Visions of Change

Occasional Notes from the Dean

Fall 2012 is Well Under Way

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the half-way point in the fall semester, with fall break occurring during the week of Oct. 8. It has been a great start to the school year. Our 119 first-year students are, by all accounts, terrific.

Our second- and third-year students understandably have directed much of their attention to summer and permanent employment. Again, this year we have done exceptionally well in placing our graduating students in judicial clerkships. In the Class of 2012, 17 of the graduates accepted clerkships, and this year, for the Class of 2013, we are ahead of where we were at this time last year. Our goal, of course, is to help every student find a law-related job. Of the Class of 2012, as of this writing, 82% are employed practicing law or clerking. We continue to work with the others to assist them.

The first half of the semester featured many distinguished speakers and a wonderful symposium on election law arranged by Prof. Rick Hasen. The second half of the semester will have an even more ambitious schedule of events. On Oct. 16, Prof. Bryan Stevenson, one of the leading death penalty lawyers in the country, will deliver the third annual Al Meyerhoff Public Interest Lecture. The next day, the Law School will co-sponsor a program on the death penalty with the Center in Law, Society and Culture.

We will have many distinguished speakers, including several of the leading experts in environmental law in the country as part of our Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources (CLEANR). Prof. Dan Farber (UC Berkeley) spoke on Sept. 27; Joseph Sax (UC Berkeley, emeritus) will speak on Oct. 2; and Dean Kent Syverud (Washington University) will speak on Nov. 8. CLEANR will also co-sponsor with the Newkirk Center a conference Nov. 9, "The Future of Offshore Oil Drilling: Science, Law and Governance."

The second half of the fall semester also will include our second-annual trial competition. On Nov. 4-7, the Law School will welcome a site team from the ABA for a visit. They will meet with faculty, staff, students, and university visitors.

In late October, construction will begin on the expansion of our library. Currently, the library occupies all of the second floor and half of the first floor of the Law Building. We will gain the rest of the first floor, which will significantly expand seating and shelf space. Although there will be some disruptions during the second half of the fall semester, our hope is that construction will be completed in time for the spring semester, and the expanded library will do an even better job of meeting the needs of our faculty and students.

And plans progress for next year. Dean Janice Austin and her admissions team are traveling the country, visiting colleges and attending law student recruitment forums to attract students for the Class of 2016. Prof. Funmi Arewa is chairing the faculty appointments committee, which is bringing in a full slate of candidates for new faculty positions.

It is a tremendously exciting and busy time at the Law School.

Oct. 1, 2012

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