I did not take my first year at Boalt because I was barred from admission because I was female and, “females always had nervous breakdowns,” said Roger Traynor, acting dean who interviewed me and refused me admission. So I went to USC, made law review and then transferred to Boalt. I was turned down on Boalt’s law review but managed to graduate as the only female in an 11-person class in 1943. We were on a speed-up system on account of the war and went to school summer and winter. Boalt got me my first job as law clerk to US District Judge Louis E. Goodman, and we made history by issuing the only decision favorable to the Nisei (Japanese American citizens USA v. Kuwabara). Many years later, Boalt’s first woman dean, Herma Hill Kay, became my co-counsel in a discrimination case against Vassar College.
— Eleanor Jackson Piel
I have always remembered, for no particular reason, a question asked of McBain in our common law pleading class (I believe we were the last to be required to take that course). The question concerned the nature of the object of, I believe, an action in replevin: “What was a bezoar stone?” McBain replied that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to find out. Many years later, I happened upon the answer in Webster’s 3rd, Unabridged, while looking up another word. A bezoar stone is a growth in the alimentary organs of a cow or other ruminant believed to have magical powers.
Since then I have always wondered why McBain answered the way he did. If Captain Kidd had been the teacher, and had not known the answer, he would have made it a teachable moment by requiring the questioner to find out the answer by the next class. Or was McBain just too old-fashioned to talk publicly about alimentary organs?
P.S. I was not the questioner, by the way, since I tried to keep as silent as possible during my first year.
— Sarah Hesse
During the school year of 1953, several of us second year students took study breaks about 5:30 outside the building and pitched pennies against the west wall. Suddenly the door opened and Dean Prosser appeared with his overcoat flapping in the breeze. He stopped, reached into is pants pocket and produced three pennies, joined in the throws and lost, turned and proceeded on his way with nary a word.
— Richard A. Haugner
I began Boalt in 1950 and joined the Army after the first year. I returned in January 1953 and took third-year classes. In a visiting specialist seminar, I was asked what the Corporation Commissioner would do about the problem. Having never heard of the Commissioner, my embarrassed shrug revealed my ignorance. Later, I was hired by Dana Latham, the visitor. H Randall Stoke Classes 1953, 1954 and 1955
— Marilyn Stoke
One of my many fond memories was hashing during my years at Boalt with John Whitney and Art Martin at only sorority houses which were all located nearby. All of the house mothers loved us since Art was a charmer, and I represented the Asian houseboy. Good thing since we were sometimes irreverent to the girls and they would complain to the housemother, who almost always sided with us.
— Philip Ching
In 1956, our first-year class was the oldest age class in the history of Boalt Hall, as most of us had been officers in the Korean War and weren’t the typical student just out of college. Dean William Prosser taught torts, and on a class day he called on two students, who, in sequence, were unprepared. The dean slammed down his book and said we acted like night law school students and stomped out of the classroom. Several of us formed a committee and invited him (a former Marine) to dinner at the O Club in Alameda. After several scotches and a fine steak dinner, he not only agreed to come back to class but also spent an hour (and another scotch) giving us his impression of each member of the faculty. What a fruitful evening!
In 1959 Dean Prosser was the National President of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity, and Assistant Dean Keeler was a high national officer of that fraternity. I was president of the Boalt Hall chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity when we won the award as the Outstanding Chapter of Year and the two deans had to present the awards. See attached photo of Deans Keeler and Prosser and myself.
— Miles Harvey
My class graduated in 1960. Dean Prosser would meet with some of the law students after classes, and he loved to tell us about the Lucy Borden murder trial. Remember the lyrics: “Lucy Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”. Perfect for a torts professor.
— Bob Leslie
What a class we had! Champions in most Intramural sports. Defeated Stanford Law School in football. Relaxed and played mean games of Hearts in the lounge. Occasionally visited the Law Library. There were all of four women in our class of 150. We were not one of the most studious classes, and I understand that the faculty was deeply concerned that we would besmirch Boalt’s reputation for passing the bar. No fear! We practically “married” the Bar Review Course and passed with one of the highest percentages ever!!! We birthed many judges from Oregon to Mexico. GO BEARS!
— Dwight A. Carlson
In our second year at Boalt, when there were a few less of us (after Dean Prosser told us to look to the left us, etc.) we were taking Admin Law from Professor Frank Newman (later dean and still later Justice of the Supreme Court of California). Some of us were scared to death of Prof. Newman and his machine-gun style. One of Frank’s favorite statements was to say (after he had destroyed your best recital) “Is there any question?” One day he called on me to recite on one of the assigned cases and then proceeded to nail me to the the proverbial wall. At the end of that debacle, Frank threw the final lance and said, “I hope you did not think you were prepared today, Mr. Lund?” I stood up closed my book and said, “Is there any question?” I then walked out to the cheers of my classmates!
— Arthur K.Lund
William Prosser was lecturing on assault and battery. He called on a student in the back of the classroom to recite the facts of a case of a woman who was inoculated against her wishes on a ship bringing her to America. In reciting the facts, the student said the woman was injected in the hold. Prosser interrupted saying it was in the arm. The student did not get the joke and continued to say it was in the hold and Prosser continued to say it was in the arm. A very funny exchange.
