kauffman has spent his career as a dedicated civil rights advocate and education in Texas has greatly benefited from his work. St. Mary’s is lucky to have him on the faculty. He is an outstanding example for our students demonstrating the importance of a lawyer’s obligation to be of service to those in need.”
Kauffman came to St. Mary’s in 2007 after serving as a visiting scholar with civil rights research centers and teaching courses at Harvard Law School and the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. At St. Mary’s, he teaches Texas and federal procedure and specializes in education and civil rights. Texas Lawyer previously lauded Kauffman as one of the ten most influential lawyers in Texas in the decade 1985-95.
St. Mary’s graduate and Houston lawyer Stanley Schneider (J.D.’74) was also named to the list.