A farewell to three long-time faculty members who retired in 2016




Santa Clara University’s Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good

“I was interested in teaching law even before I graduated from law school,” Professor Kenneth A. Manaster says, adding that he loves “the lively, thought-provoking exchanges of ideas with students in the classroom…. It has been a frequent, pleasant, and educational surprise to learn what students have already done, are doing now, and are hoping and planning to do in the future.”

Santa Clara University’s Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good and—since 1990—a senior counsel at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in San Francisco, Manaster is a long-respected scholar in environmental protection law, administrative law, and torts. He joined the faculty of the School of Law in 1972.

He has taught environmental law courses at Stanford Law School, the University of Texas, and Hastings College of the Law, and has held the position of visiting scholar at Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School.

Looking back at key moments in his career, Manaster points to 1969, shortly before he came to Santa Clara, when he worked with Chicago attorney and (later Supreme Court Justice) John Paul Stevens on an investigation of corruption in the Illinois Supreme Court. “My work on the 1969 investigation…was a watershed event in my career, in many ways,” says Manaster, who wrote about it in his 2001 book Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens.

In 2015, Manaster shared his story in the PBS documentary film Unexpected Justice: The Rise of John Paul Stevens. Manaster was an executive producer of the film, broadcast over 1,000 times on PBS stations across the country. In mid-2016, his latest book was published: Pro Bono Practice and Legal Ethics (Carolina Academic Press), coauthored with Santa Clara Law Professor Emeritus Alan Scheflin and Lecturer in Law Viva Harris. He’s written many environmental law treatises, chapters, and articles, as well as The American Legal System and Civic Engagement: Why We All Should Think Like Lawyers (Palgrave Macmillan 2013).

Wrapping up 44 years of teaching, Manaster says he feels honored to have known and worked with “an amazingly energetic and inspiring group of people,” students and faculty alike, during his time at Santa Clara Law. He will continue as coeditor (with Loyola Law School Professor Daniel Selmi J.D. ’75) of the six-volume California Environmental Law & Land Use Practice treatise, as well as with Pillsbury Winthrop.

“My wife and I are enjoying what students call a ‘gap year,’ though ours may last for many years,” he says.

Ken Manaster


Board Member, Bay Area Air Quality Management District Hearing Board, and serving as chair for 11 years, 1973–90

Represented SCU on the Public Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s study of toxic pollutants in Silicon Valley, 1984–87

Member of the U.S. EPA’s advisory committee on environmental justice issues related to air and water pollution, 2001–05



Co-director, Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, and Professor of Law

“Back in the mid- to late 1960s, women didn’t go to law school,” says Santa Clara Law Professor Cynthia Mertens, a member of the faculty since 1975. “Mary Emery J.D. ’63 and a few others were the exception.”

Back then, Mertens herself had not considered law school either. “I graduated a quarter early from Stanford and was working in juvenile hall when I decided to take the LSAT on a lark,” she recounted. “I had no idea what to expect and didn’t study for it. I just went, sat down, and took the test.” Her score was “just OK” but good enough to get her enrolled at U.C. Hastings. “Even though it was rough for the few women who were there in those days,” she recalls, “after a few months of law school, I felt ‘law’ came naturally to me.”

Then, before she had even completed law school, Mertens found her dream job at California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), the premier legal services program in the country at the time. “I had decided while in law school that I wanted to use my talents to help those who wouldn’t otherwise have representation,” she says. Soon after passing the Bar, she was arguing a case in federal court on behalf of a CRLA client. “The judge—male of course—seemed to be having such fun asking me questions and making comments … I don’t know if a woman—and a young one at that—had ever appeared before him. I soon relaxed and enjoyed the banter back and forth. We won the case.”

For Mertens, the moment was one of her most significant. “I was able to hold my own,” she explains, “and I knew after that that I could succeed in law practice.”

A few years later a colleague suggested she apply for a teaching position at the Law School. Dean George Alexander offered her a one-year contract position; no tenure-track positions were open. She thought “Why not?” Her first teaching assignment was not a stroll but a marathon: the evening Property class, which was taught in one three-hour block to around 100 students from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. “Most of the students were male, most were older than I, and many didn’t think a woman could possibly know enough to teach,” she recalls.

