Southwestern to Honor Three with Honorary Degrees
At a recent meeting of Southwestern's Board of Trustees, the Board voted to award honorary Doctor of Laws degrees to three deserving individuals who have contributed significantly to Southwestern, legal education and the community. Michael J. Downer '81, Professor Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow, and Hon. Alicemarie H. Stotler will be honored on May 16, during the law school's 95th Commencement Ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Read more.
Student Commencement Speaker Selected
Leah Cohen-Mays, who completed her degree in December, has been selected to deliver the Student Commencement Address at the Commencement Ceremony. She was selected from a field of four finalist candidates (from 13 total applicants). "I'm thrilled about this opportunity to represent the school and my fellow classmates," she said. "I am looking forward to addressing the class because it is an opportunity to leave everyone with words of inspiration as we sit together for the last time as law students."
Although she has already taken the bar exam, Cohen-Mays is waiting until May to celebrate graduation because approximately 20 of her relatives are coming in from out of town to attend the ceremony, including her father, who has been working in Afghanistan since November and will be returning to the United States just for his daughter's graduation. She attributes her success in law school to the support and encouragement she received from family and friends. While she awaits her bar results, Cohen-Mays recently began working in a temporary position at Public Counsel Law Center with the Children's Rights Project (she clerked for the organization last summer).
"I feel absolutely honored to be selected as the 2010 Student Commencement Speaker," Cohen-Mays said. "It's a great feeling to know that the committee thought enough of me to allow me to represent the entire class at graduation. My experiences at Southwestern have always been so positive. Law school was definitely a challenge. But being around such wonderful people, in such an encouraging environment, made it so much easier to handle. I met life-long friends, gained amazing mentors and experienced so many new and different things. It's been a great ride. And, I feel like I am walking away from here with so much knowledge and so many valuable skills that will certainly be helpful to me in the future."
National Anthem Singer Selected for Commencement
Graduating day student Joanna Allen has been selected to perform the National Anthem for Southwestern's Commencement Ceremony. "So, I guess the cat's out of the bag. Yes, I was formerly a musician... singer," Allen said. "Even though I'm no longer pursuing it as a career, I'll always be a singer in my heart. Music is my life's passion."
Allen began singing in church when she was a young girl, but she was so shy that she barely opened her mouth. But when she was 12, she sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow," and said that ever since, "my world just changed, for the better. I would be asked to perform at church, around town in talent competitions, at school performances and sporting events." She found sharing her love of music with others exhilarating. She was formally trained because, as she points out, singing may be a natural talent, but it is something that must constantly be developed. "I am so very excited and honored to be the commencement singer at graduation," she said. "The Star Spangled Banner is a really hard song to sing, and I just want to do the best job I can in performing it!"
Public Forum with Judicial Candidates to be Held at Southwestern
On June 8, Los Angeles voters will choose among 21 candidates for six Superior Court seats. Southwestern joins with the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles to offer voters a free and unusual opportunity to meet the candidates and learn more about the election process on Thursday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m.
The candidate forum, believed to be the first of its kind in Southern California, will take place in the Bullocks Wilshire Building on Southwestern's campus. Members of the legal community, the media, and especially the general public are encouraged to attend. There is no cost for the event; however, reservations are required by May 17 via email or by calling (213) 738-6814.
Attendees will have the opportunity to talk with individual Superior Court candidates about their qualifications for office and obtain campaign materials. The free program will also include a brief discussion on judicial elections by the Honorable Judith McConnell, Administrative Presiding Justice, 4th District Appellate Court, San Diego, and an interview with the Justice conducted by Val Zavala, a KCET-TV vice president and anchor of the news and public affairs broadcast program 'SoCal Connected.' Read more.
Public Service Policy Recognizes Students Who Gave Back
The president of the State Bar of California joined Dean Bryant Garth, the faculty and school in thanking and congratulating 200 students for the impressive pro bono legal services they provided to clients and the community in the 2009-2010 academic year. Under a policy change enacted in Fall 2009, students were honored and formally recognized for the first time for devoting specified amounts of public service work, which totaled almost 5,000 donated hours in less than a first, full academic year of tallying.
