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Law Cappella Kicks Off the Holiday Season

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Nov 19, 2021

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It is officially the holiday season at UC Davis School of Law: Law Cappella, the law student a cappella group, held a concert in the King Hall courtyard this week.  The "open mic" event featured performances by Law Cappella and others, including Matthew Santos '22 (pictured).

Our students displayed some amazing musical talents. I joined Professor Tom Joo and Assistant Dean Chris Ide-Don as they watched the performances. Alum Jose Mafnas ’16 happened to be visiting and enjoyed the show.  


Former Intelligence Inspector General Atkinson Discusses Difficult Role

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Nov 19, 2021

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Director of Externships Dena Bauman brought a wonderful speaker to UC Davis School of Law – one of her classmates from Cornell Law School.  

Bauman asked questions of Michael Atkinson, who in August 2019, as the Inspector General for the nation’s intelligence community, found himself reading the whistleblower complaint that would lead to the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump. In leading the investigation (and doing his job), Atkinson was in the center of the ensuing political maelstrom until April 2020, when Trump dismissed him from his position. 

He had served as the presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed Inspector General of the Intelligence Community in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence since May 2018. As the chief watchdog for the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, he led teams of investigators, auditors, and examiners in conducting investigations and compliance reviews relating to counterintelligence and cybersecurity matters, intelligence oversight abuses, and other highly sensitive allegations. 

Atkinson talked about his experience in those months following the whistleblower complaint; the many issues that arose and decisions he needed to make. He spoke more broadly about the ethical and professional dimensions of government lawyering. 

When your client is the United States of America or some other governmental entity, what do you do when those entrusted with the power of the people take actions that might be inconsistent with the law or other applicable requirements? Are there times when government lawyers need to take action to protect the rule of law from acts, whether of commission or omission, by those in power? And how do you make those complex decisions? 

Atkinson currently is a partner with the Washington D.C. office of Crowell & Moring. He co-leads its national security practice.  

The UC Davis School of Law community got to hear some incredibly interesting information from Michael Atkinson.  And thanks Dena Bauman for bring us a wonderful speaker. 


Professor Bhagwat Discusses Highly Relevant New Book

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Nov 18, 2021

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On Wednesday, we held a community event to hear about Professor Ash Bhagwat’s new book, Our Democratic First Amendment. The book was released in summer 2020, but it was only recently possible to have an in-person event marking its publication.

Students, staff, and faculty attended in person and by Zoom.  

Professor Bhagwat, the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality, talked about his book, which explores the democratic traditions of the First Amendment. His analysis is relevant to the free speech issues of today, with those traditions under siege. 

Once again, Professor Bhagwat made us proud to have such an amazing scholar on the UC Davis School of Law faculty.