Despite the challenging start, Mertens discovered that she loved teaching and working with students, and she was also gratified to see the large numbers of students who were committed to social justice. “They inspired me,” she says. “I always felt I learned as much from my students as they did from me,” she adds. “The extensive contacts I still have with many former students who are now my friends has been a tremendously rewarding part of my job.”

“Retirement” does not seem to be a word in Mertens’ vocabulary. She prefers to call this next stage “rebooting.” Recruited by a former student, Mertens is one of four founding principals in a new company, TriHaven Investment Group LLC, an approved immigrant investor regional center focused on China and Korea investors. She will also continue to consult as an expert witness in real estate cases. She is spending more time with friends and family, including a hike this past summer—41 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Talk about a “reboot”!

Cynthia Mertens


Executive Director, Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, 2001–05

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 2006–13

Santa Clara Law International Programs Director of Summer Abroad programs in Hong Kong, Geneva/ Strasbourg, and Costa Rica

Leader of five student immersion trips to El Salvador



Professor of Law and Director, Edwin A. Heafey Jr. Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy

As a teenager attending Mount Carmel High School in 1950s Los Angeles, Jerry Uelmen read about Clarence Darrow and later watched dramatic courtroom movies like Inherit The Wind. He knew even then what he wanted to do: practice criminal law in the courtroom.

After earning his bachelor’s in political science from Loyola University of Los Angeles (now LMU) and being named the 1962 Outstanding Debater in Southern California, he went east to Georgetown University for law school. An editor of the Georgetown Law Journal and winner of more competitions, he stayed on to earn his LL.M.

Returning west, Uelmen served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California from 1966–70, where he prosecuted organized crime cases, among others. He began teaching at Loyola Law School while keeping one foot in the courtroom as a criminal defense attorney. In 1986, Uelmen was recruited to become Dean at Santa Clara Law. “I ended up staying here for 30 years,” he says. “I felt like part of the family from the very beginning.”

As Dean from 1986–94, Uelmen led the school with a passion for diversity and social justice, peppered with good humor and wit, ending his Evidence course with a singalong (see sidebar) and playing his accordion at the Law School’s yearly holiday party. During his tenure as Dean, student diversity jumped from 15 percent to 30 percent, and faculty diversity rose to 25 percent. He presided over the development of, for example, the Intellectual Property Association (in 1987), the Public Interest Endowment (1989), the High Tech Law Advisory Board (1990); the East San Jose Community Law Center (1993), and new academic certificates in public interest, high technology, and international law.

After stepping down, he continued to teach Evidence and other criminal law courses, along with a popular course he invented, Drug Abuse and the Law. In 2001 students in that class accompanied him to Washington when he argued the first medical marijuana case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The prolific author of nine books as well as numerous articles and op-ed pieces, Uelmen is best known for his work on the defense team for the People v. O.J. Simpson case in 1994– 95. In fact, Uelmen coined the trial’s most famous line—“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Two books describe that experience: Lessons from the Trial: The People v. O.J. Simpson (1996), a detailed look at the trial tactics, and the recently published If It Doesn’t Fit: Lessons From a Life in the Law (2016), a reflection on his career (www. ifitdoesntfit.com). “But the case of which I am proudest,” Uelmen says, “was the successful postconviction defense of Gordon Castillo Hall, a 17-year-old Latino from East L.A. who was sentenced to life imprisonment for a homicide he did not commit.”

Uelmen and his wife of 50 years, Martha, have three grown children and two grandsons. Trips to Sicily and Cuba are already on the agenda, as are “another book or two.”

Jerry Uelmen


Dean of Santa Clara Law, 1986–94

Board of Directors, California Habeas Corpus Resource Center, 1987–2005

Board of Directors, Sixth District Appellate Project, 1994–2005

Director, Heafey Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy, 1995–2016

Chair, California Lawyer Editorial Advisory Board, 2000–15

Executive Director, California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, 2005–08