Law School Alumni Return to Teach at King Hall
Gary Solis '71 is highly in demand. A veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam, Solis served as a Marine judge advocate, a court-martial judge, and the Head of the Marine Corps' Military Law Branch in Washington, D.C. , then taught for more than 20 years as at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a reputation as a leading expert on the law of war. He could teach anywhere, but when UC Davis School of Law Dean Kevin R. Johnson invited him to return to King Hall to teach as an visiting professor during the Fall 2013 semester, "it was a dream come true," said Solis.
"Not to be melodramatic, but this was something I had always wanted to do over the course of my entire career," said Solis, who is one of more than 60 King Hall alumni who have returned to the School of Law to teach as adjunct faculty. Many, like Solis, have viewed teaching as an opportunity to reconnect with the King Hall community.
"I've said it to many people, many times: I look back on my years at King Hall as three of the best years of my life," said Solis. "There was a certain chemistry we had in those early years that was virtually imposed upon us by the circumstances. We felt like pioneers. We knew we were on the cusp of something important, and we developed a real sense of togetherness. Looking at King Hall today, I see that sense of community is still here, along with a faculty, facility, and student body that can hold their own with any law school in the country. Who wouldn't want to return to that?"
Many other King Hall alumni have also found reasons to return as teachers, including Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown '89, Assistant United States Attorney Yoshinori Himel '75, John McKinsey '99 of Stoel Rives, Chief Administrative Law Judge and Executive Director for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board Alberto Roldan '92, Kara Ueda '00 of Best Best & Krieger, and Thomas Schuttish '73, formerly Senior Tax Attorney at Chevron Corporation, to name a few.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie '95, Presiding Judge of the county's Juvenile Court, felt motivated by a desire to give back to the School of Law. "King Hall was wonderful to me, and having the collaboration and support I got from our professors, our dean, and the students as I was going through was very important to me. Returning to the Law School to teach was a great opportunity to give back," she said.
Students also benefit when alumni who are experienced practitioners return to teach, said Boulware Eurie, who taught Legal Writing and Trial Practice. "In those kinds of courses, which are very practical and skill-oriented, I think the students are able to gain a different kind of insight from litigators who are practicing those skills on a daily basis," said Boulware Eurie.
For Mary Martinelli '86, partner at Downey Brand in Sacramento, returning to teach at King Hall to teach Family Law, Family Law Mediation, and Community Property both served a need for students and also allowed her to proselytize for family law, her field of practice.
"I love my job, and I wanted to get the word out that this is a very complex, exciting, rewarding career," she said. "And I think it had an effect, because a number of my students have gone on to become excellent family law attorneys."
Martinelli said that teaching at King Hall brought her a new level of admiration for the Law School faculty. "It was very challenging to take what I do and make that into academic material, the quality of which would be acceptable at a leading university," she said. "It gave me a new respect for the professors and the diligence that is required to teach at that level."