The Drucker School and Southwestern Launch Three-Year JD/MBA
The Southwestern faculty, in conjunction with the faculty of The Drucker Graduate School of Management, has expanded cooperative concurrent-degree programs to include an exciting three-year JD/MBA option. Beginning this year, Southwestern will be one of only a few law schools nationwide and the first on the West Coast to offer students the opportunity to earn both degrees in just three years.
This new three-year option takes advantage of Southwestern's accelerated SCALE® Program, the nation's first two-year J.D. program, and the law school's continuing partnership with The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management of Claremont Graduate University. The law school and business school jointly launched a more traditional four-year JD/MBA program in Fall 2009.
"By blending The Drucker School's unique interdisciplinary management curriculum with SCALE's innovative law curriculum, graduates of this newest concurrent degree program will be well prepared for high-level positions in an increasingly complex global environment," Dean Bryant Garth said. Read more.
Contribute to Southwestern's 100 Points of Pride
Innovative curriculum, accessible and accomplished professors, state-of-the-art facilities and a historic commitment to diversity: What makes you proud to be a part of the Southwestern community? As the law school prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary, we are collecting ideas for "100 Points of Pride" about Southwestern from our students, alumni, faculty and staff. The collection will be featured on our website and future materials related to the centennial celebration. Please email suggestions to the Public Affairs Office at email@example.com, including "100 Points of Pride" in the subject line.
Make sure to check out Southwestern's Facebook page for late breaking news on Southwestern's interscholastic team triumphs and other updates!
LLSA Seeks Student, Faculty and Staff "Santas"
The Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) is sponsoring its Tenth Annual Toy Drive for children in pre-kindergarten through second grade classes at Hoover Elementary School and needs your help to make it a success. Each child writes a letter to Santa asking for one special gift (valued at approximately $20), and for most of the children, this is the only gift they receive. Last year, LLSA was able to provide gifts to more than 800 Hoover students. New this year, LLSA will also host pizza parties for the fourth and fifth graders.
Even though economic times are difficult, LLSA truly hopes that the Southwestern community will unite to spread some holiday joy. So far this year, over 800 gifts have been donated. Monetary donations are still being accepted and may be made online (select LLSA Toy Drive under gift designation).
LLSA and Santa will personally deliver all the gifts to Hoover in mid-December. The smile on the children's faces when they receive exactly what they asked for in their letters makes all the hard work worthwhile. If you have any questions or would like to make a contribution, send an email to LLSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leading Media and Entertainment Industry Attorneys and Executives to Discuss "Scripts, Lies & Videogames" at Southwestern
Clearance issues across various industries are arising out of recent developments in trademark and right of publicity law. Why is this causing tension between intellectual property rights and the First Amendment? How do you protect works of fiction based on real-life people and events from libel lawsuits? How is video game development and distribution the same and how is it different from traditional television and movie production and distribution? On Thursday, January 20, these issues will be explored at the conference Scripts, Lies & Videogames.
This timely event on subjects that are vital to any media or entertainment lawyer's practice is the eighth annual conference presented by Southwestern's Biederman Institute and the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC). Scripts, Lies & Videogames will present three discussion panels, featuring prominent entertainment attorneys and talent industry insiders. The event, offering four hours of CLE credit, will begin at 2:30 p.m. (registration begins at 1:00 p.m.) on the Southwestern campus. Early registration for the event (before January 10, 2011) is $100; after that, it is $125. Student registration is $25. Additional information and registration are available online. Questions may be directed to the Biederman Institute.
Save the Date for Upcoming "Conversations With..."
Each "Conversation" in conducted in a dialogue format, allowing the guest to explore issues confronting the entertainment industry and the media with students and members of the legal profession. Each of these events will be held at 7:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Bullocks Wilshire Building, with a reception immediately following. For more information, contact the Biederman Institute.
