UC Irvine Law School Names Founding Faculty, Staff ‘Dream Team’


Top Scholars in Intellectual Property, Labor and Employment Law among New Hires

Contact: Cathy Lawhon

Irvine, Calif., July 9, 2008—The new School of Law at the University of California, Irvine has appointed a founding faculty and administrative team as it prepares to welcome its first class of students in fall 2009. Faculty hires—many with interdisciplinary appointments—include internationally recognized scholars in fields such as cyber law, discrimination law and international dispute resolution, as well as the incoming president of the Association of American Law Schools and an award-winning journalist.

“I am proud to be joined by this talented and diverse ‘dream team’ of faculty and senior administrators as we establish California’s first public law school in nearly 50 years,” said founding dean Erwin Chemerinsky. “These outstanding individuals, each of whom comes directly from— or has taught at—a top-tier school, form the foundation for creating one of America’s best schools of law, an effort that will begin the day we open its doors.”

According to Chancellor Michael V. Drake, “These legal scholars will enable interdisciplinary collaborations in areas such as intellectual property, biotechnology, environmental law, psychology, business and criminal justice. With these outstanding founding faculty, the dean’s leadership, and the full backing of UCI and the greater Orange County community, we fully expect our new School of Law will become a national leader in legal education.”

National leaders from the bench, bar and academy agree. “I am confident that, under the leadership of Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and the extraordinary founding faculty he has recruited, the UCI School of Law will do much to set the standard for legal education in the 21st century,” says Judge Harry T. Edwards, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

University of Virginia School of Law Dean John C. Jeffries Jr. adds, “Erwin Chemerinsky has done what most thought impossible—and that is to create from scratch a truly first-rate faculty. UC Irvine’s new law school is off to a great start.”

Founding faculty (including several currently at UCI) and administrators who will be joining UC Irvine in the next two years include, in alphabetical order:

