Publications Honor Southwestern for Diversity
Southwestern was recently identified as one of the most diverse law schools in the country by both the National Jurist and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazines. National Jurist included Southwestern as #15 on its "Diversity Honor Roll" featured in the November 2012 issue. The listing was based on percentage of minority faculty and percentage of students in minority categories. Click here to view the full article.
Southwestern was also among the honorees to receive the first annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a winner of the HEED award - a national award honoring U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion - Southwestern was one of only two law schools among the 48 academic institutions to be recognized in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine's December 2012 issue. Click here and skip to page 20 to view the full article; Southwestern is highlighted on page 24.
"These awards mean a great deal to the Southwestern community since we have always viewed diversity as one of our strongest assets," said Associate Dean/Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs Nyree Gray. "Our ability to train future lawyers who become leaders in the legal community is based on our commitment to diversity and inclusion."
Negotiation Teams Excel in Fall Competitions
The Negotiation Honors Program is having a lot of success at its fall competitions, earning Second Place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition in October and First Place at the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition in November.
At the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition held at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Southwestern's team of Daniel Dib and Cortni Joyner took Second Place. Forty teams from ABA schools across the country participated in the competition, including Harvard, UC Berkeley, Hastings, and Fordham. The Sports Law Competition is the biggest national competition of the year and is extremely tough because it cuts from 40 teams to just four teams that make the finals.
This year, the teams negotiated Landon Donovan's contract and Wolfpack's entrance into the PAC16. Southwestern had two outstanding teams participate: in addition to Dib and Joyner, the team of Daniel Emmer and Jessica Manavi also represented Southwestern well.
Associate Dean Nyree Gray and Professor Cristina Knolton, Co-Directors of Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program, coached the teams. "Daniel and Cortni were outstanding in the final round and were able to quickly think on their feet and adjust to anything the opposing counsel threw at them," Dean Gray said. "The received very complimentary comments from the judges and truly shined among 40 schools from across the country."
The second competition was the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition in San Francisco. The topic this year was small business management. There were 24 schools represented, including teams from UC Berkeley, Thomas Jefferson, and Pepperdine. Southwestern sent two teams: Jennifer Allen and Yasha Rastegari, and Jonathan Evans and Imran Rahman. Evans and Rahman advanced to the final round, where they won First Place by defeating California Western, the reigning regional champion team. In February, Evans and Rahman will compete in the National ABA Negotiation Competition in Dallas, Texas.
In addition to Professor Knolton and Dean Gray, Professor Vivian Montz also helped coach the ABA teams. "Overall I think both teams have done so well because of the immense amount of practice and hard work they put into preparing for the competition," Professor Knolton said. "Each team practices for two hours daily for the weeks leading up to the competition. The preparation is really a group effort. Both teams prepared by "sparring" against other members of the Negotiation Program and all teams implemented creative ideas shared by the other members of the team. After winning first place, the first thing Jonathan and Imran did was thank Jenn and Yasha for all of their help in preparing for the competition. It was a group effort and everyone contributed to the win."
Moot Court Team Takes Nationals, Headed to Finals
At the regional round of the Nationals Moot Court Competition held in Orange, California, Southwestern's team of Daneen Furr, Vince Nguyen and Benjamin Sampson swept the competition. They defeated students from Pepperdine Law School in the final round, taking First Place Team honors in a unanimous decision from the bench. Overall, the team went undefeated in the preliminary and final rounds, earned Best Brief and Benjamin Sampson won the Best Oralist award. In January, the team will travel to New York to compete at the National Competition.
The competition also featured 12 other teams from UCLA, University of
San Diego, Arizona State, Chapman, Loyola and Thomas Jefferson. They
argued whether a police officer was entitled to qualified immunity for
allegedly violating the first Amendment when he interrupted a
protestor's recording of an undercover police officer's conversation and
prevented it's dissemination, and for violating the fourth Amendment
when he proceeded to search the cell phone following a seizure.