- Tuesday, January 11: "A Conversation with..." Martin Garbus, Preeminent Trial Lawyer and First Amendment Expert
- Thursday, February 17: "A Conversation with..." Jim Perzik, Secretary and General Counsel, Los Angeles Lakers
- Thursday, March 3: "A Conversation with..." Michael Sitrick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sitrick And Company
Southwestern’s Career Services Office (CSO) offers many exciting and helpful events in January that explore everything from summer opportunities to resume writing to informative presentations from successful alumni. Please note that dates are subject to change. Questions may be directed to the Career Services Office.
Summer Options and Opportunities - Tuesday, January 11, 12:30 p.m., W511
Faculty panelists will offer advice and answer questions about law school summer choices from a career planning perspective. Topics include summer school, summer abroad programs, externships, public interest and volunteer opportunities, research assistant and law clerk positions.
Public Interest Career Day Orientation - Wednesday, January 12, 12:30 & 5:00 p.m., W311
This is a MANDATORY review for participation guidelines, funding options, and applicable hiring criteria. Public Interest Career Day will be held at UCLA on February 5, 2011. There will be many opportunities to interview with a variety of employers, including law firms, government offices, and public interest organizations.
Resume and Cover Letter Drafting - Thursday, January 13, 12:30 & 5:00 p.m., W311 AND Friday, January 21, 12:30 p.m., W311
Learn how to draft effective resumes and cover letters for legal employment, including presentation of qualifications, prior work experience, overall content and legal format.
Locating and Applying to Law Firms - Tuesday, January 25, 12:30 & 5:00 p.m., W311
Don’t know where to apply? Don’t know how to figure out what employer/firm practices which area of law? Come to this workshop and learn how to research employers and apply to them for jobs.
Off the Record with... Plaintiffs v. Defense Lawyers - Thursday, January 27, 12:30 p.m., Salle Moderne
What's the difference between representing a plaintiff and representing a defendant? Are there different skills sets or qualities needed? Do certain classes matter for one versus the other? Learn the answers to these questions and more when you participate in the CSO's new brownbag lunch series, "Off the Record with..." Bring your lunch (drinks and snacks will be provided) and chat with alums about the above topic. Here is your chance to network with alumni and get some great advice from attorneys who were once in your position, all in a small group setting.
Southwestern Students Embrace Service Day Opportunities
Southwestern's Second Annual Diversity Week celebrated the law school's historic commitment to a wide array of students, programs and opportunities. This year's week-long celebration culminated in a Public Interest Service Day on October 8, a new event that offered students multiple opportunities to actively participate in community service, or develop skills to help those in need.
More than 200 students signed up to participate in a number of activities to reach out to the community. "I was really touched at the turnout for Service Day," said Associate Dean Nyree Gray, Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs. "All of the projects were important and provided an opportunity to put law school in perspective. You really can have an impact on someone's life."
Members of the Latino Law Students Association traveled to Camino Nuevo High School to conduct a mock negotiation. "We had about 70 high school kids take part in the mock trial," said Cynthia Valdez, co-vice president of LLSA. "We broke up into groups of four. The high school students were so good at the negotiation that they all settled before time was up. The experience was very rewarding and the kids seemed to enjoy it!" Valdez was especially proud to spread a positive message to local youth. "Hopefully, these kinds of activities will make a difference in these kids' lives, and show them that a Latina can become a lawyer or anything she wants to be." Read more.
Law Review Symposium Discusses Extraterritoriality in American Law
Earlier this month, renowned legal scholars and political scientists convened at Southwestern to discuss the geographic reach of domestic law at "Beyond Borders - Extraterritoriality in American Law," a law review symposium showcasing a variety of viewpoints on the hot topic. Pictured above, panelists delve into the history of extraterritoriality.
