UCHastings Instagram

          “I’m a little anxious and excited, but I’m looking forward to getting the exercise of meeting possible future employers.” Rising 2L Jessilyn Chwa at the #UCHastings Early Interview Program. Photo by @fancyfive
          Instagram Photo Likes fancyfive, annalulu23, lani_lin and 15 others like this.
          Wednesday, September 26, 2012

          Edward J. Davila ’79: Inspirational Journey to the Federal Bench

          Once a week, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila ’79 welcomes his law clerks and interns into his office at the San Jose Courthouse, and listens as they share their research on pending cases. Davila enjoys the 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 opening 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 his 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 received Senate approval and was appointed by President Barack Obama last year. At the time of the appointment, Davila was the only Latino judge in the Northern District.

          Davila presides over some of Northern California’s most influential cases. Though he works long hours and finds the judicial bench 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.

          [ADVICE CORNER]

          What advice would you give a lawyer with doubts about his or her case?

          Have the confidence to know when your argument won’t carry the day. The hardest thing for a lawyer to do is to say, “I don’t have the facts to win, but I can do the best I can here for my client.” Don’t make your whole career about one case.

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Monday, August 03, 2015

          5 Questions for Rising 2L Karim Salamah

          "You came to law school for a reason and you can start doing that outside of school now."
          Monday, August 03, 2015

          Q & A with Apple’s Senior Litigation Counsel Iain Cunningham ‘04

          UC Hastings was recently ranked fourth in the number of alumni working at Apple Inc in their roughly 200-person legal department in Silicon Valley. One of these alumni is Iain Cunningham ’04.
          Thursday, July 30, 2015

          Thinkers & Doers: July 30, 2015

          UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves, July 17, 2015 - July 30, 2015.
          Wednesday, July 29, 2015

          Ms. JD Cocktail Benefit and Silent Auction Supports Ugandan Female Lawyers

          "Ms. JD creates a space where women can rise, be celebrated for their success, and be an example for incoming lawyers."
          Tuesday, July 28, 2015

          Ice Cream Break with Rosanna Marrero Neagle ’81

          We took a moment to catch up with this Board of Trustees member on a hot July afternoon in Oakland.
          Go to News Archive