Justice Chin of the California Supreme Court to Speak at Commencement Ceremony
The Honorable Ming W. Chin, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California, will deliver the keynote address at Southwestern's 95th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 16 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
An accomplished jurist, scholar, practitioner and decorated war veteran, Justice Chin has served in the legal profession for 40 years. He has authored landmark decisions in areas such as DNA, hate crimes, toxic tort insurance coverage, and surrogate parents.
"Our students are in for a treat," Dean Bryant Garth said. "Justice Chin has the stature, experience, insight, and wit to make a perfect commencement speaker." This will be Justice Chin's second time addressing Southwestern graduates, as he previously spoke at the law school's 1996 commencement ceremony, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Read more.
State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny '79 to Speak at Southwestern
California State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny '79 will deliver the Paul and Phyllis Treusch Public Service Lecture at Southwestern on Thursday, March 11 at 12:30 p.m. She will speak about how her legal education and private law practice experience have helped guide her in public policy debates, as well as key aspects of her position as a state senator including areas of budget, water, and Tribal Government relations. This will be the first of two Treusch Public Service Lectures presented at Southwestern this Spring.
Senator Ducheny has served in the California State Senate since November 2002, representing the 40th District, which includes Imperial County and portions of San Diego and Riverside Counties. Senator Ducheny chairs the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, and the Select Committees on California-Mexico Cooperation and the Colorado River. She is a member of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee, the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, the Select Committee on State School Facilities and the Joint Committee on Fairs, Allocation and Classification. She is also Chair of the Border Legislative Conference, a bi-national forum of state legislators from the 10 U.S.-Mexico Border States sponsored by the Council of State Governments and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
According to Dean Bryant Garth, "Senator Ducheny, one of our most accomplished graduates, truly embodies the commitment to public service that the Treusch lectureship seeks to recognize and inspire." Established in 2000 with a gift from the late Professor Paul Treusch and his wife Phyllis, the Treusch Public Service Lecture series brings national leaders in the public interest field to campus to share their unique experiences and insights with the Southwestern community. Read more.
Free Screening of "Precious" On Campus
There will be a free screening of the acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated film "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" on Wednesday, March 3 at 3:00 p.m. in W326. Prior to movie, a panel will briefly discuss family violence and ways to volunteer in the community. Panelists include Diego Cartagena and Rachel Sanders of The Alliance for Children's Rights, Amy Goldman of the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, and Rhonda Saunders of the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. The event is co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, Public Service Program, Public Interest Law Committee, Women's Law Association, and the SBA Community Affairs Committee. Snacks will be provided.
VITA Program Helps Los Angeles and Southwestern Community
As Southwestern's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program continues to expand, this year free tax preparation and e-file service will be extended to students, staff, and faculty. One-hour appointments are available 1-5 p.m. on Friday, March 5 and Friday, March 12 in W611. For Information on required documentation and to reserve a Friday appointment slot, call VITA at (213) 738-6609 and indicate that you are affiliated with the law school.
Last year, Southwestern's VITA Program completed 203 tax returns saving low income members of the local community an average of $1,095, a significant benefit for individuals who earn under $16,000 per year. In response to the program's popularity, the Tax Law Society is operating at several sites this year with dozens of participating student volunteers who passed the IRS mandated test (allowing them to provide this tax filing service). VITA volunteers provide assistance to the elderly and low income families in English and Spanish. There is an income soft cap of approximately $49,000 per year, per family. The program is only for personal income taxes (state and federal). IRS-supplied figures indicate Southwestern's VITA program produced refunds totaling in excess of $200,000, and, of equal importance, the most financially disadvantaged taxpayers qualified for a total of more than $75,000 through earned income credits.
"Southwestern's VITA program is a tremendous asset to the local community,” said Peter Schoettler, President of Southwestern's Tax Law Society. “We help hundreds of low-income clients each year to get refunds from the IRS that they may not have realized they are entitled to. When clients learn that they will be receiving an unexpected $2,000-$3,000 refund, and that they did not have to pay to have that return prepared, their sense of gratitude is incredibly satisfying."
