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Fran Ortiz

Professor of Law

B.A., The University of Texas
J.D., Harvard Law School

Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources and Water Law
  • Property



Office: 618T

Fran Ortiz is a Professor of Law and the Presidential Research Professor for 2006-2010.  She has been with South Texas College of Law Houston since 1996.  She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989.

Among her courses, Professor Ortiz teaches Animal Law, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Water Law, and Property.  She is the faculty sponsor for both the Animal Law Society and the Environmental Law Society at South Texas and is a co-sponsor for the Hispanic Law Students’ Association.  Prior to teaching full-time, Professor Ortiz practiced environmental law with the Austin offices of both Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and Baker & Botts, and she worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin teaching Environmental Liabilities.

Professor Ortiz currently serves as a Council Member of both the Animal Law Section and the Environmental Law Section of the Houston Bar Association.  She has previously served as a Director on the Board of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, an organization with which she continues to volunteer at the local level.  She is an active docent at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and previously served five years as a docent at the Houston Zoo.

Professor Ortiz’s research interests lie largely in the area of animal law, land use, conservation and endangered species, and she has written several articles exploring this interaction.  She is also the author of an electronic property study guide called Interactive Property.


Recent Developments in Animal Tort and Insurance Law, 56 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 251 (2021). (with Margrit Lent Parker)

Recent Developments in Animal Tort and Insurance Law, 55 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 133 (2020). (with Margrit Lent Parker)

Looking For A Good Home: Balancing Interests In The Disposition Of Impounded Animals To Owners And Rescues, 67 Syracuse L. Rev. 115 (2017).

Foreword , Symposium: Ethical Implications of the Commercial Use of Animals, 54 S. Tex. L. Rev. 451 (2013).

Animal Law in the Classroom , 74 Tex. B.J. 902 (2011).

Making the Dogman Heel: Recommendations for Improving the Effectiveness of Dogfighting Laws , 3 Stan. J. Animal L. & Pol’y 1 (2010).

Animal Law: A New Breed of Practice , 45 Hous. Law., May/June 2008, at 30.

The Tide is Nigh: Rethinking Urban Flood Management , 9 Chap. L. Rev. 435 (2006).

Smart Growth, New Urbanism, and Low Impact Development: An Analysis of the New Community , 34 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 10003 (2004).

Biodiversity, the City, and Sprawl , 82 B.U. L. Rev. 145 (2002).

Zoning the Voyeur Dorm: Regulating Home-Based Voyeur Web Sites Through Land Use Laws , 34 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 929 (2001).

Candidate Conservation Agreements as a Devolutionary Response to Extinction , 33 Ga. L. Rev. 413 (1999).

Texas Supreme Court Sets Standard for Discovery of Trade Secrets Under Rule of Evidence 507 , 36 Hous. Law., Feb. 1999, at 44.

Administrative Law, Fifth Circuit Survey, June 1995-May 1996 , 28 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 221 (1997).

Administrative Law, Fifth Circuit Survey, June 1994-May 1995 , 27 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 457 (1996).

Administrative Law, Fifth Circuit Survey, June 1993-May 1994 , 26 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 277 (1995).

Administrative Law, Fifth Circuit Survey, June 1992-May 1993 , 25 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 407 (1994).

Administrative Law, Fifth Circuit Survey, June 1991-May 1992 , 24 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 299 (1993).

Administrative Law, Fifth Circuit Survey, June 1990-May 1991 , 23 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 17 (1992).

Developments in the Law-Race and the Criminal Process , 101 Harv. L. Rev. 1472, 1603-41 (1988)(capital and non-capital sentencing sections).


Interactive Property: Interactive Practice Tests, Including Essay Questions and Multiple Choice Questions, Complete with Answers. (Interactive Legal Tools, 2006).


Animals Used in Research, First U.S.-China Forum on Animal Law, sponsored by STCL, University of Houston Downtown, and Chinese Northwest University, June 5, 2014.

Constitutional Implications of the Local Regulation of Animals, American Bar Association Webinar, Apr. 8, 2014.

Moderator, Marketing Endangered Species, Animal Law Institute, State Bar of Texas Animal Law

Section, April 4, 2014.

Texas Licensing Act, Texas A & M University Veterinary School, March 31, 2014.

Strickland v. Medlen and Other Recent Cases, Austin Bar Association Animal Law Committee, July 29, 2013.

Animal Issues for the Agricultural Lawyer, CLE presentation, State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, June 20, 2013.

Strickland v. Medlen and Property Valuation in Texas, CLE presentation, Houston Bar Association Animal Law Section, May 17, 2013.

Case Law Update, Animal Law Institute, State Bar of Texas Animal Law Section, Mar. 22, 2013 (Institute organizer, moderator, and speaker).

Animal, Environmental & Land Use Issues for the Ranching Professionals, Texas Community College Teachers’ Association Agriculture Section, Feb. 22, 2013.

Medlen v. Strickland Update and Panel, Texas Humane Legislation Network Conference, Sept. 29, 2012.

Animal Law 101, CLE presentation, State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, June 14, 2012.

Workshop on the Link Between Animal Abuse and Domestic Abuse, Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies Annual Conference, Feb. 19, 2012.

Representing Rescues, Make Money Practicing Animal Law CLE, Houston Bar Association, Feb. 3, 2012.

The Link: The Connection Between Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence, CLE presentation, Houston Bar Association Animal Law Section, April 29, 2010.

Environmental Liability Insurance Coverage , 1998 National Association of Environmental Law Societies Conference, Houston, 1998 (moderator).

Trends in Texas Environmental Regulation , Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, Corpus Christi, 1998 (moderator).

Endangered Species Act , in 7th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference (Aug. 1995).

Underground Storage Tanks , in Environmental Law and Environmental Science for Lawyers (University of Houston Law Foundations, June 1994).

CV (PDF format)