"The overwhelming amount of support from the faculty and students at
Southwestern gave us an edge over our competitors," Sampson said. "The
practice rounds are incredibly time consuming but the faculty and moot
court members were always happy to stick around and provide invaluable
Professor Jennifer Rodriguez-Fee, Supervising Attorney for
Southwestern's Children's Rights Clinic, coached the team. "The overall
performance by this Nationals team, in both oral advocacy and
brief-writing, is without a doubt, the best I have seen," she said. "I
am not alone in this opinion as the team was told by multiple judges at
the competition that their performance was vastly superior to attorneys
currently practicing in appellate advocacy. Ben, Daneen and Vince worked
incredibly hard and all have natural ability that will take them far in
their legal careers. I am honored to continue working with this team as
we prepare for the National Competition this January."
Sampson went on to say, "As much as I am honored to win Best Oralist,
it is only an additional reminder of how lucky I am to be part of such
an extraordinary team. Vincent is a brilliant writer and Daneen is
always the most persuasive advocate in the room. Throughout the good and
bad moments in this competition we stuck together as a team, so any
recognition cuts three ways."
TAHP Team Reaches Finals at CACJ Competition
At the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition held in San Francisco, Southwestern's team of B.J. Abron, Mari Kiridjian, Michael Morse and Ashley Smolic were finalists. They argued the fictitious case of the People v. Ramirez, which involved the drive-by shooting of a young man in an apparent act of gang retaliation.
Southwestern's team finished in Second Place behind Florida State. The competition featured teams from Golden Gate University, Fordham, Chapman and UC Hastings. Southwestern's second team of Dorian Herrera, Matthew Kleintop, Sherin Parikh and Anastasia Sagorsky also performed well.
According to Jahmy Graham, Communications Chair of TAHP, "The presiding judge, who was both an experienced trial lawyer and federal judge, said that all of the advocates were in the top 10% of trial lawyers he's seen in his career. Although they did not advance to the semi-finals, Team 2 also fought hard and left it all in the courtroom. All of the advocates made us all very proud."
TAHP Students Shine in Southern California Courts
Anastasia Sagorsky and Michael Morse got
to have their days in court. Sargosky, Chair of Southwestern's Trial
Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP), won a competition held for clerks
working in the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. Morse, a
TAHP board member who externed for the Los Angeles County District
Attorney's Office, had the opportunity to serve as First Chair in a
misdemeanor domestic violence case at the Compton Courthouse. Both
credit Southwestern's TAHP program with preparing them for such
successful and productive summer experiences.
"I don't know how Professors Esposito and Seki do it, but they get
their students up on their feet and knowing their way around a courtroom
in just a matter of weeks," Sagorsky said. "It's really amazing."
She came to law school because she wants to be a prosecutor and got to
spend the summer working in felony prelims, and handling misdemeanors
and domestic violence cases. Every year, the Riverside courts hold the
Closing Argument Competition for all 2L law clerks. During the last
week of the externship, 12 student clerks converged at the downtown
Riverside courthouse to compete. Read more.
The Perils of Winning at All Costs: All-Star Panel of Attorneys and a Former Pro Cyclist Share Perspectives on Athletes, Doping and Perjury
There is plenty of bad behavior in sports and politics. But is it a crime, and should this behavior be prosecuted? On November 5, in a unique panel at Southwestern moderated by Professor Caleb Mason, attorneys for baseball superstar Roger Clemens and former Congressman Tom Delay, the general counsel for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and a former professional athlete involved in the Lance Armstrong matter shared their views on the sports doping controversy and related topics. The event was sponsored by Southwestern's Student Bar Association, Criminal Law Society and Entertainment and Sports Law Society.
The panelists agreed that performance-enhancing drugs should have no place in sports. But they had differing opinions on the most effective ways to eradicate a culture that embraces record breaking performances and winning at all costs.
Jason Forge, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, clarified that no athletes have been prosecuted for using performance-enhancing drugs, but their legal troubles begin when they lie about it. He believes it's important to go after those who impede investigations. "We're not in the law enforcement business," he said. "We're in the deterrence business."
William Bock, general counsel for the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), said there were two major effects from all of the testimony about drug use from many of Lance Armstrong's former teammates: "the awesome power of the truth, and to clean up a sport with a code of silence that was very harmful."
On the other end of the spectrum, baseball player Roger Clemens wanted to clear his name of allegations of steroid use, according to Mike Attanasio, a partner at Cooley LLP in San Diego, who served as the pitcher's co-counsel with fellow panelist Rusty Hardin. Read more.