Twenty-four graduating students received signed letters of recognition from the Dean for volunteering 75 hours or more of their time. These students' law school academic transcripts will also carry a formal public service notation. They joined 57 other students who volunteered 25 hours or more, received congratulatory letters from the Dean and were invited to an April lunch honoring all the 2009-2010 participating Southwestern legal Samaritans, keynoted by State Bar President Howard Miller.
Miller praised students for their legal service, arguing that all lawyers must embrace pro bono work as not only a core value but also one of the pinnacles of their profession's practice. "Lawyers exist to serve their clients, communities and the public interest," he said, adding that the State Bar will affirm this idea with prospective California rule revisions on practice that will, as occurs nationally, call on all practitioners to provide 50 hours annually of pro bono service. The Bar president called on students to look to their future to figure how to fix broken economic models that now send too many citizens into legal proceedings without counsel, even as record numbers of lawyers are under- or unemployed. Read more.
Open House Showcases Clinics
Southwestern's Clinical Program, including the Children's Rights, Immigration Law and Street Law clinics, hosted an open house in mid-April with a special wine and hors d'oeuvres reception. The event provided an opportunity to answer questions, discuss experiences and shed light on the clinical opportunities now available at Southwestern.
"The purpose of the Open House was to showcase the excellent work being done by all three clinics," said Professor Julie Waterstone, Director of the Children's Rights Clinic. "We want the community to know that we are here as a resource, and want the students to know about the wonderful opportunities that clinics present to enhance their learning experience. In addition, we hope alumni took the opportunity to see first-hand some of the unique ways that Southwestern is training students to be excellent lawyers."
Southwestern Students Hop on the Justice Bus
As part of Southwestern's new Public Service Program, twelve students recently rode the Justice Bus to Paso Robles to spend two days providing free advice to people in rural California who are struggling with debt and facing foreclosures in the downturned economy. The program is a partnership between Southwestern and Public Interest Clearninghouse (PIC), a statewide, nonprofit legal-services program with a mission to increase access to legal help for underserved Californians by building infrastructure and partnerships in the legal community.
Participating students had to apply and their interest in the work as well as their language abilities and other qualifications were considered in the selection process, Professor Laura Dym Cohen explained. Student participants included Gibran Bouayad, Lorenzo Callender, Chad Derby, Yvonne Garcia, Shiraz Khalid, Cynthia Luna, Vanessa Manzi, Maria Olaguez, Josh Shadpour, Austin Sperry, Jessica Wright and Natalie Wright.
"I am glad that our students were able to experience the REAL (Rural Education & Access to the Law) Project and participate on the Justice Bus service learning trip," said Professor Cohen, Director of the Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach at Southwestern. "This was an opportunity for our students to help rural Californians with legal issues in a community that does not have sufficient access to legal assistance." KCOY, a local station along the central coast, covered the event. Click here to see their story.
L.A. County Counsel Shares Her Experiences with Professional Responsibility Class
Andrea Sheridan Ordin, a prominent attorney who has combined high-level positions in the public and private sectors, recently visited Professor James Fischer's Legal Profession class to share her experiences and some valuable professional advice. A trailblazer throughout her career, Ms. Ordin is the first woman to hold the position of Los Angeles County Counsel and is also Vice President of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. She previously served as the first female Assistant District Attorney for Los Angeles County, the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Chief Assistant Attorney General for the State of California, and a litigation partner for over 17 years at the firm of Morgan Lewis.
Ms. Ordin explained to Professor Fischer's class that when working for the state, one of the most important things an attorney needs to consider is who truly is their client. Lawyers working for the government may represent individual entities, but they also have a responsibility to the people of California. "My whole life changed going into the Attorney General's office," she said. "Many of the best lawyers (minorities and women) who didn't get into top firms were drawn to the office, in part for public service, as well as a sense of purpose and a productive environment to focus their energy." Read more.
Nicole Duntz, SOS Assistant, Administrative Services Office, recently earned her B.A., magna cum laude, with a major in English and minor in Asian Studies from Manhattanville College in New York. While attending school, she worked as an Assistant Medical Clerk and Office Assistant. Prior to relocating to California, Ms. Duntz was a customer service representative at several companies.
