LAWS to the Power of Three
New program provides first-year students with three choices in advocacy training
A recognized innovator of legal writing programs, Southwestern has announced a new ground-breaking three-track approach to its Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS) program. Commencing in Fall 2009, first-year students will be able to choose from three areas of focus for their LAWS course: Appellate Advocacy, Negotiation or Trial Practice.
All students will receive the same instruction in LAWS I before
concentrating on their specific areas of advocacy during LAWS II. While
the negotiation and trial practice tracks are new, what was the
traditional appellate advocacy track will also evolve within the new
program. This three-track approach is believed to be the first program
of its kind at any law school in the nation.
"Our LAWS course has always focused on providing students with a strong foundation in the basic skills of legal practice," said Professor Tracy Turner, Director of the LAWS program. "However, until now, we have not had the opportunity to introduce first-year students to negotiation and trial skills. We are thrilled about our new program. Students' experiences in the first year can affect how they approach law school in their upper division years and the choices they consider for their careers. We hope that broadening their exposure to skills in the first year will open up new viewpoints and options for them."
Under the new format, students will select their track preferences
prior to the start of classes so that they can be placed with the
appropriate professor during their first semester and will continue
working with that professor throughout the academic year. During the
Fall semester, all first-year students take LAWS I, a three-unit course
designed to prepare them for the real-world demands of law practice.
The course explores issues of professionalism; develops broad-based
analytical, research and writing skills; and provides concentrated
instruction in the basics of legal methods, legal reasoning and legal
processes. Read more.
Southwestern Launches New Negotiation Honors Program
Southwestern has established a new Honors Program through which students can hone their negotiation skills. Professors Cristina Knolton and Nyree Gray
will serve as faculty advisors for the Negotiation Honors Program,
which will commence with the Fall 2009 semester. The program will
expand Southwestern's current competitive programs, which include the Moot Court Honors Program and the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP),
to provide an opportunity not only to students interested in
litigation, but also to those who wish to delve deeper into
transactional practice. "The creation of this program
confirms the place of negotiation as one of the most vital legal skills
of a successful legal practitioner," Dean Bryant Garth said.
the formal creation of a Negotiation Honors Program is new, the program
is intended to enhance what is actually already in place. In recent
years, Southwestern has sent teams to the ABA Mediation Competition and
the ABA Client Counseling Competition, and recently won First Place at the ABA Negotiation Competition.
Through the new program, participants will receive three units for the
year and team members will take part in at least four different
An Intramural Negotiation Competition was held
on campus in April, from which the faculty advisors will interview the
top performers and then choose the team members for the 2009-2010
academic year. To be eligible for membership, students must also have
completed the number of units equivalent to the first year day program
and must be in good academic standing. Board members for 2009-2010 have
been selected and include Kyle Marks (Chair), Joanna Allen and Alan
Harris. Read more.
Southwestern to Offer Four New Capstone Courses in 2009-2010
Based on the success of the first Capstone course in Mass Torts that
premiered last Fall, the faculty has approved four additional Capstone
courses in California Civil Litigation, Complex Criminal Litigation, Employment Law and Entertainment Law. These new courses will commence during the Spring 2010 semester. Professor Katherine Sheehan will teach the California Civil Litigation Capstone, Professor Kelly Strader will teach the Complex Criminal Litigation Capstone, Professor Christopher Cameron will teach the Employment Law Capstone, and Professor Robert Lind and Adjunct Professor Michael Blaha will co-teach the Entertainment Law Capstone.
Courses have limited enrollment and are taught using a more practical
and skills-oriented approach. They encourage student engagement during
the second, third and (where applicable) fourth years of study; respond
to issues identified through the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE);
and extend the momentum created by Southwestern's first-year and upper
division curricular reforms. The latter have been well received by
students and commended by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching. Capstone Courses provide the opportunity for advanced
study, with special emphasis on teaching the Carnegie Foundation Report
principles of theory to practice and professionalism.
"These courses will be ideal to ensure that our graduates, more than ever before, really do hit the ground running in their chosen legal careers." Dean Bryant Garth said. Read more.
Write-On in 2009
Don't miss the chance to become a member of Law Review or Law Journal - the Southwestern Law Review and Journal of International Law 2009 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 18, beginning at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, May 20 by 5 p.m.
