UC Hastings Law welcomed students back for the fall semester Monday, and its strong incoming class included 393 new JD students — one of the most diverse in the law school’s history — and over 50 new masters students.
The new class of 1L JD students includes 55% who identify as people of color and 19% who are the first generation in their families to attend college.
UC Hastings’ law students will have the opportunity to take many new classes this year, including Reproductive Justice, Public Sector Labor Law, American Indian Law: Enhanced Tribal Stewardship, and Sexuality, Gender and the Law.
In addition, four new faculty-led academic centers launched this summer. Professors started a new International Development Law Center, which will coordinate the school’s grant-funded international projects; the Center on Race, Immigration, Citizenship, and Equality (RICE), which will explore equality issues from various academic perspectives; the Center for Social Justice, which will provide strategic leadership for the school’s social justice activities; and the Center for East Asian Legal Studies, which will explore changes in the legal landscapes of nations like China.
“The law school is building out its constellation of centers of excellence in a broad array of subject areas,” said Provost and Academic Dean Morris Ratner. “New centers launching this year reflect our commitments and deep expertise in subjects as diverse as social justice, international development, and East Asian legal studies.”
Hastings also welcomed four new faculty members this fall: Hiro Aragaki, an alternative dispute resolution expert who will lead the school’s top-rated Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR); Ming Hsu Chen, an expert in race, immigration, and citizenship who is launching the new RICE Center; Thalia Gonzaléz, a scholar who focuses on restorative justice; and Jenn Oliva, a health law expert.
Six visiting professors will offer a unique selection of courses for students. The visiting professors include U.S. Tax Court Judge Maurice Foley, who will serve as the UC Hastings Center on Tax Law Affiliated Scholar and Adjunct Professor; University of Oklahoma Law Professor Lindsay Robertson, who will serve as the Indigenous Law Center Visiting Professor; and St. Louis University School of Law Professor Elizabeth Pendo, who will serve as UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy Senior Scholar and Visiting Professor.
This year’s incoming 1L students range in age from 20 to 42 years old, and have worked in a variety of jobs, including as a paralegal, casino dealer, biochemist, yoga instructor, and water polo referee. Nearly 60% of them identify as female, just over 39% identify as male, and 1.3% identify as non-binary. Seventy-six incoming JD students are part of the Legal Education Opportunity Program, which admits and provides support for students from disadvantaged economic and social backgrounds.
The law school also welcomed 40 new students from 20 different nations or jurisdictions into its one-year LLM Program for international students and its one-semester foreign exchange program. Rounding out the student body, new students also joined other UC Hastings programs – including its Master of Studies in Law (MSL), Certificate of Studies in Law (CSL), and Master of Science in Health Policy and Law (HPL), a health law program jointly offered by UC Hastings and the University of California San Francisco.
Chancellor & Dean David Faigman sent a message to the law school community to start the new school year. In it, he said, “The challenges and opportunities we face locally, nationally, and globally are complex. As a center of higher learning, our mission is to bring our intellect, curiosity, and skills, not to find the one right answer, but to explore the nature of the underlying problems and the range of possible solutions—together.”
Students will attend classes in person this year and will participate in several back-to-school events planned for the first week of school, including a mixer, bagel breakfast, and keynote address by ACLU lawyer Emerson Sykes on Wednesday about “Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and Racial Justice.”
Find a full schedule of welcome-back events here.