Jane Ellen Bergman Memorial Lecture Series Presents Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

  • Monday, December 7, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Theatre

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




"The Legal Theory and Impact of Vergara v. California"

Vergara v. California took the education and legal worlds by storm last summer, when the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled in favor of nine student plaintiffs, holding that five laws governing California's teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoff procedures are unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. A groundbreaking lawsuit following seminal cases such as Serrano v. Priest and Brown v. Board of Education, Vergara affirmed students' fundamental right to equal educational opportunity, including equal access to effective teaching. Plaintiffs proved that California’s quality-blind teacher employment laws impose substantial harm on students, forcing school districts to push many great teachers out of the classroom and retain ineffective teachers that everyone agrees should not be teaching children. The lawsuit was accompanied by a robust communications and public outreach campaign, catalyzing a shift in public opinion toward supporting teacher employment laws that protect the rights of students. The State of California and the two largest teachers unions in California have appealed the trial court’s decision in Vergara.

Click here to view plaintiff's complaint, plaintiffs-respndents' brief in the appeal, and post-trial brief.

Watch the Lecture 

About the Speakers

Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., is a partner in the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and is Co-Chair of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law Group, its Media and Entertainment Group, the Crisis Management Group, and the Transactional Litigation and Foreign Judgements Group. He is also a member of the firm’s Executive and Management Committees. Mr. Boutrous received his law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1987, where he was Valedictorian and Editor in Chief of the San Diego Law Review.

Mr. Boutrous has represented clients in federal and state appellate courts throughout the nation in a wide spectrum of cases. He has argued more than 75 appeals, including before the Supreme Court of the United States, 11 different federal circuit courts of appeals, eight different state supreme courts and a multitude of other appellate and trial courts. He has successfully persuaded courts to overturn some of the largest jury verdicts and class actions in history. In 2014, Mr. Boutrous won a landmark trial victory in Vergara v. California on behalf of California schoolchildren asserting a state constitutional challenge to laws that prevent school administrators from hiring and retaining the most effective teachers.

Mr. Boutrous's presentation will cover the legal theory underpinning Vergara v. California; the key evidence presented by economists, policy experts, and education practitioners during the two-month Vergara trial; and the arguments presented by both sides in the appeal.



5:30 p.m. — Doors open
6:00 p.m. — Presentation
7:00 p.m. — Reception

Admission is free, but reservations are required to attend the lecture. Reserve by Wednesday, December 1, 2015.

MCLE Credit

The University of San Diego School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider and certifies that this activity is approved for 1 hour of general credit.

About the Jane Ellen Bergman Memorial Lecture Series

The Jane Ellen Bergman Memorial Lecture Series on Women, Children and Human Rights is the result of a wonderful gift by Dr. Barbara Yates, a longtime professor at the University of Illinois and a friend of the late Bergman. According to Dr. Yates, Bergman was “an ordinary citizen who chose to devote her professional life to public service. As a nursing administrator, public health educator, and family therapist, she developed an abiding interest in the human rights of common people, especially the plight of women and children, in a rapidly changing world.” This series is a lasting tribute to Bergman and an opportunity for USD students, faculty and staff, as well as interested members of the community, to hear distinguished lecturers speak about issues concerning women, children and human rights.

About USD School of Law 

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law enrolls approximately 1,000 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from around the United States and throughout the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of tax, intellectual property, international law, public interest, and business and corporate law. USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.

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