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Fall 2010 Welcome Message from the Dean

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Aug 13, 2010

A very warm welcome to the class of 2013, transfer students, and LL.M. students from around the world! And welcome back to the returning 2L and 3L students, law faculty, and staff.

A Special Welcome Message to the Class of 2013

Welcome to UC Davis! Your law studies begin with Intro Week. Even before classes begin, enjoy the first-year barbecue on Sunday, August 15, which allows students to meet teachers, classmates, alumni, and fellow students.

King Hall is a special place, where you will make lifelong friends and discover that the study of law is rewarding and enjoyable, as well as deeply challenging. Our law faculty, staff, alumni, and students--what I call the “King Hall difference”-- is friendly, supportive, and committed to the highest intellectual and ethical standards. Importantly, students find the UC Davis law school family to be nurturing not just during law school, but for their entire professional career.

On September 15, the Capitol Tour and Reception will introduce the first year class to Sacramento, the Capitol of the Golden State. Students will have the opportunity to meet alumni, legislators, staff, and other Sacramento leaders.

Keep current about law school news and events on our website ( and the Dean’s blog ( Join the law school’s fan page on Facebook (

Rankings Climb, Applications Increase By Nearly 22%

This year, UC Davis School of Law ascended to No. 28 in the 2011 U.S. News and World Report rankings and No. 23 in the Leiter rankings of law faculty quality Not coincidentally, applications to UC Davis this past year increased by 21.6% last year, more than triple the national average. We received more than 4,000 applications for fewer than 200 spots in the first year class. The Class of 2013 should feel proud of its success!

Exciting Building News

The beautiful new wing of Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall is nearly complete! It features state-of-the-art classrooms, conference rooms, and a new Academic Success Resource Center, as well as space for our expanding faculty. The statue of Dr. King will soon be in the grand new lobby. In the new Kalmanovitz Appellate Moot Court room, the law school will host oral arguments of the California Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the California Court of Appeals. The new wing has made it possible for the California Law Revision Commission, one of the law reform arms of the California Legislature, to move into King Hall, thus expanding research opportunities for students and faculty.

This fall, renovation of the existing building begins. Plans include major improvements to classrooms and the Mabie Law Library, as well as new-and-improved student study rooms and space.

The entire King Hall community made the expansion and renovation project a reality. Thanks all! Please join Chancellor Linda Katehi and me for the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening Celebration on September 3 at 10:30 a.m.

New Faculty

Although one of our outstanding faculty members, Bill Hing, retired (We miss you Bill!), we have several stellar new additions to the law faculty.

Mario Biagioli (M.A. and Ph.D, UC Berkeley; MFA, Rochester Institute),previously a Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, joins us as Distinguished Professor of Law and Science and Technology Studies and Director of the new UC Davis Center for Innovation Studies. He will teach a variety of history and philosophy courses on intellectual property.

Leticia Saucedo (J.D., Harvard), Professor of Law and the Director of Clinical Legal Education, joins us from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Besides teaching immigration law and related courses, she will direct King Hall’s top-flight clinical legal programs, which provide real-world legal experience for students and impacts the lives of real people in our community.

Angelo DeSantis ‘08 returns to King Hall to teach Legal Research and Writing. He previously worked as a litigation associate in the San Francisco office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.

Rick Frank ’74, the Executive Director of the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at UC Berkeley, returns this fall as a Visiting Professor of Law. Before joining UC Berkeley, he spent 30 years working in California government, including as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for Legal Affairs.

This academic year, we are proud to have Professor Dan Simmons representing the School of Law as chair of the system-wide University of California Academic Senate.

Learn more about all of the law faculty members at

Law School Events

As a national leader in legal research and scholarship, UC Davis School of Law regularly hosts scholarly lectures and symposia. On September 29, the Law School welcomes Stanford Law School professor Pamela S. Karlan, who will deliver the inaugural Central Valley Foundation/McClatchy Lecture on the First Amendment. This year’s inaugural McClatchy fellow, Associate Dean and Professor Vik Amar will host Professor Karlan during her visit.

On November 5, the School of Law will host the third annual Fenwick & West Symposium on Technology, Entrepreneurship, Science, and the Law. This year’s symposium is entitled “Personalized Medicine: Getting the Prescription Right.”

Two endowed lectures are scheduled for the spring. Michael A. Olivas, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law and Director, Institute of Higher Education Law & Governance at the University of Houston Law Center, will deliver the Brigitte M. Bodenheimer Lecture on Family Law. Arizona Supreme Court Justice W. Scott Bales will deliver the Edward L. Barrett, Jr. Lecture on Constitutional Law.

The Class of 2010 held the Law School’s first commencement at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Next May, we will again celebrate graduation at the Mondavi Center, with commencement speaker Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye ‘84, nominee for Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court.