Alumnae in Criminal Law Share Perspectives on the Legal Profession
Southwestern's Women's Law Association, Trial Advocacy Honors Program and Criminal Law Society recently presented a panel featuring four outstanding alumnae who work (or have worked) in criminal law. They discussed a variety of issues, including how and why they attained their positions, issues of personal safety in trying violent crimes or representing dangerous clients, equality in the workplace for women, how their appearance affects judges and jurors, and advice for those who want to work in criminal law.
The impressive and diverse panel included:
- Neetu Badhan '02, a Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender who had also worked briefly for a civil rights nonprofit organization;
- Alicia Blanco '91, who has worked for the Federal Public Defender's Office since graduating from Southwestern nearly 20 years ago;
- Shawn Chapman Holley '88, a former Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender and associate in The Cochran Firm, and now a partner in an entertainment business litigation firm in Santa Monica where she represents high-profile clients;
- Hon. Karla Kerlin '90, who served in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for 18 years before Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed her to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where she sits in Department 40, Pretrial Court, overseeing criminal misdemeanors at the downtown Criminal Court Building; and
- Panel Moderator Deborah Brazil '96, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney in the Major Crimes Division handling high profile murder cases, and a member of Southwestern's adjunct faculty who teaches Trial Advocacy. Read more.
Nominate Outstanding Alumni or Faculty
for CLAY Awards
California Lawyer Magazine is now accepting nominations for its Annual CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) Awards. Those submitted for nominations must be California attorneys who have made significant contributions during 2010 to "the law, the profession, a particular industry or the general good of the public." The submission deadline is Wednesday, December 1 (but early nominations are strongly encouraged). You can access the nomination form online, which has more than 30 categories to choose from and nominate a Southwestern graduate or faculty member.
Jennifer Forgerson, Financial Aid Assistant, received her B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from California State University - Channel Islands. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in the Office of the President as a receptionist and as an executive assistant in the Department of Advancement and Special Events. Most recently, she served as an advocate and training leader for new employees in customer service at In-N-Out Burgers.
Lauren Villa, SOS Assistant in the Administrative Services Office, received her B.A. in English Literature and Spanish from Loyola Marymount University. While attending college, she was a reference librarian assistant at LMU's Von der Ahe Library, program director for KLMU 840 AM, and general manager for KXLU 88.9 FM. Prior to joining Southwestern, she was a loan processor with Civic Center Home Loans.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
A Dozen Questions for Professor Gabriela Ryan, Director of Academic Support and Bar-related Programs
Q: What inspired you to want to work in the legal profession?
A: The experience of immigrating to the United States from Mexico exposed me to the legal system's virtues and flaws at an early age and made me want to obtain a legal education.
Q: What did you enjoy most about teaching elementary school as part of the Teach for America Program?
A: I enjoyed the challenge of working with kids with such different learning and language levels. I had 35 fourth and fifth grade students. Some did not speak English and spoke only Spanish. Most had varying levels of proficiency in each language. Some were at grade level or above in reading and math, but most were at various grade levels below in each of the subject areas. Developing and teaching lessons for such a wide range of skills and abilities was very challenging, but seeing the "Aha!" moment in each of those kids' eyes when helping them understand a concept was incredibly rewarding.
Q: What is your fondest memory of law school?
A: Teaching legal writing for two years was my favorite time in law school. I made great friends with the other student instructors and built great relationships with some of my students.
Q: What was most exciting aspect of working at a big law firm? The most challenging?
A: The most exciting aspect was seeing the work you were doing on the front page of the newspaper or headlined on the news, and knowing you were part of that. I worked primarily in the white-collar crime group, and I worked on some very high-profile cases. This included everything from Fox's internal investigation into the alleged improper behavior of former [American Idol] judge Paula Abdul and a contestant to the defense of one of the biggest accounting firms in major tax shelter litigation. The scope of the work was interesting and exciting. The most challenging aspects were the long hours. I had worked hard prior to joining a firm, but I had always had some control over my hours. The firm presented a new challenge in terms of finding balance in my professional and personal life.
