Rice University
Rice Magazine| The Magazine of Rice University | No. 1 | 2008
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U.S. District Judge Rosenthal Joins Rice Board of Trustees

U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal has been elected to the Rice University Board of Trustees. She has served the Houston division of the Southern District of Texas since 1992.

Rosenthal“Lee Rosenthal has outstanding experience in public service, the highest stature as a jurist and savvy judgment,” said Jim Crownover ’65, chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees. “Her insight and experience will richly benefit the university and everyone we serve.”

In addition to presiding over a busy docket, Rosenthal chairs the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, to which she was appointed in 2007 by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. The committee supervises the rule-making process in the federal courts and oversees and coordinates the work of the Advisory Committees on the Federal Rules of Evidence and of Civil, Criminal, Bankruptcy and Appellate Procedure. Prior to 2007, Rosenthal was a member, then chair, of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed Rosenthal to that committee in 1996 and as chair in 2003.

Under Rosenthal’s leadership, the discovery rules were amended to address the impact of changes in information technology in 2006. In 2007, the entire set of civil rules was edited to be clearer and simpler without changing substantive meaning. The work clarifying and simplifying the rules used in the trial courts won the committee the 2007 “Reform in Law” Award from the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement, an award issued with the Library of Congress and the Law Library of Congress.

“We are truly fortunate to have Judge Rosenthal as the newest member of our board,” said Rice President David Leebron. “She has a reputation of being a thoughtful, dedicated and decisive leader, and she is widely known as one of the most outstanding judges in the country. Her experience and judgment will be invaluable to Rice as we continue to pursue our high ambitions as an international research university.”

The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists selected Rosenthal as trial judge of the year in 2000 and 2006. She has received the Houston Bar Association’s highest bar-poll evaluation for judges three times — in 1999, 2005 and 2007.

Rosenthal is a member of the board of editors for the Manual for Complex Litigation, published by the Federal Judicial Center. She is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) and was recently elected to its council. She serves as an adviser for the ALI’s Aggregate Litigation Project and Rules of Transnational Civil Procedure Project.

Rosenthal has several connections to Rice. Her mother, Ferne Hyman, was assistant university librarian at Fondren Library until her retirement in 1999. Her father, Harold M. Hyman, is the William P. Hobby Professor Emeritus of History at Rice. Her husband, Gary Rosenthal, is a member of Leebron’s President’s Advisory Board.