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Berkeley Law Fetes Standout Trio at Annual Citation Award Dinner

Edward Halbach, Nan Joesten, and Irving Tragen

By Andrew Cohen
Before a packed audience inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco, Berkeley Law honored three individuals at its annual Citation Award Dinner on October 1st.
Farella, Braun + Martel partner Nan Joesten ’97 received the Young Alumni Award, former Berkeley Law Dean and Professor Emeritus Edward Halbach, Jr. was given the Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award, and the event concluded with Irving Tragen ’45 accepting the Citation Award—the highest honor bestowed by the Boalt Hall Alumni Association.

Joesten has been a Boalt Hall Alumni Association (BHAA) board member for the past five years, serving two terms as president from 2007–2009. She also co-chaired her class reunion campaign in 2005 as well as Berkeley Law’s law firm giving campaign in 2006, and was recognized by the UC Berkeley Foundation with its 2007 Trustees Citation Award for outstanding service to the law school.

“Our society needs what our law school has to offer,” said Joesten, the only member of her Indiana high school graduating class of 120 to attend college out-of-state. “That’s why I’ve gotten involved.”

A strong advocate for mentoring in the legal profession, Joesten was the 2008–09 co-chair of the Women Advocate Committee of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section, and has also been appointed co-chair of the ABA’s annual meeting for 2012. She is winding down an adventurous, year-long trek throughout the United States in a 40-foot motor home with her husband, Hank, and their three pets.

Halbach, a leading estates and trusts scholar and the Walter Perry Johnson Professor of Law, Emeritus, joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 1959. He became dean seven years later—the nation’s youngest law school dean at age 34. Halbach was dean for nine years and later spent 11 years on the BHAA board.

Recently inducted into the National Estate Planning of Hall of Fame, Halbach was Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement Third of the Law of Trusts project. He held leadership positions throughout his career, serving as president of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, chair of the ABA’s Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law, and division director of that section’s Probate and Trust Division.

Halbach’s former student, Bob Berring ’74, introduced him at the dinner. Berring—who occupies the same professorship once held by Halbach—hailed his leadership skills and impact on estates and trusts legislation. “Ed didn’t just write about the law or interpret the law,” said Berring, “He made the law.”

Halbach thanked his wife of 57 years, Jan, and recalled why he was first drawn to Berkeley. “It wasn’t the beautiful climate and the beautiful scenery,” he said. “It was the chance to join such a gifted group of professors and to teach such remarkable students.”

The evening concluded with Maria Echaveste ’80 presenting the Citation Award to Tragen, whose 55 years of diplomatic service included senior posts in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the Organization of American States’ Economic Development Program, Tragen tackled debt and foreign trade crises, border area infrastructure projects, and manpower development initiatives. In 1985, he was chosen to organize and direct the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission—leading its efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse in the Western Hemisphere until his retirement in 1994.

One of Boalt’s most generous donors, Tragen and his late wife Eleanor endowed a faculty chair in Comparative Constitutional and Public Administrative Law in 2002. They made the first contribution in 2004, and Berkeley Law is one of three beneficiaries of his family trust.
“The important thing I learned at Berkeley is you start by getting the facts,” Tragen said. “Throughout my entire career, that became the principle on which I worked. I hope this endowment will provide a role for (Berkeley Law) to help build bridges in the international arena.”