Earlier this week, I returned to Barrows Hall on the UC Berkeley campus where I had taken classes as an undergraduate many years ago. The Latino Pre-Law Students of UC Berkeley invited me to talk about UC Davis School of Law, the law school application process, and life as a lawyer. It was a delightful group of enthusiastic students, including an alum of our King Hall Outreach program Luz Murillo (who coincidentally hails from Esparto in Yolo County). I greatly enjoyed telling the group about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at King Hall, the origins of the King statue, and the unique sense of community that students, faculty, staff, and alums have created at King Hall. The students had excellent questions about law school, the application process, and the practice of law. I left the evening impressed with these great students. The group plans to visit King Hall in April.
To top off a wonderful night, I stopped by my favorite hot dog place in the world, Top Dog, and enjoyed a tasty meal.
It was just another day in paradise for the King Hall alums who met for lunch with me at the upscale Puesto restaurant on the San Diego waterfront. For me, however, it was a wonderful relief from the rain we had been seeing for several days in Davis.
Blue skies over Puesto restaurant
The restaurant printed welcome messages for alums on its menu.
I greatly enjoyed talking with our alums, including a Robert Brownlie '88, a high powered litigator at DLA Piper. I also caught up with my former research assistant Serena Salinas '12, Josefina Carrillo '06, Mike Van Horne ’75 (a former King Hall alumni board member), Jeremy Warren '95, Calvin Fan '95, Mike Wexler '73, Sandra Chong '99, and Michelle Betancourt '01. Alumni Board member Jose Castillo '06 (January’s Alum of the Month) helped organize the event and ensured that we had the tastiest tacos in town.
I was able to fill the group in on the great things happening at their King Hall, including the outpouring of support for immigrants in need. I also told them about our stellar students, amazing faculty, and dedicated alums. It always is exhilarating to see the pride in our alums' eyes as I relay the news.
It always is great feeling the enthusiasm and support of UC Davis School of Law alums. They remain vibrant parts of our community.
I had an experience with direct democracy last night, taking part in Congressman Ami Bera's telephone town hall (aka “teletownhall”). Congressman Bera answered call-in questions during the event.
Congressman Bera takes calls from constituents. Courtesy: Twitter @RepBera
The questions were posed by constituents, touching on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, prescription drug prices, the workings of Congress, executive power, and more. Congressman Bera was well-versed on the issues and took first dibs on most of the questions. He directed a few questions to me about President Trump's immigration executive actions, basic separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution, and services that were available through the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic.
Fred Riccardi, director of client services for the Medicare Rights Center, also was on the call and took on many of the health care related questions.
The call was an interesting lens into American democracy at work. The callers were thoughtful and asked questions important to each of them. And the answers were thoughtfully presented.
Thanks to Congressman Bera for the opportunity!
This week I traveled to San Francisco to see King Hall alum Rew Ikazaki ’87 receive the Distinguished Achievement Award from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. Rew is Chief Counsel for Tesla, the car manufacturer, and previously worked at Trident Microsystems and Sun Microsystems.
Rew received the award at the GSM's 14th Annual Peer-to-Pier Distinguished Speaker Event at Blue Shield of California's beautiful offices in the financial district in San Francisco. It was a balmy evening in San Francisco and it was nice catching up with Rew and talking about the upcoming Tesla Model 3 automobile.
Rew mentioned that he enjoyed coming to his law class reunion last October, where he was able to catch up with classmate Professor Lisa Ikemoto.
It also was nice to see Jamie Kitano ‘09, another joint JD/MBA, at the event in the City by the Bay!
Alum and sports fan Bill Mantle ’74 visited Davis this weekend. Bill, who attended UC Riverside as an undergraduate before coming to King Hall for law school, sat courtside with me and Executive Director of Development Karen Charney at the UC Davis men's 77-63 rout of UC Riverside.
Bill and me as the game gets underway
Karen and Bill enjoy the courtside view.
On a perfect day, Bill strolled the UC Davis campus before the game. An Aggie win was a nice way to cap the day.
I am looking forward to our King Hall Basketball Day at the men's and women's basketball games on February 25. The men's game will be broadcast on ESPN! It should be an exciting time for law school faculty, alums, staff, and students.
