Nuggets from the School Community
Linda Blair Headshot
FIRMLY ROOTED: Linda Blair ’21 says the challenges her class faced brought it closer together. Photo by Savelle Jefferson ’21

A Degree in Resilience

Political turmoil revealing the fragility of American democracy, complete with a riot at the United States Capitol. Repeated incidents exposing racial injustice. Persistent area fires sparking dangerous air quality and a run on N-95 masks. A global pandemic turning law school education — and life itself — completely upside down.

While many Berkeley Law classes have dealt with daunting challenges, it’s hard to imagine any facing more simultaneous stressors than the Class of 2021.

Even so, this year’s graduates displayed remarkable tenacity, resilience, and compassion while pursuing their degree, advocating for clients and causes, supporting their classmates, and overcoming obstacles.

When the pandemic forced them to shelter in place and take classes online, they forged a sense of strong community in creative ways, from virtual cooking and craft circles to trivia nights and talent shows. And while it’s not the law school experience they envisioned, they still created foundational friendships, gained lifelong lessons, and inspired faculty and staff.

Amid the turbulence, graduates such as former Student Association of Berkeley Law Co-President Linda Blair found strength in their classmates.

“The community building at Berkeley Law is unmatched; there really is a place for everyone because Berkeley attracts people who care about one another and are willing to go above and beyond to be supportive,” she says. “This community has made me more open and inviting of people from all walks of life, and it has been the most meaningful part of my experience here.” —Andrew Cohen

Hollywood Sign

Entertainment Law Hub

The Hollywood Reporter rated Berkeley Law the fourth-best school for entertainment law in its 2021 rankings.

The publication pointed out that the school “provides entertainment-relevant courses covering things like social justice issues in the industry, sports contracts, trademarks — and now even offers a class on social media law. The school also boasts the Berkeley Journal of Entertainment & Sports Law and held its (virtual) sixth annual Sports & Entertainment Conference.”

In addition, seven graduates were named to The Hollywood Reporter’s annual top 100 power lawyer list. The dynamic deal-makers, high-stakes litigators, and big-merger facilitators include Scott Edelman ’84, Bruce Gellman ’91, Cliff Gilbert-Lurie ’79, David Maltof ’92, Michael Schenkman ’90, Douglas Stone ’86, and Matthew Syrkin ’03. —Andrew Cohen

Extending a Legacy

The endowing donors of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic have again stepped forward, this time to fund Berkeley Law’s first clinical faculty chair.

Berkeley Law Professor Pamela Samuelson and her husband, Robert Glushko of the UC Berkeley Cognitive Science Program, pledged $1 million to create the Robert Glushko Clinical Professor of Practice in Technology Law. Two decades earlier, they donated $2 million to help establish the Samuelson Clinic — the first of its kind — to advance the public interest in tech and intellectual property law.

Samuelson says the gift was motivated in part “to express the pride we both feel about the work the technology clinic faculty and students have done in the past 21 years.”

Just a few examples of the clinic’s recent work include pushing the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Justice Department to disclose records about their monitoring of confidential attorney-client emails, advocating for the removal of copyright restrictions on California’s jury instructions, and producing reports on electronic monitoring in the juvenile justice system and surveillance laws in cities.

Samuelson, a faculty co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, is a renowned trailblazer in digital copyright law, intellectual property law, cyberlaw, and information policy. Glushko, a successful digital publishing and electronic commerce entrepreneur, co-founded Veo Systems, which pioneered Extensible Markup Language (XML) for web services and business applications.

Noting how they’ve helped cement tech law’s place among clinical offerings at U.S. law schools, Samuelson Clinic Director Catherine Crump says, “At this point, their idea has become so mainstream that people are more likely to ask why a school doesn’t have a tech law clinic than to question why one does.” —Gwyneth K. Shaw

Robert Glushko, Deirdre Mulligan, Catherine Crump, and Pamela Samuelson at the clinic’s 15th anniversary celebration in 2016
TECH TEAM: UC Berkeley Adjunct Professor Robert Glushko, School of Information Professor Deirdre Mulligan, Samuelson Clinic Director Catherine Crump, and Berkeley Law Professor Pamela Samuelson at the clinic’s 15th anniversary celebration in 2016. Photo by Jim Block
House made of money and solar panels being foreclosed
Illustration by Arline Meyer

Restoring the Promise of PACE

A financing mechanism designed to help homeowners afford solar assets and other energy improvements has instead left thousands of low-income Californians facing steep property tax debt — and for some, potential foreclosure, according to a recent report from Berkeley Law’s Environmental Law Clinic.

