Boalt Hall eNews

April 2008

Featured Events

Highlights of upcoming alumni events. Access the full event calendar and register online, email or call 510.643.6673

April 22
Washington, DC Alumni Welcome Reception for Newly Admitted Students

Welcome prospective members of Boalt's class of 2011 with fellow alumni and Boalt’s Director of Admissions Edward Tom. Hosted by Ruth Greenspan Bell ’67.
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Home of Ruth Greenspan Bell, Washington, DC
To RSVP, email or register online here.

April 24
San Jose/Silicon Valley Alumni Welcome Reception for Newly Admitted Students

Welcome the class of 2011 with fellow alumni along with Boalt’s Director of Admissions, Edward Tom. Hosted by Jim McManis '67 at his firm McManis Faulkner & Morgan. 
6 to 8 pm
McManis Faulkner & Morgan, San Jose
To RSVP, email or register online here.

May 2
The 2008 Citation Award Dinner is May 2. Join us for a gala celebration honoring three distinguished individuals—including alums Dale Minami '71 and Mallun Yen '95—whose extraordinary achievements are a tribute to Boalt's excellence. For more information, go here.

May 14
Los Angeles Alumni Welcome Reception for Newly Admitted Students

Welcome prospective members of Boalt's class of 2011 with fellow alumni and Boalt’s Director of Admissions Edward Tom and Associate Director of Admissions Minara Mordecai. Hosted by Scott Lichtig '78 at his home in the Los Feliz neighborhood. 
6:30 to 8:30 pm
To RSVP, email or register online here.

September 25-28
Alumni Gathering at the California Bar Annual Meeting in Monterey

Save the date! More information coming soon.


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Dear Friends,

Can you believe commencement ceremonies are just around the corner? We can't let the academic year slip away, however, without a little horn-tooting. Not only did Boalt move up in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings to #6, but as we note in the story below, the intellectual property program maintained its top ranking. Well done! What better way to celebrate than by sharing good times with fellow graduates. There are several alumni-focused events planned for the coming months in the U.S. and abroad. Find one that works for you, and we'll see you there!

U.S. News & World Report Again Ranks Boalt IP Program No. 1
If the adage is true—that the only thing harder than making it to the top is staying there—then Boalt Hall has reason to smile after U.S. News & World Report ranked its intellectual property program No. 1 in the nation for an 11th straight year.

 Citation Award Dinner
Sign up now for the 2008 Citation Award Dinner in San Francisco on Friday, May 2. Join more than 600 Boalt Hall graduates, faculty, students, and friends in honoring Dale Minami '71, Mallun Yen '95 and Mel Eisenberg. RSVP and check out more information here.

Alumni Weekend & Reunion 2008, Sept. 18-20
Save the dates for a great few days back in Berkeley. Come to the "Justice and Education Concert: Celebrating the East Bay Community Law Center's 20th Anniversary" on Thursday the 18th. For donors with annual gifts totaling $10,000 or more, join Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. for an invitation-only reception on Friday the 19th. On the 20th, all alumni are invited to the law school's annual homecoming, featuring the issues-packed program "Democracy in Real Time: How the Events of 2008 Are Redefining the Political Landscape." For graduates in classes ending in 3s and 8s, special reunion activities are planned. Details at the Alumni Weekend Website.

Thanks for a Great African-American Alumni Reunion
Special thanks to the graduates, students and faculty who made the first annual African-American Alumni Reunion such a great success! Approximately 200 celebrants participated in three days of activities. Check out photos and webcasts from the weekend here.  Boalt's Law Students of African Descent recognized Judge Henry Ramsey '63 with its "Alumnus of the Year" award, and the California Alumni Association paid tribute to the remarkable career of Judge Thelton Henderson '62.  Additional highlights included a welcome reception with newly admitted students, a discussion of civil rights with keynote speaker John Burris '73 and panel presentations from distinguished alumni and faculty.  You can demonstrate your support for Boalt's African-American community by making a  gift here.

