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Frank H. Wu
Frank H. Wu is Chancellor & Dean of University of California Hastings College of the Law. He also is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White.

Entries by Frank H. Wu

The High Cost of Higher Education

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 3:22 PM

The high cost of higher education has become the central public-policy issue for the middle class, meaning it has become the central public-policy issue for all of America. And in the inevitable finger pointing about the cause of the hyperinflation of tuition, people prefer a villain (the proliferation of "the...

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The Utility of the Liberal Arts: Antigone and the Making of a Lawyer

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 7:35 PM

I have never believed that liberal arts education needed defending, but I am persuaded that it increasingly needs promoting. Twenty-five years ago, when I was in law school, I was honored to take a core course -- criminal law -- with a great scholar who literally wrote

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What I Learned from a College Tour: Visiting Johns Hopkins University

(6) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 6:24 PM

I recently took a niece to visit my alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. Like most of us, I tend to assume however subconsciously that institutions I have passed through remain more or less preserved in time as in my own memory. I was surprised to see how much...

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What Professors Do

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 9:56 AM

A friend of mine recently became a professor. A widely produced playwright, he joined the theater department of a top university. When I have asked him about the transition to academe, he always has remarked upon the committee work that he has to do. It is not uncommon for new...

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What Law School Deans Do

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 9:06 PM

People interested in pursuing a job similar to mine -- Chancellor & Dean of University of California Hastings College of the Law -- often ask me for advice. Perhaps the most useful answer I am able to offer to their questions is to ask them whether they really want what...

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Why Law Firms Fail

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 4:51 PM

Law firm failures have become spectacles. Non-lawyers who witness what was once a rare event might take pleasure, because they have never held lawyers in high esteem to begin with. Lawyers at rivals down the street may look on anxiously, concerned about what they might not have read carefully in...

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Walking Orange County

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2015 | 4:41 PM

I enjoy visiting Orange County. I see why people like to live there. It's comfortable, projecting the sense that there is no hardship in life. It's also designed around the car -- the built environment encourages everyone to drive from Point A to Point B.

On my last trip, I...

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Howard University Changed My Life

(8) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 1:56 PM

I will always have a place in my heart for Howard University. Its new president, Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, is about to be inaugurated. I taught for a decade at its law school in northwest Washington, D.C., as the first Asian-American law professor there.

Founded after the Civil...

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Buy You a Beer?

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2014 | 8:19 PM

Although I am generally cynical about human nature, I am always gratified by displays of generosity. Lately, I have been impressed by the importance of reciprocity. My intermittent hope for our species is thereby renewed.

What I have been doing is this. I fly often. I have started to buy...

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How to Pick a College President

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 12:26 PM

I have never been persuaded that leaders in higher education should be selected from academics. Or, more precisely, I doubt that the customary responsibilities of a faculty member prepares her to preside over an institution of higher education. The skill sets needed for longevity heading a college do not overlap...

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How (Not) to Repeat History

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2014 | 7:08 PM

I wonder if we have it wrong. The philosopher George Santayana warned: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Maybe that sets it up exactly backward. Those who do remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

The original quote, favored by those striving...

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Greek Tragedy and John Wick

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 9:47 AM

Revenge rules.

I recently gave a talk after a marathon day of theater. The Cutting Ball, an avant-garde company in San Francisco, performed the Oresteia, the great Greek tragedy by Aeschylus. The trilogy is celebrated as an example of how the justice system has developed. After...

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Why I Collect Racism

(74) Comments | Posted September 27, 2014 | 4:29 PM


Image courtesy of Verso Books

I have started to collect racist ephemera -- specifically directed toward Asian immigrants and their American descendants. I mean artifacts in paper such as pamphlets suggesting that Asiatic hordes would invade and take over, posters promoting the Chinese...

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Lawyers Without Offices

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 5:19 PM


Photo courtesy Orrick

I was impressed on a recent visit to the Orrick law firm to see its "Beta" office. At its Silicon Valley branch, the global enterprise is testing the type of design common with its start-up clients but rare...

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Is the Term 'Chinaman' Derogatory?

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2014 | 3:23 PM

At the intermission of Noël Coward's Private Lives, my wife asked me whether I had been offended by the use of the word "Chinaman." We were watching a splendid production by the Washington, D.C. Shakespeare Theatre. Other than that one bit of...

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"I'm Sorry to Say This About the Chinese"

(1) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 1:47 PM

From time to time, people who are about to condemn the Chinese apologize to me. They preface their comment with, "I am very sorry to have to say this," and they give me a pitying look.

As a Chinese American, I usually have shrugged off both their denunciation of...

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The Amateur and Her Audience: In Praise of the Lawyers Philharmonic

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 9:04 AM

I praise the Lawyers Philharmonic of Los Angeles. I heard them perform this past weekend.

When they arranged themselves on stage in the glorious Walt Disney Hall, they looked exactly like a professional orchestra. When they played their fifth anniversary concert, they sounded so good you...

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The Expectations of the American

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2014 | 11:43 PM

The American was much maligned. It is a great movie. It suffers only from its marketing campaign.

It was promoted as an action thriller in which George Clooney plays George Clooney.

But it actually is an art house flick in which George Clooney embodies an archetype....

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There Are No Asians in Asia, Are There?

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 9:27 AM

There are no Asians in Asia.

The claim seems preposterous. It could not be more true.

As I concluded a business trip spanning East Asia, I realized again how "Asian" is a construct we have imposed on a sprawling region with multiple languages, cultures, and peoples. We interacted with...

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Why Won't the Chinese Line Up?

(2) Comments | Posted May 25, 2014 | 5:39 AM

The title of this blog is not quite what I mean to say. It should read instead, "Why won't the mainland Chinese line up?"

The distinction is crucial. My point isn't about race.

I am not sure what is worse.

On the one hand, there are Chinese...

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