Q: Why did you transition from practice to academia?
A: I realized pretty early on in my professional career that what I had enjoyed most prior to and during law school was teaching. Academia presented the perfect opportunity to remain involved in the law, use my legal education and work with students.
Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments as both Dean and Director of Student Affairs and Academic Support at USC?
A: I am very proud of the academic support program I helped create and lead, and the impact it has had on the institution - especially its students. When I left USC, I received many emails and letters from some of the students who had been impacted by the program I created. To know that students felt more confident in their ability to succeed as a law student and lawyer because of the academic support they received made me very proud to have played a role in that.
Q: What are some of your goals for Academic Support and Bar-related Programs at Southwestern?
A: I am excited to join Southwestern because it is a law school that is committed to helping all of its students reach their academic potential. My goal is to help the school maximize its ability to reach all students by coordinating existing resources and creating new resources as needed. I want to make sure students know where to turn to for help in reaching their academic goals and the resources are in place to serve their individual needs.
Q: What do you think are students' biggest misconceptions about law school when they commence their legal education?
A: Some students might not realize the significance of the rigorous academic endeavor they are about to undertake. They may have heard that law school is inherently difficult, but may not have thought about why. I would jokingly tell students at USC that being in law school is the equivalent of being in medical school for those of us who are not good at math or science. The core of that message is true: obtaining a legal education and passing a bar examination will entitle you to hold a license to help others in need. No, we do not physically save lives, but we do help people with their livelihood, their families, their businesses, etc. Because you will one day be entrusted with that responsibility, gaining the power to do that will take considerable effort.
Q: What do you think is the most important skill for a law student to learn today and why?
A: There are many skills that are important: legal writing and legal analysis being among the top ones. But there is one "skill" that many students don't realize is just as important: professionalism.
Q: Are you originally from Southern California? What do you like most about living in the area?
A: I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico. I moved to San Diego when I was 6 years old. Having lived on the East coast and in Arizona, as well as Southern California, I'd have to say the weather is one of the best things about living here. The weather allows me to be outdoors virtually year-round, and you can't beat that.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of the legal profession?
A: I love to spend any free time I have with my husband, our two-year old son and our dogs. When I have some time for myself, I like to practice Yoga and read.
Q: If you could do anything and knew you could not fail, what would you do?
A: I think the risk of failure is part of what makes succeeding in something so rewarding. I know that whenever I have taken on something new and different, I probably would not have wanted to do it if the risk of failure weren't present. But I suppose there are some things where failure would be truly problematic, so if you could guarantee me a successful parachute jump, I would absolutely love to skydive.
PROFESSOR MICHAEL EPSTEIN
PROFESSOR JAMES FISCHER
- Organizer/Moderator, "Emerging International Issues in Defamation Law," Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law Colloquium, Southwestern
DEAN BRYANT GARTH
- Panelist, "Substance Abuse and Legal Practice - Research, Programs, Risk Management and Insurance," National Pro Bono Week, SoCal Pro Bono Managers and Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers and Senior Lawyers
- ASIAN LEGAL REVIVALS: LAWYERS IN THE SHADOW OF EMPIRE (with Y. Dezalay; University of Chicago Press, 2010)
- Selected, 2010 Person of the Year, Metropolitan News Enterprise (will be honored in January 2011)
- Presenter, "Colonialism, the Cold War and the Rule of Law in Asia," Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Presenter, "Asian Legal Revivals: Lawyers in the Shadow of Empire" (forthcoming book), Law and Development Workshop, Harvard Law School
- Presenter (with co-author Y. Dezalay), "Asian Legal Revivals: Lawyers in the Shadow of Empire" (forthcoming book), Faculty Workshop, Harvard Law School
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
In Memoriam: Southwestern Benefactor Harle Montgomery
Harle G. Montgomery, a prominent journalist, philanthropist and major donor to several programs at Southwestern, passed away in October at the age of 92. Mrs. Montgomery and her late husband established the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Foundation, which provides generous donations in support of political causes, social justice, education and the arts.