For SCALE students who have completed the first year of the program
Wednesday, May 20, beginning at 5 p.m.
Friday, May 22 at 11:59 p.m.
Additional information is available online or through the Law Review and Law Journal offices.
First-Year Students Impress Jurists in Moot Court Competition
Judge Charles R. Wilson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found it hard to believe that the outstanding arguments he heard from the finalists at Southwestern's 2009 Moot Court Intramural Competition came from first-year students. "It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these first-year law students are able to assimilate complicated legal theories and then get up in front of the podium before three experienced appellate judges and be able to answer these questions as if they had been lawyers for years."
Finalists Kristin Marker and Catalina Rodas argued their cases in the Richard S. Chambers United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena on a bright April afternoon. Both had prevailed earlier that day in their semi-final rounds where Marker competed against Daniel Benji and Rodas squared off with Scott Timpe.
From left: Dean Garth; Kristin Marker; Justice Petra Jimenez Maes; Catalina Rodas; Justice Louis B. Butler, Jr.; Judge Charles R. Wilson; and Professor Turner
Complimented for being appropriately "calm and deliberate" as the appellee, Marker was named Best Oralist and Rodas took Second Place. "When my name was announced, I was shocked," Marker said. "It was a few minutes before I realized what had happened. I was thrilled that I had won... It's amazing that Southwestern provides the 1Ls with this one-of-a-kind opportunity, so I felt very fortunate to have this experience." Later, at the Awards Reception on Southwestern's campus, Silviana Dumitrescu was named First Place Writer. Read more.
BLSA Students Win International Negotiation Competition
Southwestern's BLSA Negotiation Team of Joanna Allen and Brent Tilley defeated more than 20 teams from law schools across the country to win the 2009 Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche International Negotiation Competition, which was held during the 41st Annual National Black Law Students Association Convention in Irvine.
Professor Nyree Gray said that although she helped the students prepare for the competition, they were on their own and accomplished this most impressive feat in a very challenging setting. Competitors were only given a general fact pattern for each of the international issues, which ran the gamut from piracy to gun control to extreme poverty and world hunger. They did not know which part of the four-party negotiation they would represent for each issue until they arrived at the competition. Winning this kind of competition requires a show of extreme diplomacy and strategy, Professor Gray explained. "Judges commented that the winners were professional and assertive without being aggressive," Professor Gray said. "Ms. Allen and Mr. Tilley are very talented students and very skilled negotiators. They are to be commended for their success."
Southwestern Student Wins Prestigious Fellowship
Graduating day student Maria Guiza has been awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, in which she will implement her "One Family" Program in the Antelope Valley. During the two-year Fellowship, Guiza will work for Neighborhood Legal Services and help underserved families in the Antelope Valley who are fighting to keep their Section 8 status, which provides rent-control. More than 300 law students from around the country applied for the Fellowship in 2009 and Guiza is one of 48 students who were selected.
"I specifically designed the One Family Program for the Fellowship but it's based on work I've done for a very long time," said Guiza who has volunteered and worked for nonprofit organizations such as Neighborhood Legal Services since she was 16 years old. "This is something I'm very passionate about because I grew up with rent control, and there's no way we would have survived without it." Guiza appreciates the experience she gained working with Southwestern's Children's Rights Clinic this semester because it cultivated her interviewing and counseling skills, especially with children and their families. "Even though I won't be dealing with disciplinary and educational background, my work with the Clinic taught me about what can lead to the pulling of Section 8, which is a very complex system."
Under the one strike policy, if a family member is involved in a
criminal act in or around the house it is cause for eviction under
Section 8. The problem, Guiza explained, is that this policy is
interpreted very broadly. The second problem is that children's acts
are not criminal by definition. Read more.
Students Nominated for National Writers Award
Institutional members of Scribes, a well-respected national society of legal writers, may nominate up to five students to be inducted into the National Order of Scribes. Created by Scribes in 2007, the National Order of Scribes is an honorary organization providing formal recognition of law students who excel in legal writing. In selecting the recipients, Professor Tracy Turner, Director of Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS), solicited nominations from the LAWS faculty based on the final appellate briefs submitted in LAWS II this year. She and two members of the LAWS faculty then read and independently scored the briefs of the nominated students. The five top-scoring brief writers and 2009 National Order of Scribes honorees from Southwestern include Grace S. Kallis, Timothy M. Meade, Joseph S. Park, Anna Sarukhanyan and Elizabeth H. Telefus.
