Alumni Profile: Bob and Barbara Leidigh
After King Hall alumni Bob and Barbara Leidigh retired, they decided to invest in an annuity in order to provide for an additional source of income for their future. By creating a charitable gift annuity through UC Davis, they were able to add to their own financial security and also support King Hall graduates.
"We were being pitched by financial advisors to put something into an annuity, and we didn't really like the idea of giving our money to a big insurance company," said Bob Leidigh. "I remembered that UC Davis offered a plan that was similar to what these companies had, and after we met with some of the university development people, we were able to set up an annuity that would not only provide us with some security, but also support the School of Law. Moreover, setting up an annuity with UC Davis provides tax savings and an income stream that will be partially tax-exempt."
"This was a way for us to make a gift and yet get something back as well, so it makes for good financial planning," said Barbara Leidigh. "We realized that the annuity offered through the university was as good as or better than other plans, and we decided we would rather give the money to UC Davis and the Law School." (A portion of the gift also goes to the UC Davis Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, reflecting the Leidigh's interest in the arts.)
The Leidighs were happy to support UC Davis, where they met and started their lives together, and the School of Law, which gave both of them the skills and training they needed to pursue successful legal careers in public service.
Bob Leidigh, who earned his J.D, in 1971, said that his time at King Hall included several formative experiences, including Professor Jim Hogan's Civil Procedure and Evidence courses and Floyd Feeney's Law & Legislation class. He also valued his externships with then-Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, where he drafted legislation that is now part of the California Civil Code, and the Yolo County Public Defender, where he handled some misdemeanor court trials. "The externships were a major benefit to me, and really made the law come alive much more than just studying from a book," he said.
Bob started his career as a legal services attorney, beginning with a stint at the Legal Aid Society of Sacramento County, followed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in San Francisco. Thereafter, he worked for California Rural Legal Assistance as the head of the Legislative Office in Sacramento, before settling in for eight years as a staff attorney at the Fair Political Practices Commission. From there he went into private practice in Sacramento, advising lobbyists, candidates, and officeholders from 1988-2000. Bob then joined the California Attorney General's Office until his retirement at the end of 2006, at which point he was appointed as an FPPC Commissioner. His long and varied career includes several notable accomplishments. He remains especially proud of his efforts on behalf of affirmative action programs in Yolo County, his role in the legislative effort that codified standards for California court interpreters in civil trials, and later, his efforts enforcing California's government ethics laws.
Barbara Leidigh came to King Hall after earning her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and a Masters Degree in Zoology at UC Davis. She had worked for a few years as a Research Associate at the university, but realized that the job didn't offer much opportunity for advancement. Having seen Bob go through law school and begin his career, she had come to realize that working in law offered a wide range of interesting possibilities.
"I was looking for a career that would use my strengths, and I realized that law would put to use my writing and analytical abilities," she said. "Also, I was aware that one can practice natural resources law or environmental law, and with my background in science, I decided to take that direction."
Barbara graduated from King Hall in 1976. She started her legal career with the California Solid Waste Management Board, then moved to the Water Resources Control Board, then moved to the Department of Real Estate in early 1980, seeking trial experience. She remained there into late 1981, prosecuting more than 50 disciplinary cases in about 18 months, but wanted more variety and challenge. She found those qualities in her next position with the Water Resources Control Board, where she remained until her retirement in 2007, providing legal counsel to the board members and water rights staff involving water right disputes, adjudicative hearings, and the regulation of water rights. Much to her liking, she found she needed to draw on all of her knowledge of natural science, communications skills, and legal know-how, and always found more to learn in the extremely complex and contentious world of California water law. Over the course of her career, she wrote countless water right decisions, many of which-including the landmark Water Right Decision 1641, which assigned water right responsibilities for the water quality objectives for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta-have had enormous impacts on California's environment, economy, and quality of life.
The Leidighs, who met in 1964 at the UC Davis Homecoming Pajamarino, appreciate the role the university and the Law School have played in their lives and in fostering their careers, and they are happy to be able to support the Law School in a way that also provides them with more security in their retirement.
"We found UC Davis and the Law School very receptive and quite flexible as to how we designated the use of our annuity gift. Both Rick Vorpe, for the campus, and Karen Charney, for the law school, were terrific to work with. Given that both of us spent our legal careers in public service, we focused the part of our annuity's proceeds for the Law School on assisting King Hall graduates who chose to pursue similar career paths," said Bob.