The Image of a Witness: Richard Ross Discusses his Juvenile-in-Justice Project at Southwestern
Under the auspices of the Treusch Public Service Lecture, which brings national speakers in the public interest field to campus to share their experiences and insights, acclaimed documentary photographer Richard Ross delivered a powerful message on social justice - or, rather, the lack thereof - in the institutionalization of juveniles in America. Ross presented material and commentary from his compelling Juvenile-in-Justice project that spent five years in its own kind of solitary confinement before Ross went public with this collection of image-as-social-advocacy. The stirring compilation of photographs and interviews conducted with more than 1,000 juveniles at over 200 facilities throughout the United States aims to provide an inside view of the detention and correction facilities and expose the need to change the current practices relating to the treatment of juveniles.
In a country where roughly 70,000 young people are locked up on any given day, the task of bringing their stories to light and inciting action or at least meaningful discussion can be a daunting one. But native New Yorker Ross has managed to turn his quick wit, sharp tongue and keen eye into potent tools for generating work that creatively promotes social justice. At the heart of his project is the concept that a photograph is a "witness." A single, still image can become iconographic in its ability to serve as testimony, and for Ross, the images that make up Juvenile-in-Justice testify that each kid has a story.
When given the opportunity to share their stories, Ross describes how the youths "open up like flowers - all they want to do is talk to me." Though his subjects may remain handcuffed during an hours-long interview, Ross positions himself on the floor, to encourage better lines of communication. As a storyteller with a camera, the photographer is doing something that gives him "absolute bliss." As an advocate with a mission, he claims "This is something I can't walk away from." Through his example, he encourages his audience to do the same. "This is an overwhelming issue. Find your piece of the puzzle. I'm giving you the images..." (See more photos from the event here.)
Green is Good: LACBA Environmental Law Practitioners Discuss Careers in Environmental Law
The world of environmental law is as vast and complex as the natural
resources it aims to protect. Representing private, government, in-house
and public interest settings, a panel of diverse experts gathered to
speak to the Southwestern community about this multifaceted area of
practice. Co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Environmental Law Section and Southwestern's Career Services Office, the
panel included Peter Duchesneau '93 of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips;
Sarah Morrison, Deputy Attorney General, California Attorney General's
Office; Vincent Gonzales, Senior Environmental Counsel, Southern
California Gas Company; and Angela Howe, Legal Director, Surfrider
Foundation. Students learned valuable information about pursuing a
career in environmental law and how to achieve what Mr. Duchesneau
calls, "that balance between what our society wants and what is good for
The panelists explained that just as our planet relies on the balance
between resources vs. human activity to stay healthy and thriving, so
too, does environmental law aim to provide a kind of equilibrium taking
into account economics, education, politics and preservation. Ms.
Morrison, whose office handles the most prosecution work of the Attorney
General's three environmentally-related sections, asserted that "If
both sides don't like us, then we know we're doing a good job."
Though it can be challenging to interpret, explain and enforce
various statutes such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), this area of practice is
often considered both meaningful and cutting-edge - especially in a
State with the most progressive environmental laws and policies in the
country. All four speakers emphasized, however, the importance of soul
over science. For aspiring lawyers in this area, it is important to
learn about the concepts influencing environmental law, as well as how
to describe such concepts to others.
Law students interested in practicing environmental law were encouraged
to consider: Do you like reading detailed regulations or performing in
court? Would you rather attempt to fit together a syntactical puzzle of
environmental terms, or support environmental groups in mitigating the
impacts of, for example, a new stadium proposed to be built in Los
Angeles? The panelists stressed the importance of becoming familiar with
environmental law and organizations from the ground up - to get
involved at the grassroots level, attend public outreach events, take
advantage of fellowships to gain some valuable experience and stay
current on related topics in the news. Over the next several years, the
practice of Environmental Law will be more relevant and important than
any time in our nation's history. It's time to get involved... Green is
Lawyers and Judges Advise Students on Public Sector Career Paths
Know your personality. Take advantage of the opportunities you are presented with while you are in law school. Choose an area of law that will make you happy over one that may make you rich. These were the key pieces of advice from the panel of accomplished judges and attorneys who spoke at Southwestern's Public Sector Career Paths Program.