Also, at the beginning of the semester, Prosser told our class to think carefully about any questions we had because he was going to give us “pure gold” in the limited time available.
— Burton Gruber
I and some of my classmates frequented Oscar’s hot dog stand just across the street from Boalt Hall, now long gone. We usually had coffee and snacks between classes several days a week. William Lloyd Prosser also made this a destination many times a week where he would order a Coke and sometimes a dog.
On one such occasion Professor Prosser came in, got his drink and proceeded to sit on one of the beat up high stools that were available, whereupon the chair collapsed, tossing the King of Torts on his derriere. Startled by the commotion, we were delighted with his educational response to this situation. He leaped up (he was pretty agile) and announced: “Coming in here, I assumed the risk!!” Prosser was not just an excellent teacher, he was inspirational.
— Dan Wallace
While I only practiced law for three years, my experience at Boalt, and especially the perspective, discipline and friendships growing out of that experience, served me well as I pursued a career as a University of California administrator. For that I am very grateful.
— Roger Samuelsen
There were very few women in our class at Boalt (16 of us graduated). Early in the first year, Barbara Armstrong, Babette Barton and Herma Kay (the ONLY women on the faculty!) hosted a series of luncheons at the Women’s Faculty Club for the women in our class. It was a very nice way to make us feel welcome—especially since some of the male faculty members were not so welcoming. (Professor Laube even told us that we were taking up the space needed by men who needed to support a family!) One of our first exams was Professor Kaplan’s Tort exam. Of course, we were all terrified! He passed out the exam, and soon you could hear giggles coming from around the classroom. He had written the exam, using the names of our classmates. It was very funny and did help us all to relax. I remember that David Leipziger was a Boy Scout leader and that Pete Haley and I owned a garage together. It was a nice thing for Prof. Kaplan to do and quite in keeping with his offbeat character!
On another occasion, Professor Kaplan arranged to have himself served with a summons by a uniformed officer in front of our class. We couldn’t believe it! He then proceeded to tell us the saga of arranging to have his car transported across the country when he came to Boalt. It was a hoot!
During third-year finals, the word went out for everyone to be in the law library on a certain night at a specific time for a surprise. A few of the faculty members were also “clued in.” A few of us had arranged for a stripper to come from a club in San Francisco to “do her thing” on a table in the library. At the appointed hour, the lights were dimmed, the boom-box turned on and the fun began! It was a great way to end our third year!
— Geri Graham Sandor
One of my profoundest memories at Boalt was the saddest.
After I left my 10:00 a.m. class at Boalt on November 22, 1963, many students urged us to go to the student lounge.
There I joined a number of my fellow students who watched with shock and grief the televised news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
— Theodore R. Bresler
Mostly Bad. Learned I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. Biggest memory is that I was sitting on one of the benches on the second floor discussing a case with my roommate Steve Broiles when someone ran by and said that President Kennedy had been shot. We ran downstairs to look at the TV. We went to our next class, when a classmate came in and said that Kennedy had died. Not something someone would ever forget.
— Larry Augusta I have many fond memories of my time at Boalt Hall, not the least of which was my third-year semester break trip to Mazatlan, Mexico with five of my 1966 classmates
— Fernando Hernandez, Phil Ziegler, Richard Stone, Gary Aguirre and Gerry McManigal.
Also, about mid-semester of our first year in 1963, a great many of the students and at least one professor attended a party hosted by the Phi Delta Phi Law School Fraternity. One of the professors, and maybe the only one in attendance was Professor Robert Cole, who had already endeared himself to us because of his engaging personality and dedicated teaching style. When we bumped into each other at the party, we engaged in conversation about school and Professor Cole revealed to me, when discussing my undergraduate days, that he knew that I played football for the Fighting Illini at the University of Illinois. “Bobby” became and has always been someone special to me, and I have thought of him with tremendous fondness over the years.
— Bruce Singman
Lots of memories. In our first year, they dedicated the Earl Warren Legal Center, and at least eight Supreme Court Justices at the time (including the Chief) came out for it and maybe even Dean Acheson. Of course the memory none of us will forget is learning of the death of President Kennedy (I was on my way to class and ran into some second-years who told us the President had been shot, and we all went down to the “bridge” room to watch Walter Cronkite), and how Berkeley and the law school closed down for that long weekend of tumultuous events. Our class produced a movie in addition to the spoof play, and we had lots of fun shooting it, one time going through the library where lots of serious studiers remained unperturbed. Also, Professor Diamond’s Psychiatry and the Law class for three hours on Friday where attendance was discouraged! Mike Tigar as our valedictorian.
— Charles Miller
I was in Boalt’s class of 1967. Sometime in 1966, the student body of Boalt decided to have a celebration in the Boalt library. Somehow the student body was made aware of the fact that Carol Doda, the most famous topless stripper of her day from the Condor Club in North Beach, was to perform at the celebration. There was a great deal of incredulity that she would perform as she might in the Condor Club. It was expected she would appear in a black judicial robe and otherwise make less than judicious remarks. When the day of the function arrived, the library was packed. The staid Boalt student body was chagrined to find that not only did Carol appear, but she performed her dance routine sans all but her panties. Suffice to say, Carol’s fame did not go unappreciated. To the best of my knowledge, the dean’s office never commented on the event. Who would have thought such an event could have happened in the Boalt library!
