UC Irvine School of Law Historical Timeline


Aerial view of UCI Campus in the 60s

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


UCI Founding Chancellor Dan Aldrich proposes a plan for professional schools at UCI, including law.


Andrew Guilford

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.


"Founding volunteers" from left to right, Thomas Malcolm, Mark Robinson, Jr., Erwin Chemerinsky, Gary Singer, Joe Dunn.

A group of prominent local lawyers, including former California State Senator Joseph Dunn, now Hon. Andrew Guilford, Thomas Malcolm, Mark P. Robinson Jr., Gary Singer and James Irvine Swinden launch a renewed effort for a law school at UCI. The group later becomes known as the “Founders of the Law School.” Pictured from left to right, Thomas Malcolm, Mark Robinson, Jr., Erwin Chemerinsky, Gary Singer, Joe Dunn.

July 2000

Michael R. Gottfredson

UCI's fourth Chancellor, Ralph Cicerone, and Executive Vice Chancellor, Michael R. Gottfredson (pictured), prioritize the establishment of a law school at UCI.

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. (Drake was later appointed University of California President in 2020).

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.

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.


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 the University of California, Irvine School of Law, effective July 1, 2008.

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.

March 2011

The Inaugural UC Irvine Law Review is published: Training for the Practice of Law at the Highest Levels.

August 2011

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.

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

May 2017

Founding Dean Erwin Chemerinsky appointed dean at University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

May 2017

L. Song Richardson appointed interim dean of UCI Law, effective July 2017. Scholars, professionals and students react to the appointment.

December 2017

L. Song Richardson named second permanent dean of UCI Law, effective Jan. 1, 2018. More than 50 media stories and social media posts shared the exciting news. Read the press release >

August 2018

UCI Law kick started its 10th year of classes with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the school's courtyard. More than 200 students, faculty, staff and community members were in attendance to welcome the Class of 2021. The ceremony launched the law school's 10th anniversary celebrations.

March 2019

UCI Libraries and UCI Law opened the spring 2019 exhibit, UCI Law Stories: Past, Present, and Future, on Monday, March 25, 2019. The exhibit included select writings and memorabilia showcasing UCI Law's historical beginnings, the school's founding vision and its pioneering and entrepreneurial community partners, faculty, staff, students and alumni.

March 2020

UCI Law transitions to remote instruction due to public health mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 9, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCI Law holds its first virtual commencement ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2020.

December 2020

UCI Law’s second dean L. Song Richardson is named President of Colorado College, effective July 1, 2021.

April 2021

Bryant Garth is appointed interim dean of UCI Law, effective June 2, 2021. 

April 7, 2022

Austen Parrish named third permanent dean of UCI Law, effective August 3, 2022. Parrish joins UCI Law from Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he was dean and James H. Rudy Professor.

Read the press release >

August 3, 2022

Austen Parrish began his deanship on August 3, 2022. The UCI Law community welcomed him with a celebration in the courtyard on the first day of class of the fall 2022 semester.

September 6, 2023

Michael Ermer portrait
UCI Law announces the naming of its accomplished Pro Bono Program in recognition of a generous gift from Michael G. Ermer, Partner Emeritus at Irell & Manella LLP. Learn more.