Dean of Admissions Kristen Mercado (aka "Dean M") welcoming students at Preview Day for UC Davis students
Our moot court room was filled last night with undergraduates from UC Davis, as well as students from Davis Senior High School, who came to explore the possibilities of a legal education at UC Davis School of Law. I was pleased to welcome the group of eager undergraduates and high school students and tell them a little of the history of King Hall. I also was able to catch up with Kevin Williams, who teaches Race and Social Justice at Davis High and brought some of his students to Preview Day.
UC Davis contributes a great many students to each year's law school entering class. Thanks to all who visited Preview Day for Davis students!
Congratulations to Anton Swain-Gil '18 and Danielle Lauber '18 for placing third at the 2017 ABA National Law Student Negotiation Competition in Chicago!
Here are a few pics from their time in the Windy City:
Student coach Trevor Fehr ’17, Danielle Lauber '18, and Anton Swain-Gil ’18
In the midst of competition
Exploring the Windy City
Congratulations to Danielle and Anton, as well as Professor Donna Shestowsky and all who helped the team to nationals! For more, see this news article on the law school website.
The King Hall Legal Foundation (KHLF) Spring Charity Auction is tonight! Here are the details and auction items (which include a “Night of Irish Revelry,” casino night, karoke, and laser tag with King Hall faculty!). The auction raises funds for UC Davis law students providing vital legal assistance to underrepresented communities.
Tickets are still available at https://squareup.com/store/king-hall-legal-foundation.
I look forward to attending the auction and supporting our law students tonight!
Last Saturday, in the rainy morning hours, there was hustle and bustle around King Hall. First year students were dressed to the nines for the 10th annual King Hall Intraschool Negotiations Competition organized by the King Hall Negotiations Team (KHNT). Alums, friends of the school, and students came from near and far to help judge the competition, which is an important part of the skills training available at UC Davis School of Law.
Professor Donna Shestowsky (pictured above, left), who has served as the intellectual and organizational inspiration for revamping negotiations and other skills training at King Hall, was in attendance. I had the opportunity to thank the judges, which included Judge Anders Holmer ‘72, Kim Lucia ‘09, Jeff Edwards ‘09, Brendon Ishikawa ‘95, and last year's Law Student Association President Sam Mandell ‘16. Olivia Filbrandt '17 welcomed the judges on behalf of the students.
Winners and finalists. For results, visit http://students.law.ucdavis.edu/negotiations/competition.html.
Meanwhile, the King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP) students were taking practice LSAT test in the morning. They were invited to the final round of the negotiations competition in the afternoon. Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Madhavi Sunder had lunch with the KHOP students last week, and I had lunch with them on Saturday. They are an amazing bunch, and I was proud that they were participating in the program and seeking to become lawyers. We need them! Here is a photograph of the KHOP students:
It was yet another day that made me proud to be associated with UC Davis School of Law!
I stopped by our Journal of International Law & Policy (JILP) annual symposium on Friday. The symposium was on Combating International Human Rights Abuses.
Pics from instagram.com/ucdavislaw.
Dr. Kathy Roberts, keynote speaker
The keynote speaker was Dr. Kathy Roberts from the Center for Justice and Accountability. She talked about international human rights work at CJA.
JILP's editor-in-chief Hope Kwiatkowski kicked off the day with an introduction. There were two panels with professors, students, and attorney activists. The symposium content was excellent.
As I have said before, King Hall is what it is because of our amazing students. Congratulations, JILP, on a great symposium!
On Friday night, I had the opportunity to talk at a "fireside chat" at the Graduate School of Management about immigration issues with leaders from our community colleges in a UC Davis School of Education program, Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research.
Wheelhouse supports and cultivates current and future community college leaders through professional development and research. The organizers of the program are Susanna Cooper, Managing Director, Community College Leadership Center, and Professor Michal Kurlaender, Professor, Chair of the Graduate Group in Education, and Chancellor’s Fellow.
We had a great group of community college leaders in attendance, all dealing with student, faculty, staff, and alumni concerns with President Trump's immigration executive orders. It was especially nice to see among the group Foothill College's new president, Thuy Thi Nguyen, who previously served as general counsel for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office; she is the first Vietnamese-American community college president in California. I worked with Thuy in helping to create the 2+2+3 pipeline program for community college students and designed to get them through law school.
