Visions of Change

Occasional Notes from the Dean

Off and Running in 2010

The second semester is well under way. I am having a wonderful time teaching Constitutional Analysis to the 60 students in our inaugural class. I certainly agree with all of my colleagues in their tremendous praise for our students. In addition to their classes, our students are very involved in helping to create the Law School, including meeting faculty candidates, creating student organizations, and working with a faculty committee to establish the law review.

I am particularly proud that almost all of the students are engaged in doing pro bono work. Anna Davis, our director of pro bono and public interest activities, has arranged opportunities for all interested students and virtually every one of them is involved doing volunteer legal work. Also, as part of their Lawyering Skills class, all of the students are doing intake interviews of clients at organizations such as the Public Law Center, the Orange County Public Defender, and other legal aid offices.

Already in 2010, we have seen a steady increase in the number of activities at the Law School. Our first Patent Law Conference, held on Jan. 22 at the Beckman Center on campus, was a huge success, attended by both academics and members of the bar. Judge Randall Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, who is about to become the appeals court’s next chief judge, delivered the keynote luncheon address on the triumphs and failures of his court, which handles patent cases among other matters.

On Jan. 28, the Law School co-sponsored a continuing legal education program to provide training for lawyers to represent victims of crimes. The conference was attended by more than 75 area attorneys.

The Orange County Human Rights Association, a campus-wide group organized by our law students, had its first public meeting Jan. 27. Two of our professors, Stephen Lee and Jennifer Chacon, spoke about human rights issues involved in immigration law.

Our first U.S.-Korea Law Forum, which brought together U.S. and Korean lawyers and academics, including several scholars from Sogang University School of Law in Seoul, was held on campus on Feb. 3. I am proud that we signed a letter of agreement with the Dean of Sogang Law School to provide for the exchange of faculty and students and joint conferences in the United States and Korea.

Planning is well under way for the first auction to raise funds for the Public Interest Law Fund (PILF). The event is planned by students and will be held March 20 at Turnip Rose in Costa Mesa. During the event, I will provide an hour lecture on recent developments in professional responsibility for lawyers to receive MCLE credit.

We have created our first public lecture series. The first annual Mark Robinson Lecture will be held on April 2 and will be delivered by Burt Neuborne, Inez Milholland Professor of Civil Liberties and Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. The lecture is named to honor Mark Robinson, the Chair of the Dean’s Campaign Cabinet who has provided generous support for scholarships for our first two classes of students. The lecture will be at 4:00 pm and will be open to all in the Law School, the university and the public. A reception will follow.

In addition, we continue to have one or two speakers a week at lunch for the students and also panels of lawyers almost every week in the Legal Profession class to discuss various practice settings. The faculty also has created an active workshop series. This month, there will be faculty workshops by Prof. William Nelson of New York University School of Law and Hiroshi Motomura of UCLA School of Law.

Meanwhile, we are in the midst of recruiting additional faculty to join us on July 1, 2010, and have begun admitting students for the Class of 2013. Feb. 15 was the deadline for applications for admission this year. In December, we announced that the entire class that will arrive in August 2010 will receive at least half-tuition scholarships for their three years of school.

It is thrilling to be part of all of this and to see how far we have come in establishing an exciting, vibrant Law School.

Feb. 16, 2010

Erwin Chemerinsky
Founding Dean and Distinguished Professor
University of California, Irvine School of Law