What excites you most about joining the new law school faculty?
I was drawn to UC Irvine because the founding faculty had articulated a strong desire to re-think the process of legal education. Their starting point was the question, “What is the best way to train lawyers in the 21st Century?” They were unencumbered by the inertia of the status quo. I am excited about joining a talented group of legal scholars as they search for new and better ways to educate the lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.
Why did you go into law teaching? What is your teaching style?
Like many of the students I have taught over the years, I was the first in my family to go to law school. I arrived at the doors of my law school without any idea what I would learn in the first year, without any understanding of what a clerkship was or why I might want to do one, without an understanding of what legal career opportunities might be available to me, and without any notion that it would be important for me to work to find mentors among the faculty.
Sometimes, I think that it’s a miracle that I made it through the process and still wound up in law teaching. Because of my experience, I have tried to be accessible not only inside the classroom, but also outside of it. I believe that it is part of my job to help students navigate the law school process and, whenever possible, to provide advice about the early stages of their careers.
Inside the classroom, I am really focused on making sure my students are learning what they need to know. I try to be very clear about what I am teaching them and why I am doing so. I also love to hear what my students think. I learn a lot from the diverse personal and political perspectives that my students bring into the classroom.
I continue to work very hard on my classroom teaching, and I hope and expect that my students will also work hard. When students work hard, the classroom can be a place of fascinating discussions and incredible learning.
Describe your scholarship.
Much of my scholarship has focused on the nexus of immigration law and criminal law. I have examined U.S. efforts to curb human trafficking, anti-gang initiatives launched by the federal immigration enforcement agency, and the implications of framing immigration enforcement as a national security issue.
I have tried to engage in scholarship that will not only be of interest to other academics, but that will also be useful for policy makers and those who are practicing law.