Amazingly, my first academic year at Berkeley Law is coming to a conclusion with Commencement on May 11. I have had a wonderful year and am enormously grateful for the great warmth with which I have been welcomed by faculty, staff, students, and alumni. This is a terrific community and I am honored and thrilled to be a part of it.
It has been a year filled with much good news. The J.D. Class of 2017 did great on the bar exam, with over 89 percent passage in California and 100 percent (40 out of 40) in New York. Of those receiving J.D. degrees in May 2017, 98 percent were employed 10 months after graduation (the traditional measure of employment for law schools).
Our applications for the J.D. Class of 2021 are up significantly. We had a terrific LL.M. class this academic year with 233 students. Berkeley Law again was in the top 10 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, with our intellectual property program ranked first in the country, our environmental law program ranked third, and our clinical program and international program in the top 10. Obviously, U.S. News is only one measure of our excellence, but these are rankings to be proud of and will get even better in the years ahead.
“This is a terrific community and I am honored and thrilled to be a part of it.”
I am very excited about our new programs. Thanks to a very generous $3.5 million gift from Elizabeth Cabraser ’78, we are launching a consumer law center. This will allow Berkeley Law to be a leader in this important area.
We also are creating the Berkeley Judicial Institute, which will focus on improving court administration and issues of judicial independence and integrity. Supported by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation and gifts from other donors, this program will be led by federal district court Judge Jeremy Fogel, who for the last seven years has been the director of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. I am delighted that Judge Fogel has decided to leave the bench to head this initiative.
This semester, the faculty approved a new Race and Law Certificate Program, which will help attract top students interested in this important area of law and further their concentration during law school.
We also this spring have begun our LL.M. hybrid option program. Hybrid track students spend a summer term at the law school bookended by two terms of online classes, making the program more practical and more accessible.
It has been an exciting and intense first year for me at Berkeley Law. I am more impressed every day by the law school and our community of alumni, faculty, staff, and students.