Now, its recommendations are shaping a reform battle in Sacramento with nationwide ripple effects.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) lets homeowners pay for energy improvements without a bank loan or a down payment. Instead, the projects are financed by bonds, and repaid through a lien that appears on the owner’s property tax bill. The California Legislature created PACE to make energy upgrades easier, serving the state’s goal of fighting climate change.

But PACE hasn’t lived up to its promise due to fundamental flaws in the program’s setup, says clinic Director Claudia Polsky ’96. There’s no requirement for contractors to ensure that a recommended upgrade would actually be cost-effective for the homeowner, and no mandate that the completed work be inspected before the contractor is paid and the tax lien added to the property.

Those flaws, according to the report, have left some low-income homeowners with expensive improvements they didn’t really need, shoddily installed products, unfinished projects — or all three. Lawmakers, including State Sen. Dave Min and Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva, are moving to make the report’s suggested changes.

“It’s not that the concept is wrong, it’s that the implementation — which has been largely by for-profit companies — was almost wholly unregulated,” Polsky says. “The consequences have been catastrophic, and the ultimate consequence can be homelessness.”
—Gwyneth K. Shaw

Standout Civil Rights Scholar

First-year student Traelon Rodgers ’24 was selected to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s new Marshall-Motley Scholars Program, which gives full law school scholarships, training, and post-graduate fellowships to students who commit to working for at least eight years on civil rights in the South after getting their J.D.s. The 10 recipients, each born or raised in the South, were picked from more than 400 applicants.

Co-valedictorian of his Dillard University class and a two-term president of the school’s Student Government Association, Rodgers is the youngest person (then 21) to be elected as an NAACP national officer. His many leadership roles have included serving as NAACP National Youth Work Committee chair, Dallas NAACP Youth Council president, and City of Dallas Youth Commission vice chair.

Traelon Rodgers Headhot
WHEEL OF JUSTICE: As a college student, Traelon Rodgers created task forces addressing equal treatment issues that impacted NAACP youth members nationwide. Photo Courtesy of the NAACP

Enduring Impact

Over nearly 50 years at Berkeley Law, Professor Stephen Sugarman has left his indelible mark in many ways — from court fights over school funding to maintaining an essential East Bay eatery guide.

Last spring, the California Law Review published a special “festschrift” issue commemorating his career, which includes more than a dozen books and countless articles. On April 29, colleagues, family, friends, and students gathered virtually for a salute.

Sugarman arrived in 1972, just after he and Professor Emeritus John Coons helped litigate the Serrano v. Priest school financing case. Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who read their 1970 book Private Wealth in Public Education in college, said, “No one is more influential in the field of education law over the last half-century than Steve Sugarman, and he is truly a wonderful colleague.”

Others noted Sugarman’s impact in torts, including health law and insurance and personal injury policy. They also lauded his efforts building community within the school and upholding its mission through two stints as associate dean and tireless committee work.

Raja Krishna ’21, among his small group of students as a 1L who affectionately called themselves “Sugarmod,” was in a potential jury pool the next year. When the plaintiff’s attorney asked him about current tort law, Krishna described Sugarman’s ideas on no-fault insurance, strict product liability, and intentional torts.

“Needless to say, I was promptly dismissed … but not without a lengthy comment from the judge praising Professor Sugarman’s scholarship and the wide-ranging influence of his ideas,” Krishna recalled.

Capping the event, an obviously touched Sugarman saluted colleagues and his wife of “50 splendid years,” Karen Carlson.

“We law professors at Berkeley Law have the best job I can think of,” he said. “It’s beyond what I could have imagined when I came here.” —Gwyneth K. Shaw

STANDING TALL: Professor Stephen Sugarman receiving Berkeley Law’s 2017 Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Jim Block
Stephen Sugarman
MENU MAKER: Professor Molly Van Houweling, associate dean of J.D. curriculum and teaching, sees growing student interest in race and law classes. Photo by David Kindler
Molly Van Houweling Headshot
MENU MAKER: Professor Molly Van Houweling, associate dean of J.D. curriculum and teaching, sees growing student interest in race and law classes. Photo by David Kindler

A Full Race and Law Plate

Students often ask faculty members Molly Van Houweling and Savala Nolan ’11 for information and input on courses. Over the past year, their queries about classes focused on race and law have increased significantly.

“Student interest in this topic certainly isn’t new, just as its importance to every field of law isn’t new,” says Van Houweling, Berkeley Law’s associate dean of J.D. curriculum and teaching. “But our current students have been particularly engaged in discussions about how to innovate and improve our offerings.”