The Montgomery Foundation contributed $100,000 to help establish the Immigration Law Clinic at Southwestern, which began operating in 2009. The clinic provides legal representation to low income immigrant children and women in the community who are victims of abuse and violence. Clinic students represent clients in their cases from beginning to end while honing their administrative and advocacy skills and learning many facets of professional responsibility.
Upon announcing the Foundation's contribution to the Immigration Law Clinic, Mrs. Montgomery had said, "We are delighted to play a role in helping Southwestern provide critically needed legal services in support of human rights while giving law students hands-on experience and encouraging their continuing commitment to public interest law." 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 remainder of the 2010-2011 academic year. Read more.
2010-2011 Biederman Scholars Announced
Last year, in an effort to recognize excellence in academic achievement, and encourage and facilitate career success, the Biederman Institute established a new program to help expand opportunities for promising future entertainment lawyers. Based on a concept developed by the Biederman Institute faculty, the Biederman Scholars Program selects up to three students each year to actively participate in a variety of initiatives and programs. The 2010-2011 Biederman Scholars are Danny Kohler, Michael Schroeder and Jennifer Seigle.
"We are pleased to add Danny, Jennifer and Michael to the Biederman Scholar ranks," said Professor Steve Krone, Director of the Biederman Institute. "This distinction is an acknowledgement of their outstanding achievements at Southwestern and a strong statement about their promise as aspiring entertainment and media lawyers."
As Biederman scholars, they will join inaugural scholars Kerrigan Hennings and Timothy Meade in a variety of Institute initiatives, including an industry mentor program, behind-the-scenes participation in Biederman Institute programs such as the "A Conversation with..." series, and priority placement in entertainment and media company externships and law firm practicums. The Biederman Scholars will also participate in developing new Biederman Institute programs such as an entertainment and media law blog, an awards dinner to honor outstanding members of the Southwestern entertainment and media law community, a new summer international program in India, and an Entertainment and the Arts Legal Aid Clinic. Read more.
Moot Court Team Wins Best Respondents' Brief
Southwestern's team of Britt Karp (SCALE II), Sholom Goodman and Genevieve Younce (both third-year day) won Best Respondents' Brief at the Pepperdine University School of Law National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition. The team also reached the semi-finals, finishing in the top four out of 26 teams from law schools throughout the country. Southwestern defeated competitors from DePaul University College of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School and George Mason University School of Law.
According to Professor David Fagundes, the team's faculty advisor, "Pepperdine annually hosts the nation's premier entertainment law moot court competition. This year's problem required participants to master complex statutory interpretation and policy issues relating to the Federal Copyright Act. All three team members demonstrated impressive mastery of this challenging subject matter. In both preliminary and elimination rounds, judges singled out oralists Sholi and Genevieve for their poise, professionalism and preparation, while Britt, the team's writer, received glowing praise from tournament directors for her first-place brief."
Younce explained that the brief was approached as a team effort, but gave the most credit to Karp, who served as the head writer and worked diligently to make the brief accessible to readers who were not necessarily copyright experts. Karp also finished the brief while she completed her SCALE finals. "Sholi did a ton of research and really worked hard to understand the problem from every possible angle so that we could include original and creative arguments," Younce said. "And I really worked hard to make sure the brief was presented well, and our language was clear. It was a great collaboration, and we're really proud of the result!" Read more.
Southwestern Student Wins National Securities Law Writing Competition
Fourth-year evening student Art Gharibian won the James E. Beckley Student Writing Competition sponsored by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA). In addition to the $1000 prize, Gharibian was invited to Jacksonville, Florida for PIABA's annual meeting where he was presented with the award at the President's Dinner. His winning essay will also be published in the PIABA Bar Journal.