New Clinical Teaching Fellowships Offered
Southwestern has announced the establishment of two new fellowships in the Children's Rights and Immigration Law clinics commencing this June. The fellowships provide a unique opportunity for young lawyers or recent law school graduates to gain experience in both clinical teaching and litigation in the areas of children's rights or immigration law. Each clinic will be assigned one clinical teaching fellow who will serve for two years.
The new fellowships are being funded with the help of a generous donation facilitated by Randall Renick '95, a partner in the law firm of Hadsell, Stormer, Keeny, Richardson & Renick, who served as Plaintiffs' Counsel in the Smokeless Tobacco Antitrust Litigation, which resulted in a significant cy-prés award to Southwestern's clinics.
"Each fellowship will allow a new lawyer to spend time honing skills in public interest lawyering and clinical teaching, with the expectation that at the end of the program, the fellow will be well-positioned to secure a position in one of those fields," Dean Bryant Garth explained. Read more.
Government Career Day
Although registration has passed, students are welcome to attend the panels and take advantage of the opportunity to network at Government Career Day, which will be held at Chapman Law School on Saturday, March 13. Last year, many government agencies from around Southern California participated in this day-long event, which included informal table-talk, panel discussions, lunchtime discussions focusing on different substantive areas of practice, and formal interviews for summer and postgraduate positions.
ABC's of Being a Law Clerk
Learn what you need to know and do to get the most out of your summer experience as a law clerk on on Tuesday, March 23 at 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. in W311. A "must-attend" for all students who are planning to work or extern this summer!
Public Interest and Post-Graduate Fellowships
If you are interested in pursuing a post-graduate fellowship after law school, this is the workshop for you. These one and two year fellowships are a great way to break into public interest or other areas, such as international law or public policy. Come learn when and how to explore these exciting opportunities on Thursday, March 25 at 12:30 p.m. and 5p.m. in W311.
For more information on these and other programs, contact the Career Services Office.
Library Offers New Electronic Resource
The Taylor Law Library has added CEB's OnLAW to its list of subscription databases. CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) was founded by the University of California and the State Bar of California and has provided continuing education for California attorneys since 1947. It publishes more than 140 practice books and action guides in practice areas such as California business law, civil litigation and torts, criminal law, employment, estate planning, family law and real property. These publications have long been available in print in the library, and can now be accessed and searched electronically on the OnLAW platform. OnLAW is available in the library by all authorized patrons including alumni. Remote access is restricted by license to current faculty, students and staff.
Jahmy Graham, Clinic Services Assistant, earned a B.A. in Business Administration from American Jewish University. He is also completing his MBA in Nonprofit Management with a thesis focusing on the delivery of pro-bono legal services. Because of his passion for social justice, he spent several years volunteering as an employment rights advocate at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, and has extensive experience in administration including operations, project management, marketing, and event coordination.
Southwestern Alumni Series - "My First Trial"
by Daniel Kramer '08, Attorney at Law with Gilbert, Kelly, Crowley & Jennett
On January 6, 2010, after 3 days of trial, 12 jurors unanimously found in favor of my client. This verdict came only 11 months after I was sworn in to practice law in the State of California. I represented the defendant in Von Sonn v. Friedman, a civil dispute involving an automobile accident in Marina Del Rey in August of 2007. Plaintiff, a construction company owner, sued my client for motor vehicle negligence alleging the accident caused a pinched nerve in his lower back resulting in pain radiating to his lower extremities. Plaintiff also claimed neck sprain, exacerbation of prior hip problems as well as a contusion to his right knee.
Plaintiff underwent a variety of treatments, including approximately eight months of physical therapy and orthopedic consultations. His primary care physician recommended future spine injections due to continued pain relating to the accident. Plaintiff's past medical bills totaled $22,000 as well as projected future care in the amount of $60,000. Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury for $60,000 in pain and suffering, for a grand total of $142,000 in damages. Plaintiff called one expert, an orthopedic specialist, to substantiate his claim.
