About the School
The Beginning: 1960's
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'
1965. Lyndon Johnson was President and the "Great Society," a set of domestic programs to end poverty and racial injustice, was set into motion. Over the next year, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law and Federal programs, such as Head Start, Vista and Medicaid, were developed to assist low-income families.
The sixties were a time of economic growth and optimism. The Dave Clark 5, Herman's Hermits and The Supremes topped the music charts. "The Sound of Music" won best picture at the Academy Awards. And NASA launched Gemini III into earth's orbit with the United States' first two-person crew.
But the decade was also wrought with unrest. The Vietnam War was accelerating. Opposition to the war, including large-scale student protests and the public burning of draft cards, occurred across the country and on college campuses. The Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum, and civil right marchers on their way from Selma to Montgomery were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. The nation was shocked by the images from Alabama shown on TV, and the day became known as Bloody Sunday.
During this time, the state of California was experiencing a population explosion with two-thirds of recent growth due to newcomers. People were drawn by the state's warm climate and natural beauty. The culturally rich lifestyle attracted people from all over the world. Songs by California bands, such as The Beach Boys in the early sixties and, later, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, further portrayed a vibrant lifestyle and youthful culture, drawing young people to the state.
In the early sixties, California had one of the largest public university systems in the country, with seven University of California campuses and an enrollment of almost 50,000. Still, the need for more access to higher public education became apparent. Thinking forward, the UC Regents adopted a University Academic Plan that included establishing three new campuses and a new law school over the next few years.
The urgent need for a public law school in Northern California played a key role in the quick pace in which the UC Davis School of Law became a reality. Within just a few years from the time the UC Regents approved a plan to locate the law school at UC Davis, Edward L. Barrett Jr., a prominent constitutional law and criminal procedure scholar and teacher, was appointed the school's founding dean.
I'M A BELIEVER
The law school building was delayed due to a tie-up in legislative funding and a bond issue on the ballot. Dean Barrett pushed on, opening the law school in the fall of 1966 in a cluster of Speed-Space buildings, pre-built temporary structures that resembled steel railroad cars, with an entering class of 78 and a faculty of four.
Students and faculty alike remember this first year as an exciting and intellectually stimulating time. Although there were no common areas for students and faculty to meet after class hours, students were welcomed into faculty and staff's homes. Often students and faculty would meet in downtown Davis at a favorite local pub or café and talk about the law and social and political issues well into the late hours of the night.
TELL IT LIKE IT IS
But the United States was becoming further enmeshed in the war in Vietnam, and the law community at UC Davis, as well as the rest of the country, became increasingly passionate about their political and social beliefs. As the founding class struggled with class work and casebooks, they also watched their nation and a world fraught with chaos.
During those first few years of the law school, between 1965 and 1967, the United States' military stepped up bombings in North Vietnam and committed more troops in South Vietnam, experiencing heavy American casualties. The Cultural Revolution was launched in China. The Six-Day War was fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Che Guevara was executed in Bolivia. And just a few days before breaking ground in April 1967 for the new UC Davis Law School building, Greece was taken over by a military dictatorship.
Although a contentious and globally unstable time, there were symbols of hope and peace. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the country's leader in the civil rights movement and a proponent of change through nonviolence, left an incredible mark on both this country and the law school.
On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. His death had an immediate impact on UC Davis Law School students and faculty, who were so intimately involved in the legal, political and social debates of the times. When construction of the law school building was completed in the fall of 1968, a committee of students and faculty began working to name the building after Dr. King. The building was officially dedicated after Dr. King on April 12, 1969.
Today, the law school building — King Hall — stands as a tribute to Dr. King's efforts to achieve social and political justice by lawful and orderly means. The school is also a tribute to the founding faculty, students and staff, who laid the foundation for our school.
In the decades that followed the 60s, the law school continued to grow, adding programs and services, but still instilling in students the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The article, "Celebrating Forty Years of Excellence," continues in the Spring King Hall Counselor with information on the 70s and 80s.
