Skip to content

Celebrating the 2010-11 Academic Year

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Apr 29, 2011

Although we had a somber year-end with the loss of a beloved professor and dear friend, let’s not forget that it has been an amazing and productive year at UC Davis School of Law.  Congratulations to the Class of 2011!  I want to thank the entire student body for the energy, intellectual curiosity, ambition, and dedication that makes this King Hall.  As students head off for the summer and the graduating class begins studies for the bar, I wanted to remind the entire community of a few of the highlights from a truly remarkable year.

Surge in National Rankings … Again!

The Law School moved up to number 23 in the rankings by U.S. News & World Report of close to 200 ABA-approved law schools!  We also placed highly in many other rankings, including in the U.S. News rankings of “Most Diverse Law Schools.”  While wary of placing undue emphasis on rankings, we welcome the national recognition of the Law School’s greatness.

Great New Faculty and Staff Hires

Three distinguished law professors at the top of their careers -- Angela Harris from UC Berkeley, Ashutosh Bhagwat from UC Hastings, and Jack Chin from the University of Arizona -- will join the King Hall faculty in the 2011-12 academic year!  Thanks to the Appointments Committee, and the entire King Hall community, for making this happen.

Professor Harris, who began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1988, is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the fields of critical race theory, environmental justice, feminist legal theory, criminal law, and civil rights.  Professor Bhagwat, a member of Hastings’ faculty for more than a decade, is an influential constitutional law scholar.  Professor Chin, who currently holds a chair at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, is a prolific and respected criminal law and immigration law scholar.

This spring, Craig Compton joined us as the new Assistant Dean for Career Services.  Craig comes to UC Davis School of Law from Fish & Richardson, P.C., where he specialized in intellectual property litigation and participated in the firm’s hiring efforts.  Already off and running, Craig is reaching out to employers the nation over.

A graduate of UC Hastings with experience in disability rights law, Christopher Ide-Don joined the King Hall community in January as the new Director of Academic Success.  Christopher previously coordinated the academic success programs at UC Hastings, taught courses on bar preparation, and supervised student instructors for academic skills programs.

Kristen Mercado, who earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago law school, is the new Associate Director of Admission and Outreach.  She comes to King Hall from Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago where she was responsible for lawyer training and development.  Welcome to California, Kristen!

New Exciting Centers

This year, the Law School launched the California Environmental Law and Policy Center, led by Professor Richard M. Frank (’74), who previously headed a similar program at UC Berkeley.  Under the leadership of Professor Frank, the center is poised to translate the Law School’s long tradition of cutting-edge environmental law scholarship into effective public policy.

Professor Mario Biagioli is the Director of the new UC Davis Center for Science and Innovation Studies, which received financial support from the Chancellor and Provost.  The center focuses on innovation and intellectual property and is co-sponsoring the symposium at King Hall later today entitled “Bayh-Dole at 30:  Mapping the Future of University Patenting.”

Meanwhile, the California International Law Center at King Hall (CILC) continues to produce top-flight international law scholarship and bring leading international lawyers and scholars to King Hall.  CILC, with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, published the report Toward Peace with Justice in Darfur: A Stalwart Framework for Accountability.  Many thanks to Professor Diane Marie Amann for her stalwart leadership as the inaugural director of CILC; she unfortunately is leaving us to assume an endowed chair at the University of Georgia.  Professor Anupam Chander has graciously agreed to take the helm as CILC director next year.

The Faculty Excels

Once again, King Hall’s esteemed faculty continues to draw national and international acclaim.  Our faculty is regularly published in the nation’s leading law reviews.  In recent months, faculty members were featured in in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, BBC, CNN, NPR, and numerous other international, national, regional, and local media outlets.

Here are but a few of our faculty’s achievements this year:

Professor Cruz Reynoso received the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance from UC Merced.

Professor Martha West lectured on “Women, Work, and Reproduction” at the University of Minnesota and the William Mitchell College of Law.

Professor Richard M. Frank was named as a winner of the 2011 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year award by California Lawyer magazine. 

Professor Andrea Bjorklund was a featured speaker at the International Chamber of Commerce Asia-Pacific Conference in Hong Kong.

In March, Professor Lisa Pruitt and Marta Vanegas `11 presented a paper as part of the Fourth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Associate Dean Vikram Amar and Professor Leticia Saucedo were elected to the American Law Institute, joining more than a dozen other King Hall faculty who are members of the nation’s most important organization of legal scholars.

Professor Ed Imwinkelried lectured at the “other” UCD, University College Dublin.

Professor Clay Tanaka was presented with the Law School’s William and Sally Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Professors Keith Aoki, Anupam Chander, and Madhavi Sunder are spreading legal knowledge through none other than comic books.  Though we tragically lost Professor Aoki to illness earlier this week, his strength of spirit, zest for life, and exuberance for ideas will live on with his students, friends, and scholarship.  Professor Aoki’s legal comics on intellectual property issues landed him on the cover of the March issue of “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine.  Professors Chander and Sunder, co-authors of “Fred Korematsu: All-American Hero,” have drawn widespread media coverage.

My apologies for not listing all of the many faculty accolades.  There literally are too many to mention!

The Students Excel

The Law School’s outstanding students continue to make us proud with incredible achievements in moot court, mock trial, negotiations and mediation, and other competitions.

As has become increasingly common, the King Hall teams dominate their competitors!  UC Davis students, for example, took first (Scott Judson `12 and James Beck `12) and second place (Remy Goldsmith `11 and Camille Papini-Chapla `11) at the Seventh Annual Williams Institute Moot Court Competition on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law held at UCLA in April.  UC President Mark Yudof sent a note of congratulations to the winners on a job well done.