My theme throughout the trial was that the minor impact did not cause a change in plaintiff's preexisting injuries. In the months leading up to trial, I spent countless hours combing through volumes of plaintiff's medical records constructing my arguments to make it user friendly for a jury of lay people. To strengthen my non-aggravation argument, I called an expert orthopedic surgeon to testify as to plaintiff's pre- and post-accident condition. To address the forces placed on plaintiff's body, I called a bio-mechanic expert. Read more.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Jeffrey Harris, Third-Year Day Program
Jeffrey Harris recently found out that he received a summer externship placement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where he will work in the Mediation and Litigation department. He is excited because this position will allow him to explore an area of law that captured his attention when he was an undergraduate.
As a business major at California Lutheran University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Finance, Harris learned about the way corporate decisions are made and became interested in the consequences of those choices, especially in cases such as Enron. The outcomes for employees in these scenarios - from the CEO to middle management to lower-level employees - intrigued him.
That is why he decided to go to law school. Although he has always been good at math, he knew he did not want to be an accountant because working with people was more appealing to him than crunching numbers. He is interested in many facets of the law including real estate, transactional, employment, and in-house counsel.
In particular, Harris enjoyed taking Alternative Dispute Resolution with Professor Gunning last semester and is getting a lot out of his current Employment Law course with Adjunct Professor Todd Smith. "I have had a great interest in ADR since early in my college career," he said. "I love being a mediator and negotiating. It's invigorating, gets my heart going. And it helps me see both sides of an issue."
Last summer, he completed an externship in the Public Integrity division of the District Attorney's Office. "I loved it, but it made me realize that criminal law and litigation isn't really for me. The Externship Office at Southwestern has done a world of good by enabling students to do so many externships. These experiences give us a lot of options and kinds of law to try."
Harris has also been active on campus. For the past two and half years he has focused his energies on Southwestern's General Relief Advocacy Project (GRAP), Teen Court, serving as an orientation leader and participating in other SBA clubs and activities. He is currently SBA secretary. He appreciates his choices as a student, too, beginning his law school career in Southwestern's part-time day (PLEAS) program and eventually switching to the full-time track. He will graduate this December.
Originally from San Diego, Harris says Southwestern was the right choice for him because he wanted to stay in Southern California. His wife, Courtney Duckworth-Harris, was accepted into USC's Occupational Therapy masters program at the same time.
With an inquisitive mind and diverse interests, Harris has enjoyed many of his classes and professors, including Contracts with Professor Hart, Criminal Law with Professor Strader and Civil Procedure with Dean Parrish, who he has assisted with a few projects. His favorite course was Constitutional Law with Professor Knipprath. "He opened my mind to a lot of ideas and he opened my eyes to the way I see the world," Harris said. "His way of presentation and teaching was really beneficial. He's our Faculty Advisor for the SBA, and helped us revise the SBA constitution in a way that will help it run more efficiently for years to come."
Intramural Competitions Times Three
For the first time, all three of Southwestern's advocacy honors programs - Moot Court, Negotiation and Trial Advocacy - will hold intramural competitions immediately following completion of the two mandatory advocacy rounds of the Spring LAWS II course. The 2010 mandatory advocacy rounds will occur on the weekends of March 13-14 and March 20-21.
Each of the advocacy honors programs will hold their intramural competition beginning the week of March 22. All three competitions will conclude with a final awards banquet on Saturday, April 10. Students are eligible to compete in only one intramural competition. First-year students who wish to be considered for membership in any of these advocacy programs must complete the requirements of the LAWS II course, participate in an intramural competition, and interview with program board members.
"This year's intramural competition season will be particularly exciting as students get to demonstrate their skills in the three arenas of advocacy taught in our new LAWS three-track program. Faculty, staff and honors program members have been working overtime to coordinate all of the details for the different competitions," said Vice Dean Austen Parrish. "We are all looking forward to the final banquet." Read more.
