Christopher Edley Jr.

There’s some big news this week in top law school land: Boalt Hall’s Dean Christopher Edley Jr. will be stepping down from his position at the end of 2013, and as of yesterday, has taken a medical leave from his duties due to some serious health problems. Edley leaves behind one of the best law schools in the nation — one which he helped guide into the top 10 in the U.S. News law school rankings.

Edley has served as dean for nearly a decade, and he’s navigated Berkeley Law through the legal profession’s boom and bust years. Dean Daniel Rodriguez of Northwestern had this to say of Boalt’s outgoing dean: “In a period of real challenge for that great public law school — with declining state support, a creaky physical plant, some key faculty loses, and, later, myriad problems stemming from the tough job market in California and nationally — Edley provided steady, creative leadership.”

Despite its overall success, Chris Edley’s tenure as dean was not without controversy. We’ll review some of the highlights of his career at the school in a bit. But first, why is he leaving so suddenly?

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No, RBG, that’s not the internet.

* According to Justice Elena Kagan, the rest of her colleagues are Supreme technophobes. Because “[t]he court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email,” they still pass handwritten memos to each other. [Associated Press]

* “[I]f we don’t get some relief we might as well close our doors.” Thanks to sequestration, budget cuts to the federal judiciary have resulted in layoffs in the Southern District of New York. Sad. [New York Law Journal]

* Kodak’s Chapter 11 reorganization was approved by Judge Allan Gropper, who called the affair “a tragedy of American economic life.” He must’ve had fond memories of getting other people’s pictures. [Bloomberg]

* Bankruptcy lawyers for corporate debtors are going to have to crack down on churning their bills. Starting in November, they will be subject to additional rules, and even (gasp!) fee examiners. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda (because of course his surname is Miranda), has lawyered up after his unusual nine-hour detainment at Heathrow airport this weekend. [Am Law Daily]

* So long, Nuts and Boalts: Christopher Edley, dean of Boalt Hall, is taking a medical leave and cutting short his term as the school’s leader at the end of the year. [Bottom Line / San Francisco Chronicle]

* “We’ll take him.” Indiana Tech Law School opens today, and its founding dean is very excited to add a 33rd student — one who was admitted yesterday — to the school’s inaugural class. [National Law Journal]

* Eugene Crew, co-founder of the firm once known as Townsend and Townsend and Crew, RIP. [Recorder]

Earlier this week, we took a look at faculty salaries at UVA Law School. They’re freely available online because UVA is a public law school. The UVA student newspaper obtained the records through FOIA and then posted them on the web. (If you have a problem with such information being made public, sorry. The best I can do is channel Justice Scalia and tell you: “Amend the statute.” )

We don’t want to pick on UVA, so we’re going to take a look at law professor compensation at a few state law schools. Going down the latest U.S. News rankings, we find ourselves at the ninth-best law school in the nation, Berkeley Law aka Boalt Hall.

The word “Berkeley” conjures up images of long-haired hippies smoking copious amounts of marijuana. But in light of their lush salaries, Berkeley law professors could roll joints using hundred-dollar bills….

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Left to right: Eric Cuellar, mystery man, and Justin Teixeira.

The story of Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, two law students at Boalt Hall who have been charged with killing an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino, has taken flight. It has made national and international headlines.

Given the intense public interest, we will continue to cover this flap. Keep reading for Berkeley Law’s reaction to the charges, tidbits about Teixeira and Cuellar from people who know them, and details from the arrest report — including mention of a mysterious third man….

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Today there’s good news and bad news coming out of Boalt Hall (aka Berkeley Law aka WGWAG School of Law).

Let’s start with the bad news. The bad news is that the Regents, who run the show for the University of California (UC) system, approved an increase in system-wide student fees for the coming year. It’s for a shade over $1,000 — $1,068, to be precise.

The good news: Berkeley Law, at the behest of Dean Christopher Edley Jr., is effectively reversing the fee hike for its students. Boalt Hall is issuing an immediate “scholarship” to each student, in the exact amount of the fee increase.

