Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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August 2018 Dean’s Corner - UCI Law: Defying Expectations

by L. Song Richardson

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of UCI Law. In the past decade, our mission was to attract entrepreneurial and visionary leaders to serve as faculty, students, staff, administrators, and community partners. This group of individuals, working collaboratively, has made a tangible difference in the lives of so many.

Our school is the byproduct of several generations of revolutionary dreamers. Those who, not satisfied with the status quo, took it upon themselves to redefine, reimagine, and reinvent what a law school could be. They were as rebellious as they were persistent, as venturous as they were ingenious. These men and women laid the building blocks of the extraordinary institution we are today.

The Orange County community, UCI faculty and leadership, and inaugural classes forged the way for everyone who followed. They sparked the relationship between UCI Law and the community we serve. Since our inception, we have attracted and worked with emboldened visionaries who seek to change the world. We have built upon the dream and vision of so many and pushed legal education to new boundaries.

This academic year, we will welcome our tenth class of J.D. students, who will matriculate from the largest applicant pool in school history and will be our largest class to date. Our second class of LL.M. students will also begin classes this month. It too will be the largest class in the program’s history, building upon the successful inaugural year.

We are excited about our new CEO Fellowship Program, which began as a pilot project this past spring and will continue in the fall. This program places students with the CEO, COO, or GC of local corporations. There, students gain invaluable behind-the-scenes knowledge about running a successful business, as well as insight into the community leadership and service lawyers perform. Students will learn from seasoned legal practitioners and leaders from a variety of fields, critically examine leadership traits and styles, and discover and analyze their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders.

In August 2019, we will welcome the first class of students in a new, unique graduate tax program. Following in the tradition of the J.D. program, the graduate tax program features a mandatory practical tax skills program, which can be fulfilled through externships, clinics, and other specially designed classes. The Graduate Tax Program is proud to be the only program of its kind to require students to complete practical tax training. The Graduate Tax Program has also established an exclusive formal externship program with The International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We are the only tax program in the United States to have such an agreement. Faculty in the program will include Omri Marian, as well as two new faculty joining UCI Law this semester: Joshua Blank from NYU Law, and Victor Fleischer from the University of San Diego Law. Several partners from leading law firms will serve as additional lecturers.

Both of these programs are cutting-edge, and both will create future generations of attorneys, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. Producing inspired and dedicated lawyers has been a hallmark of UCI Law for the past decade, and we are thrilled to offer novel, innovative programs to continue this trend.

Next spring, in honor of our ten-year anniversary, we will unveil a curated exhibit on the campus of UC Irvine that features artifacts, historical writings, and video interviews with subjects who have direct knowledge, experience and involvement in establishing UCI Law. This exhibit will provide the community with access to rich, first-hand perspectives on the law school’s founding, its key turning points and unique legacy.

We embark on our second decade as a larger, stronger and more dynamic institution than our founders could have ever imagined. The first decade of UCI Law has been a tremendous success. We were born with a commitment to do things differently, and we will not lose sight of that mission. We will continue to reimagine, redefine, and rethink legal education.

Visionaries built this school, and visionaries will continue to shape and define its future. When working together, there is no limit on the people we can inspire, and no bounds on the impact we can make. I am grateful to the many community partners who have joined us on our journey and look forward to even more members of our extraordinary community partnering with us for our promising future.

L. Song Richardson is Dean and Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine School of Law. She can be reached at srichardson@law.uci.edu.

Orange County Bar Association | P.O. Box 6130 | Newport Beach, CA 92658 | 949.440.6700 | info@ocbar.org
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