Visions of Change
A Wonderful Beginning for the New Year
The Law School just finished its fall break, which means that the fall semester is half over and the school year is already a quarter done. It has been a wonderful beginning for the new year. Our entering class of 126 students is by all measures and accounts at least the equal of their four predecessor classes. I am teaching a section of Constitutional Analysis this semester and see on a daily basis their tremendous ability and great diligence.
The Law School is vibrant with many speakers each week and daily meetings of our many student organizations. We have been authorized to hire as many as seven new faculty members this year, and the faculty is interviewing wonderful candidates at all levels of experience for these positions. The Academic Affairs Committee is taking a close look at our third year of school and will propose ways of enhancing the educational experience of our students.
There has been much talk recently, including a suggestion by President Obama, to eliminate the third year. I think that this is a terrible idea. Employers – law firms, public interest organizations, and government entities alike – want law students to graduate more practice ready. It is not possible to accomplish this in two-thirds of the time. If the third year were eliminated, I fear that clinical education and interdisciplinary studies would be greatly reduced. These are crucial to preparing law students for the practice of law and the profession they will be joining. But we can do more in the third year and that will be a focus of the faculty this year.
The remainder of the fall will be exciting for the Law School. On Oct. 27-30, a site team from the American Bar Association will visit campus as part of our accreditation process. The Law School has applied for full accreditation, which will be voted on late in the spring of 2014.
The Moot Court competition for second- and third-year students is underway and will culminate in the final round on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, featuring a distinguished panel of judges: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Judge Martha Daughtrey (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit), and Judge William Fletcher (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit).
In every way, the 2013-14 school year is off to a great start and promises to continue to be a wonderful year at UCI Law.
Oct. 14, 2013
Founding Dean and Distinguished Professor, Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law