Meet Up with Boalt Graduates in Europe
Network with fellow graduates who work abroad. The annual reunion of the International Association of Boalt Alumni will be held June 6-8 at the University of Cologne. Professor Dick Buxbaum will join you, and speeches in honor of the 100th birthday of former Boalt Professor Stephan Riesenfeld '37 will be offered. Click here to learn how to be a part of the festivities.

2008 Cal Football Alumni Ticket Program
Enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow Boalt graduates over a Cal football game in Berkeley. On July 15, the Alumni Center will open its ticket window for you to purchase discounted single game tickets of $34 in stadium areas reserved for alumni. Please note: Tickets for the October 25 UCLA and November 22 Stanford games may not be available. You are encouraged to email your ticket request to as soon as possible. Go Bears!

Partners in Leadership 2007-08 Surpasses $1M in Gifts
The Partners program challenges law firms and organizations with five or more Boalt graduates to achieve 100% giving among alumni who work there. More than 1,300 alumni led by 100 captains at 58 firms and organizations have already contributed over $1 million to support students, programs, faculty and the facilities at Boalt. There is still time to get involved. If you are one of five or more at your workplace, leverage your individual gifts and inspire others to support Boalt Hall. For more information and contacts, please visit our webpage.

Graduating Class of 2008 Gives Back
The graduating Class of '08 has set a unique goal—100% +1 participation— for their class gift campaign. All members of each graduating class are invited to make a gift to the Boalt Hall Fund or to those programs and initiatives at the law school that meant the most to them. The program has continued to achieve outstanding participation from graduating students, boasting increases year after year since it began in 2001. In 2007, every graduate gave to achieve 100% participation, a national record—setting the stage for this year’s group to do them one better. Already 84% of the class is participating. And with a donation from Michelle Marck, a student displaced by Hurricane Katrina who studied at Boalt, the goal of 100% +1 is in sight. See what Boalt students have to say about why they give back by visiting this page.

Attending the DNC? The RNC?
Please let us know if you plan to attend the 2008 Democratic or Republican National Conventions. You may be interested in meeting with your fellow graduates who will also be at the conventions. Hearing from you will help the Alumni Center organize a special alumni gathering. Just email or call 510.643.6673.

Commencement 2008
Commencement ceremonies are rapidly approaching. The May 17th event starts at 8:30 am at the Hearst Greek Theater. Speakers are the Hon. Mary M. Schroeder, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Boalt Professor Anne Joseph O'Connell. More information is here.

New Issue of Transcript: Coming to a Mailbox Near You
Keep an eye out for your hot-off-the-press issue of Transcript—Boalt’s alumni magazine—which will be mailed the end of April. It features a dynamic, redesigned look and is packed with compelling stories that capture the cutting-edge work being done by faculty, students, and alumni. Of course, it includes many pages of class notes so that you can catch up on former classmates. The cover story, “Is DNA Bulletproof?” explores Assistant Professor Erin Murphy’s groundbreaking research that shoots holes in the hopes for high-tech evidence. Another must-read is the profile of Jess Jackson ’55—the famed winemaker and self-made billionaire who is kicking up dust in horse racing—both on the tracks and in the courts. “Bullish in China” is a fascinating look at how a Boalt business law think tank and Howard Chao ’80 have teamed up to tackle China’s burgeoning private equity market. It’s a great read!

Dean of Students Victoria Ortiz Headed to UC Irvine
Victoria Ortiz is departing to join the new law school at UC Irvine and take the position of Assistant Dean of Student Services and Director of Admissions. She has the enviable position of being able to help build the new law school from the ground up. Said Dean Edley: "We have been truly lucky to have had Viki for the past 10 years. She has made a tremendous impact on the school and the countless students she has assisted and counseled. Please join me in saying farewell to Viki as she moves down to Orange County." A reception will be held on Tuesday, April 29th in the Goldberg Room, Boalt Hall from 3-5 pm.

