More than 500 alumni, friends, faculty and students returned to Boalt Hall on Saturday, September 24, to celebrate their law school connections at the All-Alumni Reunion. Alums spanning a half century of graduation years gathered for this popular and uniquely Boalt event. Participants engaged in spirited debates on a variety of forward-looking legal topics and heard a progress report from Dean Christopher Edley on the dramatic developments taking place at Boalt. The reunion was a social occasion as well. The day began with breakfast and warm greetings, and wrapped up with cocktails, dinner and dancing.
The festivities started Friday evening, September 23, when Dean Edley and his wife, Maria Echaveste ’80, hosted a Dean’s Society Reception honoring donors who have supported the law school with gifts of $10,000 or more. Also on Friday, the class of 1980 celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special dinner in Berkeley.
On Saturday, returning graduates enjoyed a buffet breakfast in the Darling Courtyard before venturing back to class for talks and panel discussions led by Boalt alumni, professors and other experts. The program sparked animated debates as it covered such hot-button issues as tribal gaming, post-Enron corporate governance, the Terri Schiavo case and California’s stem cell initiative.
Still other talks addressed private judging, takings cases, class-action litigation, online legal research, estate planning, Boalt history and the life of a solo practitioner. Professors Jesse Choper, Dan Farber, Phil Frickey, Anne Joseph, Goodwin Liu and John Yoo comprised the all-Boalt lineup in a panel that pondered President Bush’s forthcoming choice to fill Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Delivering an address on “The Difference Boalt Makes,” Dean Edley described Boalt’s public mission, his vision for the law school’s future and laid out the ambitious $125 million Campaign for Boalt Hall being launched this fall. “The reason to invest in Boalt is that we make a difference through the leaders that we produce, the knowledge that we produce, through our engagement in society’s most important challenges,” Edley told alumni. The law school’s agenda, he said, includes strengthening student financial aid, expanding core faculty, enriching the curriculum and advancing multidisciplinary research centers. Edley also showed renderings of the new building that Boalt plans to construct with the Haas School of Business.
The reunion was a festive and collegial event. Throughout the day, former classmates swapped law school stories and caught up with current career and family activities. The recently renovated Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Main Reading Room-awaiting new furniture to go along with its new cork flooring-served as the elegant venue for a cocktail party. Alums and their guests then headed off to candle-lit dinner gatherings for their classes that were held throughout the Boalt Hall campus.
In the Goldberg Room, members of the class of 1985 were treated to a special reading by Professor Robert Berring, Jr., ’74 of now 20-year-old entries found in the “Uncle Zeb” binder. Located in the law school library, the binder is the repository of an often quirky collection of suggestions, questions and comments from students-and replies from Berring. Several classes dined in cabanas set along the law school’s outdoor courtyard. Many participants celebrated until late in the night with dancing and conversation.
Classes celebrating reunions in five-year increments have launched class campaigns to raise funds for Boalt.