Events & News

New Profile Series for Robbins Fellows

The Robbins Collection has been welcoming local, national, and international researchers and academics into the doors of its Reading Room for decades. Fellowships through the Robbins Collection allow scholars to study collection holdings, as well as utilize Berkeley Law and campus resources, to further their scholarly endeavors in legal research. Now you can learn about our current Fellows with our website’s new “Robbins Fellow Spotlight” page.

In June, the Robbins Collection welcomed Agnès Desmazières, a French researcher whose work focuses on the Catholic Church as it pertains to history, theology and canon law. Read our profile piece on Agnès and check back for more profiles on current Robbins Fellows.

Published: Robbins Fellow, Pablo Echeverri

Pablo Echeverri, a Robbins Post-Doctoral Fellow since 2015, was recently published in the Chicago-Kent Journal of International and Comparative Law. His paper, “The 2015 Power-Balancing Reform in Colombia: a missed opportunity to disrupt the ecosystem of structural clientelism in the halls of justice,” examines the reform’s failure to achieve a meaningful restructuring of Colombia’s judiciary. An abbreviated abstract for Mr. Echeverri’s paper can be read below:

“In roughly 15 years, Colombia rose from the ashes of a quasi-failed state to become a magnet for foreign investment and tourism. Despite enormous progress in security and economic development, the country’s judicial institutions are perceived as inefficient and untrustworthy. This is often attributed to the resilient aura of clientelism that surrounds them. Without dismissing the cultural roots of clientelism, this article addresses its structural causes. The chief cause is the “revolving door,” a favor-trading market in which judicial officers use their constitutional powers to nominate and appoint other judicial officers for personal advancement, often referred to as the “I elect you, you elect me” mechanism. The 2015 constitutional reform was a missed opportunity to redesign the roles of judicial officers and remove the web of perverse incentives that gives birth to the revolving door. This goal could be at least partially achieved by imposing a set of restrictions on the types of positions that outgoing judicial officers may accept, which would limit political maneuvering without discouraging upward mobility within the halls of justice.”

Mr. Echeverri will be expanding on ideas and research pertaining to judicial independence and accountability in Latin America for a conference held at the Robbins Collection in December. Mr. Echeverri’s full, published paper can be read in the journal’s second issue of the seventh volume and on Chicago-Kent’s website:


Robbins Collection Workshop: Customary Law Today

The Robbins Collection and the Institut des Usages (IDU) organized a workshop held in Montpellier, France on May 18 and 19. The co-sponsored workshop was moderated by Lloyd M. Robbins Professor of Law Laurent Mayali and University of Montpellier Professor Pierre Mousseron. 

The workshop focused on topics such as private law, constitutional law, philosophy of law, international law, business law, and criminal law. In addition to scholars from the universities of Perpignan, Montpellier, and Sherbrooke, Berkeley Law was well represented by faculty members: Eric Rakowski, Amanda Tyler, and John Yoo. Robbins Post-Doctoral Fellow, Pablo Echeverri, was selected to present a paper on business law. Professors Rakowski, Tyler, and Yoo each presented papers on topics pertaining to private law, constitutional law, and international law. 

Photos from the workshop credited to Simon Rossard.


New Robbins Collection Staff Member 

The Robbins Collection is pleased to announce that Sohayla Farman will be joining us as our Publications & Communications Specialist.

Sohayla, who has a B.A. in English, is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley. Prior to joining Robbins, Sohayla worked as an Editorial Assistant for UC Press, and she worked for UC Berkeley’s alumni magazine, California.

At Robbins, Sohayla will work on a number of projects, including our next Daube volume, newsletters, exhibits, print publications, and the Robbins website.

Robbins Collection Staff Directory 

Taming New Mexico

On May 18th, PBS New Mexico will premiere a film documenting the origins of New Mexico’s present-day federal court system, starting with the history of Spanish-Mexican rule of law.

The film will include some images from Robbins Collection holdings, including Recopilación de leyes de los reynos de las Indias (1681).

For more information about Spanish Law in America, please see our digital exhibit on California’s Legal Heritage:

View this digital exhibition

Workshop on “Customary Law Today”

The Robbins Collection and the Institut des Usages (IDU) have organized a workshop for May 18 and 19 to be held in Montpellier, France, moderated by Professors Laurent Mayali and Pierre Mousseron.

Topics to be discussed include private law, civil procedure, philosophy of law, constitutional law, business law, and international law.

Participants will include faculty members from Berkeley School of Law, the University of Montpellier School of Law, and other academic institutions. 

Visiting Researcher Workshops

The Robbins Collection hosts monthly workshops for Berkeley Law Visiting Researchers throughout the academic year. These workshops allow participants to present their scholarly research and receive extensive feedback on their work in a small-group setting.

If you are interested in presenting your work or attending a workshop, please contact Andrea Quinn at

Texts and Contexts in Legal History: Essays in Honor of Charles Donahue 


The Robbins Collection is pleased to announce that our latest publication, Texts and Contexts in Legal History, will be available beginning January 2017.

Renowned legal historian, Charles Donahue, serves as the inspiration for this volume of essays covering a range of topics of interest to legal historians, legal scholars, and others.

Inspired by Donahue’s insights into the value of understanding both text and context, this volume brings together 26 contributions from leading historians in Europe and North America.

Robbins Collection and I-School Collaborative Projectms_trumpet_crop2

Jordan Shedlock, recent graduate of the I-School’s Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program, has been working on using digital technologies to “improve access to and create excitement around” medieval manuscripts held by the Robbins Collection. 

Shedlock’s goal is to create a web interface that will serve as an online destination for the Robbins Collection and allow users to explore its manuscripts. Stay tuned for updates on the project’s launch. 

New Research Resources

The Robbins Collection will introduce, and continue to add to, a new set of resources for researchers and scholars on our website. These “Resources for Research” will include entries from legal dictionaries and indices, digitized images of Robbins documents and manuscripts, and introductory materials on different legal history topics. 

To see the resources that are currently available, click here:
Resources for Research

Festschrift for Professor R. H. Helmholz

The Robbins Collection is pleased to announce the publication of Studies in Canon Law and Common Law in Honor of R. H. Helmholz, edited by Troy L. Harris.