UC Hastings Law held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new building at 198 McAllister Street, which will provide 650 units of below-market housing to students of UC Hastings and UCSF, and said goodbye to Snodgrass Hall, home to lecture halls and the college’s celebrated Moot Court courtroom, now coming down in controlled chunks.
“If you do the math, there have been around 30,000 law students who have trembled, sweated, sworn, and prayed for good grades in this building over its 67 years of operation,” said Chancellor and Dean David Faigman. Former California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown ’58 was one of them. He worked there as a janitor during law school and said he was responsible for more than one ding in the wall.
A necessarily limited number of guests, masked and socially distant, donned safety vests and hard hats on what has been lovingly known as “The Beach” but is instead a stone plaza.
UC Hastings Executive Director of Operations Rhiannon Bailard served as emcee. And 10 members and friends of the UC Hastings community delivered remarks: Chancellor and Dean Faigman; USCF Chancellor Sam Hawgood; UC Hastings Board of Directors Vice Chair Simona Agnolucci ’06; Assemblymember David Chui; Assemblymember Phil Ting; State Senator Scott Weiner; Joe Cotchett ’64, founding partner of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP; former San Francisco Mayor and California State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, Jr. ’58; President of Associated Students of UC Hastings (ACUSH) 3L Madison Miller; and ASUCH Internal Vice President 2L Kameelah Sims-Traylor.
Representatives from Greystar, Perkins & Will, and Build Group—the developer, architect, and general contractor—also spoke.
The Oct. 30, 2020, event was an opportunity to acknowledge UC Hastings’ integral role in the heart of San Francisco. “Hastings is truly an anchor institution in the city and in the Tenderloin,” Weiner said.
Speakers, including former Mayor Brown, mentioned the college’s tradition of graduating civic-minded advocates. Sen. Kamala Harris, a 1989 graduate, was invoked by several people who commented on her commitment to public service and said they looked forward to celebrating her election as Vice President-Elect. “What is so impressive is Hastings’ commitment to social justice and the community,” said Assemblymember Chui.
State Senator Phil Ting joked that he was “honored to be the warm-up act for Joe Cotchett and Willie Brown.” Both alums were visibly excited about the project.
“It was less than a month ago that another component of this campus was dedicated,” Brown said of the school’s new academic building at 333 Golden Gate Avenue, now named the Joseph W. Cotchett Law Center. “This,” Brown said, “is going to be an amazing delivery system for legal representation for so many.”
“It’s the alumni of this school and the people in Sacramento who understand how important a public legal education is,” Cotchett said. “Those are the people we honor today.”
The 14-story, mixed-use academic and residential complex is expected to be completed in June 2023. Learn more about the college’s Academic Village plans in this multimedia presentation.
“While we are taking down the concrete and steel of this old building, its soul continues uninterrupted. That soul is attributable to the ongoing tradition of academic excellence, and a dedication to the ideals of fairness and justice,” Faigman concluded. Read his full remarks here.