Honors Programs Announce 2009-2010 Leadership
Southwestern congratulates the following students on their appointments to leadership positions in the school's honors programs:
- Artin Gharibian (Chair)
- Anne Cheung
- Kristyn Houchen
- Ashley Johnson
- Colleen Kelly
- Louisa Markarian
- Karen Hallock (Chair)
- Darren Reed
- MyLoc Dinh
- Phillip Bather
- Matthew Welde
Negotiation Honors Program Board of Governors (see story above)
- Kyle Marks (Chair)
- Joanna Allen
Students Elect 2009-2010 Student Bar Association Board
Following elections held last month, the Student Bar Association announced next year's governing board. The elected officers are:
- President - Chris DeClue
- Vice President (Day) - Danielle Foster
- Vice President (Evening) - Monet Heslup
- Treasurer - Anita Farzan
- Secretary - Jeffrey Harris
- ABA Representative - Shaili Pezeshki
Southwestern Students and Alumni Help Join Families During Adoption Day
It was difficult to tell whose smiles were brighter - the newly adopted
children and their parents, or their advocates who had worked with them
to get to this special day - during the recent adoption hearings at
Edelman Children's Courthouse in Monterrey Park. The emotion-filled
hearings marked the culmination of Adjunct Professor Amy Pellman's Children and the Law course.
judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Professor Pellman spent the
semester training her students to help complete adoptions of children
in the foster care system. This year, she worked closely with Public
Counsel to accomplish a goal she has had for a long time: to pair
Southwestern alumni with current students to execute these adoptions.
The result of that collaboration was Adoption Day 2009, in which
students and pro bono attorneys from Southwestern completed the
adoption process for 12 children during hearings held on April 17. In
all, this year's program placed 16 children in permanent homes.
Southwestern students with a child participant
this process, the students have an opportunity to experience a wide
range of lawyering skills," Judge Pellman said. "First, they are in the
role of an associate working with a partner on an adoption. They are
learning how best to interact with a supervisor. In this same vein,
they could be networking with that lawyer and enhancing their chances
for obtaining a job after law school. They are learning interviewing
skills and issue spotting. When they interview the families, they are
responsible for assessing the adoption benefit and deciding whether it
is correct for the child's level of needs." Read more.
Students Assist With Over 200 Tax Returns Through VITA Program
This year, Southwestern's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Program completed 203 tax returns for L.A. residents, a significant
increase over the 130 tax returns program volunteers filed for
residents in need the prior year. In response to the program's
popularity, the Tax Law Society operated two VITA sites this year: one at Southwestern and the other at Neighborhood Legal Services in El Monte. Twenty
Southwestern students passed the IRS mandated test (allowing them to
provide this tax filing service) and volunteered their Saturdays to
participate in the program.
Mark Garelick '07 re-established Southwestern's VITA three years ago, and Albert DiMarco,
current President of Southwestern's Tax Law Society, has spearheaded
the program the past two years." At the end of the day, VITA really
isn't about taxes, it's about public service," DiMarco said. "When you
can look in the eyes of a woman with three kids who made $15,000 last
year and tell her that she's getting $4,000 dollars back from the
government and see her reaction, it makes it all worth it. That $4,000
is food on the table, new shoes, it's a variety of things that were
once out of reach ... And that's why I've been running this club for
two years, through finals, term papers and the avalanche of work that
law school entails." Read more.
VITA aids the elderly and low
income families and Southwestern students provide assistance in English
and Spanish. There is an income soft cap of approximately $45,000 per
year, per family. The program is only for personal income taxes (state
Southwestern Students Join International Justice Mission to Advocate for Victims of Human Trafficking
Southwestern students Omote Ekwotafia, Danielle DeRose, and Nicholas Garces (pictured from right to left) were among 100 people from 25 states who recently took part in a day of advocacy organized by the human rights agency International Justice Mission
(IJM). They traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with several members
of Congress, including Congresswoman Diane Watson, Congressman Henry
Waxman, Congressman George Radanovich, and Congresswoman Lucille
Roybal-Allard to build support for the Child Protection Compact Act of
2009. This new legislation aims to eliminate the trafficking of
minors into forced prostitution and forced labor in target countries
that have shown a demonstrated commitment to dealing with the problem
but lack adequate resources. The trafficking of persons is the third
largest criminal industry after drugs and weapons, and the fastest
growing criminal activity in the world. According to UNICEF, there are
nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade worldwide and,
according to the U.S. Department of State, 80% of human trafficking
victims are women and girls, while as many as 50% are minors.
