Welcome back! I write to discuss employment. We are responsible for setting reasonable expectations, training you well, preparing you for the marketplace, and promoting the institution and you to prospective employers -- including and especially our terrific alumni network. I'd also like to share advice. Our graduates, who have succeeded in every type of professional endeavor, have offered their thoughts for me to relay.
Chris Holland '92, the former President of the UC Hastings Alumni Association, suggested to me that we emphasize that the path to your dream job is -- or rather, the paths are -- wide and multiple, not narrow and singular. A former petroleum engineer, Chris recently was named a name partner of his litigation boutique. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants, often bringing his technical background to bear in disputes. I was so impressed Holland's name is on the door of the firm now that I have invited him to come to campus sometime to speak to all of you.
We have so many examples of this point. They have offered the same message in different forms: be entrepreneurial, be international, consider your roots, and follow your heart.
Eric Tao ‘95 exemplifies the spirit of San Francisco. A native of Hawaii, he decided to stay in the Bay Area after graduation. After a short stint practicing, he became a real estate developer. One of his projects, only a few blocks from campus, appealed to me when I was relocating. My wife and I would have bought a unit there if they hadn't sold out everything with sufficient space for us and our two dogs. Eric said to me that he wanted all of you as students to know how important it is to be entrepreneurial and take risks. That is what has made this city great and ensures it remains the high-tech capital of the world.
Kenneth Muller ‘92, who co-chairs the private equity fund group of a major law firm based in the Financial District, told me that he believed there were many opportunities in places such as Shanghai. After we met, I emailed him to ask if I could repeat that to you. He replied with an emphatic yes, adding that he would expand it to include opportunities overseas more generally and especially throughout the Pacific Rim.
The Honorable Donald Franson Jr. '78 is one of many judges in Fresno who are our graduates. Indeed, his father, the late Honorable Donald Franson Sr. '51, preceded him as a jurist. He is profiled in the forthcoming special issue of our alumni magazine. He returned to his hometown. He became not only a lawyer but also a leader of the community, before his appointment to the bench.
Mary Noel Pepys '78 was just named by Governor Jerry Brown to our Board of Directors. Although she operated a thriving solo practice, she was always adventuresome as well as dedicated to public interest. When she had the chance to work pro bono on an ABA project promoting the rule of law in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union -- when the very phrase "rule of law" was only beginning to gain acceptance -- she left for five years that were life changing. Since then, she has traveled to more than 40 nations to promote judicial reform, bar reform and legal education reform. Most recently, she lived in a "hooch" in Afghanistan and helped rebuild the criminal justice system there.
Much of my own job consists of meeting these wonderful individuals to ensure they feel the sense of community crucial to our shared future. I've enjoyed seeing how they have followed every type of path, using the skills they developed in their three years at UC Hastings.
Please avail yourself of the services of Assistant Dean Sari Zimmerman and her team in the Office of Career and Professional Development. They are here to help every student. They are holding an important event, entitled "JD Careers," which will feature a large number of alums who have pursued creative career paths outside of “BigLaw.” This fun and casual table talk event will be held on Tuesday, October 16, from 3:30 – 5:00 pm in the Dining Commons. Please join them.
Frank H. Wu
Chancellor & Dean
University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco is redefining legal education through our experiential, interdisciplinary, and international approach to the law. We integrate rigorous academics with hands-on practice, preparing our graduates to tackle the legal challenges—and leverage the opportunities—of the 21st century.
UC Hastings. Made in San Francisco. Ready for the World.