The David Mellinkoff Lecture is a tribute to the brilliant, witty, and erudite UCLA School of Law professor, lawyer, and writer who was a faculty member from 1965 until his death in 1999. Known for launching the movement for simplicity and clarity in legal writing, Professor Mellinkoff published The Language of the Law in 1963, a devastating critique of lawyers' defense of "legalese." He furthered his premise that "the law thrived on gobbledygook" with two other highly regarded books: Legal Writing: Sense and Nonsense (1983) and Mellinkoff's Dictionary of American Legal Usage (1992).
Professor Mellinkoff moved from successful private law practice to full-time professor, and his life as a teacher and scholar embodied the principles he espoused in his writings. With his intoxicating intellect and infinite curiosity, he was a truly independent spirit. Professor Mellinkoff brought the practical experience of a seasoned trial lawyer, the dedication of a great teacher, and the analytical ability of an exceptional scholar and writer to the law school community and legal profession at large.
The David Mellinkoff Memorial Lecture is endowed through the generous contributions of anonymous donors. As a celebration of his life and a continuation of his work, the lectures will feature outstanding legal practitioners, scholars, and theorists for evenings of intellectual insight and fellowship.