Alumni Notes

Have you moved to a new city or job? Do you have a baby on the way? Did you get a promotion? Keep your fellow alums up-to-date with your important life changes by submitting a Class Note. We'll publish your news on the web and/or the alumni magazine, Transcript. And if you don't have anything new to report, that's OK, too. You can still see what everyone else is up to on our improved Class Notes page.

Cassie Springer-Sullivan '02 and Michelle L. Roberts '05 are pleased to announce the opening of their law firm, Springer-Sullivan & Roberts LLP, in Oakland, CA, where they represent individuals in ERISA, disability benefits, and wage & hour litigation. Visit their website at

Nancy Doig '03 writes: After completing the Los Angeles phase of my treatment for breast cancer, I relocated to Sacramento, where I am continuing treatment and working for the Sacramento office of Greenberg Traurig. Everything is going extremely well, and I expect a full and happy recovery.

Michael Umansky reports: I've joined the San Diego office of Duane Morris LLP as a partner in the firm's Corporate Practice Group. My practice focuses on serving the technology and life sciences industries.

Jorge Ruiz-de-Velasco '87 reports: I have recently been appointed associate director & director of education of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity & Diversity at Boalt Hall. It is wonderful to be back!

Tamar Dyson '83 shares this update: Last March I accepted a position with the California Integrated Waste Management Board as staff counsel practicing environmental law. I feel as though I have come full circle. My first permanent job was in public service as an Army officer. After retirement I entered into various positions in private law practice. Now I have returned to public service, in an area of law that is new and exciting. I am particularly happy to be involved in the implementation of statutes which seek to reduce global warming and the state's carbon footprint. I knew that somehow my implantation in Berkeley during my three years at Boalt would someday yield fruit!

Virginia Villa '88 writes: After a long and happy time in the Federal Defender Office in Minneapolis, I learned that an FD office was opening in Maine. I am now the only Assistant in Bangor, the most northeasterly outpost of federal defense. I chose to come to Maine due to some wild idea that, given the lack of any history of an organized public defender system on either the state or federal level, they needed me. I didn't realize how right I was. What I have found, besides the contrast of ingrained poverty in a spectacular setting, are many wonderful and supportive people. (The federal judge here also just hired a Boaltie for next year's clerkship, so I am not alone in my cross-continent trek.)

Damon M. Connolly '88 was elected to the San Rafael City Council in November. For many years he served as a supervising deputy attorney general for the State of California, and was a leader in the state's efforts to recover billions of dollars for California ratepayers from the Energy Crisis of 2000-01. In 2007, Damon became a partner with the San Francisco firm of Girard Gibbs, LLP. More recently, he established his own private practice with offices in San Rafael and San Francisco, and also serves as of counsel to the firm of Keegin, Harrison, Schoppert, Smith and Karner, LLP.

Dan Wallace '63 writes: After four years in retirement from being city attorney for Santa Barbara, I was lured off the tennis courts and appointed interim county counsel for Santa Barbara County. The experience has been very rewarding, interesting and enjoyable. California's budget problems are having a serious impact on counties.

John M. Poswall '69, is on his "I'm not dead, yet" book tour featuring his latest courtroom drama/legal thriller novel, "The Altar Boys." The novel features three men who were once altar boys together. But now one is a bishop, another a lawyer who defends the church, and J.J. Rai (a Boalt grad) is an ex-Catholic who is eager to sue God, or, the next best thing, the Catholic Church. They meet in a court battle that raises questions about faith and mortality. As the book premiered, John found himself facing a possible life-threatening leukemia; hence the name of his latest book tour.

John is also the author of "The lawyers: Class of '69," a novel featuring five fictional characters of the last class of the '60s at Boalt. When not writing, John is the senior partner of a plaintiff litigation firm and is listed in "Best Lawyers in America," "Superlawyers of Northern California" and has been inducted into the American College of Trail Lawyers. He has also been named Humanitarian of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar. (He can be reached through his website



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