A whopping 17 options are available this semester that count toward the school’s race and law certificate — launched in 2018 with a course, experiential education, writing, and program activity requirement. They cover everything from environmental justice to civil rights to entertainment and media law, and Introduction to Critical Race Theory for 1Ls will be offered in the spring semester.

Berkeley Law has also done more outreach to faculty to identify classes, such as Family Law, with a substantial focus on race or racial inequality that may not be obvious from the course title.

Nolan, executive director of the school’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, says the most effective legal advocates will bring sophistication and fluency to issues of race.

“A lawyer who isn’t conversant on race — its ontology, uses, and impacts — simply won’t be as powerful a force for system-changing, long-term progress,” she says. “It’s therefore crucial that we at Berkeley Law, the best public law school in the country, make every effort to educate our students about race and racial hierarchy and how both interact with the law.” —Andrew Cohen

Back Where It Began

Natalie Winters ’18 relished trial competitions during her student days at Berkeley Law. Little did she know how quickly they would pay dividends.

“When I entered the courtroom as a public defender in Colorado, I immediately noticed how those experiences made me a better advocate on day one,” she says.

That passion never waned. In January, Winters returned to Berkeley Law as its director of advocacy competitions. She oversees the school’s four internal competitions, and teaches two sections of Advanced Legal Writing with a criminal law emphasis.

Able to host each internal competition last school year using virtual platforms like Zoom, Winters says, “We look forward to hopefully resuming these events in person this year.”

Natalie Winters standing at a podium smiling
FULL CIRCLE: Natalie Winters ’18 returned to Berkeley Law to oversee its advocacy competitions. Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small
She has also worked with various students to coordinate an event aimed at demystifying the tryout process for those interested in advocacy competitions, and with Director of Equity & Inclusion Emily Bruce to hold an implicit bias training for recently elected student group leaders.

Berkeley Law has enjoyed great success in recent competitions, and continues to grow its number of student participants and volunteer coaches — many of whom are alumni.

“I’m excited about the chance to work with students inside and outside the classroom as they develop their voices as advocates,” Winters says. —Andrew Cohen

Debt Collection Expertise

Prasad Krishnamurthy Headshot
ON ALERT: Professor Prasad Krishnamurthy will help protect California consumers. Photo by Jim Block
Professor Prasad Krishnamurthy was appointed to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation’s new debt collection advisory committee. The only academic on the seven-member committee, he will provide vital feedback to help the department oversee debt collectors and protect consumers.

The committee was formed on the heels of a 2020 state law expanding the department’s authority to deny or revoke debt collector licenses for fraudulent, deceitful, or dishonest acts. In addition to shielding consumers from spurious activity, the new committee will promote responsible innovation, reduce regulatory uncertainty for emerging financial products, and increase education and outreach to vulnerable groups.

A CLEE(N) Idea

A proposal from Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) that the U.S. adopt and support an international methane protocol has been selected as one of The CLEEN Project’s top three ideas for partnerships to accelerate pathways to global decarbonization. The protocol provides a framework for tracking, managing, and reducing methane emissions from oil and gas facilities, which generate a quarter of total methane emissions.
Coach Lee Van Pelt, Emily Roberts, Karnik Hajjar, Rachel Wilson, and Coach Michael Schallop
VICTORY ROW: (From left) Coach Lee Van Pelt ’93, Emily Roberts ’22, Karnik Hajjar ’22, Rachel Wilson ’22, and Coach Michael Schallop.

National Patent Champs

In person, virtually, whatever the forum, Berkeley Law keeps reaffirming its No. 1 ranking in intellectual property law. Another recent example: winning the 2021 National Patent Application Drafting Competition.

“I knew we were coming from a strong position, with the foundation of Berkeley Law’s IP curriculum and the support of excellent coaches,” says team member Rachel Wilson ’22.

Wilson, Karnik Hajjar ’22, and Emily Roberts ’22 bested more than 50 other teams in the annual U.S. Patent and Trademark Office competition. Roberts says the team spent about 30 hours a week on its patent application and 20 a week preparing for oral arguments, and met virtually two dozen times with coaches Lee Van Pelt ’93 and Michael Schallop (both Berkeley Law lecturers and partners at Van Pelt, Yi & James).

“They were absolutely indispensable,” Hajjar says. “They helped us narrow relevant pieces of prior art that we found, looked over just about every patent application draft, and told us about tools used in the trade that could help polish our patent.”

Using information from a hypothetical client regarding a crash avoidance system invention for personal recreation vehicles, the teams probed what parts of the invention were novel by researching relevant patents, patent applications, scholarship, websites, and articles.

They then drafted an application and later presented oral arguments in five regional rounds. Regional winners received additional prior art and could amend their application and claims before nationals — similar to actual practice.

