Early on Saturday morning, my wife and I will load up our cars and drive from Irvine to begin our new positions, which officially start on that day, at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. My nine years in Orange County and at University of California, Irvine have been wonderful, everything I possibly could have hoped for and more. It sounds cliché, but I will drive away with a heavy heart for all I am leaving behind and very mixed emotions.
Many have asked me why I would leave UCI Law School, having devoted a decade of my life to helping to create it since my appointment as the founding dean in September 2007. From the outset, my expectation was that I would spend 10 years as dean. I already had decided and repeatedly said that next year was to be my last in the role. It is time for the Law School to go through a careful re-examination and I am not the one to lead that process; I am too invested in and identified with what we have done.
The opportunity at Berkeley arose at a time when I had begun thinking about what I want to do next. It is an ideal opportunity: I can use what I have learned, but in a very different context with quite different challenges. Berkeley Law School is more than three times the size of UCI Law School. It has existed since 1895 and has over 17,000 alums. UCI Law School began in 2009 and has 475 alums.
There always has been a sense of fragility in being part of creating something new. Yet, as I leave UCI Law School, I realize that it no longer is fragile. It is firmly established as a top law school, with a superb faculty and staff and great students. I am especially proud of its commitment to public service. Of the students who graduated on May 13, 95 percent did pro bono work in law school and they averaged almost 100 hours of volunteer service each. And that is in addition to their required clinical work and their classes. I truly believe that no law school in the country does a better job of preparing students for…