Mission Statement

UCSC is a special place—creative, collaborative, and risk-seeking.  It wouldn’t do at all to be an ordinary law office.  Our mission is to do law differently. 


Be strategic partners to our internal clients. 

The best lawyers are more than just lawyers.  They are:

Technicians – exceptional subject matter experts in legal doctrine and procedure;

Strategists – able to provide strategic advice, as opposed to just tactical, to help our clients achieve their broader goals;

Counselors – provide practical, wise counsel to address our clients' most profound challenges; and

Diplomats – able to speak plainly and respectfully to clients facing tough decisions, but our client relationships should be stronger for the discussion, rather than strained.

Respond promptly. 

Our goal is to respond quickly.  If the matter is urgent, tell us.  If it can wait, that’s good to know, too.  We’ll get back to you quickly, if not immediately, even if it's simply to acknowledge your request and let you know what appears simple may take a little work on our end. 

Appraise legal risk, advise on governance. 

UC’s mission is summed up in two words—fiat lux. As the university’s lawyers, our role in that mission is to help our clients appraise and mitigate legal risks.  Our job isn’t just to say “no,” though we do say that from time to time.  More often, we say “how” and “how much”—to help our clients understand and decide how to manage legal risks and ensure that university programs are carried out in compliance with the law and university policy. 

Embrace technology. 

We love technology.  We love cybersecurity, privacy, genomics, and data governance issues.  We are adopting technology and analytics to deliver better, faster, and more useful advice to our clients here at UC.  

Stay out of the way.  

Here is an example of what you never want to hear from your lawyer:  “The law might not allow you to do X, and I cannot tell you whether you can do Y.”  This is the lawyer’s worst sin:  to give advice that is so conservative and self-protecting that the client is left with fewer choices than before she called.  By contrast, we strive to remember that it’s not about the lawyers.  We are here to solve problems and, wherever appropriate, work with our clients to develop options, so they know what to do next.  

Not let the law negate our common sense or decency. 

Legal advice or action that is tactically sound can nevertheless lead to harsh or even unfair outcomes.  Overly legalistic advice can also fail to reflect common sense.  The best lawyers don't propose to win at any cost, nor do they insist on actions that make no common sense and might harm our client’s broader interests or values.  We strive to be balanced, working to advise our clients in a way that reflects their values and the University’s principles of community.