Richard A. Zansitis is Vice President and General Counsel for Rice University, and has been at Rice since 2001. He is the chief legal officer for the University and its Board of Trustees, and supervises an office of four other attorneys in Rice’s Office of the General Counsel, as well as selects and oversees all outside counsel. He received his B.A. in History with honors from the University of Chicago in 1976 and his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1979. He is a member of the Texas (2003), Pennsylvania (1999), Illinois (1983) and New York (1980) State Bars. Prior to his appointment at Rice, he had been General Counsel of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Associate General Counsel at the University of Chicago, and an attorney at firms in New York City and Chicago, specializing in labor and employment litigation for management. He has also been a lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the A.B.A.’s Sections of Litigation, Administrative Law and Practice and Labor and Employment Law.
Joseph B. Davidson joined Rice University in 1994 in the Office of the General Counsel. As Senior Associate General Counsel for Rice Management Company and Rice University, his principal areas of responsibility include endowment investments, financings, corporate governance, and compliance. His other practice areas include export controls, trade sanctions, intellectual property, research, facilities, and athletics. Earlier in his career, Mr. Davidson worked with the law firms of Dewey Ballantine and Paul Hastings where he focused on mergers and acquisitions, private placements and public offerings, and real estate. Mr. Davidson received his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, and graduated magna cum laude from Rice University with a B.A. in Political Science, Legal Studies, and Managerial Studies. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the State Bars of Texas and California, the American Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Mr. Davidson serves on the board of the Chance for Hope Foundation.
Veta J. Byrd-Pérez serves as Senior Associate General Counsel at Rice University, and has been at Rice since 2006. She received her B.A. in Economics, summa cum laude, from Spelman College in 1994 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1999. She also completed coursework in international business at L’Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Dijon, France. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas (1999) and a member of the Houston Bar Association and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Prior to her employment at Rice, she was an associate at Vinson & Elkins, LLP in Houston, Texas, specializing in international mergers and acquisitions, project finance, and commercial lending. Her principal areas of practice at Rice are in art, contracts, digital education, sponsored research, technology transfer, intellectual property, real estate and construction.
Jim Cox has been an Associate General Counsel / Patent Attorney at Rice since July 2018. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering (B.S.M.E. 1987) and a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D. 1990). He is a member of the State Bar of Texas (2013), State Bar of Michigan (1990), and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (1991). He is a member of NACUA, AUTM, and the Intellectual Property Law Sections of the Michigan State Bar and Texas State Bar.
Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel at Rice, he was an Assistant General Counsel / Patent Attorney at the University of Texas System’s Office of General Counsel, at various intellectual property law firms, and in-house at General Motors' IP section, specializing in intellectual property law. He has also been an adjunct faculty member at the Ave Maria School of law and has served as an Armor Officer in the United States Army, deploying to Bosnia-Herzegovia as a Platoon Leader in the 1st Armored Division during Operation Joint Endeavor. He is a licensed pilot, a PADI certified Rescue per and an amateur thespian (from lead to extra) in several community theater productions. His principle areas of practice at Rice are intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, technology licensing, information technology, and sponsored research.
Jeff Barnes joined Rice University as an Associate General Counsel in May 2019. His principal areas of practice at Rice are employment, faculty affairs, student affairs, litigation, and public safety and police issues. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 2004 and his B.A. in history, magna cum laude, from Washington & Lee University in 2001. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas (2004) and is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Before joining Rice, he served as Senior Legal Officer at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Prior to working in higher education, he specialized in labor and employment law as a partner at Fisher Phillips and Jackson Lewis, and an associate at Baker Botts. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Labor & Employment Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Notary public is available by appointment only. Please call (713)348-5237.