Judith Otamura-Kester, Hon. Otis Wright and Anita Glasco Honored at Annual Alumni Event
(standing) Noreen Berra '85 - the evening's emcee, Dean Garth, Professor Glasco, (sitting) Steven Kester '78, Judge Wright '80
During an emotional evening, the Southwestern community came together to salute three individuals who have contributed significantly to the legal profession, the law school and the greater community at the 23rd Annual Awards Recognition Reception, Silent Auction and Reunion held in April. The late Judith K. Otamura-Kester '77, a prominent attorney and former president of Southwestern's Alumni Board of Directors, was posthumously honored as Alumna of the Year; the Hon. Otis D. Wright II '80, Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, was recognized as Outstanding Judicial Officer; and Anita L. Glasco, Professor of Law Emeritus, received recognition as Outstanding Friend. Read more.
CSUN Honors Southwestern Alumna and Faculty
The Southwestern community was well represented at the 2010 California State University, Northridge Distinguished Alumni Awards gala where Southwestern alumna and trustee Lauren Leichtman '77 and Southwestern Adjunct Professor Robert Myman received two of the three awards.
Ms. Leichtman, who has served on Southwestern's Board of Trustees since 2006, is CEO and Founding Principal of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a private investment firm that manages billions of dollars in institutional investment capital through private equity partnerships on behalf of state and corporate pension funds, high net worth individuals, and family foundations and endowments. She is a 1972 graduate of CSUN. Professor Myman, who teaches Television Production Law at the law school, is a founding partner of Myman Abell Fineman Fox Greenspan Light LLP, one of the nation's leading entertainment law firms. He is a 1967 graduate of CSUN.
Southwestern and CSUN have over 2,000 mutual graduates in common. Joining the celebration were several members of the Southwestern faculty, student body and staff.
From left: CSUN alumni and current Southwestern students Jennifer Seigle and Alan Babakhanloo;
Tamara Moore, Associate Director and Professor Robert Lind, Director, Biederman Institute; Richard DuChateau '98, CSUN and Southwestern alumnus; Professor Michael Scott; Elizabeth Peisner, CSUN alumna and Assistant Director of the Externship Program; and Krystle Thompson, CSUN alumna and Southwestern student (not pictured: Professors Silvia Faerman and Michael Epstein).
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Moldovan Fulbright Scholar Embraces Legal and Cultural Education at Southwestern
Last August, Dr. Andrei and Ludmila Gustiuc arrived in Los Angeles from Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe landlocked between Romania and the Ukraine. As former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Chisinau, Dr. Gustiuc came to Southwestern as a Senior Fulbright fellow to study the U.S. constitution, focusing on the rules and structures of federalism.
The couple was very excited by the opportunity. "We heard so much about the United States and its culture and lifestyle. We decided that we should go to California and Southwestern for a unique chance to broaden our minds," Dr. Gustiuc said. After seven months at the law school, they expanded their cultural horizons in ways they had never before imagined. "It is not just legal issues we've learned here," he said. "The entire academic life and culture of Southwestern caused a big change inside of me."
In terms of Southwestern's academic environment, the cultural shock the Gustiucs experienced went beyond observing the casual manner in which American law students dress and behave. "Students freely discuss everything they are thinking about with their professors," Dr. Gustiuc said. "It is traditional in Moldava to stand to ask a question and then wait to be permitted to sit down. Also, it's not as easy to approach professors in our country, but the professors at Southwestern always have their doors open to students." Read more.
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Mieke ter Poorten, Fourth-Year PLEAS Student
Mieke ter Poorten has immense enthusiasm and passion for life and the law. Even though this is her final semester at Southwestern, the fourth-year PLEAS student and working mother of two has thrust her energy into a massive project for Justice Hastings' Trial Advocacy Seminar. Early in the semester, he casually mentioned a book called The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It, which ter Poorten immediately read. "I was fascinated by the discussion of consequences that incivility - from boorishness to bad behavior - has on businesses," she explained. "I started thinking: How does incivility manifest in the legal process, and what are the unintended consequences?"
This led her to embark on a research project that involved interviews with several prominent business leaders, including a senior executive at Microsoft who told her about a case that cost the company $97 million of dollars and nine years of litigation, in part because its outside counsel set the wrong tone with judge in the first three months. On the positive end of the spectrum, she spoke with a chief of in-house counsel at Cisco Systems, a company renowned for its culture of civility, which has resulted in an impressively low four percent voluntary turnover rate. As law can be an adversarial process, particularly when litigation is involved, ter Poorten wanted to know if the corporate mandate for civility extended to the way in which they practiced law. At Cisco, a large multinational corporation, the answer is yes.