We had a great discussion of the challenges on our community college campuses, and I left the discussion convinced that our community colleges were in good hands.
Dear King Hall Community:
The King Hall community and the University of California, Davis have been enriched immeasurably by the contributions of generations of students, faculty, and scholars from around the world. I join UC President Janet Napolitano and the Chancellors of the University of California, including UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter, and other campus leaders and groups in expressing support for all members of our community and promising to continue to welcome to our University the best students and scholars of all backgrounds. A UC website collects useful resources about the importance of community inclusion that are worth reviewing. https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/immigration
Please let me emphasize our steadfast support for our foreign J.D. and LL.M. students, who have traveled from around the world to study at UC Davis School of Law. A number of students have expressed concern with the U.S. government’s treatment of foreign citizens, especially Muslims, by the current administration. Let there be no mistake that King Hall stands with all of our students, faculty, and staff for the duration.
The immediate impacts of President Trump’s recent immigration executive orders on immigrants, their families, and communities have been far-reaching. Although national security and public safety unquestionably are important, we must always be vigilant to ensure that actions taken in the name of security do not trample on the rights of the most vulnerable among us. We must take to heart the lessons from, among other tragic episodes in our history, the nation’s mass detention of persons of Japanese ancestry – including U.S. citizens – during World War II. As lawyers, law professors, and law students, we have a special role in ensuring adherence to the rule of law in turbulent times.
The King Hall community should take pride in knowing that our faculty, students, and alumni have responded to community members in need. Just hours after the January 27 executive order was issued, a Law School group traveled to the San Francisco and Sacramento international airports to offer assistance to detained individuals and their families. One faculty member assisted noncitizens seeking advice at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. During that weekend, more than 20 faculty and alumni worked with students at our Immigration Law Clinic, to identify people threatened with removal from the United States, prepare emergency motions, and assist in negotiations with border enforcement officers. Their work made a difference, for example, preventing the deportation of an elderly Iranian couple, reuniting a man with his bride-to-be, obtaining assistance for a pregnant woman detained at a hospital, and more. (For details, see reports by Dateline UC Davis, KCRA-3, CBS-13, and Sacramento Bee.).
Long a beacon of hope for immigrants, the Immigration Law Clinic, led by Professors Holly Cooper and Amagda Pérez, continues to respond to the increasing – and sometimes urgent – requests for assistance, as does the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center, serving all undocumented UC students and their families.
Today at noon, the School of Law will host “A Teach In About the Immigration Executive Orders” in which Professors Karima Bennoune, Angela Harris, Leticia Saucedo, Brian Soucek, and Rose Cuison Villazor, as well as Executive Director of the Undocumented Legal Services Center María Blanco, will discuss President Trump’s Executive Orders regarding immigration law, immigrants’ rights, and human rights. There no doubt will be more opportunities for dialogue in the coming weeks.
I urge all members of our community to consider, in your own way, assisting communities in need. There are many possibilities. Law students are participating in the upcoming naturalization workshops on March 11 that are being organized by La Raza Law Students Association as part of the César Chávez Day of Service. Immigration Clinic students have volunteered to talk to Davis High School students worried about the possible removal of their families from the United States. Externship Director Sara Jackson has information on how students may volunteer for the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The law school administration will collect and distribute other volunteer opportunities as they become available.
Times of crisis test the moral fiber of a community. UC Davis School of Law has long been defined by our dedication to the ideals of social justice, equality, and public service exemplified by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Please join me in reaffirming that commitment in the days and weeks that follow.
Kevin R. Johnson
UC Davis School of Law
On Monday night, I attended the showing of the documentary “The Uncondemned” in Everson Hall.
It was a full house, with law and other students, professors (our own Thomas Joo, Margaret Johns, and Karima Bennoune), alumni, and community members in attendance.
The Uncondemned is a spellbinding and powerful movie about the Rwandan genocide. In a time when we need inspiration, the film was inspiring to those worried about social justice. Professor Lisa R. Pruitt played a major role in conceptualizing the prosecution's case against a war criminal with used systematic rape as a tool of war. Professor Pruitt's role has been recognized in various review of the film, including this one in the L.A. Times, as well as this news article in the Sacramento Bee.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to make introductory remarks. Here’s what I said:
Good evening. I am Kevin Johnson, Dean of UC Davis School of Law. Welcome to this special screening of The Uncondemned, sponsored by the School of Law and the UC Davis Human Rights Study Program.
