Fiat Justitia

          Justice is what you do.

          Why We Work For Justice
          The UC Hastings seal carries the words fiat justitia -- Let Justice Be Done. This motto is not a hollow promise; it is who we are and what we do.

          School Spirit

          Funky Chicken

          After 138 years of teaching law and producing first-class legal scholarship, we began to wonder if perhaps we are just a little too focused. Maybe we should look a little more like other institutions...

          Legally Speaking

          In conversation with UC Hastings Professor Joan C. Williams.

          UC Hastings Professor Joan Williams welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for a conversation that touches on a broad range of subjects, from opera to marriage to work/life balance, doctrinal questions, and cases from the 1970's to present, including the court's role in establishing individual rights and equal protection. 

          UCHastings Spotlight

          Business Tax Practicum for Social Enterprises

          "Things change, and it's not just about theory." Students in the Business Tax Practicum for Social Enterprises apply their knowledge of business taxation and test their assumptions on taxing social enterprises through client-based assignments.

          Life @UCHastings

          "Look at the view I get every morning."

          "This is my school. These are my friends." Video by Fatemeh Shahangia '12.
          Tuesday, June 27, 2017

          Message from Dean Faigman: Celebrating Justice on the 4th

          As we head into the Fourth of July weekend, a time when we celebrate the victory of law over tyranny, it is worth contemplating the role of the modern law school.
          Sample alt tag.
          Justice is what you do.

          Dear UC Hastings Community,

          When I decided to go to law school in the early 1980s, it never occurred to me to question the nobility of the legal profession and the need for lawyers. Lawyers championed justice and the rules of law that ensured that justice be done. I was not so naïve to think that all lawyers shared this objective or that justice always prevailed. But without lawyers and the rule of law – I believed then and continue to hold dear now – justice will not prevail.

          I majored in history in college and studied with enthusiasm the founding of the American Republic. My zeal for that era and, in particular, the events in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, likely helped set my course as an eventual teacher of constitutional law. While not all the founders were lawyers – though most were – they were all law-makers. They believed in the rule of law and established a Republic based on the principle that no person is above the law.

          Yet, part of my job as dean now is to engage with groups and institutions that increasingly question the need for lawyers or, at least, question whether we need any “more lawyers.” When I visit and testify in Sacramento, for example, legislators inevitably raise this issue. “Don’t we have too many lawyers already?” The short answer is an emphatic NO!

          Although there are many locations and practice areas in which there is no shortage of highly-paid attorneys, there remains a considerable justice gap in parts of California and the country more generally. Indeed, research conducted by the National Center for State Courts supports the conclusion that we need more, not fewer, lawyers. For example, the Center reports that up until the 1970s, less than 1% of civil cases had a party not represented by counsel in the respective matter. By 2015, this figure had ballooned to 65%. Moreover, entire areas of practice, including in particular housing and family courts, have rates exceeding 90% in which a party appears without counsel. On the criminal side, public defender offices throughout the country are understaffed, under-resourced, and overwhelmed. And a person facing deportation or other immigration matter routinely confronts his or her fate without a lawyer.

          As we head into the Fourth of July weekend, a time when we celebrate the victory of law over tyranny, it is worth contemplating the role of the modern law school. Fundamentally, the basic objective of the law school has not changed. We are dedicated to producing excellent lawyers – counselors at law. But what does that really mean? First and foremost, it means a continued devotion to basic principles of justice. A new video, This Is Why We Work For Justice, captures this elusive concept in the words of UC Hastings students, staff and faculty.

          But the lawyer of today and tomorrow is not serving justice as he or she once did. What it means to be a lawyer is changing, as technology increasingly assumes responsibility for what were once lawyerly tasks. This began with eDiscovery but will soon explode with big-data analytics and artificial intelligence. There will always be the need for the human component of lawyering, but that work will increasingly be built on a technological foundation. Integrating the technical with the human is the next great challenge in the art of lawyering, and thus a fundamental challenge for educating lawyers.

          We understand these challenges and are moving forward to meet them. We, of course, have the inherent advantage of our location in San Francisco, the center of the universe of innovation and entrepreneurship. We plan to leverage our location to maximum benefit. This includes building on existing partnerships with tech companies and law firms at the leading edge of technology. It includes building an “academic village” in the center of San Francisco, in which we expand our supply of subsidized student housing and collaborate with universities – including campuses of the University of California and other nationally prominent universities – that are interested in having a presence in San Francisco and a partnership with a preeminent law school.

          We are committed to the future, but one based on the foundational premises on which our Republic and its legal institutions were created. Whatever the technological legal world looks like in the decades ahead, its success will continue to be measured by whether it advances justice for those it serves.

          I wish you all a very happy Fourth of July holiday and a rewarding and enjoyable summer.


          David Faigman

          David L. Faigman
          Chancellor and Dean
          John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law
          University of California Hastings College of the Law

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Thursday, March 15, 2018

          Haiti’s First Law School Clinic Launches in Collaboration with UC Hastings

          Professor Yvon Janvier of L’Ecole Supérieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie, with support from the Hastings to Haiti Partnership, will supervise Haiti’s first law school clinic in an effort to improve life and promote a system grounded in fair trial, equity, and social justice.
          Wednesday, March 14, 2018

          UC Hastings Student Tapped for U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program

          3L Samantha Ricci is heading to Washington, DC after graduation to join the DOJ at the Environment and Natural Resources Division through its Honors Program.
          Tuesday, March 13, 2018

          Eighteen Tech Companies Join Startup Legal Garage This Spring

          The innovative startups will receive free legal services from UC Hastings students and practicing attorneys.
          Monday, March 12, 2018

          Congressman Adam Schiff is UC Hastings Law's 2018 Commencement Speaker

          Schiff represents California's 28th Congressional District, serves as ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
          Tuesday, March 06, 2018

          UC Hastings Collaborates with Alum for Collection at Local Tenderloin Boutique

          Attorney by day, small business owner by night, Nate Torres ’07 created a capsule collection of UC Hastings-inspired t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats that he hopes will capture the unique vibe of the attending law school in the TL and bring a communal feeling to campus.
          Go to News Archive