"The practice of law with integrity and civility is something I feel very passionately about," ter Poorten said. "Cisco is a fantastic illustration that shows that you can practice law with integrity and be successful in getting the results you want. To me, there is something very teachable about what I'm learning." She interviewed judges as well, including Hon. Cynthia Rayvis ‘85, a Southwestern alumna who sometimes sees a sense of entitlement in her courtroom from the younger lawyers and believes it would better serve lawyers, their clients and the legal profession if civility became an integral part of the dialogue in legal education.
Although ter Poorten is working on this project as a paper for Justice Hastings' course, both Dean Garth and Professor Gharakhanian have encouraged her to seek publication. That support is just part of the reason ter Poorten loves Southwestern so much. "Southwestern is unique because it created the only law program in Los Angeles that would allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer and still provide me the time to parent my young sons," she said. "PLEAS was specifically designed so that mothers could attend law school during the hours school-age children are typically in school. I was ensured my schedule would not go later than 1:30 so I could be home when they got home. It is that generosity of spirit that permeates this school from top to bottom and is tangible from the Dean to the security guards. My professors have been accessible practically 24 hours a day."
For 12 years, ter Poorten has managed film and television writers and directors, a job she has kept while in law school. Because of her schedule and family obligations, she has not been able to join a lot of clubs and activities on campus, focusing instead on learning all she can from her professors. She did participate in the summer program in Vancouver, taking her sons Jonas and Gabriel with her. "I could not believe how lucky I was to be in that idyllic setting, discussing sentencing theory, and pushing and pulling on the idea of retribution verses rehabilitation while taking Environmental Law with Vice Dean Parrish and International Justice with Professor Williams," she said.
Other Southwestern instructors ter Poorten admires include Professors Smith, Bateman and Shafiroff. She also loved Professor Gharakhanian's LAWS course. "There is no better professor to greet you at the front door of your law school education," ter Pooten said. "Professor Gharakhanian has quiet integrity, a razor sharp brain and elegance. She is the embodiment of what we should all strive to be."
PROFESSOR MYRNA RAEDER
PROFESSOR GOWRI RAMACHANDRAN
- Editor, THE STATE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2010 (ABA Criminal Justice Section, 2010)
Speaker, "Forensic Evidence and the Courts," California Forensic
Science Institute (CFSI) and Crime Lab Project (CLP) with the
Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center
- Speaker, Women Prisoner's Security Classifications Conference, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY
- Invited Participant, National Summit on Youth Transitioning From Foster Care, ABA Youth at Risk Commission, New York, NY
PROFESSOR ANDREA RAMOS
- Presenter, "Assault and Battery in Property," Injuries Without Remedies Symposium, Loyola Law School
Panel Moderator, "Employment Non-Discrimination in a Non-Binary World"
and Roundtable Participant, "Intersectional Transnationalities," Fourth
Annual Critical Race Studies Symposium, UCLA School of Law
Faculty Workshop Presentation, "Assault and Battery on Property,"
Thomas Jefferson School of Law and "Collapse and Culture," UC Berkeley
School of Law
- Co-presenter (with K. Jackson and E. Cruz ), "Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: Theory and Practice," En/Countering Stereotypes, University of La Verne College of Law Immigration Law Symposium
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
Lionsgate General Counsel Joins Southwestern Board
Wayne Levin '88, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Corporate Operations for Lionsgate, the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, has been elected to Southwestern's Board of Trustees.
"Wayne Levin has been a prominent member of the entertainment industry for more than 20 years and has maintained close ties with the law school, particularly through our Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute," Dean Bryant Garth said. "He brings to our Board tremendous knowledge and experience from his professional accomplishments, as well as the invaluable multifaceted perspective of an alumnus, teacher and employer of our graduates. We will benefit greatly from his expanded role at the law school."
