UC Irvine School of Law Historical Timeline


  • aerial of UCI in 1960s

  • 1961: UC President Clark Kerr creates an Advisory Committee on Law School Planning to study California state needs for legal education.

    Mid-1960s: UCI Founding Chancellor Dan Aldrich proposes a plan for professional schools at UCI, including law.

  • 1991: Andrew Guilford, then a practicing attorney and president of the Orange County Bar Association, begins a series of discussions with lawyers, judges and faculty about a law school at UCI.
  • Image of Andrew Guilford
  • Image of Founders group members
  • 1999: A group of prominent local lawyers, including former California State Senator Joseph Dunn, now Hon. Andrew Guilford, Thomas Malcolm, Mark P. Robinson Jr. and Gary Singer launch a renewed effort for a law school at UCI. The group later becomes known as the “Founders of the Law School.”
  • July 2000: UCI's fourth Chancellor, Ralph Cicerone, and Executive Vice Chancellor, Michael R. Gottfredson (pictured), prioritize the establishment of a Law School at UCI.
  • Image of Michael R. Gottfredson
  • Image of Michael Drake
  • July 2005: Michael V. Drake, M.D. is appointed Chancellor of UCI. Chancellor Drake successfully moves the proposal for a law school through the UC system.
  • November 2006: The UC Office of the President recommends to UC Regents the establishment of a Law School at UCI. Within the month, UC Regents approve the proposal.
  • UC wordmark with seal
  • Image of Joan Irvine Smith
  • January 2007: The Irvine family makes a gift of $1 million to the Law School for scholarships and the Law Library. (Pictured: Joan Irvine Smith.)
  • July 2007: The Donald Bren Foundation donates $20 million to the Law School to support endowed Chancellor’s professors.
  • 2007: Efforts in the community (since 1999) by the “Founders of the Law School” group draw more donors and supporters to UCI Law. Full list of Founding Donors here >
  • September 17, 2007: Erwin Chemerinsky is named Founding Dean of UC Irvine School of Law, effective July 1, 2008.
  • Image of Dean Chemerinsky
  • Dream Team reception

  • July 2, 2008: The “Dream Team” Founding Faculty and Administration arrive.
  • August 24, 2009: UCI Law officially begins school with the Inaugural Class of 60 students.
  • Image of UCI Law ribbon cutting
  • Spring 2010: The UCI Law Pro Bono Program launches with 98% of students participating in the first semester. The students completed 1,305 pro bono hours.
  • Image of students doing pro bono work
  • March 2011: The Inaugural UC Irvine Law Review is published: Training for the Practice of Law at the Highest Levels.
  • Image of stacks of inaugural Law Review
  • June 14, 2011: The American Bar Association grants UCI Law Provisional Accreditation.
  • August 2011: UCI Law’s first four clinics launch: Appellate Litigation; Community and Economic Development; Environmental Law; and Immigrant Rights.
  • Image of Platform Party at Commencement 2012
  • May 5, 2012: First UCI Law Commencement Ceremony, with Commencement Address by Hon. Harry T. Edwards and Graduate Address by Jean Su.
  • December 2, 2012: Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony for Class of 2012 graduates who passed the State Bar Exam. Hon. Glenda Sanders administers State Court Oath and Hon. Andrew J. Guilford administers Federal Court Oath.
  • Image of 2012 Swearing In Ceremony
  • image of UCI Law building
  • June 6, 2014: The American Bar Association grants UCI Law Full Accreditation.
  • 2015: UCI Law Faculty rank No. 6 nationwide for scholarly impact.
  • Image of faculty at commencement
  • March 9, 2015: In the highest debut ranking by a new law school in U.S. News history, UCI Law ranks No. 30 in its first year of eligibility. UCI Law ranks No. 28 in the 2017 and 2018 edition of the rankings.
  • Image of graduates at Commencement
  • Collage of images at AALS meeting
  • January 7, 2016: Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Elects UCI Law Into Membership.
  • May 2017: Founding Dean Erwin Chemerinsky appointed dean at University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
  • May 2017: UCI Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia appoints L. Song Richardson interim dean of the Law School, effective July 2017.