The Middle Years: 1970's and 1980's
BYE, BYE, MISS AMERICAN PIE
There were two faces to society during the early 70s. While television programs like the "Partridge Family" and "The Brady Bunch" portrayed an almost idyllic life in suburban, middle-class America, our U.S. military was engaged in full-scale fighting in South-east Asia. The media exposure of the American-led My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, where hundreds of civilians were killed, and our invasion over the border into Cambodia in 1970, fueled further anti-war protest at home.
The community at UC Davis School of Law mirrored the dichotomy of American society. In the fall of 1970, four years after opening, we had an impressive new school building, 100,000 volumes in the law library, a faculty of 20, and a student body of 340. Applications, test scores and grades were steadily increasing. The entering class in 1970 counted 24 women and 28 underrepresented students among 157 students; higher numbers than most other law schools at that time. Life was good in Davis.
Students were also occupied in the larger issues of society. After the Cambodian invasion in April 1970, Northern California law students declared a strike to close down schools and abolish final exams so they could engage in coordinated anti-war activities. The school remained open, though, and Dean Edward L. Barrett gave students the choice to concentrate on anti-war activities and complete courses with exams by January 1971. He said, "This did not satisfy many, but we held to it."
When American involvement in Vietnam eventually wound down and finally ended in 1975, students and activists turned more of their attention to the many problems within our own country. An oil crisis in 1973 and then a meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in 1979 further fueled the environmental movement. Roe v. Wade was before the U.S. Supreme Court, and more women were entering the workforce, but finding that, in most cases, job opportunities and salaries were not equal to men. Feminism became an urgent issue. The gay-rights movement was also gaining ground, despite many setbacks that included the 1979 murder of San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, an openly gay politician, and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. And even with the momentum from the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s, equal rights for people of color was an ongoing struggle. School busing and affirmative action further divided people in communities, revealing that our country still had a long way to go in providing equal access to education and employment.
UC Davis became ground zero in the debate over affirmative action in professional school admissions. The landmark Bakke case, filed by a prospective medical school student against the UC Regents, went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In DeRonde v. Regents, a prospective law student charged that the consideration of race in the selection of student candidates violated the equal protection provision of the Constitution.
While Bakke eventually gained admittance to the medical school after a splintered decision in 1978 by the Supreme Court, the UC Regents' counsel successfully argued in DeRonde that consideration of race was necessary in the law school's admissions policy to ensure diversity in highly selective professional schools. In both cases, King Hall students were visible and vocal at rallies outside Mrak Hall. In 1976, the La Raza Law Students Association called a press conference in King Hall to talk further about their concern over Latino admission rates.
Indeed, King Hall students in the 70s were vocal, rallying for and against many issues, including the use of school facilities by IBM recruiters, which at that time had business dealings in segregated South Africa, the academic disqualification of 15 students, mostly ethnic minorities, and a tongue-in-cheek protest against the sandblasting of the building as a health hazard.
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
Clearly, King Hall students were passionate about the law, and the law school was continuously developing programs that provided them with opportunities to make a direct difference in society.
The clinical programs at UC Davis allowed students to use that passion to immediately help clients in the community. In 1975, the Prison Law Clinic was started with funding from the California State Bar Association and the law school. Under the direction of the supervising attorney, students used their legal skills to assist inmate clients in cases involving substandard living conditions, guard brutality, lack of medical treatment, and the right to practice religion. Still operating today, students continue to advocate on behalf of their clients, working with prison administrations, filing formal grievances with the California Department of Corrections, and winning class action suits.
Immigration in California experienced a large increase in the 70s and 80s, and law students advocated on behalf of immigrants through the Immigration Law Clinic, which officially opened in 1981. Under the directorship of Professor James F. Smith, students have represented thousands of clients over the past 25 years, providing community education, free legal services to low-income immigrants facing deportation, and a clinical legal education for King Hall's students.
In the 90s, the Civil Rights Clinic and the Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic were established in-house, further enhancing the law school's clinical education.