Learn more about King Hall News and Events at

Faculty in the News

UC Davis law faculty are internationally-recognized for their cutting edge scholarship. Faculty members recently were featured in the national news analyzing the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest decisions, the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, the nuances of tax law, privacy implications of DNA testing, the federal court decision on Proposition 8, legal complexities of the Arizona immigration law, and much more. Over the last few months, they authored op-eds that appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, and Huffington Post, among many other high-profile publications. Learn more about the faculty’s research at

At the 2010 American Bar Association (ABA) annual meeting, both Professors Richard Wydick (Lifetime Achievement Award from SCRIBES) and Diane Marie Amann (2010 Mayre Rasmussen Award for the Advancement of Women in International Law of the Section on International Law of the American Bar Association) were honored. In addition, the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity held a screening of the documentary “Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice,” honoring former California Supreme Court Justice and Professor Emeritus of the School of Law Cruz Reynoso.

Expanding Alumni Outreach Around the World

The Law School continues to reach out to alumni around the world. In the past year, we held alumni events not only in California, including in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Napa, San Diego, and Fresno, but also in Chicago, Phoenix, Portland, Houston, Anchorage, Seattle, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

During the summer, I traveled to Europe to renew our partnerships with the University College Dublin School of Law (Ireland) and the University of Cologne School of Law (Germany). In Cologne, we held a wonderful reception and dinner with European alumni and visited students and faculty at the annual Summer International Commercial Law Seminar. We also discussed expansion of student and faculty exchange programs with our European partners.

This summer, more than 40 students from the China University of Political Science and Law, one of the leading law schools in China, visited Davis to learn about on the U.S. legal system. For more about our international programs, see

Career Services and Academic Success Offices

A robust roster of employers will participate in the On Campus Interview Program this fall. Resume collections and interviews will be announced throughout the year. For the latest employment news, visit

While Mindy Baggish is on leave, Kirsten Hill ‘04 is the Interim Director of Career Services. We continue to work aggressively to increase the number of employers interviewing at King Hall. To that end, I regularly visit legal employers and encourage them to interview (and hire) our students. Last year, we joined the UCDC law program so that students would have internship and job opportunities in Washington, D.C. As it has done the last few years, the law school is also hiring recent graduates as temporary research fellows.

With Emily Randon’s departure, Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Hollis Kulwin will for the time being direct the Academic Success Program. We will soon be recruiting for the Academic Support Director position.

Private Support for King Hall Grows

Four years ago, the School of Law set an eight-year development campaign goal of $6.8 million. Having already exceeded that goal, we have increased it to $20 million.

This year, the Law School again received support from 100 percent of the law faculty (fifth year in a row), as well as support from all of the King Hall Alumni Board and the new Dean’s Leadership Council. Nearly 75% of the Class of 2010 contributed to the class gift. Can the Class of 2011 beat that?

With the help of alumni and students, the Law School met a Mabie Foundation fundraising goal resulting in an additional $400,000 for the building project. The Darling Foundation pledged $250,000 to the King Hall renovation project. The new John D. Ayer Bankruptcy Chair was fully funded this year as well.

Theme of 2010-11: Leadership and Responsibility

As President Obama demonstrates, lawyers can ascend to important leadership positions in the United States and the world. With that in mind, “Leadership and Responsibility” is the theme for the 2010-11 academic year.

As the law school increasingly receives the recognition for excellence that it deserves, UC Davis School of Law alumni are assuming more and more leadership roles anywhere and everywhere. Consider the leadership roles assumed by just a few King Hall alums. Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye ’84 has been nominated to be the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Darrell Steinberg ‘84 is President pro Tem of the California Senate. Charles Calderon ’75 is the Majority Leader of the California Assembly. Judge Dean Pregerson’76 sits on the federal court in the Central District of California, while Ramona Garrett ’80 sits on the Superior Court of Solano County and has been the Presiding Judge. Monika Kalra Varma is Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights in Washington, D.C. George Miller ’72 serves in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Honorable Jane Restani ’73 is Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of International Trade. Angela Oh ’86 is a community activist who served on President Clinton’s Initiative on Race. Luis Alejo ‘01 is Mayor of Watsonville and running for the California Assembly. Charles Bird ’73 is a leading appellate lawyer with Luce Forward in San Diego. Learn more about our alumni at

As law students, none of these leaders probably thought they would rise to such lofty leadership positions. As you study law, keep in mind that you are our future leaders and that you are studying law and interacting daily with future leaders. The impressions and connections that you make during law school--in classes and social interactions (as well as on Facebook)--will in one way or another remain with you for your entire professional life. Prepare for future leadership and responsibility throughout your time at King Hall.


Here’s to a great new academic year! I truly look forward to sharing it with you.