Presented by the ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyer's Division and co-sponsored by Career Services, the lunchtime panel featured Deborah Brazil '96, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and a member of Southwestern's adjunct faculty; Jeff Gilliam, Head Deputy in the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office; Edwin Henderson, an attorney for the State Compensation Insurance Fund; and Hon. Richard Naranjo '91, a Superior Court Judge in Lancaster. Hon. Janet Coulter, a Workers' Compensation Administrative Law Judge, moderated the panel.
Professor Brazil emphasized the importance of using the time in law school to find out what you do and do not like through opportunities such as networking events and programs. "I encourage you to utilize Southwestern's Alumni Resource Network (ARN)," she said. "It's really fun for us to help you.... You can contact ARN attorneys and they will offer you their time and perspective." Read more.
Help is on the Way: Human Rights and Relief Efforts Panel
In the destructive wake of Superstorm Sandy and the ensuing clean-up/recovery now taking place, Southwestern's recent panel on Human Rights and Relief Efforts becomes even more pertinent. While the distinguished group of speakers addressed issues surrounding the promotion of human rights and disaster relief efforts worldwide, there was also mention of the necessity for such aid in our own backyard. Moderated by Professor John Heilman and co-sponsored by the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, the panel included Richard Walden, President and CEO of Operation USA; John Marris, Senior Vice President of Programs for Relief International; and Margaret Aguirre, Director of Global Communications for International Medical Corps.
Walden, Marris and Aguirre discussed rights and relief endeavors in numerous regions, from the Middle East to Los Angeles. They focused on the challenges - and rewards - involved in these efforts, which often become a kind of balancing act: reaching populations in need and providing aide without overtly endorsing a particular brand of advocacy. "Conflict is the dicey-est time for human rights," said Aguirre. "We take a rights-based approach, but we can't be vocal about it" - especially when the Human Rights Act and related issues are not universally agreed-upon. The U.S., for instance, is not a First Asylum country; but we do provide assistance to countries like Jordan facing increasing problems with refugees, e.g. 'visitors.'
The panelists indicated that while the politics and logistics involved in such efforts are rarely straightforward, the foundation upon which these organizations stand is consistent. Despite the challenges they face, these groups are devoted to delivering help where and when it is needed. All three speakers offered their own advice to Southwestern students, but the general message remained: there are a "whole bunch of issues you can insinuate yourself into," and "if you have a point of view, it's a good time to do it," said Walden. Volunteering, learning multiple languages and drafting contracts as part of legal reform programs were just a few of the suggested avenues through which to explore advocacy and rights-based foundations. Whether focusing on economic development, medical/health training, creation of local governments or policy discussions, the common thread in human rights and relief efforts appears simply the desire to lend a helping hand - and often a voice - to those in need.
PROFESSOR ROBERT LUTZ
PROFESSOR EMERITUS SUSAN MARTIN
- Lecture, "Ethics, Technology, Globalization and the Legal Profession," Wyoming Bar Convention, Jackson Hole, WY
- Lecture, "International and U.S. Arbitration Law," Mexican Federal Judicial College, Mexico City
- Presentation, "Report on U.S. ADR Developments, 2011-12, for
NAFTA art. 2022 Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Dispute
Resolution," Puebla, Mexico
- Participant, ABA Section of International Law Fall Meeting, Miami, FL
- Participant, ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Meeting, Washington, DC
- Quoted in "Space: Media Psychology's New Frontier," Psychology Today
- Interviewed regarding "Committee on U.S. Foreign Investment" and current foreign company proposed mergers, Bloomberg Press
DEAN AUSTEN PARRISH
- Speaker, Constitutional Guarantees with Respect to Religious Freedom, Griffith Park Adult Community Center, Los Angeles, CA
PROFESSOR ROBERT PUGSLEY
- Domestic Responses to Transnational Crime: The Limits of National Law, CRIMINAL LAW FORUM Criminal Law Forum (Springer; September 2012)
- Panelist, "Dean's Panel - Implementing Institutional Change,"
Conference on the Development of Professional Identity in Legal
Education: Rethinking Learning and Assessment, Educating Tomorrow's
Lawyers, Denver University Sturm College of Law
- Panelist, "Extraterritoriality Post-Kiobel: The Implications
of Kiobel for International Legal Theory," Annual International and
Comparative Law Symposium, University of Maryland, Francis King Carey
School of Law
- Interviewed regarding the lawsuit over the Santa Monica Nativity Scene, Air Talk (KPCC)
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
Teacher as Student: Professors Collaborate During Open Classrooms Week
Members of Southwestern's Faculty Development Committee wanted to
give their colleagues the opportunity to observe each other in the
classroom. Associate Dean Arthur McEvoy (Committee Chair), Professor
Roman Hoyos and Professor Danielle Hart collaborated to establish
Southwestern's first Open Classrooms Week. From September 10 to 14,
participating faculty opened their classrooms to their peers.
