Visions of Change

Occasional Notes from the Dean

A Spring Semester in Full Bloom

As we reach spring break and the three-quarters mark of the academic year, it is a chance to reflect on what has been a remarkable semester. Most importantly, the Chancellor has approved the faculty's recommendation for promotion to full professor and tenure for two of our wonderful colleagues, Christopher Whytock and Sarah Lawsky.

We have had an extraordinary wealth of special events in the first two months of 2012, including:

  • On Jan. 12, Barry Friedman of NYU Law School spoke on "Policing without Permission," to celebrate the proposed UCI Law Raymond Pryke Chair on First Amendment Law.
  • On Jan. 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals held oral arguments at UCI Law.
  • On Jan. 18, a panel of scholars had a discussion about the impact on civil liberties of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war on terror.
  • On Feb. 7, Prof. Richard Lazarus of Harvard Law spoke on "The 2010 Gulf Oil Spill: Investigating its Root Causes at the Request of the President," delivering the inaugural lecture launching the UCI Law Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources.
  • On Feb. 13, UCI Law Professor Richard Hasen delivered his Chancellor's Chair lecture on his new book "The Voting Wars."
  • On Feb. 15, Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree delivered the annual Al Meyerhoff Public Interest Law Lecture on "President Obama's Election and Pursuit of a Post-Racial America."
  • On Feb. 17, Valerie Plame Wilson, the ex-CIA agent whose identity was leaked by White House staff, spoke at UCI Law about her experiences.
  • On Feb. 21, the Black Law Students Association sponsored a panel of attorneys discussing their experiences as part of Black History Month.
  • On March 1, the annual Public Interest Law Fund Community Trivia Quest drew hundreds of people and raised money for summer stipends.
  • On March 2, UCI Law Professor Christopher Whytock hosted a symposium on "Human Rights Litigation in State Courts and Under State Law."

And the second half of the semester will be even busier, as we will hold many more wonderful events:

  • On March 9-11, we will hold a symposium on " 'Law as…' II: History as Interface for the Interdisciplinary Study of Law," a three-day event hosted by UCI Law Professor Christopher Tomlins.
  • On March 12, former federal judge and now Harvard Law Professor Nancy Gertner will present the third annual Mark Robinson Lecture.
  • On March 15-16, we will host a student-organized symposium on "Reigniting Community: Strengthening the Asian Pacific American Identity."
  • On April 13, we will hold a symposium on "Business Law as Public Interest Law," hosted by UCI Law Professor Christopher Leslie.
  • On April 16, Former White House Counsel Fred Fielding presents the first Mary and John Carrington Lecture and will speak about the "Plights and Pleasures of Public Service."

In addition, we have had a rich collection of student speakers and faculty workshops. All of this reflects the rich and exciting intellectual community that we are creating.

On May 5, at 2:00 p.m., we will celebrate our terrific inaugural students and hold the first commencement at UCI Law School. We are very fortunate to have Judge Harry Edwards, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, as our commencement speaker.

Amidst all of this, this year, every third-year student is enrolled in a legal clinic and gaining invaluable experience while serving clients under faculty supervision. Our students continue to do prodigious pro bono work. We held a mock trial competition in the fall and are conducting a moot court competition this semester, which will culminate in a final round on March 23 in front of three federal court of appeals judges.

We also are very much looking to the future. Under the direction of Assistant Dean Janice Austin, applications are up significantly over last year, and we are recruiting the Class of 2015. Admitted students weekend will be held March 23-24 to welcome our prospective students and to give them a sense of the wonderful community we have created.

It is a tremendously exciting time at the Law School.

March 5, 2012

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