"I thought I'd be learning how to hand flyers out and better talk about IJM," said Nicholas Garces, Vice President of IJM at Southwestern. "I didn't think I'd be a lobbyist for IJM meeting congressional representatives and asking them to co-sponsor a bill for efforts to stop human trafficking abroad. I felt so empowered and official. I was really doing something for IJM that could affect change."
The new legislation would double the annual budget of the U.S.
Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in
Persons (G/TIP) for three years. The additional resources would be used
to provide multiyear funding to facilitate the eradication of child
trafficking in eligible "focus countries," thereby creating a model for
other countries where this crime is often carried out with relative
impunity. G/TIP's current budget for grant-making is approximately $18
million, given annually to organizations in over 43 countries. Read more.
PROFESSOR ROBERT LUTZ
VICE DEAN AUSTEN PARRISH
- "Analysis of U.S. Licensure of Foreign Professionals" (with
assistance of Nicholas Rosen '10), Special Committee on International
Issues, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
of the International Legal Exchange Program to India" (with assistance
of Nicholas Dagher '10), ABA Section of International Law
- Invited Participant, U.S. Government and International Organization General Counsel Reception and Dinner, Washington, DC
PROFESSOR ROBERT PUGSLEY
- "Comity and Parallel Foreign Proceedings: A Reply to Black
and Swan," CANADIAN BUSINESS LAW JOURNAL (REVUE CANADIENNE DE DROIT DE
COMMERCE), University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Quoted in "In Arizona, cameras that nab speeders record a murder, too," Christian Science Monitor (also included in the premiere issue of the paper's subscription-based daily briefing edition)
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
New Full-Time Professors to Join Faculty for 2009-10
Southwestern welcomes four new full-time faculty members for the 2009-10 academic year. They include two senior faculty who have been recognized for excellence in teaching and scholarship, an Assistant United States Attorney, and a veteran teacher of legal analysis and writing. All bring outstanding academic and professional credentials as well as tremendous enthusiasm for teaching and research.
Professor Debra L. Bassett, from the University of Alabama School of Law, will join Southwestern as a tenured Professor of Law and will teach Civil Procedure, Federal Courts and Complex Civil Litigation. Professor Robert G. Popovich, from Pepperdine University School of Law, will teach Community Property and Contracts as a Visiting Professor of Law. Professor Caleb Mason from the United States Attorney's Office has been appointed as Associate Professor of Law and will teach Constitutional Criminal Procedure and Evidence. Professor Bridgette M. de Gyarfas will serve as a Visiting Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills and will teach LAWS as well as Defenses in the Law and Selected Topics in American Law. Read More.
Professors Smith, Knipprath and Cohen Receive 2009 Excellence in Teaching Awards
Southwestern is pleased to announce that Professors Karen R. Smith, Joerg W. Knipprath and Laura Dym Cohen have been selected to receive the law school's 2009 Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Dean Garth said, "It is gratifying to see these honors going to professors who embody the kind of commitment to teaching excellence and student support that we so highly value." Read more.
Professor Fagundes to Present Paper at Stanford/Yale Forum
Professor David Fagundes
has been chosen as one of 12 distinguished young scholars from around
the country to present his research paper, "Property Rhetoric and the
Public Domain," at the tenth annual Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum
in late May at Stanford Law School. The papers were selected by leading
senior scholars in their fields in a blind review process from articles
submitted nationally by law faculty with one to seven years of teaching
The Forum's objective is "to encourage the work of
young scholars by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship
and the nature of the scholarly exchange ... and to increase the sense
of community among legal scholars generally, particularly among new and
veteran professors." At the assembly, the selected authors present
their papers to an audience that includes the invited young scholars,
faculty from the host institutions, and invited guests, and two senior
scholars provide commentary on each paper. The focus of the tenth
session is on private law and dispute resolution. Read more.
