Professor Patrice Simms joins Earthjustice as a Vice President for Litigation


This happened a couple of weeks ago, but still a great development.  My good friend Patrice Simms, law professor at Howard University Law School, is joining Earthjustice as a Vice President for Litigation.  Earthjustice is fortunate to get him (though he was already a member of the Board of Trustees and so has stepped down from that role).

Here’s the link to the Earthjustice press release:

In memory of Janet Reno, U.S. Attorney General 1993-2001

Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno passed away earlier today, age 78.  My years as a young Justice Department lawyer, from 1994-1998, were all under her watch, a time that I have many fond memories of.  (I served in the Environment and Natural Resources Division, under AAG Lois Schiffer then.)  Reno set an example of integrity and fairness for all DOJ attorneys, and I was proud to have been a part of DOJ then.

On my last day at the Justice Department (in June 1998), Reno was kind enough to spend a little time with me and my wife Tinling in a private meeting, both to chat and to learn a little about where my next job was going to take me — which happened to be the start of my academic career at Vermont Law School.  I still remember how friendly and warm she was, even though at the time I was just a young and insignificant staff lawyer.  The world is a little poorer without her.

Below is the official photo.  Unfortunately, our own photos of Tinling and I with Reno are somewhere in storage.


Running the San Jose Half Marathon Today

img_1506I finished the San Jose Half Marathon in 2:23:51 today, more than 15 minutes faster than I had expected.  My running group included my good friend Professor Frank Wu (of Hastings College of Law) and Professor Carol Suzuki (of Univ. New Mexico Law School).  My friend Frank let me win, as a sign of respect for an elder — in fact, he let me win convincingly (by more than five minutes) so that it would like it was real.

At the finish line, I ran into my former student Parminder, who graduated last year.  Below are a few pictures of me at mile 9, with Parminder, with my spouse Tinling and daughter Gwen-Zoe, and an after-race lunch photo with Frank and Carol.  There will probably be a rematch in the coming months.


In Memory of Sun Yat-sen University Law Professor Cai Yanmin

caiyanminI am deeply saddened to share that Sun Yat-sen University Law Professor Cai Yanmin passed away on Monday in Guangzhou, China.  Professor Cai was truly a trail-blazer in her efforts to establish clinical legal education in Chinese law schools as well as her contributions as part of the legal clinic at SYSU to help migrant workers fight for their rights. She  served as Deputy Vice Dean of SYSU Law School in the early 2000s, as a member of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, and as a member of the World Fellows Program at Yale University.  But in my mind, one of her most important contributions was to build bridges between American and Chinese legal academics, lawyers, and anybody else interested in promoting the rule of law.

I knew her as a warm and kind person with a keen intellect and generous spirit.  When I first met her, while I was still a member of the Vermont Law School faculty, she was Deputy Vice Dean of Sun Yat-sen University and interested in advancing the environmental law program at SYSU.  It was through her instrumental role and support that Vermont Law School was able to partner with SYSU Law School, later creating a long-running program (the US-China Partnership for Environmental Law), funded by USAID and the State Department, to provide  environmental law training and capacity-building in China.  Jinjing Liu, a friend and former colleague who worked with me on the VLS-SYSU Partnership, was a student of Professor Cai.  .

Here is a link to the SYSU Announcment.   Below is a pictures of me with her and her husband when I visited Sun Yat-sen University in 2003. I will dearly miss her.