As the law school's clinical programs and new course offerings in the areas of environmental law, land use planning, international law, intellectual property, consumer protection and civil rights legislation expanded, the King Hall building was quickly running out of space.
In 1975, construction began for new offices and classrooms in the law school's basement, which Dean Barrett had the foresight to have excavated at the time the school was built, even though he did not have the finances to finish. Then in 1988, the basement underwent another remodel, with the library adding fixed shelving for foreign, comparative, and jurisprudence collections. Space was now maxed, but the law school continued to be innovative, knocking out an occasional wall or remodeling a closet for office space.
Advances in technology in the 70s and 80s laid the groundwork for laptop and wireless computing capabilities from which students now benefit. Closed circuit TV was added in the early 70s to support instructional programs and provide videotaping capabilities. LEXIS, a pioneer in the computerized legal research arena, was installed in the library aiding students. And although personal computers were only introduced to the market in the 70s and didn't become common until well into the 80s, the forward-thinking law library administration hosted the first Law Library Convocation of UC law school libraries, which focused on the impact of automation on law libraries. The later celebrated the library's 20th anniversary by hosting programs that included "New Technology" and "Integrating the Old with the New."
WE BUILT THIS CITY
The decades of the 70s and then the 80s at King Hall were clearly a time of immense growth and change. Five Deans served during that time. Dean Edward L. Barrett (1964-1971), Dean Daniel J. Dykstra (1971-1974), Dean Pierre Loiseaux (1974-1978), Acting Dean Richard C. Wydick (1978-1980) and Dean Florian Bartosic (1980-1990).
Dean Bartosic, a legal scholar in labor law who had been active in the civil rights movement, ushered in the 90s. On his retirement in June 1990, he said, "We've made exceptional progress in 24 years." He went on to say that the quality of a King Hall education is determined by the faculty, students and staff.
Indeed, one of the school's many accomplishments is graduating legal professionals who are not only well-versed on legal ethics, but embody these principles in their lives and work.
"What makes for justice is one's legal consciousness, one's commitment to freedom, equality, dignity, and security as the rights not of some but of all," Dean Bartosic said.
The law school has surely changed since 1970, but for our students, faculty and alumni's passion for justice through legal means remain constant.
A Bridge Into the 21st century
The Fall of the Berlin Wall. The collapse of the Soviet Union. Nelson Mandela was released from a South African jail. On the edge of the 21st century, geographic, political, and social barriers were crumbling. Global awareness was rising as the personal computer and the World Wide Web made it easier to cross national borders—circumventing distance, censorship, and time.
The result was a period of optimism and economic expansion in the United States. Technology was driving the economy, with the creation of Web crawlers, the Pentium processor, Windows 95, AOL, Amazon, eBay, and the DVD. The stock market was booming as more non-professional investors entered the world of speculative trading. Successful companies, especially high-tech firms, offered employees stock options and bonuses. Overnight people became paper millionaires as shares soared. We were in the midst of the dot-com boom.
THE LAW OF THINGS
The UC Davis School of Law was also booming.
Throughout the 90s, innovative programs, specialized curricula, and extensive legal skills training were added to address the increasingly more complex legal world. Students were choosing to attend UC Davis because of its strong programs in intellectual property, business law, criminal law, and environmental and natural resources law. Classes in King Hall were infused with energy as novel legal issues were raised and new courses evolved to prepare students for the next century.
New clinics were added, including the Civil Rights Clinic in 1993 and the Family Protection Clinic in 1997. Certificate programs in pro bono work, public interest law, and environmental and natural resources law were initiated as part of the school's commitment to these areas. And the first issues of the student-run publications, UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy and the Business Law Journal were launched.
The school received national attention for its pro bono work when the Civil Rights Clinic won a prisoner rights case in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 1998, and the Immigration Clinic's legal staff and students developed innovative approaches to defending clients facing deportation.
