But the story of the school’s launch has been a fascinating one since the get-go. Back in ‘07, we watched Chemerinsky’s abrupt firing and rehiring (click here and here). Since then, the school has made other interesting moves, including deciding to offer free tuition to the first class and publicizing that its admissions for that first class were more selective than Yale’s for the same year. Chemerinsky wants the school to be a heavy hitter right away. It’s a bold attitude, one that naturally carries some risk.
For anyone else who’s watched the story unfold with interest, we strongly recommend checking out a recent article in the ABA Journal about the school.
The main question posed by the article: “Can UC Irvine be both among the best law schools and among the most innovative?” The answer provided: “If not, it will not be for lack of trying.”
Consider what Irvine will offer. . . . According to the article:
- The school will include an interdisciplinary curriculum and a mandatory semester in one of the planned eight law clinics. Students will be required to conduct intake interviews for legal aid clients and to study international law in the first year—a subject that is merely optional in the upper classes at most schools.
- A two-semester class called “The Legal Profession” will bring in speakers from many areas of practice “so that students can gain a sense of the different kinds of work the profession does,” according to an online description of the curriculum.
- In order to facilitate “serendipitous interaction with faculty and students,” lounge chairs sit outside the faculty offices, so the students don’t have to sit on the floor while waiting.
- Rocking chairs will be placed near the library windows “to promote serenity,” and “reproductions of paintings of SoCal scenery, copied from some on view in the Orange County Art Museum, will further the Zen vibe.”
- Students will have multimedia portfolios to show potential employers, in addition to ordinary resumés.
- Students will receive grades, but there will be no class rankings.
- Finally, our personal favorite: Each student will be assigned a practicing lawyer as a mentor. Financial planners will be invited to campus to help students with budgeting and—for those in the second class and beyond—managing the burden of law school loans.