“As an aspiring patent prosecutor, the competition was the highlight of my 2L experience,” Roberts says. —Andrew Cohen

Savala Nolan
HIGH IMPACT: The work of faculty member Savala Nolan ’11 has earned rave reviews on multiple platforms. Photo by Andria Lo

Sensational Summer

It’s been quite a ride for Savala Nolan ’11, executive director of Berkeley Law’s Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice.

In June, a podcast she worked on won a prestigious Peabody Award, which each year honors the 30 most powerful and enlightening stories in television, radio, and online media. Nolan was an advisor on race issues to the host and producer of The Promise. Produced by Nashville Public Radio, the podcast probes the challenges of an almost all Black and all poor elementary school and how the city’s education system creates and fuels systemic inequality.

In July, Nolan’s book Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Body was published by Simon & Schuster. It’s been called “a standout collection” as well as a “beautiful, brutally rendered narrative” by Tressie McMillan Cottom in The New York Times, and “an eloquently provocative memoir” by Kirkus Reviews.

The book offers poignant reflections on living between charged, politicized, and polar spaces — Black and white, thin and fat, rich and poor.

Listen to Nolan’s interview on KQED’s Forum show here.

Global Navigation

Berkeley Law’s international law program got another boost when four students — Kelsey Peden ’21, Najia Humayun ’22, Christine Hulsizer ’21, and Simone Lieban Levine ’21 — were selected as Salzburg Cutler Fellows.

Coordinated through the Lloyd N. Cutler Center for the Rule of Law, the program accepts standout students from the nation’s top 14 law schools who present their work and engage with international law leaders, professionals, and public servants.

Participating online due to the pandemic — which meant the program spanned six sessions rather than a single weekend in Washington, D.C., as in previous years — fellows submitted paper topics, and later a full draft or executive summary for works in progress. They were then divided into feedback discussion groups under the supervision of two faculty directors.

Simone Lieban Levine
Najia Humayun
Christine Hulsizer
Kelsey Peden
INTERNATIONAL LENS: Berkeley Law Salzburg Cutler Fellows (clockwise from top left) Simone Lieban Levine ’21, Christine Hulsizer ’21, Kelsey Peden ’21, and Najia Humayun ’22.
Photos by Idrian Mollaneda ’21 (Levine); Anya Ku ’20 (Hulsizer); Madeline Malan Photography (Peden); Chloe Belangia (HUMAYUN)
Simone Lieban Levine
Christine Hulsizer
Kelsey Peden
Najia Humayun
INTERNATIONAL LENS: Berkeley Law Salzburg Cutler Fellows (from top to bottom) Simone Lieban Levine ’21, Christine Hulsizer ’21, Kelsey Peden ’21, and Najia Humayun ’22.
Photos by Idrian Mollaneda ’21 (Levine); Anya Ku ’20 (Hulsizer); Madeline Malan Photography (Peden); Chloe Belangia (HUMAYUN)

The fellows also discussed personal ambitions and potential international law career routes with mentors from prominent organizations and agencies.

Levine’s paper explored whether international abortion rights could help combat U.S. abortion bans and restrictions; Peden’s focused on reforming U.S. sanctions to provide reparations for Rohingya victims in Myanmar; Humayun’s probed the Islamic position on capital punishment, which ties in theories of restorative justice, international law, and prison abolition; and Hulsizer’s discussed U.S. states incorporating international human rights norms.

“The international law community at Berkeley is tight-knit, hardworking, and absolutely wonderful,” Levine says. “It was an incredible experience to meet, learn from, and network with students and professors from similar communities at law schools across the country.” —Andrew Cohen

Megan Raymond

Generation Next

Megan Raymond ’21 and Francesco Arreaga ’21 were selected by the American Constitution Society for its Next Generation Leaders program. The initiative identifies law students who have demonstrated stellar leadership in their work with the society’s student chapters, and cultivates that talent through special programs and opportunities.

A former political media consultant who worked with electoral and advocacy campaigns across the country, Raymond was active with Berkeley Law’s Political & Election Empowerment Project and held leadership positions at Ecology Law Quarterly and on the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative board. This fall, she began working as an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine in Seattle.

Arreaga was co-president of the law school’s Berkeley Immigration Group, managing a San Francisco Immigration Court observation project and conducting know your rights trainings in Spanish there. An editor at the Berkeley Journal of International Law and an advocate at the East Bay Community Law Center’s Consumer Rights Workshop, Arreaga is now working as an American Constitution Society fellow.

