Charney Hall
External Relations Update

External Relations Update – February 2021

By Steve O’Brien, Esq., Senior Assistant Dean, External Relations, Santa Clara Law

Political tensions in this country have been simmering for decades and civil discourse has been deteriorating across the political spectrum. Some have argued that today’s divisions are the greatest we have seen since the Civil War, a troubling observation on the heels of rioters besieging the Capitol on January 6. Even among those who are less apocalyptic in their analysis, the state of affairs in our nation has many people concerned about the health of our democracy. However, even amidst the tumult, I see a reinvigorated sense of purpose within the national law school community. We know that through our ongoing work educating future lawyers who are committed to upholding and advocating for the rule of law, we will continue to fortify the fundamental foundations of this great nation. 

John Adams poignantly declared: “We are a nation of laws, and not men.” At this time when differences of opinion are frequent, debates are contentious, and consensus is rare, we can take comfort in returning to universal bedrock principles and a shared commitment to the rule of law. As the 157 law school deans wrote in the recently issued joint statement in response to the Capitol attacks: “As legal educators and lawyers ourselves, we must redouble our efforts to restore faith in the rule of law and the ideals of the legal profession.” Law schools play a special role in protecting, nurturing, and strengthening society’s commitment to the rule of law by educating lawyers who are dedicated to these ideals throughout their careers, regardless of the specific nature of their practice. I am also pleased that, outside of the field of law, there appears to be more recent recognition of and appreciation for law schools’ commitment to this critical civic responsibility.

At Santa Clara Law, our community of faculty, administration, staff, and students appreciate divergent viewpoints, advocate passionately for causes in which they believe, debate with spirit, and dissent with conviction. Our students graduate and become lawyers who lead with a commitment to ethics, excellence, and social justice. They are and will continue to be defenders of the rule of law, reinforcing the foundations of this remarkable republic.