— Arthur Fine
I am David Leipziger ’67 and one-time co-articles editor of the California Law Review. My fond memories include: Law Review editors spending several weeks engaged in a titanic struggle as pre-WWI European countries in the board game “Diplomacy”; dancing and consuming various “substances” at late-night law review parties; soaking up the silence of the law library while engaged in research long after midnight; discovering that most faculty members were highly approachable and great fun to spend time with; being the only member of the class who arrived wearing jacket and tie, a consequence of my selling real estate part-time in Walnut Creek and environs during my first two years of law school.
— David Leipziger
In 1967, I was an impecunious second-year student at Boalt employed by the library to run the library circulation desk in the evening. On a mild spring evening just before finals, I became aware the library was filling up with persons I did not recognize as being part of the Boalt community. Not only were these persons seemingly less mature than Boalt denizens, but they seemed disdainful of the pressure of impending finals and the resultant number grades by which you could calculate your GPA to the hundredth of a percent. I was just about to leave the desk to see if the interlopers were bothering the dedicated souls studying in the library reading room when a cabal of third-year Boalt students whom I am honor-bound not to identify accosted me, ordered to me to stay behind the desk and to lower the steel shades in order to cover the windows looking out to Bancroft Avenue. That accomplished, and after assuring themselves there was no prowling faculty, the three brought in some portable music equipment and quickly set it up.
The purpose of these machinations became apparent when other members of the cabal escorted into the reading room a young woman wearing an overcoat. The music started, the young woman threw off her coat, stepped onto a table in all her glory and began to dance. The show went on for about 15 minutes while I was being restrained by the circulation desk by a member of the cabal; I did, however, have an excellent view of the proceedings. Finally, to much merriment and cheering, the young woman, the musical equipment, and the cabal departed. The pre-finals tension and apprehension relieved, the non-Boalt students cleared out, and the dedicated Boalt students went back to studying without complaint about the interruption. The story does not end there. Later in the week, the librarian Tom Reynolds and Professor Dan Henke closely interrogated me about the event, my alleged role in the plot and requested a description of the dancing woman in case she should re-appear.
— Bruce Flushman
As a 2L, I was a student in Professor Stephan Riesenfeld’s course, Creditors’ Rights and Debtors’ Remedies. One memory is that whenever he mentioned the case of Tucker v. Fuentes, which for some reason he often did, he always said that he was “afraid of committing a spoonerism.” Of course with his thick German accent it came out “shpoonerism.” In the same class, Prof. Riesenfeld advised us at the end of two or three classes that we were done with Creditors’ Remedies and that with the next class he would begin the material on Debtors’ Remedies. Yet “the next class” was inevitably still devoted to Creditors’ Rights. So finally I raised my hand and asked him when we were going to get to DR. With that he put down his book, walked from the lectern halfway up the room to the row in which I was seated, walked behind the students seated in the row in front of me and stood right in front of me. He then said in a loud voice, “Bergman, you understand nothing about Creditors’ Rights. And YOU want to move ahead to Debtors’ Remedies?” Then he slowly retraced his steps to the lectern. Fabulous–everyone cracked up, me included. (He was right. I understood nothing about CR.) I got married just before my 3L year and my wife and I were chosen to be on The Newlywed Game, a daytime TV game show. We wanted to watch the show in Boalt’s Student Lounge, since Boalt had a color TV set, and neither we nor anyone we knew had one. I asked a few classmates to join us in the lounge to watch the show with us. Apparently they spread the word, because my wife and I walked into the lounge to discover that a few classes had been cancelled and that it was SRO in the lounge. How embarrassing was it to watch yourself on a dippy show like The Newlywed Game, knowing that we didn’t win but finished second, with about 250 “friends” screaming unprintable insults at the screen whenever my wife or I were on (mostly they insulted me, they weren’t complete boors).
— Paul Bergman
I was studying in the library one night when the lights went out, then on, and an “exotic dancer” had appeared on one of the library tables, doing an extremely suggestive bump and grind to appropriate music and cheering from the startled (and appreciative) students. There was an investigation by the administration, and I believe the student on duty, who was complicit, lost his job.
— Michael Roman
I graduated from Boalt Hall, U.C. Berkeley in 1968. During our commencement, the University of California was celebrating its centennial, having been established in 1868. How fitting that the law school at Berkeley is now observing its own centennial in 2012. During my time at Boalt, the School took great pride that one of its graduates, the Hon. Earl Warren, had become the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and had had a significant impact in the evolution of our country toward a more just and open society. In that tradition, we, as students, had a unique vantage point on the U.C. Berkeley campus to witness many events that transformed American society in the late 20th Century, including: the Civil Rights movement, the Free Speech Movement, the Vietnam War protests, the tumultuous Presidential election of 1968, the Prague Spring in Europe, the gathering of flower children in the Haight Ashbury District of San Franciso in 1967, the election of Ronald Reagan as governor of California in 1966, and he growth of counter-cultural movements of all kinds. These events were the backdrop of society during our three years at Boalt Hall. Perhaps at no other time in history did so much change occur in such little time. The memories from that period are indelible, the friendships made were precious, and the life stories of those in the class of 1968 demonstrate that many went from that place and tried to make a difference in the world. It is a fine legacy of a fine law school.