As the senior legal and business affairs executive at Lionsgate, Mr. Levin is a member of the company's senior decision-making team and has played a key role in growth strategy. In addition to his operational management responsibilities, he has successfully negotiated and drafted a wide range of agreements related to mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructurings and securities offerings. He manages closely the legal and business aspects of Lionsgate's relationships with top creative talent, including various motion picture production agreements with writers, producers, directors, actors and other talent, and has negotiated with all major and independent studios and television networks. Read more.
New Full-Time Professors to Join Faculty in the Fall
Four new professors have been appointed to the full-time faculty commencing in Fall 2010. They come to Southwestern from down the street and across the globe. All bring outstanding academic and professional credentials as well as tremendous enthusiasm for teaching and research:
- Professor Roman J. Hoyos from Duke University School of Law has been appointed as an Associate Professor of Law and will teach in the areas of property and government.
- Professor Hila Keren from Hebrew University School of Law has been appointed as an Associate Professor of Law and will teach in the areas of contracts and business law.
- Professor Gabriela E. Ryan from the University of Southern California Law School has been appointed as Director of Academic Support and Bar Related Programming and Associate Professor of Law.
- Professor Caroline B. Newcombe, a member of Southwestern's Adjunct Faculty since 2003, will serve as a Visiting Associate Professor of Law and will teach in the areas of administrative law, community property and contracts. Read more.
Southwestern Welcomes New Adjunct Faculty
A number of practitioners and experts in a variety of fields have
joined Southwestern's adjunct faculty for the 2010-2011 academic year.
2010 Excellence in Teaching Awards Announced
Danielle K. Hart, Karen R. Smith and Todd A. Smith have been selected to receive the law school's 2010 Excellence in Teaching Awards. "This year, numerous thoughtful nominations were received," said Chris DeClue, President of the Student Bar Association (SBA). "The SBA was impressed by the strength of individual student observations related to the various faculty members and to learn of the many positive and significant contributions faculty are making to improve student learning and performance." Read more.
Adjunct Professor Julia Metzger Retires
After 13 years of outstanding service at Southwestern, Adjunct Professor Julia M. Metzger is retiring at the conclusion of the current semester. During her tenure at the law school, Professor Metzger taught courses on Commercial Payment Systems, Sales and Secured Transactions.
She will spend some time traveling before relocating across the country with her husband, the Hon. Samuel L. Bufford of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, who is retiring from the bench in August and has accepted a joint appointment in the Penn State University Law School and School of International Relations. Professor Metzger has been asked to serve as an adjunct professor at Penn State.
"Professor Metzger and Judge Bufford have been good friends of Southwestern for many years," said Professor Austen Parrish, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. "Professor Metzger is one of the most committed and well-liked members of our adjunct faculty. She has always cared deeply about her students and her teaching. Judge Bufford has been a mentor and a role model for many of our students who have worked in his chambers. We wish them the very best in their move to the faculty of Penn State University. They will be missed tremendously."
Professor Fagundes Presents at Two Junior Legal Scholars Conferences
Professor David Fagundes was selected to present his paper, "Differential Process Costs," at two programs highlighting top young legal scholars. In April, he was featured in the Third Annual Junior Scholars in Intellectual Property (JSIP) Workshop at Michigan State University College of Law. In June, he will participate in the Workshop for Junior Researchers on the Law & Economics of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, organized by the International Max Planck Research School for Competition and Innovation and the Professorship for Intellectual Property at ETH Zurich. Professor Fagundes previously presented his paper "Property Rhetoric and the Public Domain," at the tenth annual Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum.
First-Year Students Prove Their Skills in LAWS Competition
The only law school in the country to provide first-year students with three distinct choices for developing advocacy skills, Southwestern held its inaugural LAWS Intramural Competitions in April. The culminating activity of the new three-track Legal Analysis Writing and Skills (LAWS) program enabled more students than in the past to participate and receive recognition for excellence in appellate advocacy (Moot Court), negotiation, or trial advocacy.
Following two mandatory LAWS rounds, a total of 247 students out of 336 went on to the intramural rounds: 100 for Moot Court, 104 for Negotiation, and 43 for Trial Advocacy. The top oralists and writers from those respective competitions are eligible to interview for membership in the Moot Court, Negotiation and Trial Advocacy honors programs.
