Berkeley Law Announces Scholarships and Symposium in Honor of Professor Frickey

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Gluss, media relations director, 510.642.6936,

Berkeley, CA—April 1, 2009… The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law today announced two new funds in honor of Professor Philip Frickey, a renowned scholar in public law with a specialty in federal Indian law and policy. The funds will enable law students to follow Frickey’s example of scholarly study and public service. Berkeley Law will also host a symposium to celebrate the professor’s lifetime of work in the fields of constitutional law, legislation, and Indian law.

“Professor Frickey is one of the most prominent and frequently cited Indian law scholars in the country,” said UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. “He tackles the issues of constitutional rights and tribal justice with passion and piercing intellect. Phil is a constant mentor for students and practitioners alike, an unstinting enthusiast for the development of Indian law, and a steadfast advocate for resolution of Indian trust litigation.”
“Philip Frickey’s commitment to the constitutional rights of the disenfranchised are the hallmarks of his career,” said Berkeley Law professor, Dan Farber. “His civic involvement is exemplary.”

To pay tribute to Professor Frickey, Berkeley Law is launching two endeavors: establishing funds for students who want to study Indian or public law, and hosting a symposium on Frickey’s areas of legal expertise.

The Funds:

The Philip Frickey Public Law Fund will award $2,000 to a second- or third-year Berkeley Law student in financial need who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the study and practice of Indian or public law. The annual fund will also award a prize of $500 or more to the best Berkeley Law student paper on Indian or public-interest law.

The Philip Frickey Fellowship will award $4,000 to a first- or second-year law student who accepts summer employment in an Indian law or public law position that involves legal advocacy on behalf of the disenfranchised—or issues that are inadequately addressed by U.S. law. The fellowship will be awarded to a student at any ABA-accredited law school in the United States.

Several former and current Berkeley Law students are helping to raise money for the new funds, including Alice Bodnar ’08. “He’s a rare combination—he’s brilliant, a good teacher, and he cares what the students think,” said Bodnar. “I’d leave his class every day excited about the law.” Bodnar said she took every class that Professor Frickey offered, calling him her “favorite teacher.” She is now a practicing attorney and plans to work with tribes to develop renewable energy projects on Indian land.

The Symposium:

To celebrate Frickey’s scholarship and teaching, the law school will host an academic “Festschrift” involving preeminent scholars from top law schools nationwide. Papers presented at the day-long event will be published in a special issue of the California Law Review, one of the nation’s premier legal journals. The Festschrift, to be held on Friday, April 24, at UC Berkeley, will focus on constitutional law, legislation, and Indian law.

In July, Professor Frickey will take administrative leave, due to a serious illness that requires special treatment. “I am most grateful to the law school community for its fabulous support during this difficult time for my family and me,” he said.  “It is a great honor to have my work in public law—especially Indian law—recognized by the creation of these funds.”  Phil said the support of his students has helped him handle this challenging period.

Note: For more information about the new funds, go to: For more information about the symposium, go to:


Professor Philip Frickey is a nationally recognized scholar in the fields of statutory interpretation, legislative process, federal Indian law, and constitutional law. He has taught at UC Berkeley School of Law and the University of Minnesota Law School. Before teaching, Frickey clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. He then practiced law for three years in Washington, D.C. Frickey began teaching at Berkeley Law in 2000 and was appointed to the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Chair in 2006.

Frickey is the coauthor of three casebooks in his areas of expertise. He has worked closely with the Native American Rights Fund and the National Congress of American Indians, writing amicus briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute and sits on the editorial board of Court Review, the journal of the American Judges Association. Professor Frickey is the 2009 recipient of the Lawrence R. Baca Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Federal Indian Law from the Indian Law Section of the Federal Bar Association, and the Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction from UC Berkeley School of Law.

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