— Larry Struve
I’ll never forget the sign posted to the door between the cafeteria and the aisle to then-Manville Hall where I had booked a room for the first few weeks of my time at Boalt in the fall of 1967: “Please close the door after you” – and the handwritten comment obviously added by one of my sharp fellow students at that time: “after you what?” And more to the core of what Boalt represents: I may have been one of the very few LLM students who took a Constitutional Law class at that time. The class was given by Professor Choper, whose teaching method was as brilliant as it was challenging. Sitting with that group of domestic second-year students and being exposed to Jesse Choper’s questions and comments made me sweat blood in the beginning but was a great and unforgettable experience. And what’s better: 30 years later, at a convention of IABA at Boalt, Jesse Choper and I met again, and he took me into his arms, called me “George” and questioned me about what I had made out of my time at Boalt. The Boalt faculty care for their actual and former students; that’s what I took from my year there and from this reunion. Thanks Boalt!
— Jörg Soehring
She was a feminist; the leading advocate of “no fault divorce” in the country; and, later, the dean of the law school. But, to this day, I remember her, Herma Hill Kay, as the stylish young professor, teaching us family law, in tall, black leather boots.
— John M. Poswall
During the Free Speech Movement in the fall of l964, about l0-15 of us picketed the law school in support of the right of students to give speeches about non-campus issues on campus (In those days you had to speak from a soapbox at the corner of Bancroft and telegraph, which was not university property.) We also demonstrated for the right to raise money for off-campus issues like the civil rights movement from tables set up in Sproul Plaza. These were the two main concrete issues of the Free Speech Movement. Although a few of the Boalt professors worked behind the scenes to support the Free Speech students, not one professor came out in public to support us during the months of demonstrations.
— Paul Harris
I remember venerable Professor Kessler, my first-year contracts instructor, and his quasi-contract example of building a “marble garage for a new Bentley.” I remember the student strike of the minority law students over changes in the law schools admissions policies. I remember spirited discussions about social responsibility and the legal profession. Most of all I remember the sincerity of many faculty, staff and students in striving to balance academic excellence and social change.
— Abd’Allah Adesanya (Anthony Ward)
Prof. David Louisell’s Civil Procedure Class: Topic: What is a “cause of action” Time frame: around Xmas Incident: 5 guys march into the class, sing a X-mas carol, and then march out.
Prof Louisell: Was that one or five causes of action? Anyone?
— Eleanor Krasnow
I was one of those fortunate enough to have a small section taught by Ira Michael Heyman. My first year property class in 1968 comprised 20 tyros learning land development law from that truly great man. And a large part of his greatness was that he never lost sight of the fact the law dealt with human beings, and most often failed when it lost sight of human considerations and frailties.
For that reason, one of my favorite Mike Heyman stories reflects his own humanity. Mike was a chain-smoker then. And a peripatetic lecturer. He would wander around the room explicating a point of law, put down a cigarette, wander on, and forget where he’d left the cigarette. He often had two going at one time, sometimes even three. But one day, having already lit three and put them down, he finished a point, looked at his empty hand, and then surveyed the room, searching for his cigarette. There were three on tables and chalk trays, but he didn’t seem to see them. We all waited breathlessly as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack. Would he . . . could he . . . ? As he lit the fourth cigarette, the room erupted in celebration of the future chancellor’s first –and only–four-cigarettes-at-one-time- lecture. And he burst into one of those spectacular smiles that still brighten all our memories of him.
— William W. Bedsworth
I am Boalt class of 1972, having left the US Foreign Service in 1969 to enter Boalt.
But in July 1966, I was in Palo Alto, with a just-awarded Berkeley Masters in International Politics and very excited to be entering the Foreign Service of the State Department, “adventures abroad,” and all that, when I met a recent Boalt grad, just starting in a small Palo Alto firm doing SEC work. (“How boring,” I thought, compared to the Foreign Service.) He explained why he chose Palo Alto: “New York is far too fast, even San Francisco is too fast. I was looking for a small town, where a lawyer can have a nice, normal life.” The name of that Boalt grad in slow, normal Palo Alto, 1966? Larry Sonsini!
— Bob Kelley
Walking to school with my roommate’s large black lab mix with him following me into Philip Johnson’ Criminal Procedure class, and Prof. Johnson literally freaking out about the presence of a large dog which no one, including myself, claimed to know.
Prof. Jan Vetter who taught a great Literature and the Law class in my third year and whose first year Civil Procedure class had everyone intimidated when he would randomly call on students. I made a habit of volunteering answers whenever I had read the assignment so that it was unlikely that he would call on me on the many days when I had not.
Many memories of hanging out with and getting to know a number of really interesting people who were in my class.
— Richard Rosenstock
The Class of ’74 was noteworthy for several reasons: When we entered Boalt, we set a record for percent of entering female students; and in our first year, we sat in at the dean’s office over a property professor’s performance. But it was our graduation ceremony that many remember: it featured both a streaker, and a military fighter jet flyover—one of our classmates was stationed at Alameda NAS.