The film documents the story behind the 1998 trial that resulted in the first-ever conviction of rape as an act of genocide and a crime against humanity. You may not be aware of the connection between this groundbreaking trial and UC Davis. Professor Lisa Pruitt, who is here with us tonight, played a critical role in bringing justice to women in Rwanda.
Professor Pruitt has been with the School of Law since 1999, and she has distinguished herself as an excellent teacher and an outstanding legal scholar. In recent weeks, you may have heard her commenting for National Public Radio and other media.
Before coming to UC Davis, Professor Pruitt in 1996 served as a Gender Consultant with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. There, she assisted in the development of a strategy for the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, including development of the protocol to be used by investigators interviewing sexual assault survivors and guidelines for victims’ services. As depicted in the film we’re about to see, Professor Pruitt analyzed the evidence against Jean-Paul Akayesu and advocated that the indictment against him be amended to include sex-assault-based counts. Put simply, Professor Pruitt was part of a team that made history in bringing justice to victims of sexual violence in Rwanda.
The Uncondemned tells the story of the prosecution and trial. I hope it inspires us all to remember the power that each of us has to make a difference when we stand up for justice. This lesson seems especially appropriate for the times in which we live.
Thank you for coming tonight.
Cross-posted from the Faculty Blog.
Please join us for a discussion of President Trump’s Executive Orders regarding immigration law, immigrants’ rights, and human rights.
Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies
Immigration Law Association
La Raza Student Association
Middle Eastern South Asian Law Students Association (MESALSA)
Lunch will be served.
Today was an especially intellectually rich time on the UC Davis campus. On the same day as the UC Davis Law Review symposium, where I had the pleasure of introducing keynote speaker Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar of the California Supreme Court, there was a "Documenting the Immigrant" conference sponsored by the Institute for Social Sciences, the School of Law, and other groups.
Professors from a variety of disciplines, lawyers, and activists discussed contemporary immigration issues. I was in the concluding panel of the conference and was able to talk about the immigration policies in the Trump administration.
Steve Boutin, myself, Noah Feldman, Susan McClatchy
UC Davis School of Law hosted the 2017 Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture on the First Amendment yesterday. The Central Valley Foundation established this lecture series in 2010 to promote discussion and understanding of the First Amendment. The series builds on the Law School’s long tradition of excellence in constitutional law that extends back to the founding of the Law School.
The lecture is made possible through the generous support of the Central Valley Foundation, which was established by the late James B. McClatchy, the longtime publisher of the McClatchy Company newspapers. The Foundation is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the First Amendment, the advancement of academic achievement of English learners at public elementary schools in California’s Central Valley, and the enhancement and preservation of the quality of life in the Central Valley. We were honored to have at this year’s lecture members of the Central Valley Foundation, including Susan McClatchy.
A distinguished alum, Steve Boutin, who serves on the Central Valley Foundation board, offered welcome remarks. A founder and shareholder at Boutin Jones in Sacramento, Steve has been named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the “Best Lawyers in America in Commercial Litigation.” He is a generous, devoted, and enthusiastic supporter of King Hall and all things UC Davis.
I had the pleasure of introducing our speaker, Noah Feldman, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Professor Feldman graduated from Harvard College and earned a Rhodes Scholarship. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and served as a law clerk to Associate Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and to Chief Judge Harry Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Professor Feldman later joined the faculty of New York University Law School, before returning later to Harvard. Professor Feldman regularly contributes to the New York Times Magazine and Bloomberg View. He is the author of seven books, including mostly recently, a Constitutional Law casebook.
Professor Noah Feldman gave a fascinating lecture on “The Three Lives of James Madison,” which delved into Madison’s commitment to freedom of religion and speech. It was a fascinating and engaging look at James Madison. There were even a few references to the smash hit Broadway play “Hamilton."
The Central Valley Foundation/James McClatchy Lecture is just one of the amazing intellectual events that make me proud to be at UC Davis School of Law.
An exciting day in California politics.
