Richardson vs. Chemerinsky: Who Wins the Mock Trial at UC Irvine?

Greg Ungar (Shylock); Maya Smoot (The Duchess of Venice) and The Honorable Andrew J. Guilford; sitting at table, Sean Spann (Antonio); Hope Andrejack (Portia); Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, Berkeley Law; and standing, L. Song Richardson, Dean, UCI Law. Photo credit: Steve Zylius, UCI

Take two of the most accomplished law school deans in the nation, add a Shakespearean tragedy and an Orange County audience, and you have the basis for a mock trial. For the second time, various groups and schools at UC Irvine collaborated this week to stage a mock Shakespeare trial, “Shylock Appeals His Case.”

L. Song Richardson, dean at UCI law school, faced off against her friend and former colleague Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean at UCI Law and now the dean at UC Berkeley Law on Oct. 29 at Irvine Barclay Theatre. The two previously participated as opposing counsels more than a year ago when they did a mock trial of “Hamlet.” The 600-plus members of the audience serve as the jury and render a verdict at the close of arguments. The home-court advantage is strong for Richardson, and the audience has ruled in her favor at both trials.

What a treat for all in attendance to watch the deans argue their cases, while actors from New Swan Shakespeare Festival portray the characters in question. Judge Andrew J. Guilford of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division, presides over the drama with gentle nudges about time and quick wit. This event is just one of the many intriguing opportunities for students and the public at UC Irvine. There is already talk of another mock trial next year, so keep an eye on UC Irvine’s law school calendar to get your seat.

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