— Neil Gould
I have a story about a wonderful professor, and more importantly, a wonderful human being. In the fall semester of 1972 (my second year), I was going through a marital breakup and was despondent and emotionally incapable of preparing for at least one of my finals. I even considered dropping out of school and went to speak with Professor Mel Eisenberg, my corporations professor. (By the way, one of the best professors I had at Boalt.) He dissuaded me from dropping out and told me not to worry about the final, he would prepare a new test for me whenever I was able to take it during the next semester, which he did. I look back to that moment in my life, when I could have made some poor choices and ended up doing something different with my life. Thanks to Professor Eisenberg, I did not.
— Paul Ablon
My small section first year was Contracts with Mel Eisenberg. We became a very tight group, and we all adored Eisenberg. He had a party at his home for us, and we all showed up wearing t-shirts with a group photo on them under the title “Mel’s Angels.” I still have mine!
I studied primarily in the stacks, and had never before and have never since been so totally comfortable in such a dark, dusty rabbit warren. But it was very conducive to concentration, and tons of reading occurred there, thinking often of the ghosts of the many who preceded me.
My year was the year in which Joanie Caucus was admitted to Boalt. And we also shared Suzy Haldeman’s fears when Patty Hearst was snatched. Watergate was in full bloom, and the Law School for once was more radical than campus. Interesting times, those.
— Robin Fagg Quon
What a shocking memory about the ceremony of 1977 JD-LLM commencement, where I found that I am the only guy wearing both academic gown and hat except professors. All of graduating students had decided not to rent their gowns and hats for the ceremony. I was not aware of the facts. Fortunately, the speaker, cartoonist Gary Treadeur, on behalf of the graduating student in “Doonesbury” had attended with his gown.
— Soung Soo Kim
Our commencement speaker was Chevy Chase. When he entered, his gait parodied the faculty member who preceded him.
His opening remarks, as I recall them, were very close to the following: “During the past three years some of you have learned quite a lot (dramatic pause)… others, not so much.”
— Harris E. Kershnar
I have lots of fond memories from my time at Boalt, from having student meetings disrupted by the Spartacus League my first year, to volleyball in the courtyard on Fridays all three years, to Chevy Chase as our graduation speaker. Our professors started taking the steps that moved us from straight classroom learning to seeing how the law worked in the real world. Professor Foote required us to observe a court proceeding and write a memo about it my first year. Professor Newman paved the way for me to do a Clinical Semester at an NGO working at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. I remember one class that still makes me smile. Professor Daube came into one of our Wednesday classes and started to pace back and forth. All of a sudden he stopped and looked at us and said, “I hate Wednesdays, they cut into both days of the weekend.”
— Connie de la Vega
My Boalt experience began in 1974, about two years before I even knew that I was going to apply to law school. In those days, when I should have been diligently finishing my history dissertation, I misspent altogether too many hours at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows. That was a time when horseracing was the only legal form of gambling available in California, and the local courses attracted thousands of customers. One actually had to park some distance away from the entrance gate—a quarter mile hike from car to gate was not at all uncommon.
Trudging through the parking lot on that sunny and warm Saturday, a typical October afternoon on the Peninsula (just a few miles up the 101 from Stanford), I was in the company of Richard Schindler, Boalt ’70. As we passed the owner/trainer entrance to the backstretch, Richard broke off our conversation to greet another patron. This fellow was not like the other punters one usually encounters at the track—there was an intensity about him not typical of racetrack regulars. He was cordial, even friendly, as Richard introduced him to me as Jesse Choper, a professor at Boalt. But despite his cordiality, this was a man plainly not given to small talk at just that time: Jesse was nothing if not serious in his encounter with the turf. After a minute or so, he walked on alone, absorbed in his plans for the afternoon’s action.
Nearly 40 years on, and hundreds of Saturdays in Jesse’s company later, little has changed. True, Bay Meadows is now condos and office buildings, and Golden Gate Fields might as well be, given how few fans show up for live racing. Yet Jesse Choper remains as he was the day I first met him, the Most Serious Handicapper at the Track. Most Boalt alums will remember from their student days how Jesse focused that exquisite intellect on the knottiest problems of Constitutional Law. A few of us have been fortunate to watch as he marshaled that intelligence in the attempt to unravel the far more challenging complexities involved with a dozen $4000 claimers running eight furlongs.
— Richard Hill
One favorite Boalt memory is meeting with the RC student support group once a week during 1977-1978, led by Steve Angelides (class of ’79), usually on the roof in a small room with lots of windows. It helped me get through that rough first year and get closer to other students.
— Nancy Lemon
I, for one, can say that I absolutely LOVED my time of study and growth while a student at Boalt! I know that one of the factors supporting my comfort at law school was the fact that there were approximately 46 African-American students in our class ! I am confident that this is the largest group of Black students in one class at Boalt!I believe that 42 out of the 46 graduated in 1980! This was certainly an area of support for me as a student, but I loved the interaction and challenges of the entire law school experience. At the beginning of my first year, I began wearing a silver”choker chain” around my neck, and I committed to wearing that chain EVERY day while at law school. People would come up to me and ask why I was wearing the chain, and my response was “I am a slave to the law!” It really served as a reminder of my commitment to stay focused on my studies. After our last final exam in 1980, a bunch of us were celebrating at the “Bear’s Lair” lounge, and I ceremoniously broke off the chain and removed it from my neck to symbolize that the academic part of my legal journey had been completed. That was a great day and actually served as our final party/get-together as law students, as we then proceeded to study/prepare for the Bar Exam and our legal careers. The friendships I made while at Boalt are precious and continue to sustain me to this day.