I watched Governor Brown's State of the State speech at the Governor's Office in the State Capitol. It followed the swearing-in of California's new Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The Governor's Office was filled with family and friends of the new Attorney General. A reception followed and I was able to catch up with alums Emilio Camacho '11, who works for the State Energy Commission, and Dan Torres '02, who is in charge of immigration integration matters for Governor Brown. I also saw King Hall friends Justices Goodwin Liu and Mariano-Florentino Cuellar (who will be speaking at the UC Davis Law Review symposium on Friday). I talked immigration policy with Jose Padilla, executive director of California Rural Legal Assistance; Padilla has said that UC Davis School of Law is "CRLA's law school" because they hire so many of our alums.
Dan Torres '02 and CRLA's Jose Padilla
Justice Goodwin Liu and Emilio Camacho '11
It was a festive day in the California State Capitol. Governor Brown gave an inspiring speech and there was palpable excitement about our new AG.
This week the School of Law celebrated the installation of a beautiful and inspiring new mural on the wall of our Clinic cottage.
Created by UC Davis Professor Maceo Montoya and students enrolled in his Chicana/o Studies Mural Workshop course, the mural honors the social justice work of our clinics, including the Civil Rights Clinic, the Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic, the Immigration Law Clinic and the Prison Law Clinic. The idea of honoring the Clinic’s work through art arose in my first meeting with Clinic staff and faculty after I became Associate Dean in Summer 2015. Their interest in art that would help tell the stories of our Clinic clients and reflect their journey from helplessness to empowerment resonated with me. As a scholar of law and culture, I study the role of popular culture and the arts in social production and social revolution. As John Dewey reminds us, there is nothing quite like art as a vehicle for offering an intimacy with the lives of people different from ourselves. Art matters for justice, helping to foster empathy and understanding.
When Dean Johnson heard the idea, he immediately contacted Professor Montoya, and Dean Brett Burns paved the way for an exciting partnership between Professor Montoya’s undergraduate art students and our Clinic. The art students interviewed Clinic students, staff and faculty, and learned of our Clinic’s history and transformative work. The mural is designed in three sections. The left side represents “different aspects of being systematically trapped,” according to the artists’ statement. In the center is “a scale representative of the justice system” and a depiction of the clinic cottage as “a center of hope and support.” On the right, we see images of “liberation”: broken chains that emerge into doves, thank-you letters to the clinic, and the word “justice” in different languages. (To see the full artists’ description of the piece, click here.)
At the installation ceremonies, Dean Johnson (who posted a Dean’s Blog entry on the mural in December) thanked Professor Montoya and his students, as well as our wonderful clinical faculty and staff, who were all in attendance--Associate Director of the Immigration Law Clinic Holly S. Cooper ’98, Supervising Attorney for the Civil Rights Clinic Carter "Cappy" White, Supervising Attorney for the Prison Law Clinic Millard Murphy, Associate Director of the Immigration Law Clinic Amagda Pérez ’91, Director of the Family Law and Protection Clinic Kelly Behre, Paralegal/Law Clinic Coordinator Mary Anne Baird, and clinic staff members Lorie Castillo and Teresa Medina. Also in attendance were Director of Clinical Legal Education Rex Perschbacher, Professor Gabriel “Jack” Chin, Professor Cruz Reynoso, and several other King Hall staff and students.
Professor Montoya spoke of how he and his students gained a deep appreciation for the transformative work being done in our law Clinic.
The beautiful mural he and his students created will surely inspire Clinic students, faculty and staff in many years to come. The art also creates a more welcome space for Clinic clients. “I hope this makes our clients comfortable when they come in,” Professor Murphy said of the mural in his remarks. “I hope it continues to remind us of the work we are doing, who we are serving, and continues to inspire our students.”
The list of speakers for tomorrow’s Women’s March in Washington, DC, has been announced, and UC Davis School of Law alumna Sister Simone Campbell ‘77 is among them.
