Dear Santa Clara Law Community,

During this holiday season, let’s take some time to express our collective gratitude for all of our blessings. We are grateful for:         

  • Our incredible students, who have supported their clients, their communities, and each other in countless ways.

Throughout the semester, our students have pursued justice for immigrant families and survivors of human trafficking under the inspiring leadership of Deborah Moss-West, Lynette Parker, and Margarita Sandoval in our Katherine & George Alexander Community Law Center Clinic, and they have worked with recent alumni under the expert supervision of Clinical Professor of Law Vangie Abriel in the Immigration Appellate Practice Clinic. Congrats to Vicente Lovelace, Josy Velázquez, Safwan Siddiqi, Janiel Barbier, Swathi Sreeragarajan, Ricardo Larrea Diaz, Victoire Marion, Victoria Rubio, and Sylvia Vizcardo Sanchez who have been providing critical translation services, and arguing and winning important immigration rights cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

 Congratulations also go to the students in our International Human Rights Clinic, Isabel Harris and Rachel Go, who together with Clinic Director Francisco Rivera and Deputy Director Britton Schwartz, were commended by Silicon Valley’s Congressional delegation and the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women for their pivotal role in pioneering a local ordinance aligning with the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Our wonderful students also have served as supportive mentors in our innovative Critical Lawyering Skills program, under the leadership of our faculty in the Office of Academic and Bar Support, Liza-Jane Capatos, Devin Kinyon, Kelly Rodriguez, and Nima Sohi. 

Our students, Kalena Paredes, and Victoire Marion, partnered with the Women & Law Association, and our Office of Career Management to conduct a Professional Clothing Drive in which 150 students were able to obtain professional clothing collected from students, faculty, staff, and legal employers. We were all awe-inspired by the quantity and quality of donations, and by our law school community’s generosity of spirit. 

Our extraordinary SBA Co-Presidents Julianna Major and Nicole Poirot, Student Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officers London Webster and Kumail Aslam, and many of our law student organizations sponsored an elucidating panel discussion about the legal issues surrounding the war in the Middle East. Moderated by Senior Director of Inclusive Excellence and Clinical Professor of Law Dori Pina, and featuring expert legal analysis from law professors Taylor Dalton and David Sloss, essential professional advice from Assistant Dean of Career Services Debbie Snyder, and a perspective from political science professor Farid Senzai, the presentations drew a standing room only audience of people of goodwill from throughout our university community, who are yearning for objective analysis, reasoned discourse, and collaborative problem-solving. 

Even in these perilous times, our effective student advocates have chosen humility over hate and have used their precious words and thoughtful deeds to heal rather than to harm. They have embodied the true spirit of Santa Clara Law! 

  • Our compassionate staff-educators and renowned faculty, who build the future of justice in their scholarship, classrooms, clinics, counseling, and centers.

This month, we joyously announced that Ed Lee and Zahr K. Said, who are renowned scholars, beloved teachers, dedicated public servants, and wonderful human beings, have decided to join our exceptional faculty. They will fit right in! 

Indeed, our amazing NCIP faculty, staff, practitioners, students, and volunteers led by Sarah Pace, recently secured their 36th exoneration of an unjustly incarcerated client. When Miguel Solorio was released from Mule Creek State Prison with an emulable sense of joy, gratitude, and forgiveness in his heart, our remarkable NCIP team was waiting to support him in many ways, including by inviting him to our own law student professional clothing drive. 

  • Our loyal and engaged alumni, who give so much of their time, talent, and treasure to benefit our students. 

Our alumni, like Distinguished Justice in Residence Ed Panelli, Distinguished Jurist in Residence Risë Pichon, and Distinguished Innovator in Residence Howard Charney, surround our students with support as coaches, mentors, teachers, advisers, and benefactors. Last month, we hosted a special reception for all of our law students who received scholarships and the donors who made their financial support possible. Many members of our terrific Law Advisory Board joined us, including the outgoing Chair Andy Kryder BS ’74, JD/MBA ’77, and the incoming Chair Dorian Daley J.D. ’86 — both of whom deserve our boundless praise and thanks!   

  • Our beautiful campus, which sits on the land of the Ohlone and the Muwekma Ohlone people. 

We solemnize every special occasion by remembering the profound Ohlone connection to this region and giving thanks for the opportunity to live, work, learn, and pray in their traditional homeland. Let’s express our sincere appreciation for the Ohlone people by always taking their wise teachings to heart. 

Rising high above Charney Hall at the peak of Mount Umunhum, there is an ancient rock circle of the living descendants of the Ohlone tribes. “Umunhum” is the root of the word “hummingbird” in five different Ohlone languages, and is an onomatopoeia for the sound that hummingbirds make while they hover attentively. The Ohlone welcome all people to this sacred mountain site to praise ancestors who have passed; to watch over each other attentively; to find healing of heart, mind, body, and soul; and to pray that our next seven generations will find natural beauty, wholeness, and peace. 

As we embrace Advent and the holiday season, let us be true to the spirit of the Ohlone and the spirit of “God’s Grandeur,” by showing our gratitude for our loved ones who have gone before us, by encircling each other with “umunhum” attentiveness, and by ensuring that for at least the next seven generations of our human family, our “bent World” is a common home of “dearest freshness deep down things,” lovingly brooded over with “ah! bright wings.”

With tremendous gratitude and warm wishes for a blessed Holiday Season,

Michael J. Kaufman Signature