have a lot of good teachers at Southwestern, and I thought the idea of
opening our classrooms would be a good way to learn from one another,"
Professor Hoyos said. The structure was experimental. Involvement was
voluntary. And the event was a success.
expectations, with 43 faculty members either opening their classrooms to their fellow
professors, sitting in on others' courses, or both. Participating
instructors represented a diverse cross section of teaching styles and
"The level of participation was amazing to
me," Professor Hoyos said. "Over two-thirds of the faculty participated
in the week. I think at many schools, one-third would be high, and that
was what I thought our rate would be. It can create a certain level of
anxiety to have a colleague sit in on your class. But there seemed to be
a genuine desire to both learn from and to share with one another. I
think it speaks well about our faculty's interest in teaching and
willingness to grow." 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 2012-2013 academic year. Read more.
Southwestern and Armenia Ministry of Justice Select Inaugural Southwestern Armenia Fellow
Southwestern has partnered with the Republic of Armenia's Ministry of Justice to create an opportunity for an American-trained lawyer to spend a year working directly with the Ministry to cultivate Armenia's legal system. The cooperation between these entities has resulted in the establishment of the Southwestern Armenia Fellowship. Attorney Garen Nazarian has been selected as the first Fellow to participate in this unique program.
In September, Mr. Nazarian began serving in this yearlong position in Yerevan, Armenia. Throughout the course of his Fellowship, Mr. Nazarian will work on several critical projects including: development of the new Penal Code, establishing probation in the criminal justice system, finalizing the Criminal Procedure Code and potentially developing a parole system.
With an extensive background in criminal justice, Mr. Nazarian brings the experience and expertise that is essential to effectively serve in this role. He spent seven years in the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office, defending a variety of cases, ranging from theft to murder. He was the lead attorney in over 30 felony and misdemeanor jury trials and conducted more than 20 juvenile trials (adjudications) before judges. He also settled hundreds of cases through negotiation. Read more.
Southwestern Alumni Among Leaders in Intellectual Property Law
On the heels of Southwestern's recognition by The Hollywood Reporter as 4th in the country for best entertainment law schools, the Los Angeles Business Journal just published its list of the 40 top intellectual property lawyers in Los Angeles. Southwestern was tied at 2nd place with Harvard for law schools represented. Southwestern alumni in "Who's Who in L.A. Law - Angelenos to Know in Intellectual Property Law" include J. Alison Grabell '96,
Partner, Ezra Brutzkus Gubner LLP; Robert J. Jacobs '92,
Chair, Entertainment Litigation, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Robert Kovelman '91,
Partner, Steptoe; and Karin G. Pagnanelli '94,
Partner, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP.
Drooz, Frackman and Hoberman Feted at Biederman Awards Event
As one of the top entertainment law schools in the country, Southwestern recognized three outstanding attorneys for their contributions to the entertainment and media industries, the legal profession and legal education, at the recent Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute Awards Reception. Thomas H. Hoberman '75 received the award for Outstanding Alumnus in Entertainment and Media Law; Deborah Drooz '85 was recognized as Outstanding Adjunct Professor in Entertainment and Media Law; and Russell Frackman received the Donald E. Biederman Legacy Award.
Hosted by Southwestern's Entertainment and Intellectual Property Alumni Association (SWEIP) and the Biederman Institute, the reception was held on October 26 at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Proceeds from the event will help establish the groundbreaking Entertainment and the Arts Legal Aid Clinic at Southwestern.
"Tom, Deb and Russ all personify excellence in everything they do - as lawyers and members of the legal community, as friends of the Southwestern family, and as people," said Professor Steve Krone, Director of the Biederman Institute. "We simply could not have a better slate of honorees." Read more.
Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:
Monday, January 14
The 22nd Annual Julia Mason
Externship Open Forum
12:30 p.m., BW Central Hall
Contact the Externship Office with any questions.
Thursday, January 17
The 10th Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference
Loews Hollywood Hotel
Presented by Southwestern's Biederman Institute and the Media Law Resource Center
Details will be posted on the Institute Events page in the coming weeks
Friday, February 8
Law Review Symposium - 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead
Details will be posted on the Law Review page in the coming weeks
Friday, February 22
Biederman Institute's Privacy Conference
Details will be posted on the Institute Events page in the coming weeks
Friday, February 22
Law Journal Symposium - The Future of Children in International Law
Details will be posted on the Law Journal page in the coming weeks
Another Summer to Study Law in Foreign Destinations
This summer, Southwestern students will once again have the opportunity to study law outside the U.S. through the school's programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Guanajuato, Mexico; and London, England - two specialized programs on International Entertainment and Media Law and Information Technology (IT) Law. Each program features international law courses taught in English by leading experts and scholars, highlighted by visits to courts, law offices, and government agencies, and social events that explore local areas and culture. In addition to the details found for each program online, printed brochures and application forms will be available in the coming weeks.
Student Housing Construction Updates Continue
Progress on the Student Housing construction has continued throughout the semester, and you can see both month-by-month updates of that progress as well as a time lapse video of the site from the beginning. Click here for the construction updates and time lapse video. For general information about the Student Housing complex, as well as a survey to indicate your potential interest in on-campus housing and assist us in planning for future occupancy, click here.
Japan's Premiere Studied Here
Takeo Miki (1907-1988), Premiere of Japan from 1974 to 1976 and a member of Parliament, attended Southwestern in 1933-34, where he took business courses. He was elected in 1937, beginning what would be the longest career of his country's Parliament, also known as the Diet. From the start, he showed his support for Japanese-American amity and attempted to prevent a war between the two countries. He tried to stop the Japanese-American conflict before WWII and was denounced for his position. After leaving the post in 1976, he remained very active in the Diet until his death in 1988. His New York Times obituary references the time he spent studying at Southwestern.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Q: As a physician, what piqued your interest in the law?
A: In medical school, I found that I was most excited about studying health care systems and thinking about the big picture. I was particularly drawn to the subject of how laws and regulations affect medical practice. Over the years, as I've had the opportunity to work as a physician, attorney and acupuncturist, I've learned that I'm happiest thinking of new ways to solve problems. Legal academia is a great place to do that.
Putting it another way, in medical school, you spend a lot of time following senior doctors around, and you quickly realize that they love complaining. Common gripes include, "I work too much," "I'm not paid enough," "I don't have enough professional autonomy," and "I don't get enough respect." Frequently, this ends with the admonition that, "I should have been a lawyer." So, because I was an attentive and enthusiastic medical student, I took my attendings at their word and decided to study the law.
Strangely enough, the situation was much the same at my law firm, where I discovered that lawyers love to complain just as much as doctors, and about all the same problems. However, they generally conclude with, "I should have been an investment banker." So, I went to interview with Goldman Sachs, told the recruiter what I'd experienced, and asked if he was happy with his job. He said, "to be honest, I've always wanted to dance." On the plus side, I rarely hear law professors complain. Outside of exam grading, that is.
Q: Why did you pursue both a conventional M.D. as well as a degree in traditional Oriental medicine?
A: In high school and college, I was really into martial arts and oriental philosophy. One day while practicing Kendo, I injured my right hand which promptly swelled up to twice its normal size. Six months later the swelling still hadn't resolved, and my girlfriend convinced me to go see a doctor. I went to UCLA where I had x-rays taken, and a doctor there told me I'd probably broken my knuckle, but that he couldn't do anything about it. He said I should expect the swelling to subside in another year, and that I would likely have arthritis in the hand for the rest of my life. But, he assured me that a lot of people have arthritis.
That answer didn't do it for me, so I went to see an acupuncturist. She completely resolved the swelling in a couple of treatments, and the hand hasn't bothered me since. She went on to suggest that I should study acupuncture, and, assuming that would take around six weeks, I thought it sounded like a good idea. To my surprise, I learned that California requires a four-year master's degree for an acupuncture license. I took a few classes anyway and found the subject fascinating, so I decided to stick it out.