From her profile on the School of Law website: "Sister Simone Campbell '77 is Executive Director of NETWORK, a Roman Catholic social justice lobby based in Washington, D.C. She is also an attorney, poet, author, and lobbyist. She founded the Community Law Center in Oakland, then became General Director of Sisters of Social Service, and went on to serve as Executive Director of the interfaith advocacy group Jericho before assuming her role with NETWORK in 2004. In 2010, Campbell became a national celebrity as a result of the 'Nuns' Letter,' which was written in support of the Affordable Care Act and signed by representatives of 59 congregations of Catholic Sisters. She also drew attention for her leadership of Nuns on the Bus, a NETWORK-organized advocacy tour of the United States. An invited speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, she has also appeared on The Daily Show and Colbert Report, among other media appearances."
Dear King Hall community,
As we return to classes following our federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I hope you will join me in remembering the deep connection between UC Davis School of Law, Dr. King, and his legacy.
Shortly after Dr. King was assassinated in April 1968, students, faculty, and staff petitioned campus administrators to name the law school building after him to honor his memory and dedicate the School of Law to his ideals of social justice and public service. On April 12, 1969, the building was officially christened King Hall in a ceremony presided over by Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, who remarked, "Even in the naming of the building, one can sense the high purpose to which its facilities are to be dedicated."
Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, delivered our commencement address in 1981, and his son Martin Luther King III visited King Hall in 1986. The following year, a sculpture of Dr. King by artist Lisa Reinertson was placed in the King Hall lobby, thanks to the efforts of students and alumni. That statue still graces the entrance of King Hall, alongside a video exhibit devoted to Dr. King. Several of his famous quotations are displayed on the walls upstairs. Last year, Congressman John Lewis, a colleague of Dr. King and civil rights icon in his own right, delivered a rousing commencement address on the occasion of the School of Law’s 50th anniversary.
Most importantly, UC Davis School of Law has retained its dedication to Dr. King’s dream of social justice. We can take pride in the work of our faculty, which so often addresses the most compelling issues of our time, the efforts of our students, who work thousands of hours each year to provide access to justice for the underserved via our King Hall clinics, and our alumni, so many of whom work in public service or devote a portion of their practice to helping those in need. King Hall is truly making a difference in our community, our state, and our world.
I hope you enjoyed a restful and rejuvenating Martin Luther King Day holiday, and I look forward to working together to help realize Dr. King’s dream in the months and years to come.
Kevin R. Johnson
The new semester is here! Spring 2017 classes started this week.
We also kicked-off the semester with our first Milton Schwartz/David Levi Inn of Court dinner meeting at the Odd Fellows Lodge in downtown Davis. Students, lawyers, judges, and law faculty heard from speakers including our Professor Angela Harris, who spoke about mindfulness and staying healthy as a lawyer and judge. The program was organized by, among others, our alums Jason Jasmine ‘01 and Jenni Gomez ‘12. We had a great group of students, alums, friends, and judges in attendance. Professors Carlton Larson and Alan Brownstein were there. I was able to talk with Scott Judson ‘12 (who just moved law offices) about UC Davis football and Stephanie Ogren ‘11, who just began work for the State of California. I sat at dinner with Professor Cruz Reynoso and Judge Emily Vasquez, a great friend of King Hall. Energized by the holiday break, 3L Olivia Filbrandt sat with us and others.
Professor Emeritus Reynoso and Judge Vasquez, who is president of the Schwartz/Levi chapter of the Inn of Court
Law student Olivia Filbrandt '17 with Inn attendees at dinner
Inn member Kim Lucia ‘09 made an announcement to the group about the Inn's fundraising efforts for law student scholarships. Thanks, Kim!
The UC Davis Law Review's 50th anniversary symposium is happening on January 27 and 28.
The title of this exciting event is "Future-Proofing Law: From rDNA to Robots."
Here is the symposium description:
The UC Davis Law Review will be celebrating its 50th volume by looking into the future and predicting how the law will adapt to rapidly emerging technology.
Panels will focus on significant technological developments and their impacts on various areas of the law, such as constitutional law, intellectual property, criminal law, and many others. Legal discussions will surround technologies such as synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality.
Join us as we look into the future and gain insight into the law for the next 50 years!
Among the outstanding panelists and speakers are a few highlights, including:
Keynote presentations by Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California and Mark A. Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law and Director of the Program in Law, Science & Technology at Stanford Law School
Special lecture by Ben Wizner, Director of the Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Legal Counsel to Edward Snowden
I look forward to the conference and introducing my friend (and close friend of King Hall) Justice Cuéllar.
