HOUSTON and AUSTIN Texas, May 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The University of Texas School of Law is offering the state’s first law school course devoted solely to eminent domain law, and the University of Houston Law Center will be starting a similar course later this year.

At UT, Austin-based attorneys Luke Ellis and Chris Johns, partners at Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP, are currently teaching “Eminent Domain and Private Property Rights.” The spring semester class, which ends in May, examines the inherent tension between the public’s need to accommodate growth and the fundamental private property rights protected by the U.S. and Texas constitutions. Eminent domain laws allow the government and other condemning entities to take private property and convert it to public use for just compensation. Houston attorney Justin Hodge, also a Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge partner, recently received approval to teach a similar class at the University of Houston this fall.

Eminent domain is generally a small subsection of a first-year law student’s course on property law, but these professors believe the state’s explosive growth and corresponding infrastructure demands merit separate courses focusing on the law of takings.

“The UT class is the first of its kind in Texas, but we also believe it is the only class in the nation dedicated exclusively to eminent domain law,” Mr. Ellis said. “Two of the best law schools in Texas recognize the need to focus more attention on eminent domain and condemnation as an evolving and important area of law.” To learn more about the attorneys and their work, visit http://jmehlaw.com/attorneys.

Texas is home to eight of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities and five of the country’s 10 largest cities overall. This kind of growth generally requires additional infrastructure such as roads, power lines and pipelines, and these projects often require privately owned land held by individuals or businesses.

“As Texas continues to grow, more entities will use condemnation power to take land for infrastructure projects,” Mr. Johns said. “But in taking property for public use, our communities and courts must also respect the rights of private property ownership, which is the foundation that makes growth and prosperity possible in the first place.”

Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge is a litigation boutique built to win high-stakes condemnation, property, probate and business disputes. The Austin– and Houston-based firm’s founding partners, all classmates at the University of Texas School of Law, became successful trial and appellate lawyers initially at some of the country’s most prestigious law firms, often after serving as law clerks for prominent judges. Learn more about the firm at http://www.jmehlaw.com.

For more information about the new eminent domain classes, please contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or mary@androvett.com.

SOURCE Johns Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP