National Jurist - September 2010 - 16
Hastings in the news
A recent Supreme Court ruling has put Hastings College of Law at the center of discussion and brought publicity to the San Francisco public institution.
BY REBECCA LARSEN he very day after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Christian Legal Society against the University of California Hastings College of Law, more than 200 students and faculty packed a forum at the school in downtown San Francisco. One of the university’s lawyers appeared on Webcam to answer questions from the crowd. Two professors and members of OUTLAW, a gay and lesbian group, served on a panel discussing the issue. It was all group could not be officially recognized because it violated the school’s non-discrimination policy. Already respected as a top law school, Hastings became even more well-known amid publicity about the case. Hastings, founded in 1878, is one of the largest law schools in the nation with about 1,200 students. Hastings is always in the forefront of legal education, according to Leo Martinez, who at the time of the ruling was acting chancellor and dean. Recently, the school
We believe that all religions, races, ethnicities should have full access to membership in groups on campus.
— Leo Martinez, acting chancellor and dean of UC Hastings College of Law
part of turning real-life courtroom drama into a teaching moment for law students. “Those there wanted to know: What do the lawyers think, how will the case turn out, what was it like to argue before the Supreme Court?” said Professor David Levine, who organized the event. “We used the case as an opportunity to address very important national issues. It was very fortuitous.” The Supreme Court ruled in June that a publicly financed law school — like Hastings — can refuse to recognize a religious student group — the Christian Legal Society — that does not allow gay students or non-Christians to be voting members or officers. The school contended that the
has expanded its global outreach and has new relationships with schools in Europe, Japan and China. Hastings is also working with UC-San Francisco, which has medical and pharmacy schools, to offer new masters degrees in medical business issues, health law and bio-science. Current law students were attracted by the school’s location. Hastings is in the heart of San Francisco near the city’s Civic Center, just minutes from local, state and federal courts. As a result, prominent judges often teach at the school, and some 120 Hastings students a year serve in judicial externships. Khalid Alkadiry, a third-year student and president of the Associated Students
16 THE NATIONAL JURIST September 2010
of UC Hastings, said that unique location meant a lot to him. “What attracted me to come here was Hastings’ location in a cosmopolitan city within three blocks of every level of court,” he said. But unlike some urban law schools, Hastings is close to both the good and bad parts of city life. “We do not have a pristine setting,” Martinez said. “Outside our doors, you can see immense wealth and also immense poverty. Students run a street-front legal clinic nearby and also operate a general assistance advocacy project.” Although the chance to live in San Francisco attracts some students, the