New Online Option for LL.M. in Entertainment Law Offered in Fall 2010
Lawyers around the world will now be able to take advantage of Southwestern's highly regarded LL.M. in Entertainment and Media Law when the program's new online option becomes available this fall in association with Kaplan Legal Education. The first courses offered will include Copyright Law and Entertainment Law with Professor Robert Lind, Internet and E-Commerce Law with Professor Michael Scott, and Theater Law with Professor Gordon Firemark. The online Entertainment and Media Law LL.M. will also feature specialized courses such as Adult Entertainment Law, Motion Picture Production Law, Entertainment Forensic Accounting, Fashion Law and more. Additional future courses may include Entertainment Industry Tax Law, Drafting Video Game Agreements, Financing and Distributing Independent Films, Information Privacy Law, International and Comparative Media Law, International Copyright Law, Music Publishing Industry Law, and Television Production Law.
"Southwestern's online entertainment and media law program will provide a virtual classroom in which materials are more quickly updated, and the array of visual and audio works used by professors help make the online classes directly relevant to the issues covered in the courses," Professor Robert Lind, Director of the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, explained. "Due to the developments in digital technology, it is now possible to teach law in an environment that approximates and may at times even exceed that experienced in a 'live' class. While maintaining personal contact with students, professors can incorporate the unlimited resources of the Internet into their classes, as well as images and sounds specifically created or selected for use in connection with specific concepts and issues."
Information about Southwestern's resident and online LL.M. in Entertainment and Media Law may be obtained from the Biederman Institute.
PROFESSOR JAMES KUSHNER
PROFESSOR CHRISTINE LORILLARD
- Guest Lecturer, "Global Climate Change," Online Environmental Law Course, Mercer Law School
PROFESSOR ROBERT PUGSLEY
- Southwestern's PLEAS Program, A New Place for Flexible Programs, 38 SOUTHWESTERN LAW REVIEW 645 (2009)
- Quoted in "Case against Michael Jackson's doctor centers on gross negligence," Christian Science Monitor
- Interviewed regarding Feds push for tracking cell phones, "Dateline Washington," Radio America Network
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
Dennis P.R. Codon '77, chair of Southwestern's Board of Trustees, has joined the law firm of Blank Rome LLP as Partner in the Public Companies and Capital Formation group where he focuses his practice on complex business transactions and corporate governance issues. He was previously a partner in the Corporate Governance department of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP, for several years, following more than 30 years at Unocal Corporation where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Mr. Codon has been a Southwestern trustee since 1994 and also serves on the Southwestern-Drucker Leadership Council.
John A. Schulman has joined the law firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP as Partner and Chair of the Entertainment Department and is serving as Executive Director of the Entertainment Law Program at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Mr. Schulman retired from Warner Bros. last year after serving as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for 25 years. Very active at Southwestern since he joined the Board of Trustees in 2004, he also serves on the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute's Executive Board, has hosted "Conversations with..." events and served as a guest lecturer in the First Amendment Seminar and other entertainment law classes.
Trustee Emeritus Dr. Frank L. Ellsworth recently completed a year as Interim President of Art Center College of Design. Dr. Ellsworth's long and distinguished career combined teaching and administrative management at academic institutions throughout the United States including Penn State University, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Chicago and The Claremont Colleges where he was the youngest president (Pitzer College) in the history of The Claremont Colleges. He also served as President of the Independent Colleges of Southern California and the Japan Society. Dr. Ellsworth has been a member of Southwestern's Board of Trustees since 1982, served as Vice Chair of the Board from 1986 to 1997, and was named Trustee Emeritus in 2003.
Southwestern's BLSA Chapter Triumphs at Regional Convention
Doucet and Youssef
With a solid history of strong performances at the Black Law Student Association's regional and national competitions, Southwestern's chapter excelled at the recent 2010 Western Regional BLSA Convention in San Francisco. Second-year students Danielle Doucet and Yasmin Youssef took Second Place and Youssef was named Best Oral Advocate at the convention's moot court competition. Southwestern's chapter also won recognition as Western Region BLSA Chapter of the Year, and Calvin Lowery was named Western Region BLSA Board Member of the Year.
Coached by Professor Tara Walters, Doucet and Youssef competed against teams from throughout California in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition. The problem they argued focused on two appellate issues involving the constitutionality of a search and seizure case as well as the Federal Post Release Supervision Enhancement Act. "Professor Walters really pushed us to be thoroughly prepared through practice, research, practice and more research," Youssef said. "Also, our team dynamic was great."
