Fellowship Honors Former Campus Counsel Christopher Patti

We are greatly pleased to announce that Melissa Montenegro is the recipient of the 2018 Christopher M. Patti Legal Fellowship, to begin September 10. Melissa is a 2018 graduate of Berkeley Law and a 2014 graduate of San Jose State University from San Jose.  Her professional background includes work as an intern for the Honorable Katherine Lucero of the Santa Clara County Superior Court’s Juvenile Division, as a fellow at the Self-Help Center of the Santa Clara County Superior Court, and as a law clerk at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office.

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) is excited about the establishment of this fellowship with Berkeley Law in recognition of Christopher M. Patti, Berkeley’s esteemed former Chief Campus Counsel.  The fellowship provides a recent Berkeley Law graduate interested in public service the opportunity to work full-time both at OGC and at Berkeley’s Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) for one year.

Christopher M. Patti was a member of OGC for more than 27 years, and served as Berkeley’s Chief Campus Counsel for the last seven years of his life.  He was a constitutional law expert and exceptional counselor who was deeply committed to issues of equity and diversity, including access to higher education for all underrepresented minorities, and the advancement of LGBTQ rights.  In August 2017, Chris tragically passed away in an accident during one of his beloved road cycling excursions.

Melissa’s varied experience and her talents as a law student make her an ideal choice for the inaugural year of the fellowship: Melissa has demonstrated discipline, determination, and a strong commitment to social justice—particularly in making justice more accessible to vulnerable populations and underrepresented minorities. We are thrilled that Melissa will be joining OGC and Berkeley OLA in September.


Charles F. Robinson
UC General Counsel and Vice President – Legal Affairs

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean, Berkeley Law