Faculty and Staff
The Center is proud to have associated with it leading dispute resolution teachers and scholars. The work of the Center faculty and staff who serve on a regular basis is complemented by others who associate with the center for a variety of independent projects and programs.The following is a list of the Center’s current faculty and staff.
Debra Berman is the Director of the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution at South Texas College of Law. Her course load includes Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation Theory & Practice, and Representation in Mediation. In addition, she coordinates all of the ADR competition teams that South Texas College of Law sends to national and international tournaments. She also has personally coached a number of teams to national and international first place wins. She has published and presented on various dispute resolution topics and is a member of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, the Houston Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, and a board member of the Houston chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law.
James J. Alfini
James J. Alfini is Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus and serves as a Senior Fellow in the Frank Evans Center. Previously, he was Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University College of Law where he taught Constitutional Law, Professional Responsibility, Mediation, and related courses. Dean Alfini served as Dean of the NIU College of Law from 1991 to 1997. Prior to NIU Dean Alfini was a member of the faculty at Florida State University College of Law where he was Director of Education and Research at the Florida Dispute Resolution Center, a joint program of the FSU College of Law and the Supreme Court of Florida. He was on the original Mediation and Arbitration Rules Committee of the Supreme Court of Florida and chaired the Standards Subcommittee. He has served as the chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Association of American Law Schools and the chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association. He has numerous publications in the fields of dispute resolution and judicial ethics, including two co-authored books published by Lexis Publishing: Judicial Conduct And Ethics and Mediation Theory And Practice.
Catherine Burnett is Associate Dean for Clinical Studies and a Professor at South Texas College of Law. She received a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas. After clerking for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, she practiced in Texas both as a prosecutor and defense attorney. She is board certified in criminal law and criminal appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Catherine teaches international, national and state criminal procedure, as well as seminars in contemporary criminal law issues. In her role as Associate Dean, Catherine oversees the law school’s clinical programs and its student pro bono volunteer program. As a clinician she launched the law school's first direct representation civil law clinic and has subsequently taught in the Mediation Clinic, HIV and the Law Clinic, Texas Capital Punishment Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic, and Actual Innocence Clinic. Catherine remains an active instructor in the law school's numerous academic internships. She has also been active in ADR training nationally and internationally, teaching both law students and practicing members of the bench and bar.
Hon. Bruce Wettman
Judge Bruce Wayne Wettman serves as Director of the Mediation Clinic at South Texas College of Law. Judge Wettman has more than thirty-five years of experience as a judge, lawyer, and ADR neutral. He was first elected District Judge of the 247th District Court of the State of Texas in 1978, and still serves as an assigned visiting District Judge for the Second Administrative Judicial Region of the State of Texas.
Honorable Frank G. Evans
The Center, named after a former Chief Judge of the First Court of Appeals, in Houston, Texas, the Honorable Frank G. Evans, known as the father of ADR in Texas, sponsors and administers a variety of programs and projects, including classes, clinics, externships and dispute resolution competitions. In addition, the Center has the privilege to be one of the few, if not the only Center in the country.
Norma Trusch is an Adjunct Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, where she teaches Collaborative Law. The Collaborative Law movement in Texas and internationally has benefited from the dedication and commitment of Houston Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator Norma Trusch. Since the first training of collaborative lawyers in Texas in 2000, Trusch has devoted much of her energy and time to expanding the use of this process of non-adversarial settlement of family law disputes. As President of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, she led the group’s expansion from the United States and Canada into Europe and Australia. As director of training for the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, she has contributed to the leadership of Texas into innovative new models of collaborative practice. Trusch was certified as a specialist in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1983 and elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 1990. In 2006, Trusch was named to the list of The Best Lawyers in America.
The Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution