Skip to content


News Posted on September 4, 2013

Assistant Dean of Admission Sharon Pinkney Retires, Kristen Mercado to Succeed

Sharon Pinkney and Kristen MercadoSharon Pinkney, Assistant Dean of Admission at UC Davis School of Law, is retiring after playing an indispensable role in recruitment and admissions at King Hall for 35 years.  She will be succeeded by Kristen Mercado following Pinkney's retirement on September 6.

"The Law School has been such a major part of my life for so many years, because of the people I've met and worked with and the students I've gotten to know," said Pinkney.  "I sincerely appreciate the opportunity I was given, and I'm proud of what we were able to achieve. It's hard at this point to imagine what life will be like after retirement, but I plan to try my best to figure it out quickly!"

Pinkney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Occidental College in Los Angeles, and worked for seven years as Project Assistant for the Occidental College Upward Bound Program, helping to prepare economically and educationally disadvantaged students for college. She founded the groundbreaking King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP) in 2001, where she continued to assist first-generation college students and economically disadvantaged students in preparing for the law school admissions process. She was actively involved in University Service at UC Davis, participating on the Law School's Dean Search Committee, chairing the Upward Bound Advisory Committee, and serving as a member of the campus Workload Issues Task Force. She served on several national committees for the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). In 2003, Pinkney and the UC Davis Law Admission staff were co-recipients of the UC Davis Affirmative Action and Diversity Achievement Department/Team Award.

"It would be hard to overstate Sharon's contribution to our King Hall community," said Dean Kevin R. Johnson.  "As the founder of KHOP and the person who spearheaded our student recruitment efforts, she profoundly impacted the character of our student body and our Law School for more than three decades.  She will be missed by everyone at King Hall, but we wish her all the best in her retirement."

Mercado, who earned her law degree at the University of Chicago Law School, joined King Hall as Associate Director of Admission and Outreach in 2011. Since then, she has worked to organize and execute admissions events, represent the Law School at recruiting functions, and oversee the Pre-Law Boot Camp and KHOP. In her new role, Mercado will seek to streamline and improve the application review process while continuing to recruit and retain a talented and diverse student body.

Prior to joining UC Davis, Mercado worked in the Palo Alto and Chicago offices of leading international law firm Sidley Austin LLP, where she was a manager of training and development for more than 1,500 lawyers. She also has worked for the Chicago Committee, an association of law firms and corporations that supports the professional development of young minority lawyers. Previously, Mercado was an associate at two Chicago law firms: Jenner & Block LLP, in the General and Securities Litigation & White Collar Crime Groups; and Schiff Hardin LLP, in the General Litigation Group. She also held a one-year fellowship in the Admissions Department at the University of Chicago Law School.