Visions of Change

Occasional Notes from the Dean

A New Semester with a Second Class

It is thrilling to begin our second year of classes. We welcome 84 first-year students to the Law School. We also welcome back all 60 students who now enter their second year of law school. I have heard nothing but rave reviews from employers all over the country about our students’ performance at their summer jobs.

We welcome to the Law School a number of outstanding new faculty members. Sarah Lawsky, who will be teaching Federal Income Tax in the fall and Taxation of Business in the spring, comes to us from George Washington University Law School. Michael Robinson-Dorn, who will direct our Environmental Law Clinic and teach Lawyering Skills this year, joins us from the University of Washington School of Law. Christopher Whytock was previously on the faculty at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law and will teach Business Associations in the fall semester and a section of International Legal Analysis in the spring. All are accomplished scholars and excellent teachers.

Also joining the Law School are four faculty members who specialize in law from other departments at UCI: Bill Mauer (from the Anthropology Department), Justin Richland (from the School of Social Ecology), Carroll Seron (also from the School of Social Ecology), and Bill Thompson (from Criminology, Law and Society).

For our returning students and faculty, one of the largest changes is the tremendous expansion of our facilities. We have added many new classrooms, additional faculty offices, a new student lounge, space for the clinics, a new space for career services, offices for law review, moot court, and student organizations. Students will have 24-hour access, with a key card, to the MPAA building, which houses the student lockers, student lounge, and space for student organizations. And construction is not done, even for this year. By January, we will have constructed the Mark Robinson Courtroom and our largest classroom, on the first floor of the “Education” building.

A very exciting year lies ahead. We will continue to have a speaker series at lunch, organized by Professor Henry Weinstein. We will be holding four symposia this year: an environmental law conference on the Arctic on Nov. 12; an immigration law symposium on Feb. 17 and 18; a symposium on race and equality on March 17-19; and a conference on virtual worlds on April 8. We will have several public lectures delivered by professors in honor of their receiving endowed chairs: Catherine Fisk, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Tony Reese and Chris Tomlins. We also will have the first annual Al Meyerhoff Public Interest Lecture, to be delivered by civil rights lawyer Connie Rice on October 14, and the second annual Mark Robinson Lecture, to be delivered in the spring by former 10th Circuit Judge and Oklahoma City University President, Robert Henry. We also will hold a moot court competition and the first moot court finals in the spring. We are planning a major event to celebrate the Law School and details will be announced soon.

Of course, one of the major activities for the Law School this year will be our review for provisional accreditation. Dean Rebecca Avila has chaired our accreditation committee and Professor Catherine Fisk chaired our self-study committee. The ABA site team will be visiting us from Oct. 20-23 and looks forward to meeting with students, staff, and faculty.

From my perspective, things could not be better as we begin our second year of classes. As always, I am available to meet with students in many different settings throughout the year. I will continue to host the twice-a-month “Dean’s Coffees” that I began last year. This year, I will hold them, alternately, on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. and on Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m.

Also, I always can be reached by email at I will have office hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and appointments at other times can be arranged through my assistant, Brandy Stewart, at (949) 824-7722.

I wish everyone all the best for another terrific year.

Aug. 10, 2010

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