His article, "Extending Fiduciary Duties to Broker-Dealers: Yes, We Can and Yes, We Should," explored the impact the proposed uniform fiduciary standard of care for financial professionals (under Section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) would have in the area of securities law. Specifically, Gharibian argued that a uniform fiduciary standard will increase an investor's chances of defeating the Prospectus Defense in Rule 10b-5 cases involving oral misrepresentations.
"As it stands now, investors don't realize that investment advisers and broker-dealers are held to different standards of care," he explained. "Investment advisers are held to a higher standard of care - a fiduciary standard - while broker-dealers in most states are not. This absence of a fiduciary relationship with broker-dealers has left investors vulnerable to securities fraud, which has been one of the factors that led to the financial crisis. The presence of a uniform fiduciary standard, however, will protect investors by requiring broker-dealers to act in the best interests of their customers, and will give investors strong evidence to overcome the Prospectus Defense." Read more.
Public Counsel Honors Southwestern Student
Second-year day student Philip A. Hall was recently honored at the 11th annual Public Counsel Volunteer Gala for his work with the organization's General Relief Advocacy Program (GRAP). "Philip is very deserving of the honor as he received our grant for last summer to work there, he is continuing the work as our current GRAP president, and he is very dedicated to both the project and the agency," said Professor Laura Dym Cohen, Director of the Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach at Southwestern.
Hall previously worked in the entertainment industry and wanted to make a career change. When he started law school, he was very interested in exploring opportunities in the public interest field. Unsure of what group he wanted to get involved with, a friend convinced him to attend a meeting for GRAP. "After the first outreach I was hooked," Hall said.
During the summer, Hall worked for Public Counsel's Homelessness Prevention Law Project (HPLP). The experience he had garnered training fellow law students while working for GRAP on campus enabled Hall to guide summer associates from local law firms in benefits advocacy and then supervise them on outreach for HPLP. During his summer at Public Counsel, he also attended meetings between Department of Public Social Services officials and the public interest organizations. Read more.
Southwestern Students Receive California Bar Foundation Scholarships
First-year students Jahmy Stanford Graham and Martha S. Torres-Ortiz were recently awarded California Bar Foundation Scholarships through the organization's Diversity Scholarship Program. Of the 28 scholarships distributed to students at law schools throughout the state, 18 of the top awards are named after California law firms and corporations.
The Foundation distributed the Diversity Scholarship awards at a reception featuring Hon. Richard A. Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at the offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles. Since the Foundation launched the Diversity Scholarship Program in 2008, it has awarded more than $420,000 to 70 California law students. Read more.
Students Compete in Intramural TAHP Competition
SCALE I student Dora Clements was named Best Advocate and won the final round of the Fall 2010 Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) Intramural Competition, which provided the opportunity for students in SCALE I and the third-year of the part-time programs to compete for a spot in TAHP. Finalist and third-year PLEAS student Katherine Bruce received Second Place Advocate. Semi-finalists included Mathew Rudes (SCALE I) and Mark Velez (third-year evening). Honorable mentions went to Keven Gres (SCALE I), Elliot Jung (3rd-year PLEAS), Michael Le (SCALE 1) and Gabriel Schaller (SCALE I).
Students Take on Positions to Assist SBA
The Student Bar Association is proud to announce the remainder of their team for the 2010-2011 school year.
- Director of Academic Affairs - Deborah Kahn
- Director of Alumni Affairs - Leslie Reyes
- Director of Club Activities - Sevag Shirvanian
- Director of Community Affairs - Shannon Wainwright
- Director of Off-Campus Student Affairs - Lindsay Salk
- Directors of On-Campus Student Affairs - Jenn Coppolino and Maria Daatio
- Marketing Chair - Morgan Kelly
- Mentor/Mentee Program Coordinator - Ashley Bedingfield
- Parliamentarian - Hovik Oganesyan
Graduate Class Gift Campaign Launched; Alumna Offers $10K Matching Gift
This year, members of the graduating class have initiated a new program to support students following in their footsteps. The Graduate Class Gift is a great way for those embarking on the next stage of their legal career to make a gift to Southwestern in honor of their graduation, with proceeds benefitting Public Interest Grants (unless otherwise specified). Third-year evening student Kate Lawrence developed the program with Joan Bautista, Southwestern's Senior Associate Director of Institutional Advancement.