STAR TURNS: Megan Raymond ’21 (top) and Francesco Arreaga ’21 were co-presidents of Berkeley Law’s American Constitution Society chapter.
Francesco Arreaga
Tulsa Race Massacre
DRIVEN AWAY: During the Tulsa Race Massacre, over 6,000 Black people were interned for as long as eight days. Photo by McFarlain Library, University of Tulsa

Hushed History

For decades, Eric Stover has investigated war crimes and atrocities in foreign countries. But co-producing a documentary about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre hit home for the longtime faculty director of Berkeley Law’s Human Rights Center.

“Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten” premiered May 31 on PBS. It commemorates the centennial of a white mob’s three-day rampage in a thriving area known as Black Wall Street that burned down nearly 40 blocks of businesses and homes, left over 8,000 people homeless, and killed at least 100.

Local police helped arm the mob and deputized some members. Many Black residents were held in internment camps and could leave only if their white employer came to release them. The dead were buried in unmarked graves. No white person was ever implicated.

“For the privileged whites, it was simply ‘We need to keep this quiet because we’re a prosperous oil capital,’” Stover says. “In the Black community, many feared talking about it and passing on the pain to their children. So a hushed history descended.”

In 2018, director Jonathan Silvers — who had worked with Stover before — called about a documentary. They approached Washington Post reporter DeNeen Brown, whose front-page story described the massacre and efforts to submerge it, prompting Tulsa’s mayor to reopen the investigation and create the 1921 Race Massacre Burial Sites Oversight Committee.

Stover interviewed activists, anthropologists, and others in Oklahoma who are striving to find mass graves and publicize what happened. Supervised by Human Rights Center Associate Director Andrea Lampros, students in the center’s Investigations Lab fact-checked the film at PBS’s request.

“The main theme we’re trying to bring out in the documentary is that you have to live with history, face it, and understand that violence is passed down from generation to generation,” Stover says. —Andrew Cohen

TRUTH TELLER: Eric Stover at Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery, where a mass grave of Black residents was found. Photo by Saybrook Productions
Eric Stover at Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery
Wayne Stacy
RUNNING START: Wayne Stacy is the new executive director of the school’s Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. Photo by Gina Logan Photography
“The motivation comes from our ability to help the legal community adapt to changing technologies and changing laws.”
—Wayne Stacy
RUNNING START: Wayne Stacy is the new executive director of the school’s Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. Photo by
Gina Logan Photography

Taking the Reins

If Wayne Stacy feels any pressure leading the center that drives the nation’s top-ranked intellectual property law program, you’d never know.

“Maintaining rankings and stature aren’t the motivation,” says Stacy, the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology’s new executive director. “The motivation comes from our ability to help the legal community adapt to changing technologies and changing laws. I recognize the impact BCLT has had over the past 25 years. By doing our job well, we will remain No. 1.”

Stacy, who started in May, had been a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regional director and a partner at Baker Botts (chairing its intellectual property department) and Cooley LLP while teaching at four law schools, including Berkeley.

“As a law firm attorney, I had the opportunity to be part of several BCLT events and was always impressed,” says Stacy, now building the center’s new Project on Law and Innovation in the Life Sciences and inviting more mid-level attorneys to work with BCLT. “This position provides the opportunity to be on the front lines of identifying and solving the emerging legal issues facing tech companies.”

Stacy replaces James Dempsey, who expanded Berkeley Law’s Asia IP & Technology Law Project and tech-law curriculum during his 6½ years. Dempsey will continue teaching cybersecurity law in the LL.M. Program and his new book, Cybersecurity Law Fundamentals, was published during the summer.

“Berkeley really does have the nation’s best law and technology program,” Dempsey says. “BCLT’s 17 faculty directors represent an unmatched depth. My last and possibly greatest achievement is handing BCLT over to Wayne Stacy. He has so many ideas and so much energy for preserving our successful model while expanding it on multiple vectors.” —Andrew Cohen

Corporate Law Star

Shao Zhao ’23 is this year’s Minority Corporate Counsel Association Robert Half Legal Scholar, receiving a $10,000 award for tuition. The program supports diverse student leaders who are interested in corporate law and diversity and inclusion issues, and offers helpful career guidance through connections to peers and mentors.

Zhao also recently received the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Sharon and Ivan Fong Leadership Scholarship, given each year to four rising 2Ls with outstanding professional promise and leadership potential. Her numerous activities have included staffing a homeless shelter, tutoring immigrants, and mentoring young adults.

Shao Zhao
EARLY PATH: Shao Zhao became interested in a legal career at age 10, when she picked up the book You and the Law at a domestic violence shelter where she was staying with her mother. Photo by Amber Lisa Photography