Visions of Change

Occasional Notes from the Dean during Startup

Laying the Foundation

In less than six months, our founding class will arrive for orientation and the beginning of classes. Everything is very much on schedule for this wonderful and historic occasion.

We continue to hire additional faculty who will join the founding faculty who arrived last July. Recently, Christopher Leslie and Tony Reese accepted faculty positions. Both are tremendously impressive, both as teachers and as scholars. Professor Leslie, who is a tenured professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, specializes in contract law and antitrust law. Professor Reese, who is a chaired professor at the University of Texas Law School, specializes in intellectual property law. Both Professor Leslie and Professor Reese are superb classroom teachers. University of Chicago Law Professor Brian Leiter, on his influential blog, remarked that with Professor Reese and Professor Dan Burk (a member of the founding faculty), UCI is already a “powerhouse” in the area of intellectual property law.

In fact, when Professor Leiter released his ranking of law schools based on “faculty scholarly impact,” UCI was ranked number 10 in the country, tied with the University of Pennsylvania Law School, among all law schools. This is a reflection of the terrific founding faculty. We expect to announce additional faculty appointments in the near future.

The admissions process for the founding class continues. We have received more than 2,700 applications for the 60 slots in the first-year class. This is the best ratio of applications to slots, an obvious measure of selectivity, of any law school in the country. We have admitted a number of students, received acceptances from some, and are continuing to process a large number of applications. By every measure, the applicants are tremendously impressive and we will succeed in our goal of having an outstanding entering class of students.

The construction of the law school also continues. On February 17, the law school’s administrators and staff moved into the administrative suite on the first floor of Berkeley Place north. Construction of the library, which will be magnificent, on the first two floors of Berkeley Place south, continues to be on schedule. The construction will be complete by mid-June to allow time for the shelving of the collection before students arrive in August. Construction of the next phase of faculty offices on the fourth floor of Berkeley Place south is about to begin.

It is a thrilling time at UCI Law School as we prepare for the arrival of students and the beginning of classes. I am very grateful to the extraordinary hard work of our administrators, staff, and faculty. Thanks to them we are creating a very special law school.

March 9, 2009

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