natural disasters

Natural Disasters, Stakeholder Engagement and Dispute Resolution

​Friday, April 13, 2018
Texas A&M University School of Law
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
6 hours CLE credit available


The conference is co-sponsored by four programs at Texas A&M University School of Law: Aggie Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program, Natural Resources Systems Program, Program on Real Estate and Community Development Law, and Global Programs.

We will address how dispute resolution and collaborative processes can play a role in recovering from the devastating consequences of natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the recent fires and mud slides in California, and in taking effective action to promote resilience in response to future natural disasters. Agenda available here.

Billy HamiltonRebuild TexasTexas A&M University System Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, Billy Hamilton, member of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, will deliver the keynote address.

In addition, there will be four panels that bring together public officials, policy makers, judges, lawyers and academic experts:

  • Hurricane Harvey, Houston and Texas as Case Study for Stakeholder Engagement and Dispute Resolution in Response to a Natural Disaster
    • Marvin Odum, Former President, Shell Oil Company and Chief Recovery Officer, City of Houston
    • Bill Fulton, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University
    • Augustus Campbell, President/CEO, West Houston Association
    • Moderator: Gabriel Eckstein, Professor of Law and Director, Program in Natural Resources Systems, Texas A&M University School of Law

  • Engaging Vulnerable Populations as Stakeholders
    • Shannon Van Zandt, Department Head, Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, and Nicole & Kevin Youngblood Professor of Residential Land Development, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University
    • Grande Lum, Director, Divided Community Project, Ohio State University Moritz School of Law, and Former Director, Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice
    • Moderator: Cynthia Alkon, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Texas A&M University School of Law

  • National and International Perspectives on Public Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement for Recovery and Resilience
    • Dr. Ashley D. Ross, Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Sciences, Texas A&M University-Galveston
    • James Pearman, Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisor, FEMA, and Former Mayor, City of Mercer Island, Washington
    • Amnon Reichman, Associate Professor of Law, University of Haifa, and Visiting Associate Professor of Comparative Civil Law, Berkeley Law
    • Blake Hudson, Professor of Law, University of Houston Law
    • Moderator: Charlotte Ku, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, Texas A&M University School of Law

  • National and International Perspectives on Courts’ and Insurers’ Procedural Innovations in Response to Natural Disasters
    • Robert H. Jerry, Isidor Loeb Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law
    • Ramon Reyes, Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York
    • Robyn Weinstein, ADR Administrator, U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York
    • Kim Taylor, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal and Operating Officer, JAMS
    • Moderator: Peter Reilly, Associate Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law

The conference will provide a day of presentations and dialogue involving both academics and practitioners in a collaborative atmosphere that can yield new insights, knowledge and best practices in tackling extremely difficult issues under adverse circumstances. Disasters can sometimes lead to a certain amount of paralysis and disorganization because of the many individuals and organizations involved and constituencies’ priorities and needs that may be at odds in certain respects. On the other hand, the need to address disasters and plan for resilience also has the potential to reveal shared priorities, opportunities for collaboration, and creative solutions.

This conference should be of interest to public officials, lawyers and other professionals involved in disaster recovery, and any citizen or organization interested in Texas’ and other states’ recovery and planning for resilience.

Location Information

Texas A&M School of LawDirections & Map

Driving directions to our campus located at 1515 Commerce Street can be found using the map below. The main entrance to the law school is on Commerce Street, across from the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

Free parking for conference attendees is available in the Law School parking lots.

Hotel Information

SheratonWe have negotiated a special group rate at the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel, directly across the street from the law school, of $15​​9 per night plus tax, available until ​March 2​2. Reservations ​should be made on the Sheraton's website ​via the room block link or by calling the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel at 817-335-7000, being sure to mention “​Texas A&M ​​- Nancy Welsh” to receive the group rate. If necessary, cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to the scheduled day of arrival to avoid a one-night cancellation charge.

Other downtown Fort Worth hotel options include the Omni, Hilton, Hampton Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, and the Ashton Hotel. Most are within walking distance of the law school.


Airports:  Texas A&M University School of Law is located in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, just 30 minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). The second largest airport in the ​United States, DFW has direct flights to over 200 locations around the world and is a hub for American Airlines (AA). The Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), about 40 minutes from the Law School, is a hub for Southwest Airlines (SWA).

To and From the Airport:  The ​​​hotel does not offer a shuttle from the airport, but ground transportation options, such as taxi, SuperShuttle, shared ride (Uber, Lyft, etc.) and rental cars, are available.

Rental Cars:  The Sheraton Hotel is directly across the street from the Law School. So there is no need for a rental car or other transportation between the Law School and the hotel.

Navigating Downtown Fort Worth

Molly the TrolleyFree Trolley:  "Molly the Trolley" offers free trolley routes throughout downtown Fort Worth to Sundance Square and picks up directly in front of the Sheraton ​Hotel.

Enjoy the walk:  Download a walking map of Downtown Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Bike Share:

Shared Ride:  Uber and Lyft service this area.

Explore Fort Worth

Sundance SquareDiscover "Where the West begins" in the city of cowboys and culture. Experience world-class museums, restaurants, entertainment, outdoor activities and sports (Go Rangers!). Explore one of the best downtowns in America, complete with a visit to Sundance Square or venture to the vibrant West 7th area or Near Southside Magnolia District. ​Find your zen in the Water Gardens directly across the street from the law school or explore your wild side at the Fort Worth Zoo, one of the top 5 zoos in the nation.


For all questions, contact Professor Nancy Welsh, Aggie Dispute Resolution Program Director, at or 817-212-3864.