Alumni Profile: Jerry Hobrecht '83
For Jerry Hobrecht '83, attending UC Davis School of Law was "absolutely the best decision" he ever made, and one that prepared him well for the wide range of challenging legal work he encounters as Vacaville's city attorney. That's why he has supported the Law School through volunteer work and financial contributions, and why he wants to encourage other alumni to do the same. "It's time for those of us who benefitted from the excellent education we received at UC Davis to give back to the Law School," he said.
Hobrecht's volunteer work includes service as a class agent, in which he acted as a liaison between the Law School and the Class of 1983, collecting and publishing class notes and supporting attendance at Law School events. He also helped to organize his class's 25-year reunion, and, since 2009, has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. The reunion was an especially enjoyable experience, Hobrecht said.
"I worked with Debra Margolis, a classmate who is also a city attorney, to contact the members of our class and encourage people to come, and we had a good turnout. It was a lot of fun to visit with my classmates, some of whom I hadn't seen in 25 years. I would encourage all alumni with reunions coming up to find a way to get involved, because it's really a rewarding experience."
(Reunions will be held October 22, 2011 for the classes of '71, '76, '81, '86, '91, '96, '01, and '06. Alumni interested in serving on a reunion committees may contact Ginger Welsh, associate director of alumni relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Hobrecht, who grew up in San Francisco, attended UC Davis as an undergraduate, earning his bachelor and master's degrees in History in 1972 and 1974, then went on to earn a master's degree in Urban Planning in 1978 from San Jose State University, where he took a course in land-use law. He found the course so interesting that he began to consider a career in law, and a few years later, while working as a city planner in Campbell, California, he made the decision to come to King Hall.
Returning to UC Davis as a law student was "a no brainer," said Hobrecht, considering how much he had enjoyed his earlier years at UC Davis and given the Law School's outstanding reputation.
"UC Davis School of Law had a reputation for ensuring that students understood the law, and that they graduated and passed the bar," said Hobrecht. "One of the reasons I chose Davis is that the Law School is known throughout the country for having a supportive environment for learning, and I found that to be absolutely true."
Hobrecht said he thoroughly enjoyed his three years at King Hall, from his involvement in the Law Review and moot court program to playing intramural sports and performing in the annual Cardozarama talent show. More importantly, the courses he took prepared him well for the many challenges he has faced in practicing municipal law, first as a deputy city attorney in San Jose, and then as an assistant city attorney in Vacaville, where he became the city attorney in 2002.
"This job crosses so many disciplines and encompasses so many areas of the law that I'm very thankful the courses I took at UC Davis prepared me for the wide variety of tasks I'm confronted with every day," said Hobrecht. "The Vacaville city attorney's office is a small office, with three attorneys and one legal secretary, and the job of city attorney is similar to an in-house counsel for a corporation."
The city provides a wide variety of services to its customer-residents, including water and sewer services; police and fire protection; parks and recreation; arts and entertainment programs; streets, storm drains, and traffic controls; ambulance and paramedic services; and community and senior centers, Hobrecht explained, and as city attorney, he must be familiar with the many laws that regulate how cities provide these services. He also handles litigation, and oversees compliance with laws governing how cities must conduct their affairs, such as the manner in which they enact an ordinance, impose a tax, or regulate land use and development. In addition, he prepares ordinances and resolutions, drafts and review contracts, advises the city council and staff on a variety of topics such as labor relations, real property, environmental law, civil rights, and more.
"All of this comes into play almost every day, and UC Davis really gave me the solid foundation I need to be able to do what I do," said Hobrecht.
"I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my years at the Law School," he continued, "and as time has gone by, I've realized what an important experience it was for me and how it enabled me to have the challenging and rewarding career I have. For that reason, it's important that I give something back, and I'd like to encourage my classmates and other alumni to get involved with supporting the Law School, either financially or through volunteer work."