— Kelvin D. Filer
Bernie Witkin gave a speech to the entering class. I remember him saying that, if someone tells you “I did x and it was great, so you should do x,” take it with a grain of salt, because people always want to vindicate their decisions, and they may not really have thought it through. He then said, if someone says “I did x and you know, it hasn’t worked out as I expected, I really wish I had done y,” that advice is likely to be more sound, because at least the person has thought about the decision carefully. He then invited us to apply this principle to the decision to go to law school. I don’t know how many people, if any, quit on the spot. In any event, I have remembered this advice for going on 33 years now (I am class of 1982), and have often shared it with others.
Note that I didn’t write about being handed a joint in my Torts class on the last day of classes before the winter break. For the record, I traded it for a candy cane, but others lit up on the spot. Only in Berkeley.
In 1979, I was a first-year student. Our moot court scenario involved an 18 year old plaintiff suing a school district that had incorrectly labeled him retarded and kept him in Special Ed. Classes for 12 years. “Michael,” the putative plaintiff, alleged failure to education, intentional infliction, and a number of other torts. Although my heart went out to the kid, my partner and I chose to defend the school district.
Feelings about the case ran hot through our moot court section. My partner, Allen Briskin, and I brought down the house (and some wrath) when we had T-shirts made with “Nuke Mikey” emblazoned on them. There may still be some who are offended by that!
The other marvelous outcome of that experience was a line in our brief that went something like this: “A special education program, unlike the front end of a bus, does not raise a duty to prepare for imminent harm.” I can’t remember who won, but it was a lot of fun.
— Mary Clare Lawrence
I was fortunate during my time at Boalt to learn from several inspirational women professors. Eleanor Swift (Evidence), Herma Hill Kay (Family Law), and Marjorie Schultz (Heath Law seminar) were all tremendous teachers and role models who helped shape my view of the law and the legal profession. And while at Boalt, I did an internship at the Berkeley City Attorney’s Office where I met Natalie West ’73, who became my mentor, colleague, and lifelong friend. Many strong and beautiful women touched my life during my days at Boalt Hall.
— Molly T. Tami
I was the CLR book review editor in 1985, and participated in the publication of then Professor Robert Berring’s review of Cannibalism and the Common Law. To our knowledge, it was the first law review piece to include a cartoon as a footnote. I doubt that we started a trend. The cartoon, which appears at 75 Calif. L. Rev 252, 256, came from Gary Larson’s “Far Side” series.
— Andrew H. Mohring
During my first year, I lived in Manville in a suite with Aldo Busot, Russ Brubaker, and Mark Williams. Russ had a record player and a pretty good collection, and we all used it and generally left the doors to the bathroom open to have one large suite. We often played classical music when studying. But during exams, Mark decided that Gregorian chants helped him concentrate, so we had three straight days of Gregorian chants.
— Stephen Antion
I was at Boalt from Fall 1983-Spring 1986. The era was bracketed on one end by the Apple Computer 1984 ad and Halley’s Comet parties on the other. During this time, South African apartheid protests resulted in university divestment, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster live on CNN horrified us, and MTV played Madonna, Billy Idol and Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love. Uncle Zeb answered questions like, “If you take Trusts and Anti-Trust in the same semester, do you explode?.” We were taught to Shepardize. A number of notables came through. Timothy Leary spoke about “Futique,” and of computers you could carry with you like a piece of paper. Justice Brennan was a moot court judge, and asked, “What’s speech?” Jerry Spence gave a talk on how to try a plaintiffs’ case. I don’t recall much from Professor Fletcher’s Real Property class of 1985 except one class where the bingo word was “mustache.” (Bingo was played by filling in cards based on students who volunteered in class frequently. When you got a row filled in, you had to raise your hand and ask a question including the word of the day. Cards were about 50-cents or so, and you could win maybe enough to cover parking.) One day I almost had a bingo. Since I was sitting right next to center square and could use the parking money, I elbowed him to volunteer a question.
Too late. A hand shot up, “Professor Fletcher, isn’t that just splitting mustache hairs?” The class groaned, knowing someone had won.
Professor Fletcher looked puzzled for a moment but a wave of recognition came over his face and he said, “Bingo.”
— A “P” student from Class of 1986
“Back in my day,” at the end of first semester first year, third-years would traditionally come interrupt and sing Christmas carols to the first-years in class with the words all changed around to be about the professors and Boalt. The truly glorious part was they also passed around Champagne (probably Freixenet or Asti Spumanti, as no one had much money) and lit joints for sharing. A favorite professor who is now a federal judge made a point of stating “smoking in public places is against the law in California.”. Sigh. Those were the days. I also loved the “pass-honors-high-honors’ system and how it helped feed the tremendous camaraderie and profound friendships I began there and still enjoy today. And our gatherings outside that stone bench corner near the entrance solved more of the world’s ills than I ever have since. “Bar Review” every Thursday…three outdoor pools within walking distance…affordable housing…Tell me again, why did I move back to Boston?