"This program is an excellent way to build on school pride and get students to start thinking about giving back during their last year of law school," said Lawrence, who previously served as Associate Director of Reunion Giving at her alma mater, Scripps College. "This is so important because statistics show that giving during that first year (after finishing school) turns it into a habit. The graduate class gift is a way to start the appreciation right now."
Lawrence said that students have appreciated their experiences at Southwestern and are eager to get involved. To this end, the Graduate Class Gift Committee has set a lofty goal - to get 100% of the graduating class to make a gift before Commencement in May - and those who make a gift of $100 have the opportunity to join the Dean's Circle at the Young Leader level. The Dean's Circle is normally reserved for donors who make gifts of $1,000 or more, but as a Young Leader, those students will have access to exclusive Dean's Circle networking events during the coming year. Other gift levels include the Graduate Year level (minimum gift of $20.11), and the Participation level (minimum gift of $1.00). Read more.
Southwestern Alumnus Appointed Honduran Ambassador to Mexico
In September, Southwestern alumnus Jose Mariano Castillo '64 was sworn in as the new Honduran Ambassador to Mexico, where he hopes to fortify relations between the two countries. Upon taking this position, Ambassador Castillo told the Honduras News that the immigration issue is a priority because it impacts many Hondurans who try to pass through Mexico to come to the United States.
Ambassador Castillo is an internationally prominent attorney, businessman and educator with ties throughout the Americas and Europe. In 2009, the Honduran Ministry of Education named a school after Castillo, the first time the Central American country named a school in honor of a living person. The "Liceo Abogado Mariano Castillo Mercado," a bilingual Spanish/English academy, was established by a non-profit organization of business and civic leaders. Read more.
Alumni Q & A with Angela S. Haskins '96, President of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
Q: Why did you move from Ohio to Los Angeles after graduating from The Ohio State University? What did you choose Southwestern Law School?
A: I announced to my parents at age 4 that I was going to be a lawyer in Los Angeles. After that time, everything else was simply preparation and hoop jumping to get here. I actually attended The Ohio State University because they were so kind and generous with scholarships that I could not afford to say no. It was a wonderful four years, and I would not change it for anything. However, the minute I was officially the holder of my BSBA, I loaded up the 1990 Chevy Cavalier and headed west. I had originally intended to go to another law school, but circumstances presented themselves which changed my fate. I landed a job at the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and through the fascinating people that I met there, I learned of Southwestern. I learned that more judges were graduates of Southwestern than any other law school, and I was sold. The fact that it was also located across the street from my office at the AAA and offered a night program made it a lock.
Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Los Angeles?
A: The answer to this question has changed dramatically over the years. When I first moved here, I was 21 and the excitement of the glitz and glamour, and possibility of running into a movie star in the super market was so cool. While at the AAA, I handled matters that involved many celebrities, and it was tremendously exciting. The nightlife, the weather, the amazingly attractive people and the ability to get to the beach with just a short drive made every day an adventure. Now, I think I truly appreciate the opportunities. While you can be a lawyer anywhere, LA offers up a variety of disputes that simply don't happen elsewhere. In addition, there are so many things to do for entertainment. If you are bored in LA - it's your fault!
Q: What was your favorite aspect of the evening program? What were some of your most memorable classes at Southwestern?
