Visions of Change

Occasional Notes from the Dean during Startup

The Dream Continues

With orientation for first year students scheduled to begin on August 17, it is now less than seven months until the law school opens its doors to the inaugural students. There is tremendous excitement and anticipation, which will grow as the beginning of school comes closer.

Within the law school, everything is moving quickly. We have received a large number of applications and more continue to be received every day, and the law school will soon be sending out the first acceptance letters. We plan and expect to provide a full scholarship to all in our entering class of about 60 students for their three years of law school.

Students coming to UCI will enjoy an unprecedented student-faculty ratio. Our goal is to hire six additional faculty this year and we are well under way in that process. Together with our founding faculty, there will be approximately 20 faculty for 60 students. This remarkable student-faculty ratio will allow for unsurpassed collaboration between law teachers and law students. The founding faculty all have taught previously at top 20 schools and the new hires, to be announced over the next few months, are sure to be equally impressive. Students will work closely with the faculty in helping to shape the new law school, including creating the law review, the moot court program, and student organizations.

At the same time that work is going on to admit students and to recruit faculty, great progress is being made on getting the physical facility ready for the opening of school. The administrative offices, including all of the student services offices, will be ready for occupancy on February 17. Construction on the law library is well under way and completion is on schedule for June 12. Plans have been developed for a beautiful outdoor student lounge, with a covered patio area, to be ready for the arrival of students in August.

The faculty is nearing completion of a very innovative first-year curriculum, which will be announced soon. The proposed curriculum combines traditional areas of first-year study with a strong emphasis on lawyering skills, study of the legal profession, and an examination of the types of reasoning and argument that all lawyers use.

Our goal is not simply to be a top 20 law school, but to create the ideal law school for the 21st century. We are well under way in working towards that objective.

Jan. 20, 2009

Erwin Chemerinsky
Founding Dean
University of California, Irvine School of Law