  • Rebecca Avila, assistant dean of administration and finance: Formerly senior associate dean for administration and finance at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, Avila also served as executive director of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and is currently on the boards of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Center for Governmental Studies. “We get to start fresh and define the culture and community of the law school for the first time,” Avila says. “This challenge alone ensures that we will attract forward-looking and adventurous intellectual leaders to our faculty and to our student body.”
  • Rex Bossert, director of communications and public affairs: Former editor-in chief of The National Law Journal, Bossert has been a legal affairs journalist for nearly 20 years since earning a J.D. at Northwestern University School of Law and his doctorate in English literature at Stanford University. “I’m truly excited about the prospect of helping Erwin build an innovative and influential new law school from the ground up.”
  • Dan L. Burk, founding faculty: Formerly a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, Burk is an intellectual property law expert specializing in cyber law and biotechnology. He studies the legal and societal impact of new technologies and has written articles on scientific misconduct, regulation of biotechnology and intellectual property implications of global computer networks. Burk became interested in the intersection of science and law in 1987, following the first criminal conviction in the U.S. based on DNA profiling evidence. “I’m excited to be founding a new intellectual property program at a top university in a region as technologically innovative as Southern California,” he says.
  • Charles Cannon, assistant dean of development and external affairs: Cannon served in a number of capacities for 19 years at the UCLA School of Law, where he oversaw alumni relations, communications, special events, annual giving and large gift cultivation. “I am very excited at the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help Dean Chemerinsky and his stellar faculty create the dream law school,” Cannon says. He is pleased to be joined by Director of Development Tiana Johnson, “who has been deeply involved for a number of years in the law school initiative as part of the campus’s advancement team.”
  • Linda R. Cohen, founding faculty (joint appointment in economics and law): Cohen is associate dean for research and graduate studies and professor of economics in the School of Social Sciences and an expert in government regulation and government policy for research and innovation. She has published extensively in journals such as the Georgetown Law Review and the Southern California Law Review. “We have a unique opportunity to develop a program that will bring law students and faculty to a university eager to participate in a multidisciplinary scholarship that includes legal issues and methodology. As a founding faculty of the law school, I am particularly excited about contributing to continued interactions across campus.”
  • Joseph F.C. DiMento, founding faculty (joint appointment in planning and law): DiMento is a professor of planning, policy and design and director of the Newkirk Center for Science and Society. He has authored or co-authored 10 books on environmental law and urban planning and is a prolific contributor to academic journals, including the Duke Law Journal and the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. He also served on the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as a special assistant to the U.S. Department of Justice, Land and Natural Resources Division. “My style is to push and encourage students to learn so that they can be effective with words and with the law,” DiMento says of his teaching style.
  • Catherine Fisk, founding faculty: An expert in labor and employment law and civil rights law, Fisk was a faculty member at the Duke University School of Law. She has published two books and many articles in top law reviews on topics including workplace knowledge and employee intellectual property and labor law. She is working on a book about attribution of work and the resume. “We can merge both the most sophisticated interdisciplinary and scholarly study of law with the most rigorous clinical education opportunities,” she said. “I’m excited to build an institution that will make contributions to the local, state and national legal and scholarly culture that will endure long after the founding faculty and founding students have left.”
  • Carrie Hempel, founding faculty and associate dean of clinical education and service learning programs: Hempel served as the directing attorney for the USC Post-Conviction Justice Project, a clinical program that provides legal assistance to indigent prisoners at state and federal prisons in habeas corpus, parole and civil rights cases. She specializes in post-conviction matters, gender and law, and criminal law. “We intend to provide an outstanding experiential learning course for every UCI law student,” she said. “Having a full year of planning is unprecedented and will allow us to build a unique program that we hope will become a model for other law schools.”
  • Trina Jones, founding faculty: A faculty member at Duke University School of Law since 1995, Jones specializes in discrimination law and civil procedure. She is co-editor of “Law and Class in America: Trends since the Cold War,” which examines the influence of legal reforms on socioeconomic status. Her scholarship also focuses on colorism, which is the prejudicial treatment of same-race individuals on the basis of skin color, and limitations with existing anti-discrimination doctrine in a changing social context. “I’m looking forward to working with a great team of scholars and to teaching our first class of students,” she says. “Few things are more rewarding than seeing young people take on something as challenging as law school, and watching as they often exceed their own expectations of what is possible.”
  • Elizabeth Loftus, founding faculty (joint appointment in psychology and law): A distinguished professor of psychology at UCI, Loftus’ research into the malleability of memory and thought has intersected with the legal field on a variety of issues, including the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. Loftus has testified as an expert and consulted in hundreds of high-profile cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing case and the Rodney King beating. “I hope to teach courses on memory and the law that will include law students and also students from psychology and other social sciences,” she says, “This mix should lead to some exciting discussions.”
  • Carrie Menkel-Meadow, founding faculty: A professor at Georgetown University Law Center since 1996, Menkel-Meadow has expertise in dispute resolution, often serving as a mediator and arbitrator. She has trained lawyers, judges, diplomats and mediators in the U.S. and five continents. She expects UCI students will be interested in taking on some of the world’s most difficult problems—poverty, environmental degradation and discrimination—by drawing on interdisciplinary education. She looks forward to “working with similarly innovative colleagues to craft new courses, new sequences and alignments of legal education, and to build an institutional culture of interdisciplinary learning that produces skilled and thoughtful legal problem solvers for the future.”
  • Rachel Moran, founding faculty: A professor at UC Berkeley School of Law since 1983 and incoming president of the Association of American Law Schools, Moran is an expert in education and law, diversity, civil rights and equality. She recently co-edited Race Law Stories (with Devon Carbado), part of a series of stories behind landmark legal decisions. “UCI law will be open to a wide array of students,” she says. “I hope all of them will share a desire to make the world a better place.”
  • Victoria Ortiz, assistant dean of student services and director of admissions: Ortiz held a similar position at UC Berkeley School of Law and has been involved in startup programs, including the Freedom Schools summer and after-school program in Mississippi and the student services department at the City University of New York School of Law. She intends “to work with the founding team to build a school that is truly all about the students and their learning, and to train caring and ethical professionals who will give back to the community no matter where they go to work after law school.”
  • Ann Southworth, founding faculty: Southworth’s research at Case Western Reserve University School of Law focuses primarily on lawyers who serve causes. The University of Chicago Press will soon release her book “Lawyers of the Right: Professionalizing the Conservative Coalition,” which examines class and cultural conflict among such lawyers. Southworth is interested in lawyers’ professional responsibilities and their roles in social movements and public policy formation. “I find it extremely rewarding to try to lead students to discover what is useful, important and sometimes even inspiring in the subjects I teach,” she says.
  • Beatrice A. Tice, founding faculty and associate dean of library and information services: Formerly chief law librarian and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Tice advocates that law librarians reach beyond the traditional role of service provider and act as partners with the law school community. Tice, a Newport Beach native, has practiced law in Orange County. “I’ve always felt UCI deserved and could support a world-class law school,” she says. “Being able to participate in the founding and development of that law school is an unbelievable thrill.”
  • Grace C. Tonner, founding faculty and associate dean of lawyering skills: Currently director of the Legal Practice Program at the University of Michigan Law School, Tonner makes presentations on legal writing at international conferences and has authored numerous articles on the topic. “I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in America’s courtrooms and law offices,” Tonner says. “I hope I can bring students the perspective of someone who observes the system closely and tries to find ways for law students to improve their writing.”
  • Kerry Vandell, founding faculty (joint appointment in business and law): Vandell is a professor business and director of UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business Center for Real Estate. He has researched and consulted widely and written or co-authored more than 80 papers that have appeared in such publications as the Journal of Finance, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Real Estate Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics and the Wharton Real Estate Review. “The thing that excites me most about this new endeavor is the way in which the School of Law will truly sustain and reinforce the interdisciplinary tradition of research and education that has always served as the philosophical foundation of UCI,” he says.
  • Henry Weinstein, founding faculty (joint appointment in literary journalism and law): Winner of Columbia University’s John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, Weinstein spent 30 years as legal affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times. He earned a law degree from UC Berkeley in 1969 but pursued journalism instead, reporting on social issues including the death penalty, civil liberties, consumer fraud and white-collar crime against the poor. His stories helped free an innocent man from prison and sent a notorious slumlord to prison. “I relish the chance to work at a law school where the dean has emphasized that the law school of the 21st century must do a far better job of encouraging students to use their training to help the unrepresented and to advance social justice.”

The law school received a founding gift from the Donald Bren Foundation and generous support from Joan Irvine Smith and the Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and Mark P. Robinson Jr.