— Jamy Madeja
For Carroll Dorgan, in the CLR articles room: “Block that metaphor!” (We’re still trying, even as they fly thick and furious in this election year) And a moment that continues to inspire and amuse me at least monthly, as I try to apply this approach in life: David Daube, from the podium in an Ancient Law class: “I was reading hieroglyphs last night…” And to honor another among many great professors: Our 1L small section of about 20 students (an indulgent relic of legal pedagogy since lost to economies of scale and scheduling in today’s legal education market) was lucky enough to have had then-Acting Professor Eleanor Swift for six units of Civil Procedure across both semesters. She was clear; she was precise; she respected us with her high expectations. She practiced intellectual excellence with compassion, and wrapped her dignity around her like a cloak during the turbulent years around 1985-86 when she taught this class. She probably didn’t know how many of the section students, male and female, had crushes on her. Many of us have worked the rest of our lives to live up to her model professionalism. And a snapshot: Slipping a sheaf of legal research under Professor Mel Eisenberg’s closed door in a darkened corridor, near midnight, only to have it sucked in from the other side, a bit like the peppermints Pigling Bland pushed under the locked cupboard door..
— Marina Hsieh
A short memory of one of my most memorable conversations during my time in Boalt: Some time in spring or summer 1989, I was sitting off Boalt Hall together with Helen Eisenberg (Mel’s wife), and she was asking me what young Germans were thinking of a German re-unification. I told her that in my view none of my generation would even consider this as a remote possibility. It took only until November 1989 that the Berlin Wall fell–and still today, I wonder why the Germans had ruled out the possibility of a re-unification much more than the Americans. The only possible answer is that they believe more deeply in the value of freedom.
— Heribert Hirte
I dated a fellow Boaltie during my last year at Boalt, and the commitment had me skipping all of Professor Herma Hill Kay’s Marital Property Law Classes. In fact, my casebook for that class could have been resold as a new book after the final. I was close to experiencing a nervous breakdown out of fear that I would fail the class and not graduate from Boalt. However, ultimately, I received HH for that class. I proceeded to share with my wife (girlfriend then) that the best way to, not only survive, but thrive at Boalt, is by dating a fellow Boaltie.
— Mike Yuh-hung Ma, J.D. 1990 (Beatrice Yu-yuan Ma, LL.M. 1991)
Boalt accepted me within a day or two of applications closing. This shocked and delighted me, a theatre major from Cal State Fullerton, and made me wonder if they had made a mistake. After that, I didn’t care if Stanford accepted me or not (they didn’t). The difference in price at the time was about $1,500 a year for Boalt and about $15,000 a year for Stanford. Either one sounds like a bargain today.
— Claire Truxaw Cormier
Among my favorite Boalt memories is a fee structure that allowed me to pursue a career devoted to public service.
— Konrad Moore
Dan Asimow (Boalt ’92) and I (LeAnn Bischoff, Boalt ’92) met in August of 1989 during the first week of law school. We were introduced in the then-locker room by Jonathan Bromson (’92). (Thanks, forever, Jonathan!) Dan had a big smile, an appealing yet boyish enthusiasm for all things legal, encyclopedic knowledge about the Bay Area (he’d arrived a full year earlier), and a cute, sporty car he loved to show off. I, on the other hand, had a beloved bike that immediately got ripped off at the I-House, an unresolved finance issue from back home, Minnesota, and no real idea how to make it around Berserkley. I was so new to the area that when the Big One hit in October ’89, I believed it must be the sort of tremor that happened all the time in California ….until the sirens started wailing and people poured out of their houses to watch the billowing smoke and share stories. Dan was the kind of friend who’d say “sure!” no matter what the request or how inane the inquiry, a trait every friend of his appreciated when stuck in traffic and Dan picked up the phone to redirect him or her (especially me!).
Dan was a most unusual law student, and Berkeley was not your typical law school. The day I met him, Dan wore an old tie-dyed T-shirt sporting a Cal-bear dancing on a frozen lake. It read “If you’re walking on thin ice you may as well dance.” He worked hard at his studies but also always managed to kick back for long periods, taking a swarm of pals up to Redwood Park for regular Friday afternoon hikes. Berkeley was true to its reputation as a hotbed of political discussion and controversy (there was a new one each season) and at the end of our first week of finals, the third-year students gave me something to write home about when they ran around the classrooms handing out joints. Ah, youth!
Long story short, I married the hard-working, brilliant, kind and fun-loving guy in 1995, and today we live in Rockridge with our three treasured children: our daughter Naomi, and our sons Eli and Jacob. Dan’s now a partner at Arnold & Porter (which just merged with Howard, Rice, his longtime firm), specializing in antitrust litigation, though I’ll admit I still harbor dreams of him becoming a law professor like his dad (Michael Asimow, Boalt ’62??). I am a busy working mom with a thriving solo practition in family law. Someday, however, I hope to teach family law at UCB or Hastings, where I would encourage more students to take the plunge and start a solo practice. Dan and I will both be forever indebted to the professors and good people of Boalt Hall, for helping us find happiness and success in our professions and personally. At Boalt we received a fine education and made lifelong friends, including Josh Lipp, Erika Rottenberg, Robin Wechkin, Elaine Martin, and Ben Douglas, most of whom were in our 30-member small section that first year. Go Bears!