Global understanding was never more important. The law school expanded its international programs, which attracted legal students, scholars, and professionals from all over the world, benefiting not only participants, but J.D. students who had the opportunity to learn about other cultures and legal systems.
Yes, the 90s were good years. Anything and everything seemed possible—in our classrooms, in our nation, and in the international arena—by hard work, initiative, innovation, and belief.
LIFE IS A ROLLERCOASTER
Prosperity and the perception of world peace were short-lived. Possibly, it only existed in our attitude. "Irrational exuberance," a phrase originally coined in 1996 by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, aptly described the times.
In 2000, the dot-com bubble went bust. The stock market plummeted. The United States Department of Justice sued Microsoft for monopolizing market sales. Communication companies and dot-coms liquidated or filed for bankruptcy, leaving investors in the lurch. The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission discovered that several companies had misled investors, and free-wheeling executives found themselves heavily fined or in jail.
Despite advances in health and medicine, three million people died of AIDS in 2000. Tuberculosis and malaria continued to kill. Other diseases, such as SARS, West Nile, and the Bird Flu, emerged with warnings of pandemic potential.
In a one-world ecosystem, environmental concerns took on a new urgency as the international community looked at global warming, oil exploration, overpopulation, deforestation, and the irreversible loss of biodiversity. A scientific report released in 2005 warned that 10-30 percent of the world's mammal, bird, and amphibian species were threatened with extinction.
Meanwhile, political conflicts continued to rage around the world. The Rwandan genocide killed one million people. The collapse of the former Yugoslavia produced ethnic fighting between Serbian and Albanian forces resulting in war crimes of murder, rape, and ethnic cleansing in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Then on September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States at the New York World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and on United Flight 93. Close to 3,000 civilians were confirmed dead.
The School of Law responded to this rapidly changing world and the multitude of legal ramifications by remaining true to its mission to train lawyers to not only learn the law but to analyze the factors that should and do shape it.
The school community increased efforts to raise awareness of our world's people, cultures, and religions. Faculty scholarship continued to explore the nexus where culture and the law meet. Critical social issues, such as race, gender, class, sexual orientation, immigration, and civil rights, were not forgotten. Student organizations held educational, community, and social activities, including week-long programs honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. The very first law school Iftar was held by the Muslim Law Student Association in 2005.
The national media sought out our esteemed faculty to provide leadership and commentary on a multitude of divisive issues in this country, including proposed new immigration laws, Guantanamo Bay, the Iraqi War Crimes Tribunal, September 11, and the religious and cultural divides within our borders and beyond. They authored nationally used casebooks and published in the leading academic journals. New faculty joined the ranks and brought to the law school a plethora of knowledge.
New programming included an enhanced environmental law specialty with additional courses, such as biotechnology and energy law, and interdisciplinary opportunities on campus in ecology and with the John Muir Institute of the Environment. The intellectual property law program forged new ground by going beyond the basics—copyright, patent, and trademark—to establish pioneering new classes in international intellectual property, e-commerce, intellectual property rights in culture, and the Internet and the law. The business law curriculum proved proactive by offering additional coursework necessary for students to succeed in the global financial world.
THE PROCESS OF BELIEF
As the law school celebrates its 40th anniversary, it remains committed to its traditional values and mission—the development and dissemination of legal knowledge, as well as the training of students to become socially responsible lawyers committed to professional excellence and high ethical standards.
The School of Law established six endowed chairs over the past five years. Student scholarships increased. The King Hall Annual Fund is on the rise and a major building campaign is underway. These advancements help the administration recruit and retain faculty who are preeminent in their area and attract top students, increasing the school's national and international reputation, visibility, and ranking.
During the past four decades, we witnessed a whirlwind of change in our society, which directly impacted the law school. The School has accomplished much during these challenging times. Through it all, the administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni worked together to make the School of Law the exceptional place it is today. As we move forward, with hard work, initiative, and innovation, we will continue to join together in the advancement of legal knowledge, the education of lawyers, and service to the public and the profession.