The event is free and open to the public! Register here to attend.
King Hall co-hosted with the University of San Diego School of Law “A Toast to Lesley McAllister” in San Francisco on January 6. Professor McAllister is fighting a rare form of lung cancer. To honor her and acknowledge her contribution to environmental law scholarship, the Center for Progressive Reform convened a forum of influential scholars who contributed to, are inspired by, and benefit from her work.
Some 60 scholars and colleagues from around the world attended the event. There was a great turnout of King Hall faculty. I saw Dean Kevin Johnson and Professors Brian Soucek, Thomas Joo, Lisa Pruitt, Angela Harris, Jack Chin, Carlton Larson, Peter Lee, Clay Tanaka, Rick Frank, Chris Elmendorf, Leticia Saucedo, and Darien Shanske.
Speakers included Lesley’s dissertation advisor Robert Kagan, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Law at the University of California, Berkeley; Northwestern Dean Dan Rodriguez, who was dean at the University of San Diego when Lesley was hired for her first teaching job; Lesley’s former colleague from the University of San Diego Orly Lobel, and many of her co-authors and environmental law colleagues from around the world.
Lesley and Northwestern Law Dean Dan Rodriguez
Lesley's brother Brad Barnhorn, Lesley, and her co-author Prof. Benjamin van Rooij of UC Irvine
UC Hastings Professor Jodi Short, University of San Diego Professor Orly Lobel, me, and Lesley
Thanks to UC Hastings for hosting the celebration of Lesley’s contributions to environmental law scholarship and the academy at large.
Here are the remarks I gave at the very start of the event to honor our dear colleague.
I feel truly honored to help introduce this Symposium celebrating the scholarship of my brilliant colleague at the UC Davis School of Law, Lesley McAllister.
Some who are here tonight have known and admired Lesley for many years, as an renowned environmental law scholar and beloved law teacher at the University of San Diego, where Lesley held the Stanley Legro chair in Environmental Law and also held an appointment at School of International Relations and Pacific Studies.
Those of us at UC Davis have only had the privilege of getting to know Lesley in the past few years, since she joined our faculty in 2013. I am grateful to the Center for Progressive Reform for organizing and hosting this event, where we can share our deep admiration and respect for a truly incredible woman, scholar, teacher, and colleague.
I feel privileged to know someone of Lesley’s intellectual and personal merit.
The author of two books and dozens of articles and book chapters on a wide range of environmental law topics, from climate change to enforcement of environmental laws in the developing world, Lesley has had an impeccable academic career, earning every conceivable degree from an impressive cadre of academic institutions. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering and public policy from Princeton and a stint in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica (where she could deploy her ability to speak fluent Spanish), she earned a law degree from Stanford, followed by a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. A true Renaissance woman, this engineer/lawyer/doctor published her first monograph, MAKING LAW MATTER: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND LEGAL INSTITUTIONS IN BRAZIL, with Stanford University Press in 2008. For this book Lesley took advantage of her fluency in yet another language, Portuguese, to study a novel new institution in Brazil which began successfully enforcing citizens’ rights to a clean environment. The ever-committed scholar and environmental activist – and let’s admit it, overachiever -- Lesley took advantage of a period of stable health this past semester to do further field research in Brazil and has begun writing a sequel to her book.
Lesley’s expertise and passion in environmental law are incredibly broad, ranging from natural resources law, to food law, agricultural law, energy law, and property law.
Her capstone achievement, her monograph Making Law Matter, was reviewed widely and favorably, including in The Harvard Law Review. While most studies of environmental law enforcement have focused on industrialized nations, Lesley recognized early on that environmental issues are often global in nature, and has thus studied environmental law and legal institutions in other places, such as Brazil. Her focus on citizen enforcement by the Brazilian Ministrio Publico, which refashioned itself in the 1980s into a powerful defender of citizen rights in environmental protection, disability rights, consumer protection, and anticorruption, helped us understand environmental law as a social movement.
Ever evolving and innovating, more recently Lesley’s teaching and scholarship has turned to other hot topics that make headlines, from food safety regulations to animal rights.
Last summer, while she was fighting debilitating pancreatitis, Lesley nonetheless steadfastly sought to create our law school’s first food and agricultural law class in many years. Through sheer will, and her ability to work harder than anyone else, Lesley brought this much desired class to our campus and taught some 30 plus students in the subject this past term.
