Skip to content


News Posted on August 9, 2019

Professors Bennoune, Bhagwat and Dodge appointed to endowed chairs at UC Davis Law

UC Davis School of Law is pleased to announce that Professors Karima Bennoune, Ashutosh Bhagwat, and William S. Dodge, distinguished scholars in international human rights, constitutional law and business law, respectively, have received endowed chairs.

“We are fortunate to have scholars on our faculty of the caliber of Professors Dodge, Bennoune and Bhagwat,” Dean Kevin R. Johnson said. “The chairs recognize their scholarly, teaching and service excellence. We all are indebted to the donors who made these chairs possible.”

Homer G. Angelo and Ann Berryhill Endowed Chair

Professor Karima Bennoune has been appointed to the Homer G. Angelo and Ann Berryhill Endowed Chair. The chair honors the work of Homer G. Angelo, the late UC Davis Law professor emeritus, and his wife, Ann Berryhill Angelo, who devoted much of their lives to improving understanding and cooperation between people and nations worldwide. Their work has helped strengthen these international ties primarily through legal institutions and processes.

Bennoune has spent her career advocating for universal human rights and advancing the rights of women. In 2015, she was named the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. She has authored a series of key reports for the U.N. Human Rights Council that have covered topics including the destruction of cultural heritage; fundamentalism, extremism, and the cultural rights of women; and universality and cultural diversity.

Bennoune is a renowned scholar, publishing scholarship in leading international law journals, and serving on the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law, and has given numerous keynote addresses and lectures around the world. Her work also has appeared in The New York Times and Reuters, and she has made appearances on CNN, MSNBC and National Public Radio.

In 2007, Bennoune became the first Arab American to win the Derrick Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups. She went on to win the Rights and Leadership Award from the International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law in 2016. In 2017, she was named one of the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Bennoune's book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, about people of Muslim heritage working against extremism, was the winner of the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction. The TED talk based on the book, “When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism,” has received more than 1.4 million views. 

Bennoune graduated from a joint program in law and Middle Eastern and North African studies at the University of Michigan, earning a J.D. cum laude from the law school and an M.A. from the Rackham Graduate School, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. She was a delegate to the NGO forum at the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and later served as a legal advisor for Amnesty International.

Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality

Professor Ashutosh Bhagwat, an expert in constitutional law and free speech, has been appointed to the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at UC Davis School of Law.

Previously held by Professors Angela P. Harris, Alan E. Brownstein and Cruz Reynoso, now all emeriti faculty, the chair supports research and teaching designed to preserve and expand the virtues of freedom and equality. It was established by Charlie Bird ’73 and his wife, Charlotte, in honor of Charlie Bird’s parents and Robert Boochever, the late U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judge and Alaska Supreme Court justice.

Bhagwat joined the UC Davis Law faculty in 2011. Before UC Davis, he taught at UC Hastings College of the Law for 17 years. He is the author of The Myth of Rights (Oxford University Press, 2010), as well as numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of subjects, from the structure of constitutional rights, to free-speech law, to the California electricity crisis. Bhagwat’s articles have appeared in, among other leading law reviews, the Yale Law Journal, the Supreme Court Review, and the California Law Review.

Bhagwat received his undergraduate degree from Yale University, graduating summa cum laude in history. He holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was articles editor of the law review. He served as a clerk for Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court. Before joining the Hastings faculty, Bhagwat practiced appellate and regulatory law for two years in the Washington, D.C. offices of Sidley Austin.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Bhagwat to the California Independent System Operator Board of Governors, a public benefit corporation responsible for running the high-voltage electricity grid in California. Brown reappointed Bhagwat to a third term in 2017.

Bhagwat is a member of the American Law Institute. In 2003, he received the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence at UC Hastings.

John D. Ayer Chair in Business Law

A leading expert on international law, international transactions, and international dispute resolution, William S. Dodge is the inaugural holder of the John D. Ayer Chair in Business Law. This chair honors Professor Jack Ayer, a longtime teacher of bankruptcy and other commercial law courses at UC Davis School of Law.

Dodge served as Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State from 2011-2012, and as Co-Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Fourth) of Foreign Relations Law from 2012 to 2018. He is currently a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law and an Adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Third) of the Conflict of Laws.

Dodge is co-author (with Detlev Vagts, Hannah Buxbaum, and Harold Koh) of the casebook Transnational Business Problems (6th ed. Foundation Press, 2019) and co-editor (with David Sloss and Michael Ramsey) of International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which won the American Society of International Law’s 2012 certificate of merit. He has more than 50 other publications in books and law reviews and his articles have been cited more than 30 times in court opinions, including four times by justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dodge has received the Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award both at UC Davis and at UC Hastings, where he was previously Roger J. Traynor Professor of Law. 

Dodge earned his B.A. in history, summa cum laude, from Yale University. After teaching English in Tianjin, China, he attended Yale Law School, where he was a notes editor of the Yale Law Journal, served as director of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Project, and earned his J.D. Dodge clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court. From 1993-95, he was an attorney at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.