"I was privileged to participate in all three intramural competitions and witness the high quality of advocacy in each," said Professor Tracy Turner, Director of the LAWS Program. "Each of the three different intramural problems challenged students to reach a high level of competency in legal research, writing and oral advocacy. It has always been impressive to watch our 1Ls deliver oral appellate arguments worthy of the most polished and seasoned practitioners, but this year we also got to see our students successfully negotiate win-win deals despite sharply conflicting interests in the negotiation track and deliver powerful closing arguments in the trial advocacy track. For me, the three tracks reinforced my respect for the innate talent and strong drive of our students. They will make great lawyers." Read more.
SCALE Students Rewarded for Advocacy Skills
Southwestern's two-year SCALE® Program
prepares students to "hit the ground running." During the program's
recent Appellate Advocacy Competition, it was evident that these
students can demonstrate their impressive lawyering skills within the
first year. The Competition gives first-year students the opportunity
to develop appellate brief writing and oral advocacy skills. All
first-year SCALE students must participate in the first two rounds; the
third round is optional, and the SCALE advocates argue the same problem
as the students who participated in the traditional Moot Court
Intramural Competition. Professor Christine Lorillard, who teaches
Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS), which helps students prepare
for the competition, was very impressed with the way her students
At the completion of the Spring 2010 competition, Chandler Parker won First Place Oralist and Marcus Lee earned Second Place Oralist. Honorable Mention in the Oralist category went to David Downing, Brianna Peden and Jenna Sleefe. For the writing portion, Jody Klipple won First Place and Brit Karp earned Second Place, while Honorable Mention went to Parker, Sleefe and Bryan Swaim.
"I think my previous experience of being professional actor for over
16 years is what best prepared me for this competition," Parker said.
"Text analysis, voice control, thinking on your feet and overcoming
nervousness are essential skills to have as an actor. These skills are
also very useful in effective oral advocacy. That being said, without a
strong understanding of substantive law underlying the problem, acting
skills will get you nowhere."
"My fellow classmates in SCALE are consistently well prepared and
dedicated. This dynamic is very challenging, so being named best
oralist was a huge boost in my confidence and felt very rewarding. It
also feels good to discover something within the practice of law that I
truly enjoy doing."
Write-On in 2010
Don't miss the chance to become a member of Law Review or Law Journal - the Southwestern Law Review and Journal of International Law 2010 Write-on Competition packet will be available online through a special TWEN page at the following times:
For traditional students who have completed at least the first-year day, second-year evening, or second-year PLEAS programs
Monday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, May 19 by 5 p.m.
For SCALE students who have completed the first year of the program
Wednesday, May 19, beginning at 5 p.m.
Friday, May 21 at 11:59 p.m.
Additional information is available online or through the Law Review and Law Journal offices.
Southwestern Wins Corporate Moot Court Competition
Final Round Judges with team members (front, from left) Lara, Rosman and Yeretzian
The winning combination of a dedicated Moot Court team and a knowledgeable coach coalesced into triumph at the 22nd Annual Ruby R. Vale Interschool Corporate Moot Court Competition in Wilmington, Delaware. Southwestern's team of oralists Patricia Rosman and Brian Yeretzian and writer/alternate oralist Crystal Lara won the entire competition, defeating teams from 22 other law schools nationwide.
Southwestern's team - all second-year day students - had to argue two separate issues: the validity of shareholder-created bylaws and a board of directors' fiduciary duty to a corporation and its shareholders. "We really immersed ourselves in corporate law and understood our issues on a deeper level than other teams," Lara said. "That's what set us apart, that and our creative arguments." Read more.
Negotiation Team Takes Second at National Environmental Law Competition
(from left) Diaz, Duenez, Marks, Weatherford and Sevlian
Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program had great success at the recent Robert R. Merhige, Jr. National Environmental Negotiation Competition at the University of Richmond (Virginia), where the team of Steven Diaz and Nydia Duenez earned Second Place.
A total of 28 teams competed, representing law schools such as Pepperdine University, Boston College, University of Georgia, Cardozo, Stetson, Regent University, William and Mary and University of Virginia, among others.
In the semifinals, Southwestern's Diaz and Duenez defeated the team from the University of Georgia to make it to the final round, where they competed against the University of Richmond, Regent University, and Cardozo (Yeshiva University), ultimately finishing second to the host school. Read more.