Lesley has always been ahead of her time in identifying cutting edge issues in environmental law and bringing them to her students. Before coming to UC Davis, she initiated the nation's first student law review on Global Warming.
As Associate Dean, I’ve seen first-hand Lesley’s dedication to her students. Between grueling treatments and surgeries, she has steadfastly taught her first year students in property and her advanced students in a variety of environmental law topics.
A teacher and advocate, Lesley has been forthright about her illness, even sharing her experiences with her classmates from Princeton in a cover story in the Princeton Alumni Magazine, and advocating at the California State Legislature for right to die legislation, emphasizing the right to die with dignity and on one’s own terms, but never minimizing the pain of having to make such a choice.
I am also lucky to know Lesley as a mother, because our oldest children are in the same school and grade, and are friends. Over the past three years I have seen Lesley front and center at school talent shows, soccer games, open houses, and she has even come out to school board meetings. Can you tell – I am in awe of Lesley.
If all this were not enough, she is also an incredibly supportive colleague. She comes to every talk and law school event without fail. And I’m moved tonight to see our institution showing her love and support in return.
Tonight we are here to recognize a champion among us, who inspires us everyday with her wisdom and courage. Lesley, we are truly honored to be among your peers and friends, and again I’m grateful to have this opportunity to share with you how much you and your work mean to us.
Best wishes for the holiday and happy New Year!
As we congratulate the members of the Class of 2016 who passed the California bar exam, many have asked about the School of Law’s overall passage rate. Last week, the State Bar notified us that our first time bar passage rate for the July 2016 bar examination was 72%, a drop from 74% last year and 86% the year previous to that.
This year, California bar exam takers posted the lowest overall passage rate in many years, prompting general concern. Patched in below is a statement that I today shared with the Daily Journal.
Please know that the administration and law faculty will be closely examining the data and looking at ways to ensure that we do our very best for all King Hall bar takers.
Here is the statement I provided to the Daily Journal:
UC Davis School of Law, as it always has, strives to provide the high quality education, services, and support that will maximize the chances of our alumni passing the California bar exam on the first attempt. We fully understand the employment and other consequences of passing the bar. Historically, UC Davis has been successful, with well over 90% of our graduates having passed the California bar exam on the first or second attempt.
As has been well reported, the California bar passage rate has been in decline, from an overall bar passage rate of 61.7% in 2008 to 43% in 2016. The latest bar passage numbers are among the lowest in more than thirty years (and the third lowest July passage rate since 1951).
For first-time takers of American Bar Association accredited California law schools, the pass-rate on the July 2016 bar exam was 62%. By way of comparison, New York’s bar-pass rate was 83%. This wide disparity warrants careful scrutiny.
The California State Bar has informed UC Davis School of Law that its first time bar passage rate for the July 2016 exam was 72%, down from 74% in 2015 and 86 percent in 2014. This decline occurred even though the median Law School Admission Test and Undergraduate Grade Point Average of our entering students has been relatively constant over the time period. That fact makes one wonder what has triggered the decline and whether the grading of the California bar exam is becoming stricter.
Considerable press coverage has focused attention on the national decline in law school applications. Claims have been made that law schools are admitting students who are less qualified than in the past. UC Davis and some other law schools, however, have reduced the size of entering classes and maintained the numerical quality of the student body. We have made conscious efforts not to admit students who the law faculty did not think could succeed on the bar examination and as practicing attorneys. Still, in light of the declines in the bar passage rates in California and other states, one must consider whether the general press about law students has resulted in more exacting grading of the bar exam.
Moreover, one might expect bar passage improvements in light of the fact that UC Davis School of Law, as well as other law schools, in recent years has greatly expanded the academic support and services available to law students. Not that many years ago, many law schools did not have such programs and services. UC Davis School of Law today has an academic support director and a staff dedicated to academic support during law school and through passing the bar exam. We will continue to evaluate and hone that support and those services.
Law schools today take bar passage seriously. It is important to applicants, students, faculty, universities, and alumni. Unfortunately, we cannot expect improvements in bar passage rates if grading bar exam standards are silently being raised. That just may be the case with the California bar examination.