Doucet added, "We had great BLSA alumni judges for our practice rounds who gave us very useful comments on how to improve our arguments." In March, the duo will argue the same problem at the Nationals in Boston. Read more.
(from left) Jennifer Yuen,
Wendy Tseng and Parrisa Peik
Moot Court Team Places Second in National Sports Law Competition
They made it look easy in the Big Easy. Southwestern's Moot Court Honors Program continued its tradition of success as writer Wendy Tseng and oralists Jennifer Yuen and Parrisa Peik earned a Second Place finish at the 2010 Mardi Gras Sports Law Moot Court Competition in New Orleans.
The competition took place at Tulane University Law School and the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans. Southwestern's team competed against more than 40 law schools, including teams from Yale, Harvard, UC Hastings, New York Law School, UNLV and Arizona State. This competition dealt with sports law in the labor context, specifically exploring issues of preemption and arbitration awards.
Southwestern's team spent approximately three months preparing their brief and oral arguments. "Until the end of competition, the team lived and breathed this problem," Tseng said. "In addition to our own efforts in preparation, our team had a fantastic support system." Read more.
Two Negotiation Honors Program Teams Place in Paradise
Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program sent two teams to Hawaii to compete in the 2010 ABA Client Counseling Competition, which was recently held at the University of Hawaii School of Law in Honolulu. Both performed exceptionally well. The team of Chad Derby and Natalie Weatherford earned Second Place and Kyle Marks and Alan Harris finished fourth.
"Both teams had outstanding performances and independently had at least one judge give them perfect scores," said Professor Nyree Gray, who co-advised the teams with Professor Cristina Knolton. "We were the only law school with two teams to advance to the semifinal round. Our [Second Place] team had a very close match with UC Davis in the finals." Read more.
Annual Honors Program Members Challenge Winners Announced
It's a tie! Congratulations are extended to the members of the Southwestern Law Review and Southwestern Journal of International Law, winners of the Second Annual Honors Program Members Challenge. The Challenge is an initiative designed to help Southwestern reconnect with those alumni who graduated during the past 15 years and participated in Law Review, Law Journal, Moot Court or the Trial Advocacy Honors Program. It also gives alumni the opportunity to support Southwestern's Annual Fund in an entertaining way - no matter the dollar amount. An impressive 136 alumni and 39 students participated in the challenge and raised $6,500 for the Annual Fund, a 40 percent increase over last year's total.
The winning programs were determined by percentage - the groups that could attract the largest pool of alumni to donate. To reward their outstanding effort, members of Law Review and Law Journal were invited to attend the Los Angeles Clippers game verses the Utah Jazz on March 1 with lower lodge seats just behind the basket.
The Institutional Advancement Office would like to extend its appreciation to all the students and alumni who participated and made this challenge a success. Click here for more information on the Honors Program Members Challenge.
Southwestern Student Honored by GRAMMY Foundation
Elissa Felman, a second-year day student, was selected as one of five scholarship recipients from a nationwide pool of talented law students who entered the GRAMMY Foundation's 12th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) Writing Competition. Her essay focused on the economic impact of strict visa requirements for foreign entertainers trying to enter United States and how it affects the industry. It also explored how the creation of a new visa could open up opportunities for more entertainers and have a positive financial impact.
Felman (pictured above, fourth from right), a singer and piano player, earned a B.B.A in music business from Belmont University in Nashville and chose law school - particularly Southwestern's Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute - in order to further her career in the music industry. Although the ELI competition coincided with a particularly hectic time (during finals and the holidays), she knew it was important to compete. According to many entertainment lawyers, winners of the GRAMMY and other essay contests are highly sought candidates when they are ready to enter the field of entertainment law. Read more.
Law Review/Law Journal Announce
Congratulations are extended to the following students on their appointment to leadership positions on the boards of Law Review and Law Journal.
Special Projects Editor
Notes and Comments Editors
Lead Articles Editors
Lead Article Editors
Note and Comment Editors
Research/Special Projects Editors