During this time I was still an undergraduate, and I developed an independent major to accommodate my studies in traditional oriental medicine. The major combined courses in biology, biostatistics, chemistry, mathematics, physics and public health with courses in philosophy, anthropology, history, and Chinese language and culture. I also got to work at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, where I was principal investigator of a randomized controlled trial of Tai Chi for tension headaches. The Center employs physicians who practice integrative medicine, and they encouraged me to continue my studies in medical school. Although I was enjoying my studies in traditional medicine, I knew that I still had a lot to learn about health and disease.
Q: How were you able to simultaneously complete your M.D. at UC San Diego and your J.D. at Yale? How have you found time to squeeze in two divergent degrees from institutions based at opposite ends of the country?
A: Lots of frequent flier miles. But, it wasn't all that bad. While it was a dual degree program, which reduced the academic requirements to a mere six years, I was only ever studying one thing at a time. Even at the same institution, it isn't possible to have law and medical coursework in the same semester, because medical school has such heavy time demands - often in excess of 80 hours a week. After a few semesters in medicine, I was downright eager to return to my studies in the law. That was something my law school classmates had trouble understanding. Read more.
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Crystal Chen, Third-year Day Student
Crystal Chen never passes up a good opportunity. As much as she loved her first two years at Southwestern, she could not muster the words to describe her excitement when she was offered a 2012 summer internship position with the New York Yankees. Born in New York and raised in Massachusetts, she graduated from Boston University with a degree in Music and a minor in Business. Then she moved three thousand miles from her East Coast roots to pursue a law degree at Southwestern because of the school’s excellent, national reputation for its entertainment law program.
An outstanding student, Chen delved into campus life. During her first year at Southwestern, she attended all sports and entertainment networking events. She reached out to Professor Christopher Cameron because of his expertise in labor and employment law and became his research assistant. "He gave me lots of advice about this area of the law," she said. In her second year, she was a member of the Moot Court Honors Program. She also served as chair of the newly-created Peer Mentor Program. In this position, she facilitated staff meetings, paired mentors with mentees and provided support to 13 mentees of her own. She was also Director of Student Affairs for the SBA.
So how did she wind up back in New York, working for the Yankees? It all started when she took advantage of Southwestern’s externship offerings. She found out about an opportunity with Mandalay Baseball Properties (a subsidiary of Mandalay Entertainment). In this externship, she worked for Executive VP Larry Freedman (who is now President). She began what was just supposed to be a summer externship in June 2011, but she ended up staying throughout the fall and spring of her second year. Because Mandalay Baseball Properties owns and operates several minor league baseball teams, Chen got experience drafting and reviewing contracts, working on sponsorships and dealing with naming rights issues. "I learned so much from the externship, from employment contracts to settlements for park patron injury liability," she said.
With a talent for effective planning and networking, Chen brainstormed with Freedman to come up with a plan to find a position for her second summer in law school. He set her up with contacts from both Nike and the San Diego Padres. On a trip back east, when he met with Lonn Trost, Chief Operating Officer for the Yankees, Freedman told him about Chen. He called her "one of his top interns" and passed along her resume. Within one day, she had an interview set up with her dream team. After a month in this position, Chen said, "My internship with the New York Yankees was everything that I imagined it would be, and much more. From day one, my supervisors involved me in complex issues that affect not just the New York Yankees, but also all of Major League Baseball. My research projects involve analyzing federal and state laws and how specific laws impact team operations."
One of the many highlights of her experience so far was accompanying her supervisors to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and observing oral arguments for a copyright case involving the team. "As a member of the 2011-2012 Moot Court Honors Program and a copyright research and teaching assistant for Professor David Fagundes, the trip to the Second Circuit really brought my classroom education to life," Chen explained. The Yankees organization agreed to extend her internship through the remainder of her third year. In order to graduate on time, she is finishing up her classes at Fordham Law School. But she will be back at Southwestern in time for commencement.
Chen credits Southwestern with giving her so many avenues in which to thrive in law school. She advises her peers to embrace such opportunities and treat their legal education as the official start of their careers. "One of things that really has stuck with me, was when Judge Darrell Mavis spoke at my orientation," she said. "He conducted the law student oath, and told us to be very aware of how you present yourself. I took that speech to heart, and it has really paid off."