UCI Law Clips and Video: Class of 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony


UCI Law celebrated the Class of 2020 with a first-of-its-kind virtual commencement ceremony. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UCI Law was unable to host an in-person ceremony as it would in years past, however the law school honored its graduates with a virtual ceremony. UCI Law’s Class of 2020, the law school’s ninth J.D. class, third LL.M. class and first Graduate Tax Program class, graduated on Saturday, May 9, 2020.

The ceremony included remarks from Dean L. Song Richardson; Chancellor Howard Gillman; Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality at ACLU, Jeffery Robinson; Prof. Bob Solomon; Yi-Kao “Kyle” Chen, LL.M. Class of 2020; Xingshou Liu, Graduate Tax Program Class of 2020; and Sai Upadhyayula, J.D. Class of 2020.

Watch the full commencement ceremony here > 

More about Sai Upadhyayula, J.D. Class of 2020

Upon graduation Sai will be joining the Life Sciences, Technology Transaction’s Group at Wilson Sonsini in San Diego. His academic journey to becoming a lawyer is an eclectic one. Sai received his bachelor’s degree in Music from Pitzer College, and then completed his post-baccalaureate studies in the sciences at the University of Hawaii. After that, he received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California.

While at UCI Law, Sai received the Intellectual Property & High Technology Consortium Fellowship, and was a two-time awardee of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Sidney B. Williams Jr. Intellectual Property Law Scholarship. He served as an Admissions Ambassador, a Community Fellow, and then as one of our inaugural Dean’s Fellows.

Sai spent three semesters in our Domestic Violence Clinic and represented individuals and conducted policy work in his role as a Graduate Student Fellow with UCI’s Initiative to End Family Violence. And, while he was a 3L student at UCI Law, he also served as an adjunct professor at Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, where he co-taught a course for first-year pharmacy students.

Additionally, during this COVID-19 pandemic, as a registered pharmacist he has been serving as a Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer through the Disaster Healthcare Volunteers of California.

More about Dean L. Song Richardson

Song L. Richardson is the Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at UCI Law with joint appointments in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and in the Department of Asian American Studies. She received her A.B. from Harvard College and her J.D. from Yale Law School. 

Dean Richardson is an expert in implicit racial and gender bias and has worked with public defenders, prosecutors, police officers, and judges on understanding how unconscious racial and gender biases might impact their work. In addition, earlier this year, she was appointed to the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Closing remarks were presented by Dean Richardson, who reminded the Class of 2020 that they have demonstrated empathy, grit, compassion, kindness and the UCI Law spirit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “When things get hard, and they will; when you want to give up, and you might; and when you face failure, which if you’re trying hard enough, you will -- remember where you come from. Remember your history. Remember how you dealt with these challenging and unprecedented times, because at UCI Law we know that hard is not impossible. That’s what it means to be a graduate of UCI Law.”