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Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012

{ JUDicial perspective: alUmni } o nce a week, u.s. district Judge Edward edward J. davila ‘79an Joses welcomes his law clerksJ. Davila ’79and interns into his office at the courthouse, and listens as they share their INSPIrATIoNAL JoUrNEY To THE research on pending cases. davila enjoys the FEDErAL BENCH collaboration and interplay with his bright, energetic staff. yet there’s another reason these meetings happen to be davila’s favorite time of the week. “i strongly believe in open- ing up opportunities for law graduates, law students, or even college students to be exposed to what we do here in the court. i really feel it’s a public service,” he says. davila’s commitment to helping others may stem from his own humble beginnings. raised by a single mother in a working-class latino family, davila was the first in his family to attend college. he became interested in law after studying the tragic impact of u.s. government treaties with native Americans. After graduating from uc hastings, davila became a deputy public defender in santa clara, feeding his passion for bringing justice to the poor and underserved. There, he met his wife, Mary Greenwood ’81, who served as santa clara county’s first female public defender and is now on the santa clara county superior court bench. even when he left the public defender’s office seven years later to start a private firm, davila & polverino, he continued to provide defense counsel to clients from all backgrounds. davila credits his involvement in the santa clara county bar Association with landing him an appointment as a superior court judge in 2001. (his most infamous case involved a human finger planted in a bowl of wendy’s chili.) Ten years later, sen. barbara boxer (d-cA) nominated davila to the u.s. district court for the northern district of california. he Advice corner received senate approval and was appointed WHAT ADvICE WoULD YoU GIvE A LAWYEr WITH by president barack obama last year. At the DoUBTS ABoUT HIS or HEr CASE? time of the appointment, davila was the only latino judge in the northern district. Have the confidence to know when your argument won’t davila presides over some of northern carry the day. The hardest thing for a lawyer to do is to say, california’s most influential cases. Though he “I don’t have the facts to win, but I can do the best I can here works long hours and finds the judicial bench for my client.” Don’t make your whole career about one case. isolating, davila says he’s grateful that his life and work have taken him this far. “i’m so blessed and fortunate to be around such wonderful people who’ve helped me with my career,” he says. UC HASTINGS 25


Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012
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