University of California, Irvine School of Law

UCI Law News

A quarterly newsletter to keep members of the UCI Law community connected

In This Issue

A Note from Erwin

Dear Friends,

This has been an incredible year. As we prepare to celebrate the graduation of UCI Law’s fourth class, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for helping us create an extraordinary law school. Our debut ranking in U.S. News and World Report — at No. 30 overall — is the highest, by far, of any new law school. U.S. News also ranked UCI Law No. 11 in Clinical Training, behind only Stanford among California law schools, and No. 23 in Intellectual Property Law, tied with UCLA. Another highlight: We are the only top-tier law school listed in the U.S. News Top 10 student diversity index.

We have made tremendous strides in just six years, and I am proud to say that our commitment to serving the public continues to strengthen. Since our doors opened in 2009, more than 90 percent of all UCI Law students have been engaged in pro bono service. The Class of 2015 alone has set a new bar, with more than 96 percent participating in pro bono work at some time during law school, collectively completing more than 12,500 pro bono hours over the past three years.

On May 8, at our annual Public Service Award Dinner, we have the privilege of honoring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer for her commitment to making society and the world a better place. Senator Boxer will keynote our May 9 commencement ceremony as well.

I feel so honored to be a part of UCI Law, and I’m so very grateful for your support.

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean, UC Irvine School of Law

Dedicated Supporters

Experian and Jones Day folksSupported by a generous gift from Experian and Jones Day (representatives from each organization are pictured here), UCI Law’s student-run moot court program celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. On Feb. 2, finalists Aaron Benmark ’15 and Jacqueline Shepherd ’15 argued whether the U.S. government’s bulk collection of telephone records violates the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. Benmark won Best Oral Argument, and Best Brief went to Yashina Burns ’16 and David Rutan ’16. More than 60 legal professionals served as judges over 18 days of arguments. Photos from the 2015 Experian/Jones Day Moot Court finals are available on Flickr.

Broadcom event

Broadcom and UC Irvine this spring launched an all-day interdisciplinary team competition featuring 60 graduate students from the UCI schools of law, business, information and computer sciences, and engineering, to negotiate the best business deal involving a case study for new technology. “This competition gives graduate students from different fields valuable, hands-on experience at solving real business challenges as a team, just as multi-discipline groups do every day in the workplace,” said Arthur Chong (pictured here), Broadcom Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. Photos and media coverage of the competition are available on Storify.

Toobin Lecture

Among the highlights of this year’s Admitted Students Weekend was the Mark P. Robinson, Jr. Lecture, featuring Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior analyst and The New Yorker staff writer, who spoke on “The Supreme Court in the Age of Obama.” The lecture series is made possible by an anonymous donor in honor of Robinson’s generous support of UCI Law. (Pictured L to R: Robinson, Toobin and Dean Chemerinsky)

Stellar Students

EJW FellowsOur students continue to earn amazing accolades. Pilar Ferguson ’15 and Caroline Shurig ’15 (pictured) became the first at UCI Law to receive prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowships. Joseph Roth ’15 was awarded an Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law Sponsored Scholarship Grant for Judicial Clerks, joining an elite group of recipients who graduated from law school at Yale, Stanford, Harvard and the University of Chicago. Alexis Federico ’16 won the inaugural Irell & Manella Diversity Scholarship, and Coral Lopez ’15 is the latest UCI Law recipient of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County’s Wallace (Wally) R. Davis Memorial Scholarship. Lopez and Ferguson, along with classmates Amelia Alvarez ’15 and Sarah Cortez ’15, were interviewed by Unidos about their pro bono work. Alvarez and Fawn Bekam ’15, as part of UCI Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, were quoted in Al Jazeera America about the impact of gang injunctions on undocumented immigrants. Christine Fukushima ’15 and Tommy Du ’15 placed second in the J.D. Division of the American Bar Association’s Tax Challenge competition. Fukushima and Melissa Main ’15 also were offered positions at the Internal Revenue Service through the highly competitive IRS Chief Counsel Honors Program. Meanwhile, Du and Sheila Mojtehed ’16 took top honors in the 2015 Mock Trial competition. Ryan Beall ’16 finished second in the American College of Bankruptcy Chapter 11 Negotiations Competition, and UCI Law’s Jessup Moot Court team advanced to the Pacific Region quarterfinals. Aaron Brynildson ’15 argued before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado for protection of lands within the San Juan National forest. This spring, UCI Law students began handling cases for pro se Veterans seeking relief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, with Bree Oswald ’16 coordinating the project. UCI Law Students also were recognized for their pro bono work at the Mississippi Center for Justice during Spring Break as Outstanding Public Servants; an article by Aaron Adams ’16 about his volunteer experience in Mississippi was featured by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. The Washington Post quoted a blog post by IPAT Clinic students Aaron Benmark ’15, Kyle Reynolds ’15 and Rahul Sajnani ’16 in an essay about fair use. Michael Iseri ’15 was quoted in the National Law Journal about his personal experience regarding LSAT disability accommodations. Through their involvement in the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), David Bethea ’15 and Caroline Reiser ’15 helped an associate at Irell & Manella LLP secure a special immigrant visa for an Afghani translator. The Daily Pilot also covered IRAP’s participation in Breathe Free, a national art campaign. Meanwhile, OC Weekly previewed two outstanding student-led symposiums: “Critical Perspectives on the Drug War,” organized by Law Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and “Confronting Legal Issues at the Nexus of Entertainment and Technology,” organized by the Entertainment Law Society.

