New Cornerstone Building of UC Hastings, College of the Law Named After Alumnus Joseph W. Cotchett
The first building in the developing Academic Village of the University of California Hastings, College of the Law is being named for alumnus Joseph W. Cotchett ’64, one of America’s most distinguished attorneys. Naming of the new academic building on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Avenue will be announced Aug. 27 at a virtual Alumni Town Hall meeting by UC Hastings Law Chancellor & Dean David L. Faigman.
The honor speaks to Cotchett’s legendary achievements in the law and his decades of philanthropy and other contributions to the college, which include teaching, student mentoring, and service on the Board of Directors.
“We are proud to name the cornerstone building of our Academic Village the Cotchett Law Center,” Faigman said in anticipation of his formal announcement. “Joe Cotchett is a true lion of the law, a fierce and effective advocate for those he represents, including many without means to afford the strongest voice, whom he has represented pro bono. We will work to ensure that our students understand and emulate the commitment to fairness and justice that Joe has brought to the practice of law over a long and storied career.”
“I am honored to be an alumnus of UC Hastings Law, one of so many lawyers who, over the decades, have sought and achieved justice for people in need of a voice, along with the many alumni who have served in our judiciary,” Cotchett said. “UC Hastings Law is creating an exciting new learning environment in the form of its Academic Village project. It comes at a time when maintaining and strengthening the rule of law in our nation is more important than ever.”
The six-story Cotchett Law Center at 333 Golden Gate Avenue is the first of four new or renovated buildings that will transform the UC Hastings Law campus over the next decade. It was designed by architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to the highest environmental standards—Platinum LEED—to further the college’s goal of becoming the greenest possible urban campus by 2025. Funded primarily through an appropriation from the California Legislature with the support of former Governor Jerry Brown supplemented by donations raised by the UC Hastings Foundation, the Center includes smart classrooms, a conference center, and shared indoor and outdoor community spaces for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It also provides increased space for the school’s widely esteemed legal clinics and centers of research and program excellence.
The new building is linked to Mary Kay Kane Hall, at 200 McAllister Street, by a skybridge above a landscaped outdoor quad that provides a welcoming gathering place and a new campus heart for members of the UC Hastings community. Its rooftop Sky Deck offers expansive views of City Hall; city, state, and federal courthouses; and the San Francisco skyline. The building’s design, reflecting SOM's emphasis on sustainability and design excellence, is the first major step in the important process of creating a dynamic campus for the school. "The new building physically strengthens the links between students and faculty and reimagines the connection between Hastings and the San Francisco community," says SOM Design Partner Michael Duncan. "It demonstrates what a law school can be at its best and most engaging."
The Cotchett Law Center was to have been dedicated on March 26, 2020, at an event involving hundreds of UC Hastings Law students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as political dignitaries and other distinguished guests from the government, business, and legal communities. But the campus closed earlier that month in compliance with San Francisco’s pandemic-related mandates. The building is ready to open for classes and other activity as soon as city and state regulations permit. And the school is poised to revive its celebratory plans for dedicating the building at the earliest safe opportunity.
“We must have excellent facilities to train and equip the next generation of lawyers for the decades to come,” Cotchett said. “I was compelled by Chancellor David Faigman’s vision for UC Hastings Law’s future and am proud to support and be part of it. I hope others will follow suit as the Academic Village enters its next phase.”