Professor Kung to teach LAWS
During the 2009-10 academic year, Adjunct Professor Sue Yap Kung '94 will teach LAWS I in the SCALE program and LAWS II in the traditional program. A member of Southwestern's adjunct faculty since 2001, she also served as acting director of the Academic Support Program in 2002 and as a member of the legal writing faculty for several years. Professor Kung began her legal career with the Office of the United States Trustee as an attorney advisor responsible for the administration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and oversight of Chapter 7 trustees. She prepared pleadings, appeared regularly in court, and assisted the U.S. Attorney's Office in the investigation of bankruptcy fraud. She was able to apply the specialized knowledge she had gained during her four years with the U.S. Trustee when she went on to serve as law clerk to Judge Ernest M. Robles of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and as a senior level associate in the firm of Malcolm, Cisneros & Houser. More recently, Professor Kung served as in-house counsel at Blitz Distribution, Inc., a sporting goods distributor, where she handled royalty and licensing agreements, property and employment issues, and transactions involving international, antitrust, sports and entertainment law.
Southwestern Welcomes New Adjunct Faculty
A number of practitioners and experts in a variety of fields have joined Southwestern's adjunct faculty for the 2009-2010 academic year. Read more.
A Friendly Reminder from Career Services
Remember to read your Southwestern email over the summer and be prepared for the Fall On-Campus Interview Program (OCIP). The goal of OCIP is to provide summer and post-graduate jobs for students. While it may seem too early to search for a Summer 2010 job in August 2009, that is when some law firms and other employers do their hiring. Early Interview Week will take place August 10-14, and other employers will visit campus in September. In order to participate in the OCIP, students should attend a "How to Participate" workshop, which will be offered on Thursday, May 21 at 12:30 and 5:00 p.m., and Thursday, June 18 at 12:30 and 5:00 p.m.
The Career Services Office (CSO) coordinates a Mock Interview Program from July 20 through August 5, so you can be fully prepared for OCIP. Alumni and other qualified members of the legal community who are familiar with the recruiting process will conduct and critique mock interviews with interested students. Appointments are limited to the number of volunteer interviewers and are scheduled on a "first come, first served" basis.
This is a great way to practice your interview skills under real life circumstances. You will receive the employer and interviewer name ahead of time, so you can research and prepare for the interview as if you were really interviewing for a job. You should come to campus dressed for the interview, and after the interview, the interviewer will give feedback on what you did right, what can be improved upon, etc. Mock interview registration forms will be available at the "How to Participate in the On-Campus Interview Program" workshops, in the CSO and online
Look for other programs conducted over the summer as well, such as "Interviewing Tips" workshops on Thursday, July 16 at 12:30 and 5:00 pm, Thursday, August 6 at 12:30 and 5:00 pm, and Friday, August 7 at 12:30 pm. These are great ways to prepare for your mock interview and OCIP interviews in August and September. Students should contact Career Services with any questions.
Southwestern Co-Sponsors California Supreme Court Historical Society Colloquium at the LA Times
Civil & Uncivil Rights - The Early Legal History will be the topic of a special California Supreme Court Historical Society (CSCHS) program to be held on Monday, June 1 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Los Angeles Times Auditorium. The program is being co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times,
Southwestern Law School, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the
Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, and Public Counsel. Chief Justice Ronald George will introduce the program, and LA Times' editorial page editor, Jim Newton, will moderate.
Speakers include former California Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grodin, who will discuss slavery, religious freedom and other fundamental state constitutional issues, and University of Delaware Professor Jeanne Pfaelzer, author of Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese-Americans,
who will talk primarily about Chinese-Americans and the California
legal system during the first decades of statehood. UCLA Chicano
Studies Professor Robert Romero will provide concluding remarks. Read more.
Staff Members Become U.S. Citizens
Congratulations to Maintenance staff members Javier Gutierrez and Greg Luna, who became American citizens during the Spring 2009 semester. Mr. Gutierrez has been a devoted staff member at Southwestern for 19 years and Mr. Luna has contributed to law school community for 10 years.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Q: What is your fondest memory of Argentina when you were there as a Fulbright Scholar and Jervey Fellow from Columbia's Parker School of Comparative and International Law?
A: My first date with my wife. It was a beautiful summer day and we walked from her house, through Palermo Park, to the shore of the Rio de la Plata, where we spent several hours sitting and talking by the pier.
(By the way, my worst experience in Argentina came a few weeks later, when I was invited to my future in-laws for dinner, and arrived soaked and two hours late because of a huge rainstorm.)
