Boalt Hall's Centenary (First Person)

BY Dorothy Snodgrass
Thursday October 04, 2012 - 04:25:00 PM

On Friday, November 9th at 7 p.m., Boalt Hall will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary Gala, an auspicious occasion if ever there was one! 

Located at the top of Bancroft, across from International House, this prominent U.C. Law School ranks high among other American law schools. 

I had the extremely good fortune to work at Boalt for more than twenty years. 

I should point out that it wasn't always peace and tranquility. During the anti-war demonstrations, there were noisy protests by students. This resulted in Gov. Reagan sending in the National Guard, who sprayed rebellious students with tear gas. They were therefore unable to take their final exams. 

As Faculty Appointments Secretary, it was my job to set up interviews of prospective newcomers with faculty members (nothing short of the Spanish Inquisition). It was sad to see young faculty members denied tenure, having struggled so hard to keep up with legal issues. Women faculty in particular met with opposition by their male peers. 

One of my professors worked endlessly on the famous Bakke case. Archibald Cox, the famous Harvard professor came to Berkeley to analyze this controversial brief, which was settled to no one's satisfaction. Another case was Brown v. Bd. of Education. The young professor who worked tirelessly on this case was ultimately denied tenure and left California a bitter man. 

All in all, it was a great pleasure to work with scholars such as Willy Fletcher, now a judge in an appellate court in San Francisco. Mention should also be made of Herma Hill Kay and Jesse Choper, the latter often seen on TV news broadcasts when asked for his opinion of timely legal matters. 

The Law School has recently undergone several renovations; I hardly recognize the place. 

Learning that Boalt Hall is considered to be the finest and largest law school in the U.S., I must confess I'm honored to have have played a part, however minor in this great institution!