10-Second Bio

Name: Richard Buxbaum

Title: Emeritus professor since 2011, but on partial teaching recall

Department: Faculty

When I started working here: July 1, 1961

What I do in ten words or so: I was the first director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute (1968-75) and second Dean of International and Area Studies, UCB (1991-98).

Something you don’t know about me: I was one of five defense counsel for the Free Speech Movement (FSM) defendants in 1965. I lost 773 cases in one blow, thus destroying a pretty good U.S. Army Defense Counsel record. But I couldn’t let that stand, so also was counsel for campus anti-Vietnam War and Third World Strike efforts, somewhat mitigating the won-loss balance.

One weird fact about the town I grew up in: The village of Bombay, NY (at the door to the St. Regis (now Akwesasne) Mohawk Indian Reservation on the St. Lawrence River), where we lived 1940-45 after emigrating from Germany, had a total population of 180 people. My and my brother’s chores-based allowance of 25 cents per week (each) was a major contribution to its economy, via Ursula Bean’s 10-cents a slice Pie Shop.

If I could have any job in the world (besides the one I have now) it would be: An art curator’s job and life seems pretty good, provided it included travel.

Moral for today’s problems: Someone has to continue these efforts but why should it be me.

Goodbye & Congratulations to Ryan Kwock!

 We are sad to see Ryan Kwock go from the Dean’s Office, but are so excited and proud of him to become a 1L at Berkeley Law next month! Ryan, thank you for all that you have done for the Dean’s Office during this transition, and for the school as a whole. Your professionalism and excellence in everything you do is much appreciated by many.

New Hires

 Ahmed Lavalais ’17, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Policy Advocacy Clinic

Ahmed Lavalais is a tenacious advocate for juvenile defendants and the poor. As a law student, he was a key player in the Policy Advocacy Clinic (PAC), pursuing non-litigation strategies to address systemic racial, economic and social injustice in the community. In one of PAC’s most gratifying success stories, Lavalais and his fellow students persuaded California’s Alameda County to repeal its juvenile justice fees—the first in the state to do so. Named one of the 2017 Law Students of the Year by National Jurist magazine, Lavalais will be a powerful voice in PAC’s legal advocacy.

 Jodi Collova,  Director of LL.M. Writing and Academic Support

Jodi Collova has a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School, and a Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.  She has significant experience as a law librarian and as a legal writing instructor at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, at Golden Gate University, where she designed an LL.M. legal research and writing workshop, and at the University of San Francisco, where she taught an online tax research course as well as first-year legal research and writing. Jodi has just returned from teaching a two-unit intensive legal writing course to Chinese law students in Shanghai.  She previously practiced employment law and has taught mindfulness meditation sessions for law students. She is a Pilates instructor in her free time.

 Catherine Fisk ’86, Professor of Law

Catherine Fisk was Chancellor’s Professor of Law and a member of the founding faculty of the University of California, Irvine Law School from 2008 to 2017. Fisk was the Douglas Blount Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University from 2004 to 2008, and before that, she was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. She regularly teaches Labor Law, Employment Law, and Employment Discrimination, along with Civil Procedure, First Amendment, and Legal Profession. Read more about Fisk here.

 Frank Partnoy, Professor of Law

Frank Partnoy has taught at the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law for 20 years and directs its Center for Corporate and Securities Law. A 1992 Yale Law School graduate, Partnoy worked as a derivatives structurer at Morgan Stanley before spending two years as a lawyer at Covington & Burling. He studies financial markets and fraud and is the author of six books, including two law school textbooks. He joins Berkeley Law in 2018. Read more about Partnoy here.

 Whitney Mello, Executive Assistant to Dean Chemerinsky

Whitney received her J.D. from the University of San Diego in 2008. After graduation, she pursued work as a law clerk for a private law firm. Later, Whitney moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for more than six years as a legislative assistant, a staff assistant to Congress, and as an executive assistant for a Washington public relations organization. Whitney comes to Berkeley Law most recently from the Institute of Governmental Studies here on campus, where she worked as the executive assistant to the director for over two years.


Our outstanding Academic Personnel Manager, Marva de Marothy will be leaving the familiar halls of Berkeley Law to join the campus Academic Personnel Office team effective 7/1/17. In keeping with Marva’s wishes, please stop by for an informal gathering to wish her well on Friday, June 30th from 3 pm – 4 pm in the Dean’s Seminar Room.

Ramon Munguia, our trusty and wonderful evening custodian, is retiring at the end of June.  He has been at the law school for 21 of his 23 years at the university. For those of us in the building in the evening hours, he works the 5:00pm – 1:30am shift and is always a friendly face who on top of doing his job, helps us feel safer and well-cared for in those evening hours. We are planning a brief gathering at 5pm on Thursday, June 29 in the Dean’s Conference Room  – if you are around, please join us for cake and an informal good-bye.

New Hires

Welcome to our new employees: Jen Griego, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement; Erin Dineen, Alumni Engagement Officer; Samantha Zepeda, Annual Fund Officer; Sohayla Farman, Publications & Communications Specialist for the Robbins Collection; and Jann Dudley, Associate Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; Purba Mukerjee ’15, Environmental Health Fellow, Environmental Law Clinic; and new faculty members Abbye Atkinson, Adam-Badawi, and Joy Milligan. Read more about these great new additions.