Q: When did you become fluent in Spanish?
A: It was a slow process. I am not naturally gifted at languages. I took classes in high school (which were not very good), took classes in college, and spent some time in Barcelona and later in Bogota, so that by the time I was in my first year of law school, I was fluent enough to work for Baker & McKenzie in Caracas.
Q: Describe your work with the Argentine Supreme Court?
A: I first travelled to Argentina on a fellowship in January 2006 to study Argentine Constitutional Law, and was introduced to Justice Jorge Bacqué. He arranged for me to be assigned to work with Leopoldo Schiffrin, who at the time was the chief law clerk of the Court, held the rank of an appellate judge, and was the individual at the Court who was most engaged in the investigations of the military for human rights abuses committed between 1976 and 1982. I wrote several legal memoranda for him and the justices, primarily on how U.S. Constitutional Law would handle issues then being faced by Argentina, and I learned how to work with a case dossier. But most of my time was spent writing a casebook on Argentine Constitutional Law with two Argentine law professors. It was an incredible advantage to be able to write a Constitutional Law casebook while working at the Court. I had an office at the Court for about ten months. Unfortunately, shortly before it was time for me to leave, Leopoldo Schiffrin was forced out because he was perceived as too forceful on human rights issues and I was accused by a Justice of being a CIA agent. But in the end it all worked out. Leopoldo was named a Judge of the Court of Appeals, and the Justice who accused me of being a CIA agent agreed to let me stay for a few more weeks and liked my casebook.
Q: What initially piqued your interest in working in Human Rights law?
A: I went to Argentina to study Argentine Constitutional Law, not human rights, but in 1986 in Argentina, you could not study Argentine Constitutional Law without considering international human rights issues. Argentina was waking up from the nightmare of human rights abuses from the late '70's and early '80's when somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people were made to "disappear."
When I then went to work for a law firm in D.C., I already had connections that made it natural for me to bring cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Q: What are some of the challenges of representing defendants in transnational cases?
A: Making foreigners and Americans truly understand how different the other's system is. For example, in Argentina it is understood that a defense attorney may coach a criminal defendant to lie, because while criminal defendants may testify, they are not permitted to take an oath so can never be accused of perjury. At the same time, in the U.S., attorneys are permitted to make tactical decisions that an Argentine judge would never allow - such as deciding to not present testimony on a defendant's mental health because of fear that the State will be permitted to conduct an examination of the defendant with its own psychiatrist. In Argentina and most of the world, the court will simply order its own mental examination whenever it thinks one appropriate.
It is very hard to explain to a foreigner that there are some issues they may not wish to raise because, even though they have some valid points, the door will be opened for the State to attack the defendant in other ways. Their assumption is that the judge will want to dig everything out anyway. Differences between legal systems can lead to enormous mistrust when basic assumptions about how procedures should work are not satisfied.
Q: What brought you to Southern California after living/working in Washington D.C. and abroad and receiving your education in New York?
A: The chance to be a law professor focused on Latin American issues in a part of the country interested in Latin America.
Q: What do you like most about teaching at Southwestern? Which is your favorite course to teach and why?
A: I like the diversity of our student body. More than having a favorite course, I have a favorite style, which is to open the class up widely to discussion of pressing current issues. The courses that I teach most frequently, Constitutional Law and International Human Rights, have enormous current events and policy components. A good group of students will teach me a lot, and it is always the students that motivate me more than any single topic.
Q: Having played an instrumental role in bringing the Argentina Summer Program to Southwestern, what do you see as the most important opportunities this program provides for students?
A: Meeting very intelligent Argentine lawyers and future lawyers, and for the students in the externship program, getting a level of immersion in Argentine legal culture that simply cannot be matched in another setting. We have students who are essentially tutored by judges and working at their side.
Q: How did you first become involved with connecting the USAID Program to Southwestern and bringing Mexican attorneys to the law school to be trained in oral advocacy?
A: Professor Lutz and I had alerted a mutual friend at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that we would be interested in working with them on rule of law projects in Latin America, and when USAID sent out a Request for Applications for Grants, I put together a proposal. Trial Advocacy is not my field, but it is an area that Southwestern excels in, so we were a natural school for USAID to select.