Moot Court Team Returns from Stetson Competition with Honors
(from left) Laird, Bouayed and Dumitrescu
At the recent Stetson Moot Court Competition held in Orange County, Southwestern Moot Court team of Gibran Bouayed, Silviana Dumitrescu and Kamela Laird earned Third Place, and Laird was named Second Place Oralist. They argued a problem that centered on the necessity of conducting an environmental impact assessment in the face of underwater air gun blasting, and the international consequences associated with not performing the assessment.
Southwestern's team beat out those representing law schools from Kansas, Hawaii, and Washington before placing behind teams from Maryland and Hastings. "Preparing for the competition included fifteen grueling practice rounds in front of professors, practicing judges, alumni and fellow moot court members," said Laird, a second-year evening student. "But every practice round was worth it... when I arrived at the competition, there wasn't a single question from the judges that I hadn't heard five times before!"
Junior Advocates Shine in TAHP's Bonelli Competition
This year marks the fourth annual John G. Bonelli Intramural Mock Trial Competition, the competition-based final examination for Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) Junior Advocates. The family of Southwestern alumnus and legendary Los Angeles trial lawyer John G. Bonelli '54 graciously sponsors the competition in honor of Mr. Bonelli by recognizing the two finalist teams and best individual advocate for their outstanding trial skills. Jeff Bonelli, Mr. Bonelli's son and an outstanding trial lawyer himself, judges the final round and presents the awards to the winners.
(from left) Swaim, Begakis, Davis, Bondy, Judges Shapiro and Schultz (not pictured, Judge Dabney)
This year, 18 Junior Advocates from the day, evening and SCALE programs competed in a two-round mock trial competition where the two top scoring teams faced off in a championship round to determine the best team. Students were required to present all aspects of a trial, including motions in limine, opening statement, direct and cross examinations and closing argument, and presented both sides of a criminal murder case - once as the prosecution and once as the defense. TAHP alumni returned to judge the Junior Advocates performances in both preliminary rounds, while Jeff Bonelli along with Hon. James Dabney, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, and Ed Schultz '95, a TAHP alumnus and renowned civil litigator, judged the final round to declare the champions. Jeremy Davis and Steven Bondy were named the winning team of this year's Bonelli Competition. Bryan Swaim and John Begakis were honored as Second Place Team, and Swaim received the nod for Best Advocate.
Southwestern's BLSA Chapter Continues Their Big Year at Nationals
After an outstanding showing at the regional competition, Southwestern's BLSA chapter enjoyed continued success at the 42nd Annual National Black Law Students Association Convention in Boston, where Southwestern won Chapter of the Year, and Calvin Lowery was elected National Vice-Chair. Additionally, the team of Courtney Collins and Erin Person won First Place in the Negotiation Competition, receiving the 2010 NBLSA International Negotiations Competition Pratima Narayan Award. Southwestern's other negotiation team of Stefon Jones and Ian Larson advanced to the final round in the competition.
"Winning Chapter of the Year was a huge deal for us, as it was a first for Southwestern," said BLSA Co-President Joy Terrell. "We won in our region, and then competed as our regional representatives against at least 10 other regions." To earn the honor, chapter members Terrell, Charles Chineduh and Shawna Wright were interviewed by eight national board members. In addition to the interview, the chapter had to write an essay and submit a scrapbook and lengthy application for consideration. Read more.
Southwestern Student Places Second, Earns Publication in Tax Writing Competition
Devoting more than 70 hours of effort to research and writing paid off for second-year day student Tommy Harvey. He earned Second Place in the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Section of Taxation's Annual Writing Competition, a national contest for students working on their J.D. or LL.M. degrees. His topic was offshore tax evasion and dealt specifically with the UBS settlement between the IRS and the Swiss bank. In addition to receiving a $1000 scholarship and year-long FBA Membership, Harvey's 28-page paper will also appear in two forthcoming publications: the FBA Section of Taxation Report (a member publication) and Federal Lawyer Magazine.
Although he has not determined if he will pursue a career in the area of tax law, Harvey is mulling the possibility of an LL.M. program on the topic. He recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept his award where he made a lot of industry contacts. "It felt phenomenal to apply what I've learned in law school so successfully," Harvey said. "It was so great to meet people associated with the policy side of tax and make connections with those who are at the front door of tax law."