Enriching Our Community

Pro Bono AwardsUCI Law proudly recognized two outstanding community partners at our annual Pro Bono & Student Life Awards event. The Public Law Center received the 2015 Pro Bono Partner Award for its support of the Domestic Violence Declarations Project.(Pictured L to R: Kelsey Galanter ’15 and Stephanie Johnson ’16 with PLC representatives Hadar Zemah and Kirsten Kreyman.) Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center attorney Michael Gaitley received the 2015 Pro Bono Advocate Award for initiating and directing the Worker’s Rights Clinic, Orange County’s first employment law clinic for low-income workers.We commend this year’s awardees for their tireless work in helping the underrepresented and for providing UCI Law students with exceptional opportunities for pro bono service. Dozens of our students were recognized at the awards event, too, for their leadership, service and unflagging commitment to pro bono work.

Anna Davis

The Law School also salutes Anna Davis, our Director of Public Interest Programs, who recently was named Attorney of the Year by the Public Law Center. Davis will be recognized at PLC’s 2015 Volunteers for Justice Dinner on June 22, where she will be honored for her leadership in establishing pro bono programs in Orange County that allow UCI Law students to work alongside attorneys.

Alumni Notes

ASWGroup at Crystal Cove UCI Law graduates, including several members of the Law Alumni Association Board, helped welcome prospective members of the Class of 2018 at the Law School’s annual Admitted Students Weekend, held April 10 and 11 on campus and at Crystal Cove (see photos). Our alumni are also making — and reporting — the news: A commentary written by Lisa Petak ’14 on the Young v. UPS pregnancy discrimination case was noted in SCOTUSblog, and Mallory Sepler-King ’13 co-authored an article about animals in the workplace. Skyler Gray ’14 wrote a Huffington Post piece on the rise of female lawyers in celebrity news; Gray also wrote about the Oklahoma fraternity incident and the social media/technological impact. Shaleen Shanbhag ’14 was quoted in an article concerning the ACLU challenge of a book ban in Riverside, and Edgar Aguilasocho ’12, as lead attorney for United Farm Workers, was quoted in a CNBC article about labor disputes between UFW and America’s biggest peach grower. Kudos to Jonathan Markovitz ’14, who won a Skadden Fellowship and is working with the ACLU to help serve the needs of people who apply to CalWORKS; Radhika Mehta ’14, who received the La Mancha Humanitarian award for asylum work; and Matthew Rosene ’13, who was honored with a William J. Lasarow Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service by the Public Law Center, for his dedication to PLC’s bankruptcy project. Finally, a big congratulations to UCI Law alumni who took part in our annual Swearing-In Ceremony! Do you have news to share with the UCI Law community? We’d love to hear from alumni about your latest achievements and current projects. Please email with your update. 

Faculty News

Chancellor's professors Chancellor’s Professors are endowed positions awarded to a very small number of UCI faculty across the campus who demonstrate exceptional academic merit. This spring, UCI Law celebrated three faculty members — Profs. Michele Goodwin, Christopher Leslie and Gregory Shaffer — who have been named to this honor. More good news: According to a recent study, Profs. Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Bryant Garth and Douglas NeJaime are among the most cited professional responsibility/legal profession scholars in the country. Profs. Tony Reese and Christopher Whytock are newly elected members of The American Law Institute; Prof. Joe DiMento was appointed to UC-Mexico Initiative’s Environment Working Group; and Prof. Katherine Porter has been appointed reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s Committee on Transfer and Recording of Consumer Debt. Prof. Porter also is spending two weeks in Myanmar, having been invited by the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide advice on consumer protection and bankruptcy law. Prof. Elizabeth Loftus received Cornell University’s Award for Lifetime Contributions in Law, Psychology and Human Development; Prof. Jennifer Chacón was among the “Women Inspiring Change” honorees at the Harvard Law International Women’s Day celebration; and the Association of American Law Schools recognized Profs. Mario Barnes and Seth Davis with 2015 awards for excellence in legal education. We are fortunate this spring to welcome a wonderful group of visiting professors, including civil rights leader Mark Rosenbaum, named a 2015 Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer, and the Hon. Harry T. Edwards, chief judge emeritus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. UCI Law faculty continue to speak on critical topics and serve as experts on legal issues for local, national and global media, including: Prof. Olufunmilayo Arewa on copyright and music licensing; Prof. Sameer Ashar on immigrant rights; Prof. Dan Burk on patent eligibility rules; Prof. Alejandro Camacho on land use law; Prof. Catherine Fisk on labor laws; Prof. Kaaryn Gustafson on welfare and economic policy; Prof. Rick Hasen on campaign finance; Prof. David Kaye on freedom of opinion and expression; Prof. Annie Lai on immigration; Prof. Jack Lerner on net neutrality; Prof. David Min on finance; Prof. Jane Stoever on domestic violence; and Prof. Benjamin van Rooij on China. This spring, our community celebrated publications authored and co-authored by 11 UCI Law faculty members — Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and Profs. Sarah Lawsky, Ann Southworth, DiMento, Fisk, Hasen, Leslie, Menkel-Meadow, NeJaime, Porter and Shaffer. The Law School also hosted a public discussion of Dean Chemerinsky's book “The Case Against the Supreme Court,” moderated by Prof. Hasen, with opening remarks by Prof. Song Richardson.

In This Issue


May 8, 2015:
Public Service Award Dinner at Island Hotel, Newport Beach

May 9, 2015:
Class of 2015 Commencement Ceremony

May 13-14, 2015:
Transnational Legal Orders for Private Law and Business Regulation Symposium
Stay tuned for details

May 21, 2015:
A Premier Panel on Intellectual Property Protection in China

July 13, 2015:
5th Annual Supreme Court Term in Review

July 20-24, 2015:
Fifth Annual Session on Empowering Sustainability on Earth Symposium 
Stay tuned for details