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End of Year Message for 2016/17

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, May 5, 2017

Congratulations to both the outstanding J.D. and LL.M. Classes of 2017.  We are all looking forward to commencement on May 20 with Sister Simone Campbell ’77, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. 

As the 2016/17 academic year ends, King Hall has much to celebrate:

  • The California Legislature in April recognized the Immigration Law Clinic and the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center for their contributions to immigrants in need. 
  • The UC Davis Law Review celebrated its 50th anniversary, launched an online edition, and hosted an outstanding law and emerging technologies symposium featuring a keynote address by California Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
  • UC Davis School of Law became the only “majority-minority” faculty of any top American law school.
  • In October, the California Court of Appeal, Third District heard arguments at King Hall.
  • The School of Law placed in the top 25 of the U.S. News “peer assessment” rankings.
  • We had another wonderful Public Service Graduation, culminating with Stephanie Medina ’17 being honored with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award.  The graduation recognized more than 90 graduates for their dedication to public service.
  • As part of the Student Wellness Program, Dr. Margaret S. Lee began providing psychological counseling to law students.

At a more fundamental level, the “Join the King Hall Community” video for prospective students reminds us of the special community that we created and maintain at King Hall.

Student Success

Students once again made us proud in 2016-17.  Rebecca Friedemann ’18 and Anton Swain-Gil ’18 won the Irving Neumiller Moot Court finals, which was judged by California Supreme Court Associate Justice Ming Chin, Justices Kathleen Butz ’81 and Elena Duarte of the of the California Third District Court of Appeals, and Lt. Col. Brendon Tukey, Judge Advocate of the U.S. Air Force Western Judicial Circuit.  

Approximately 90 percent of the Class of 2016 is employed 10 months after graduation; 83 percent secured full-time legal or legally-related employment – the highest percentage in years.  This success has been aided by the growth of our On-Campus Interview programs (up 10%) and the Small and Midsize Firm Fair (up 20%).  We saw an increase in the number of graduating students who landed judicial clerkships, such as Lars Reed who will clerk for Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers ’85.  The UC President’s Public Service Law Fellowship Program and the King Hall Legal Foundation funded large numbers of student fellowships.

Faculty Achievements

Time and again, national and international media turned to our faculty for insights about contemporary developments.  Faculty were recently featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The New Yorker, and many other high profile media outlets.

Our internationally recognized faculty continue to shine.  Examples include:

  • Professor Karima Bennoune, the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and also made a presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in March.
  • Professor Gabriel “Jack” Chin was named the Edward L. Barrett Chair of Law.
  • Professor Angela Harris was listed among the “Most-Cited Critical Theory Law Faculty, 2010-2014.”
  • Professor David Horton was named a UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow.  Professor Horton and Professor Andrea Chandrasekher received the Mangano Dispute Resolution Advancement Award for their empirical study of consumer arbitration.
  • Professor Elizabeth Joh was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award at the annual Celebrating King Hall event.

Outstanding Alumni

The 2016 Reunions were King Hall’s most well-attended reunion ever!  Nearly 300 members returned to King Hall for the celebration.  Our loyal alums made it possible for the School of Law to raise more than $2 million in 2016/17 for student scholarships, clinical programs, and more.  The School of Law led all UC Davis academic units in its fundraising efforts on the first campus Give Day.

As always, UC Davis School of Law alumni made us proud in 2016/17.  Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye ‘84 continued to draw praise for her outstanding leadership of the state’s judiciary.  Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’84 was named Alumnus of the Year by the King Hall Alumni Association for his dedication to public service. 

Special Events

King Hall saw many outstanding visitors and events during 2016/17.  Here are a few:

  • Martha C. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School and Philosophy Department, was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence.
  • Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, visited King Hall as a Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Scholar-in- Residence.
  • The Edward L. Barrett, Jr. Lecture on Constitutional Law featured Michael C. Dorf, the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell Law School.
  • Camille Gear Rich, Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Social Sciences and Professor of Law at the USC Gould School of Law, delivered the Brigitte M. Bodenheimer Lecture on Family Law.
  • Professor Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School presented the seventh annual Central Valley Foundation/James B. McClatchy Lecture on the First Amendment.
  • The Migration and Asylum Symposium 2016, co-organized by the School of Law, was held at the University of Geneva.  King Hall, led by Professor Leticia Saucedo, hosted a follow-up “Crisis Migration” conference in the spring.
  • A week-long visit of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court Justices and appeals court Judges came to King Hall for training with Professors Ashutosh Bhagwat, Alan Brownstein, Anupam Chander, Carlton Larson, Peter Lee, and Cruz Reynoso.
  • King Hall hosted a community forum on immigration organized by California Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.  Senators Dodd and Lois Wolk also hosted a meeting of Committee on Agriculture and Select Committees on Wine at King Hall.
  • Senior Associate Dean Madhavi Sunder and 25 Innovation Law students went to San Francisco to meet alumni working with technology companies, including Airbnb, Uber, and Square.  The class later met with King Hall alums in Silicon Valley including Bijal Vakil ’96 (White & Case), John Pavolotsky ’00 (Intel), Deborah Davis Han ’96, (Zynga), Angus MacDonald ’00 (UC Office of the President), and Jennifer Gossain ’07 (Marvel).
  • Last fall, King Hall hosted the Law School Admissions Workshop For People of Color, which was co-sponsored by a coalition of student groups.   
  • California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu spoke at King Hall as part of the apiNXT lecture series on “Shattering the Bamboo Ceiling.”  He also was the keynote speaker for the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association annual banquet. 


On a more somber note, Professors Angela Harris and Evelyn Lewis retired after years of dedicated scholarship, teaching and service.  We will miss them, but both will teach a class or two in the future.

Kevin R. Johnson
UC Davis School of Law