Happy New Year from Chancellor and Dean David Faigman


Among my family and friends, I am known as an eternal optimist, sometimes against all odds. I have been fortunate that this optimism has usually been vindicated.

Despite its manifest difficulties, 2020 gave me more reasons than ever to be hopeful, not least of which was the birth of my grandson Avi, pictured above, with his big sister Eleanor. If that photograph does not inspire positivity, I don’t know what will.

Professionally, 2020 provided many reasons for my continuing confidence that the future is bright for the UC Law SF community. The physical transformation of our campus remains on track, with the completion of the Cotchett Law Center and the start of construction at 198 McAllister. Following three years of struggle, the California Supreme Court lowered the cut score of the California bar exam to a standard more in line with other states, though that threshold remains the second highest in the country. And in May, when the streets of the Tenderloin were most distressed, we joined forces with our neighbors to prompt the City to help those living on sidewalks and in doorways find shelter in hotel rooms and other safe spaces. We also partnered with Urban Alchemy, an organization staffed by formerly incarcerated individuals, to improve security in our immediate neighborhood without compromising the safety or dignity of the unhoused. Without question, however, there is yet more to do to improve street conditions for us and our neighbors.

While optimism is a state of mind, its vindication requires considerable effort. My optimism remains eternal largely because of the work of the UC Law SF community. Well beyond the examples above, the efforts of every member of our community during the difficult past year gives me proof of our ability to accomplish all we set out to do this year and in the years ahead. Students, staff, and faculty managed the seemingly interminable challenges of 2020 with imagination, grace, hard work and, wherever possible, a sense of humor. And our alumni stepped up to show their dedication and support for the community in new and renewed ways.

As a community, we are ready to tackle the tasks ahead. The UC Law SF Academic Village is well on its way to fruition, with new buildings to house new curricula, initiatives, and partnerships, as well as modern, affordable housing. We are pushing forward with all of the goals of our Strategic Plan, including prioritizing the myriad of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts so important for the attainment of a more just society. All these successes constitute the foundation that will allow us to realize our strategic goal of being one of the preeminent public law schools in the nation.

I am confident that 2021 will be a year of accomplishment and continuing success for our school. This optimism is well placed because it is premised on the extraordinary people of this great academic community.

I wish you and all who are close to you a healthy, safe, and prosperous New Year. I look forward to seeing you in person in 2021.

Warm regards,