Let’s take a look at Dean Edley’s email — which explains the situation, and has a cute and clever closing — and explore what might be motivating the administration….

UPDATE (7/22/11): Also note the update at the end of this post regarding UCLA School of Law. (We have added the memo from Dean Rachel Moran.)

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Televise this chief justice and this president on stage at the Kennedy Center for three hours talking about the role of government and the future of our polity. This historic clash of intellectual titans would be the most powerful civics lesson since the Federalist Papers, and we could sure use it.

– Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley, proposing an Obama v. Roberts smackdown.

New attorneys for the next administration.JPGNew lawyers to lead the nation are sending in their résumés. Already, UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley has received a choice position as part of Obama’s transition advisory board. (I wonder if he’s accepting resumes from his students?)

Here’s an interesting choice for Edley and the rest of the transition team that will be picking the next Solicitor General. According to the Legal Times:

No woman has ever served as solicitor general, but a number have been mentioned as candidates for the job in an Obama administration. Stanford Law School professors Kathleen Sullivan and Pamela Karlan and Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan are possibilities, as well as Morrison & Foerster partner Beth Brinkmann and MetLife litigation counsel Teresa Wynn Roseborough.

They could also be considered to lead of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which produces legal opinions on complex matters for the attorney general and the president. Lawyers who have held both positions have gone on to become Supreme Court justices. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Justices Stanley Reed and Thurgood Marshall were solicitors general. The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist and current Justice Antonin Scalia once headed the Office of Legal Counsel. That experience could come in handy should one or more Supreme Court justices step down in the next four years.

Speculation has also centered on prominent African-American attorneys who may be ready to step forward:

Valerie Jarrett (Stanford, Michigan Law): Jarrett is a longtime Obama adviser, who’s now one of three people heading his transition team. She told the WSJ that blacks won’t be pigeonholed into “historically conventional” roles, such as secretary of housing and urban development or assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Other high profile positions after the jump.

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Dean Christopher Edley, listen up. The people have spoken, and here is their verdict. UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall should be renamed… the White Guys With Asian Girls School of Law!

Don’t like this idea? That’s okay. At least we didn’t charge you $25,000 for it.

white guys with asian girls wgwag School of Law Above the Law blog.jpg

UC Berkeley dropping Boalt Hall from law school’s official name [San Francisco Chronicle]

Earlier: Renaming Boalt Hall: Please Cast Your Vote
Hey ATL Readers: Help Rename Boalt Hall!

This was forwarded to us by a tipster:

Boalt.jpgApril 25, 2007

To: Boalt Community

From: Dean Christopher Edley, Jr.

It has been a week since the distressing events involving a Boalt student’s threat —a hoax — against the community at Hastings College of the Law. I am writing to let you know that all our actions following the incident have been taken with the intention of securing the safety and well-being of our community and that at Hastings, while respecting the procedural rights of the student.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, the Law School filed a complaint with the U.C. Berkeley Judicial Affairs Office against the law student who claimed responsibility for posting the threat on a website. We, the administrative leadership of Boalt, believe that the student’s action is clearly in violation of a number of regulations detailed in the Student Code of Conduct. The case will be adjudicated by Judicial Affairs according to campus regulations. Those regulations prohibit us from disclosing the name of the student against whom we are proceeding.

Based on the facts as we understand them today, we have recommended expulsion. This is based not only on the intrinsic wrongfulness of the act itself, but also the disruption, turmoil and emotional toll on the Hastings community and, to a more limited extent, the Boalt community as well. I have received ample evidence of this through a great many emails, some of them painful to read.

This incident has once again confirmed for me the strength and qualities of the Boalt community. Even in this challenging circumstance, you have engaged in thoughtful and productive discussions. We should all take some pride in this, imperfect though we are.

Christopher Edley, Jr.
Professor of Law and Dean

Does the punishment fit the crime here? Judging by some of the comments to this thread, some readers think expulsion would be an overreaction. Pre-Virginia Tech, what kind of behavior would get you expelled from law school?