William Fernholz

  • Lecturer in Residence
    Director, Appellate Program
  • wfernholz@law.berkeley.edu
  • Tel: 510-643-4447
  • 428 Law Building (North Addition), Berkeley, CA 94720 MC:7200

William H.D. Fernholz, who goes by “Bill,” has taught at Berkeley Law for twenty years. He has devoted his professional career to three missions.

First, Bill has taught Fundamentals of U.S. Law, the introductory substantive law course for LL.M. students, for over a decade. In that time, he has been the first teacher for more than 1,000 LL.M. students, and introduced those talented international lawyers to the successes and failures of the American system of governance and the common-law method of case analysis.

Second, Bill has educated a generation of domestic J.D. students in the skills of legal writing and oral advocacy, primarily through the upper-level course, Appellate Advocacy. Students in that course brief and argue cases currently pending in the California Supreme Court, using materials from the actual record of the case and adhering as closely to rules of that court as the classroom will allow. Bill also supervised the competitions program at Berkeley Law until 2018.

Third, Bill teaches lawyering for social justice. He co-directs the Ninth Circuit Practicum, in which J.D. students represent indigent clients in asylum and civil rights cases before the largest federal appellate circuit in the nation. He has previously taught social justice courses, such as Employment Discrimination and Civil Rights Litigation.

Before teaching at Berkeley Law, Bill practiced civil rights and poverty law at several Bay Area law firms and nonprofits. Bill is a 1993 graduate of Berkeley Law, where he served as Senior Executive Editor of the law review.


B.A., Carleton College (1989)
J.D., UC Berkeley School of Law (1993)