Here at the law school, we recently held our “Celebration of Legends” event – a night that took UCLA School of Law back to its roots and brought together the individuals who have played a leading role in making the institution what it is today. You can see video highlights of that historic evening on our website at www.law.ucla.edu/legends.
That night, as former deans and professors who have served since the early days of UCLA Law gathered to share their reminiscences and reflections, it struck me that, since its founding, this law school has always been a truly public institution. Roscoe Pound, who was present at our building’s dedication, called UCLA Law a “ministry of justice.” That emphasis on serving the public good has always been part of our identity, and it has shaped our quest for excellence, access, innovation, and service.
Today UCLA School of Law upholds this tradition by remaining a first mover in many arenas. We are the first law school to have a law and policy center focused on climate change. We are the first and only law school to have an institute devoted to the study of sexual orientation law and public policy. We are the first (and still only!) law school to have a Critical Race Studies degree certification. All of this, and UCLA Law has been a leader in hands-on training that prepares students for real-world practice. We were one of the first to offer transactional training in business law, our early leadership in clinical education still sets the standard by which other programs are measured, and our public interest program is among the best in the country.
This year has seen UCLA Law excel yet again.
- U.S. News and World Report recently ranked UCLA School of Law as the fifteenth best law school in the nation. We passed Texas and Vanderbilt and widened the gap between UCLA and USC.
- Two alumni, the Honorable Jacqueline Nguyen ’91 and Paul Watford ’94, were nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. If both Paul and Jacqueline are confirmed, the Law School will have six alumni who are judges on the Ninth Circuit, the largest number of graduates from any law school. Currently, we are second only to Harvard in terms of the number of judges who sit on the Ninth Circuit.
- Blogs produced by two of our faculty and one of our programs have been selected as Top 100 Legal Blogs by the ABA Journal. You may have already guessed that they include Professor Stephen Bainbridge (ProfessorBainbridge.com) and Eugene Volokh (The Volokh Conspiracy, www.volokh.com), along with the joint UCLA Law/Berkeley Law blog, Legal Planet (legalplanet.wordpress.com), which focuses on environmental issues.
- Stephen Bainbridge was also selected for the National Association of Corporation Directors “Directorship 100,” a list of the most influential people in corporate governance.
- Professors Devon Carbado and Kimberlé Crenshaw have been named to the Power 100 List, produced by the publication On Being A Black Lawyer, a catalog of the nation’s most influential black attorneys working in government, academics and the public and private sectors. And Professor Laura Gomez was named as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine.
- The Emmett Center recently sent a student delegation to the international climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Students participated in meetings with country delegates, key NGO groups, and others to see climate negotiations in action. This is the second time UCLA Law students participated in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- Two UCLA Law students received scholarships from the UCLA Latino Alumni Network at the 20th Anniversary Scholarship & Alumni Awards Gala. Only three scholarships were awarded to graduate students.
- Ten of our students received 2011 California Bar Foundation Scholarships – the most scholarship recipients of all the California law schools this year.
This year also marks the official close of the Campaign for UCLA School of Law on June 30, and we will significantly exceed our $100 million campaign goal. This is astounding and humbling. To the many of you who gave to the law school over the course of the campaign, you have my gratitude. Your support means that you believe in our values and remember the life-changing experiences you had here as students. You understand how important it is that the next generation have similar opportunities.
We met and exceeded our financial goal for the campaign – but the campaign also drew UCLA Law together as a community. Now we want to build on that success. In the coming years, UCLA School of Law will strive to remain faithful to our tradition of access (by offering scholarships to the best and brightest students, regardless of ability to pay), excellence (by recruiting and retaining the best faculty to teach an innovative legal curriculum), and service (by training our students not simply to be excellent legal craftsmen, but also citizens who lead for the common good).
But our portrait as a law school is still developing, and we need your help. Although the nation’s economy is slowly improving, state funding for public universities here in California is at an all-time low. Twelve years ago, the state of California covered 70% of student tuition; today that figure has dropped to less than 30%. The result is that student tuition at our law school stands at $45,000 – an unprecedented high – and only private funding can help offset the increase.
Please make a gift today so that we can stay true to the values put in place more than 60 years ago when Roscoe Pound described our law school as a ministry of justice. With your help, we will continue to be one of the truly great and authentically public law schools in the nation and the world. You can give online at www.law.ucla.edu/giving.
All my best,
Rachel F. Moran
Dean and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law