Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Surviving the 65 Club: One Alumnus' Generosity Begets Another's

Kris Whitten '73 recalls a kindly (if quirky) alumnus' lifesaving tutorials with a gift to UC Hastings.
Kris Whitten '73

Kris Whitten '73

In the ’60s and ’70s, UC Hastings was renowned for its 65 Club, faculty who had reached mandatory retirement age elsewhere and continued their careers at the law school. Among students, the 65 Club was awe-inspiring, but the professors could be intimidating.

“Most of the big schools used the Socratic method: We were supposed to find our own answers,” says Kris Whitten ’73. “We were terrified. The professors were brilliant, but they believed that was how you trained lawyers because that’s how they were trained.”

Lucky for Whitten and his classmates, “this little leprechaun-type person dropped out of the sky and let us know it was going to be OK.” At the time, Jerome Sack ’48 was dean of Lincoln Law School, but once a week or so, he put on his trademark beret and headed to a slightly seedy storefront in the Tenderloin. There, he offered tutorials to UC Hastings students between telling war stories and chewing on cigars. The cost per student: $1 a session. Whitten never knew why Sack bothered: “He took pity on us, I guess, and God bless him. The gift he gave us was explaining these concepts in plain English.”

After graduation, Whitten clerked for a federal judge, worked at a law firm, and then went in-house at Bank of America. Since 1999, he has been a deputy attorney general specializing in business and tax issues. This year, as he commemorates his 40th reunion, he has started a scholarship fund in Sack’s name. His hope is that other alumni will chip in enough to establish a permanent scholarship, with the money going to students who help their first-year peers “not give up on the law”—just like the godsend dean who helped Whitten and his petrified friends.

Read more from UC Hastings magazine here.

Share this Story

Share via Facebook
Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

Other Recent Stories/ RSS

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

McAllister Street UC Hastings Campus Streetscape Project Update

The Board of the County Transportation Authority has approved $1 million in additional funding to expand the scope of the Streetscape Project.
Monday, April 21, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: April 21, 2014

Professors Osagie K. Obasogie, Sheila Purcell, Robin Feldman, James Lambden '75, Juliana Maio ’78, Philip Kan Gotanda ’78, Sergio Gutierrez ’83, Jeff Adachi ’85, James T. “Jim” Hammer ’86, Niki Solis ’95, Ryan C. Hughes ’10.
Friday, April 18, 2014

Moot Court Team Celebrates Winning Season

UC Hastings continues its tradition of excellence in intercollegiate advocacy competition and is currently ranked as the #3 Moot Court program in the nation.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UC Hastings Center for WorkLife Law Awarded $225,000 Grant from NoVo Foundation

Funds will enable WorkLife Law to develop information and tools that help low-income pregnant workers gain accommodations they need to keep jobs.
Friday, April 11, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: April 11, 2014

Professors Jodi Short, Marsha Cohen, Morris Ratner, Joan Williams, Guy Kornblum '66, Jennifer Keller '78, Tina Marroquin '03, Lisa Frydman.
Go to News Archive