Q: When did your connection with Jose Siderman's family begin? How did you work with them to establish the new Siderman Human Rights Fellowship at Southwestern?
A: I first came across the Siderman case when I saw Jose Siderman on TV in Argentina accusing a very corrupt Argentine Supreme Court justice of corruption. Then in 1996, I was approached by Paul Hoffman, the Siderman family's attorney, about writing an expert affidavit on Argentine law and explaining why the Argentine courts were incapable of fairly hearing his case. I wrote the affidavit pro bono, and fortunately the case settled the day before trial. (The case was going to be the first time in U.S. history that a foreign government had to go to trial in a U.S. court over human rights violations, but even had the Siderman family won, it would have been very hard to collect the judgment.)
Then last year, Jose Siderman's son, Carlos, attended a dinner that the Argentine Consulate held in my honor, we became acquainted, and after a series of meetings and lunches that included Dean Garth, Professor Faerman, and Assistant Dean Debbie Leathers, the idea matured. Establishing a human rights fellowship is an extraordinarily appropriate legacy for the family of a torture victim who had the courage to fight back.
Q: What is the most important piece of advice you give you your students?
A: Read the newspaper. Law students give far too much weight to rules of law as opposed to political context. Advising a client requires an understanding of political and social realities, whether one is seeking approval of a zoning application, convincing a DA's office to reduce charges in a consumer fraud case, or arguing a civil rights case before a judge. Lawyers who focus only on rules of law will often give their clients bad advice.
Q: What are some of your interests/hobbies outside of the law?
A: Coaching AYSO soccer, listening to my daughter play the piano, and hanging out and travelling with my family.
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Carlo and Rebecca Reyes, Third-year PLEAS Students
To simply call Carlo and Rebecca Reyes busy would be an understatement. The third year PLEAS students are both physicians, have been married for 11 years and have four young daughters. Carlo always wanted to be a lawyer (but initially opted to uphold his family's tradition and pursue medicine), and Rebecca thought law would be an interesting profession. The couple met at Chicago Medical School: Carlo is both a pediatrician and emergency room doctor and Rebecca is a psychiatrist. Carlo practices at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks and is also still affiliated with UCLA (where he completed his residency), serving as an attending physician at Olive View Medical Center and teaching pediatrics and emergency medicine. Rebecca works for both Sober College in Woodland Hills and The Bella Vita, an eating disorders program in Los Angeles. Prior to that, she was in private practice and served as director of the psychiatric intensive care unit at Vista Del Mar Hospital in Ventura.
After nearly a decade of practicing, both of them "want to find their way out of medicine and into something different," Rebecca explained. Carlo pointed out that Rebecca always talks about "how doctors need to be protected from malpractice, from having their profession dictated to them." They also have an interest in eventually educating doctors about the legal profession.
The couple chose Southwestern because of its strong reputation and PLEAS Program, which enables them to work while going to school. Both have been part of the Moot Court Honors Program, though Rebecca had to take time off last year when she became pregnant with their fourth child. Carlo was also on Law Journal. They try to take as many courses together as they can. And they found Professor Calnan's Products Liability class to be extremely beneficial. "It's nice to use my field in a particular aspect of law," Carlo said. "And products liability has a lot to do with medical devices and drugs. It also incorporates torts in terms of interaction between doctors, hospitals and corporations. In fact, Rebecca has been talking about concentrating on products liability." Rebecca has also considered specializing in jury selection and corporate psychology, and enjoyed Professor Carpenter's Criminal Law class as well as LAWS with Professor Gharakhanian.
After they graduate, Rebecca would like to start practicing as soon as she can. Carlo will "ease into law," sticking with medicine to support the family while Rebecca establishes her career as an attorney. Both are up for the challenge but neither of them could tell you which has been more difficult: medical or law school. "It's apples and oranges," Rebecca said. "We're at a very different stage in our lives. We're busy now because of our family. It's tough to find the time to read." Carlo added, "You memorize so many facts in medical school: there you either know it or you don't. It uses a different part of the brain."
Although the demands of raising a family while working full time and going to law school can be extremely strenuous, Rebecca and Carlo are happy they chose Southwestern and appreciate the contribution of their instructors. "I really love the professors and think they're top notch," Rebecca said. "I'm very happy that the professors at Southwestern are so passionate about [teaching us] the law, because that is not something you always find in an academic setting."