Dean Michael J. Kaufman

Dean Michael J. Kaufman

Dear Members of the Santa Clara Law Community,

As we continue to be rocked by horrific acts of violence, both at home and abroad, let us join in prayer for the victims, stand together as a community that values peace, condemn gun violence, and commit ourselves to making our world more just and humane.

We do not pray in lieu of summoning the collective courage to act, but in preparation for doing so. As members of the Santa Clara Law community, we have both the privilege and the responsibility to use our legal skills, knowledge, and values to work together to effectuate concrete, evidence-based gun safety measures that have proven to reduce the incidence of mass shootings and gun violence. We can also make clear in our words and deeds that ours is a profession that defends the rule of law and promotes the peaceful resolution of disputes.

I have great faith that we can help achieve a meaningful reduction in mass shootings and gun violence because I have seen us successfully advance the cause of justice in countless ways. We recently honored our shared commitment to fostering a more just, humane, and peaceful world in the momentous week culminating in our law school commencement. On Monday, May 16th, we conducted a swearing-in ceremony for our graduates who recently passed the California Bar exam in a moving ceremony in the Mission Church.  We then celebrated a series of gatherings, leading up to Commencement, to honor our graduates who were First Generation students, international students, social justice and public interest champions, leaders in the Black Law Student Association and other Affinity Groups, as well as those who excelled in our High Tech Law programs.

On Friday evening May 20th before graduation, we joined together in the Mission Church for the Law Commencement Liturgy, during which our University’s Acting President Lisa Kloppenberg presented a beautiful Homily, calling our law school graduates to understand their professional service as an expression of God’s love. After the Liturgy, we honored students who received the John B. Bates, Jr. Dispute Resolution Award, the Art Gemmel Prize for International Commercial Arbitration, the Dean’s Leadership Awards, and the Mabie Outstanding Student Award, this year bestowed upon Zachary Nemirovsky.

On Saturday, May 21st, we conducted a glorious commencement ceremony for the extraordinary Santa Clara Law Class of 2022. During the ceremony, Judge Edward J. Davila received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his lifetime of public service. In his uplifting address, Judge Davila highlighted the supportive staff and faculty of our law school and offered words of wisdom for our graduates, calling them to embark on careers characterized by service, ethics, and professionalism. Acting President Kloppenberg also shared beautiful words of congratulations for our graduates, inspiring them to help their clients and communities solve problems and build common ground.

Supported every step of the way by our faculty, staff, alumni, and University partners, our grads remarkably overcame great challenges to complete their rigorous academic requirements and still found time to pursue justice for their clients in our clinics, transform their communities through thousands of hours of volunteer public service, help publish and edit impactful research on one of our law journals, achieve great success on our trial, negotiations, and moot court teams, and serve their classmates as leaders of the Student Bar Association or one of our many wonderful affinity groups and student organizations. We are especially grateful to the class of 2022 for its leadership in promoting racial and social justice in our own law school and the surrounding community.

Most of our recent graduates will now turn their focus to preparing for the California Bar Exam, where they will seek to take that next important step in their professional formation. With the assistance of Professor Devin Kinyon, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Office of Academic & Bar Success, and other professional bar preparation services, they will utilize every resource available to pass this rigorous exam. I have great confidence in their ability and determination. As we get closer to July 26-27, the dates of this summer’s July California Bar Exam, I may ask for you to send your own words of encouragement. They benefit from seeing how they are a part of such a nurturing and supportive alumni community.

Until then, please join me in congratulating each and every one of our exceptional Santa Clara Law graduates, their loved ones, and the faculty and staff who helped them “cross the stage”! Even in these troubled times, we have so much for which to be grateful.

With warm regards and tremendous gratitude,

Michael J. Kaufman signature