Our students regularly speak at conferences, organize outstanding symposia, and assist communities across the country.  One example is the Humanitarian Aid Legal Organization’s (HALO) trip to Biloxi, Mississippi over spring break to work on legal aid projects.  Student groups continue to energize King Hall with exciting and well-attended events.  Our clinic students win case after case for their clients.

Congratulations, King Hall students, on a year well done!

New Wing Completed; Renovation to Begin

We began the academic year at UC Davis School of Law with the opening of the new wing of King Hall.  At a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony and Open House in September, more than 250 faculty, students, staff, alumni, and university officials turned out to celebrate.  Special guests included Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg `84, State Senator Lois Wolk, William and Inez Mabie Family Foundation Trustee Ron Malone, architect Thomas Hacker, and former S&P Company President and General Counsel Yeoryios Apallas `72.

From the spacious Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom to the beautiful new courtyard, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are enjoying the spectacular new state-of-the art facility.  The new wing is home to the California Law Revision Commission, which moved in and created new research opportunities for faculty and students.  In December, alums from the Class of 2010 were sworn in to the California bar in the Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom for the first time. 

Soon, the “old” King Hall will be renovated.  Improvements will expand the Mabie Law Library, improve traffic flow, and provide new reading rooms, group study areas, and enhanced student spaces.  King Hall just keeps getting better and better!

Exciting Events

Although open for only a few months, the new wing of King Hall already has been the setting of many exciting events, including the one and only debate between the candidates for California Attorney General, Kamala Harris and Steve Cooley.  In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held oral arguments in the Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom, marking the first time a federal appeals court held arguments at the Law School.  Judge Willy Fletcher, a long-time friend of King Hall, was the senior judge on the panel.  In April, the Neumiller Competition, with judges from the Ninth Circuit, Alaska Supreme Court, and Eastern District of California, was held for the first time in our new appellate courtroom.    

This year’s endowed lectures were resounding successes.  The 2011 Brigitte M. Bodenheimer Lecture on Family Law featured Michael A. Olivas (University of Houston Law Center), who delivered a lecture entitled, “The Implementation of Plyler v. Doe and the Danger in the Nativist Discourses.”  The 2011 Edward L. Barrett, Jr., Lecture on Constitutional Law featured Justice W. Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court, delivering his talk entitled, “Two Presidents, Two Inaugurations, and the Course of Freedom.”  The Law School inaugurated the Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture with Pamela S. Karlan, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School, who delivered a lecture entitled “The Court, The Closet, and The First Amendment.”

Once again, the UC Davis Law Review, Business Law Journal, Environs, Journal of International Law and Policy, and Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy organized outstanding symposia and speakers series that brought internationally-recognized scholars and policy experts to King Hall. 

Lighter King Hall moments included the warm gathering of students and alumni at the UC Davis/Cal football game, the Steve Boutin Invitational Golf Tournament, the Annual Dr. Ives basketball tournament, and another wonderful King Hall Legal Foundation auction.  (I successfully bid on the autographed Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers jersey!)  The 3L BBQ, Public Interest Graduation, and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award ceremonies again were highlights of the school year and reminded us all of the enduring heart and soul of King Hall.

Alumni Successes

In December, UC Davis School of Law alumna Tani Cantil-Sakauye was sworn in as Chief Justice of California -- the first King Hall alum to serve on the highest Court of the state of California.  If you have not already, please take a look at the new Chief Justice’s portrait on the second floor outside the Deans’ offices.  Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye will be speaking at the Commencement 2011.  With the new Chief Justice’s assistance, we hope to soon schedule arguments of the California Supreme Court at King Hall.

A number of King Hall alumni triumphed in the Fall 2010 elections.  Representative George Miller `72 was returned to his Congressional office for an amazing nineteenth term.  Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg `84 and Assemblyman (and Majority Leader) Charles Calderon `75 won re-election to the State Legislature.  Former co-chair of La Raza Law Students Association, Luis Alejo `01 won the California 28th District Assembly seat.  The voters re-confirmed Justice Kathleen Butz `81 to the Court of Appeal (Third District).

Development and Alumni Relations News

The Law School has raised the funds necessary to fully endow the John D. Ayer Bankruptcy Chair.  Endowed chairs are a very important way to recognize, promote, and support faculty excellence and to retain top faculty.

I am pleased to report that we have received new monies for The Honorable Phillip C. Wilkins Memorial Scholarship, and established the Joel Dobris Student Support Fund.  The Class of 1980 is closing in on its $100,000 goal to support for the Richard Archibald Memorial Fund that supports the Loan Repayment Assistance Program.  Will the Class of 2011 match this someday?

Hundreds of King Hall alumni have returned to the new building to see the new wing and re-connect with the Law School.  Over the last year, I have personally met with many of them, as well as hundreds of our alumni at events across country, including in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Los Angeles, Walnut Creek, Orange County, and other cities.

Law School Re-Affirms UC Davis Principles of Community

In 1991, the UC Davis campus adopted the Principles of Community, a commitment to the ideals of civility, appreciation for diversity, justice, and respect.  I am proud that the King Hall community came together in January for a special event in which the Law School formally reaffirmed its commitment to the Principles of Community.  Associate Executive Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed and Law Students Association President Scott Vignos spoke at the event.  We all should be proud that King Hall will be the first campus unit to separately reaffirm the campus’s Principles of Community. 

In these turbulent times, our community needs precisely the commitment to community established by our faculty, staff, students, and alumni on a daily basis and re-affirmed in the Principles of Community.


Thanks again for a great year because of all that you do for King Hall.  I look forward to another exciting and productive academic year in 2011-12.  Congratulations once again to the Class of 2011!