Serving as Berkeley Law’s interim dean has been challenging, humbling, and thoroughly exhilarating. It has been such a privilege to serve the Boalt community in this way.
The circumstances that led to my appointment were deeply unsettling, as were some of the issues we’ve faced since then. Budget anxieties from campus, increased competition for top applicants, far-reaching concerns for our foreign students and those from immigrant families—the list goes on. These are restless times.
When I became interim dean in March 2016, I, like so many in our community, wanted to “get back to normal.” But even as we sought a sense of normalcy, we also wanted to craft a “new normal” grounded in a renewed commitment to our core values and mission.
And this is what we have done, reimagining our community and taking concrete steps to make it more inclusive and engaged. From our staff-faculty climate committee, to our expanding slate of alumni events, and our inspired clinical partnerships, the feeling of unity and purpose inside the Berkeley Law community is palpable and powerful.
Our faculty are thought leaders in a wide range of fields, informing policy and practice at all levels. Our staff members, many of whom have been part of the law school for a generation or more, bring their A-game to work every day. And our students continue to inspire us by tackling some of the most intractable problems facing our society.
Our alumni are a vital component of this renewed vigor and purpose. In my short term as interim dean, I’ve seen firsthand their profound commitment to making Berkeley Law exceptional—and accessible—for students from all backgrounds. Our international graduates are enthusiastically forming Boaltie hubs overseas. Young alumni have started to flock to our new B-Link platform to share professional and personal news and reconnect with classmates and friends. And in this challenging year, alumni have stepped up to support the law school and its traditions of excellence and accessibility in myriad ways. I am profoundly grateful for your friendship and generosity.
This year has given me an even deeper appreciation for the law school and our amazing community. But I know our best days are yet to come, and I’m excited for what lies ahead.
New Dean Erwin Chemerinsky is an extraordinary person of abundant integrity, energy, and humaneness. As one of the world’s most influential legal scholars and the founding dean of UC Irvine’s law school, he has a proven record of visionary ideas that advance progress, justice, and diversity. Erwin is ideally suited to lead our school forward.
As interim dean, I saw Berkeley Law’s unique culture thriving all over the world—global warming of the best kind—and gained inspiration from so many of you. Thank you for enriching our community, and for making my time as interim dean so rewarding.
Interim Dean, Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law