— LeAnn Bischoff
One of my favorite memories of attending Boalt was first-year contracts class with Prof. Eisenberg, who was to me, at least, a somewhat intimidating fellow and of course the author of our coursebook.
One thing I was certain I knew about being a 1L is that every student would get called on by a professor at some point and be subjected to the infamous Socratic method. Nonetheless, I was completely taken by surprise when Prof. Eisenberg lobbed me a softball, asking: “Mr. Lueder, would you please tell us who is suing whom in this case?” My answer?
“Plaintiff is suing defendant.” I couldn’t live that down for the next three years ….
— Andrew Lueder
In response to a dare, classmate Matthew Forsyth ’95 working the term “latent ambiguity” into questions he posed to our professors in four different classes in one day.
— Deb Dubin
I will always remember Professor Swift in civil procedure quoting “Top Gun,” saying that a key question is “Do we have a need for speed?” And my Native American roommate in the old law school dorm, who grew up on a reservation, but went to Stanford, expanding my perspectives.
— Jean Fung
“A heartfelt THANK YOU to Professor Rachel Moran (now UCLA Law dean) who taught Torts at Boalt during my years. She made torts exciting and memorable. Also sincere thank yous to Professor Robert Post (now Yale Law dean) for instilling in me the highest respect for Constitutional Law, and Professor Herma Hill Kay (she was Boalt dean then) who taught a most interesting Conflict of Laws class. These professors are fine examples of excellence in teaching and inspiring students.”
— Curt P.
While I was at Boalt, I turned 21, met my closest friends, “choked” during my first Moot Court appearance, learned to salsa dance, figured out how to sleep in a library cubicle while studying, fell in love with the Bay Area, delivered a speech at graduation as class president, received a top-notch education, and became the person I am today. I am grateful for the entirety of my experiences at Boalt, and cherish the memories.
— Niloofar (Nejat-Bina) Shepherd
My memories of Boalt are a collection of nostalgic images that remind me of an intense time of learning, growing and connecting with others. I remember my tiny studio in Manville, the smell of Eucalyptus, brown sugar in my coffee at Strada, and the wonderful feeling that no matter how hard I tried and how little I slept, I would never experience all that my fellow students, Boalt, UC Berkeley, and the Bay Area had to offer me.
— Hope S. Whitney
On the first day of law school, during orientation, Dean Ortiz said, “Some law schools are known for saying, look to your left, and look to your right, and one of them are going to fail out of law school his/her first year. However, at Boalt, it’s different. I’m going to say, look to your left, and look to your right, one of them is going to be one of your best friends for life.” Mercedes Labat happened to be one of the people sitting to the side of me, and she remains a dear friend today.
— Michelle Watts
I’m class of 2006 and had the pleasure of taking Property with the distinguished Ira Michael Heyman as a 1L. Prof. Heyman was preparing us for a quiz—our first “test” in 1L thus far—that only dealt with the infamous rule against perpetuities. Every law student’s cocktail hour groan. He was spending time answering questions by students about shifting and springing interests, but may have inadvertently started saying “swinging” as opposed to “springing.” I was beyond the point of confusion, and when I raised my hand to desperately ask what he meant by “swinging interests,” he stopped his professorial pacing, looked up, smiled, and turned. He replied to the class, “I know what swinging interests are, but they’ve got nothing to do with property!” Total embarrassment as the class erupted in laughter. Also a good stress relief.
— Stacey Schesser
All I knew about California was what I had seen on Saved By The Bell and California Dreams. So when I first visited Berkeley, I thought everyone would be carrying around a surfboard! I also learned that it does get cold in the Bay, but outdoor patios don’t get closed up for the winter. That’s what heat lamps are for! Cafe Strada was my study spot all year round.
— Jennifer Gomez
Simply put, my time at Boalt was three of the best years of my life. When I relay that sentiment to non-Boaltie friends and colleagues, the vast majority of responses have been shock and remarks about my sanity. Boalt was my top-choice law school, so after I got the acceptance from Dean Tom, I was riding on cloud nine. However, the pure feeling of bliss immediately turned into extreme anxiety at the thought of now being classmates with some of the most brilliant, accomplished, and passionate people in the world.
When I arrived at orientation and then the first day of classes back in 2007, my preconceived notions about my classmates were immediately affirmed. But, to my pleasant surprise, in addition to their unmatched brilliance, accomplishments, and passion, the class of 2010 also turned out to be some of the most genuine, driven, and amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and then learning the law with. That is how I can so confidently and proudly proclaim my love for Boalt. It really was an honor being a small part of the awesome whole and will forever be a chapter of life I cherish.
— Jimmy Chu
In the first day on non-LLM class, my Criminal law professor called me Justice Thomas because of my conservative ideas. I was glad for that.
The other was with Professor Frank Zimring, who truly gave me a lot of prospective about juvenile justice.
— Abdullah Alsheikh