BY DONALD J. POLDEN, DEAN, SANTA CLARA LAW
BUILDING THE FUTURE
A Progress Report on Santa Clara Law’s Strategic Initiatives
This is an exciting time at Santa Clara Law. In the past several issues of this magazine, we have discussed our Strategic Plan and its five key goals, and I am pleased to report that we continue to make significant headway toward these goals. Below is a progress report that highlights some of our major activities and achievements. Much of this progress was made possible by gifts to the Strategic Initiatives Fund, which was established to help provide financial resources needed to sustain the school’s most critical programs and to launch initiatives that will better prepare our students for the challenges of tomorrow’s workplace.
GOAL: Strengthen the educational program to meet the needs of a changing world.
The legal profession is in the midst of a sea change. To be competitive in a tight employment market, law graduates need to be prepared to practice law from day one. In a recent report from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), law firm associates cited the tremendous real-world value of participating in clinics and externships during law school. Santa Clara has taken the initiative to strengthen our curriculum to provide more such opportunities to our students. This semester more than 100 students are enrolled in externships with many alums acting as site supervisors. We’ve also added to our clinical offerings. In January, Caroline Chen joined the faculty as director of our new Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. The clinic gives students hands-on experience with important tax issues while serving clients who would otherwise lack representation. We have also hired Francisco Rivera Juaristi to direct our International Human Rights Clinic, which will enroll students for the first time this fall. This new clinic is an important step in expanding our global perspective and will directly involve students with compelling human rights issues.
GOAL: Enroll top students.
Competition for entering law students has never been greater. The Law School Admission Council announced a 16 percent drop in the national applicant pool, bringing the number to the lowest level in over 10 years. In response we have strengthened our off-campus recruiting efforts. We met with more than 2,000 prospective applicants at more than 80 graduate school and law fairs in 22 states. As a result we have more than 3,000 applicants for the fall entering class. They are a talented and diverse group of students. Our High Tech program, ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, continues to draw an exceptional group of engineers and scientists.
Now we are working to encourage admitted students to enroll. We have added $750,000 to our scholarship fund to make our financial aid offers as generous as possible. We are also hosting admitted students at a number of law firm venues. This alumni law firm support is extremely valuable.
GOAL: Hire and retain top scholars.
Santa Clara Law Professor Allen Hammond in the classroom.
Two outstanding young scholars will be joining our faculty in the fall.
Patent scholar Brian Love will join the Santa Clara Law faculty as an assistant professor focusing on patents and intellectual property. He comes to Santa Clara from Stanford Law School, where he has been a lecturer and teaching fellow in the Law, Science, and Technology LL.M. Program. “I am incredibly excited to become a part of Santa Clara Law and the High Tech Law Institute,” Love said. “With a faculty that brings together so much expertise in intellectual property law and technology policy, a student body whose interest in IP is simply unparalleled anywhere else in the nation, and a location in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara is truly the place to be if you want to make an impact in patent law.”
We are also in the process of confirming the addition of a major, nationally known environmental law scholar to our faculty. Stay tuned for this good news.
GOAL: Collaborate with our communities and constituents.
The numerous activities, conferences, and other events the law school has undertaken this year have given us the opportunity to engage our alumni, the legal community, academics from across the world, and Silicon Valley in new and meaningful ways. Highlights include:
- The Seventh Annual Jerry A. Kasner Symposium, held in September, which is a very popular one-day estate planning seminar for attorneys, accountants, certified life underwriters, bank trust and investment officers, financial advisers, and other wealth planning professionals, drawing more than 475 participants.
- Santa Clara Law’s new Institute for Sports Law and Ethics, a partnership of the law school, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, and the SCU Athletics Department, in September hosted the second annual Sports Law Symposium, “Intensifying Sports Law Issues: Concussions, Steroids, Labor Strife and the Use of Player Images.”
Katharine and George Alexander with
Almudena Bernabeu (center)
- The High Tech Law Institute and the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal hosted its symposium: “International Intellectual Property—Is the IP World Flat?” in January.
- The Center for Global Law and Policy co-hosted the 2012 Santa Clara Journal of International Law Symposium, “Emerging Issues in International Humanitarian Law” in February.
- The Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara Law held its fifth annual awards dinner, Justice for All, in March. The dinner helps raise the $1.5 million needed to run the project’s pro bono clinical program.
- The Center for Social Justice and Public Service at Santa Clara Law had its 2012 conference: Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, in April.
GOAL: Develop the law school building complex to support our vision of Santa Clara Law’s future.
We need to be bold about planning our future. We have contracted with Cannon Design to help us take the first steps in planning a law campus within the university campus—an integrated two-building law community that will support the skills-building and interactive teaching and learning environment that tomorrow’s lawyers need today.
What we are planning is not just a building complex, but a sense of place for Santa Clara Law, a place where our community can gather and where our future can unfold. The law complex, a combination of a new building replacing Heafey Law Library and a renovated Bannan Hall, will be the heart of our community. It will appropriately reflect our prominence in Silicon Valley and the important and distinguished role our alumni have played in the community and the profession over the years. I will share more about the planning process and some architectural drawings with you in our fall issue of this magazine.
To make a gift to the Law Strategic Initiatives Fund, please go to law.scu.edu/giving.