Paul Boland: Judge, Mentor, Law Prof

Paul Boland, a California appellate judge also known as a mentor to many and a pioneer of law school clinical education, has died. He was 65.

An associate justice of the state Court of Appeal since 2001, Boland encouraged the judicial system to put its best foot forward and was an energetic advocate of clear writing in court opinions, reports the Los Angeles Times. He was working as recently as Aug. 31, before he became ill and was diagnosed with cancer.

“He felt very strongly that it wasn’t fair for us to wax on about the law and then leave trial judges guessing about what we were trying to say,” says appellate Justice Larry Rubin, a colleague and friend. “You could always understand a Paul Boland opinion.”

Boland previously served for nearly 20 years as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, and before that was a law professor, associate dean and director of clinical legal education at UCLA for 11 years. With two others, he established what is believed to be the first clinical legal education program at a major U.S. law school, according to Rubin. It allowed students to try dependency cases under a lawyer’s supervision.

A mentor to many, Boland persuaded then-law student Lourdes G. Baird, as an almost 40-year-old mother of three, to aim high in the 1970s. She eventually served as U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and as a federal judge. “Paul really encouraged me to go out and do things,” she says, adding that he also influenced many others. “He touched so many lives.”

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