A: I'm not sure I liked the evening program so much as I needed it. I did not have the luxury of being able to attend school and also eat without a job, so I worked full time. I did very much appreciate the fact that several of the evening professors were real, live lawyers with actual practices and not just straight academicians. I enjoyed White Collar Crime and Criminal Law like everyone else because the cases were sexy. I also really enjoyed Trial Advocacy and Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation. Bill Seki, Isabelle Gunning and Susan Martin all stick out in my mind even though it was a hundred years ago.
Q: Who were some of your mentors?
A: My mentors were the folks that I met through my job at the AAA. I was exposed on a daily basis to the most talented legal minds in California. Justice David Eagleson, Justice Campbell Lucas, Hon. George Dell, Hon. Richard Byrne and many others would let me sit in on their arbitrations and then they would take me to lunch with them to answer my 4,000 questions about the case, the decision making process, what evidence was considered worthwhile, and which attorneys performed the best and why. That was truly invaluable information. Read more.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Melissa Nonsrichai Gordy, JD/MBA Student
Having lived and traveled around the world, Melissa Nonsrichai Gordy knows the importance of exploring and expanding opportunities. As an undergraduate at Cal State Long Beach, she was a political science major and economics minor, where she says a good professor turned her on to law and reinforced her decision to go to law school.
Gordy actually chose Southwestern because "I thought originally I wanted to go into sports and entertainment law, and there's no better program than the one we have here." Plus, her mother-in-law, Desiree Gordy '82, is also an alumna and speaks highly of Southwestern. When Southwestern introduced its collaboration with The Drucker School of Management, she knew that this would be a good fit for the goals she was developing. Gordy started law school as an evening student and switched to the part-time day program so she could accommodate afternoon and evening courses at Drucker.
"Southwestern gives me the critical thinking skills I need, and Drucker gives me the way to apply them as well as the knowledge surrounding business concepts, which I did not learn as an undergraduate," she said. She also appreciates the diversity of the campuses and programs. "Many of the students at Drucker are international, and it's great to meet people with such different backgrounds from both schools," Gordy said. It's also great to break up the day, and split my focus between business and law. I thought it would be difficult, but it helps me feel refreshed, going back and forth between each subject consistently."
That being said, Gordy strongly recommends that anyone thinking about completing the joint JD/MBA program manage their time meticulously. "I am thoroughly enjoying my time at both places, and I truly believe that the two schools go hand in hand," she said. "However, since the programs are not at the same location, incoming JD/MBA students really need to stay on top of their game with every aspect of both programs. Scheduling classes to accommodate both schools, figuring out how to fit in studying (especially during finals time), fitting in time to do the hefty group work that is required of an MBA student with the massive amounts of reading time of a JD student, to balancing a life outside of school - this all takes a lot of planning."
She credits Molly Selvin, Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs at Southwestern, with helping her meet the challenges of the dual program. "Molly has really encouraged me along and helped me get through this. I struggled my first year here. It was a hard transition from undergrad. She helped me figure out that I could handle it. She's been a terrific advisor throughout this process."
Her favorite Southwestern classes have been constitutional law with Professor Kushner and Criminal Law with Professor Williams. "I've always been interested in government and politics, and it came naturally to me," she explained. "Although I'm not sure I'm cut out for criminal law, I found that class fascinating, too."
To garner some experience with consulting and business planning, Gordy had also worked part-time for the public relations firm Indie Vixens, helping to scout talent and develop marketing strategies. It was a good experience that helped her realize this was not the area she wanted to pursue. Although she is not entirely certain what aspect of law she wants to practice, she is leaning towards working for a non-profit business or organization, thanks to Southwestern's emphasis on public service and The Drucker School's "really strong program of non-profit management and organization."
In addition to a schedule that includes six days of class a week at two campuses, Gordy married her fiancé, Terry ("T.J."), who just recently earned his MBA in September. The couple will honeymoon in Botswana and Zambia, South Africa during winter break. "I've only been to Northern Africa before because my uncles were diplomats, so I'm very excited about this trip. The day I finish finals, I'll go straight from school to the airport."