LSSSE Survey Participation Increases
Southwestern is pleased to announce that the final response rate for the 2007
Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) is 57%, exceeding last year's
results of 53%. The faculty and staff greatly appreciate the efforts of students who responded to this
year's survey. Southwestern will receive a comprehensive report from
LSSSE in late summer and will be able to use the data to continue to generate
ideas on how to better serve students.
Graduating Students - Check
Out a New Resource for Bar Exam Tips
Valuable information to help you prepare for the California Bar Exam
has been added to the Bar Exam Resources section of Southwestern's website. Included
in this section is a list of faculty who will be available to answer
questions over the summer, listed by exam category and area of law.
"Best First-Year Moot Court Program in the Nation"
Michelle Raji and Heshanthi Rohanath take top Oralist Honors and Shara
Davenport Named Best Writer
Hon. Steven Levinson, Associate Justice for the Supreme Court of Hawaii,
commented that Southwestern has, "by far, the best first-year
Moot Court program in the nation."
(From left) Hon. Wilson, Hon. Kistler, Michelle Raji, Hon. Levinson, Heshanthi Rohanath and Hon. Butler
His remark came at the conclusion of the law school's 2007 Intramural
Moot Court Competition. Finalists Michelle Raji and Heshanthi Rohanath
took turns arguing their cases before the final bench of four jurists,
answering their rapid-fire questions. Earlier, both advocates had spent
the April afternoon at the Richard S. Chambers United States Court
of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena triumphing in their respective
In the end, Raji was selected First Place Oralist and Rohanath took
Second. Later, at the Awards Reception on Southwestern's campus, Shara
Davenport was named First Place Writer.
During the final oral arguments, the clock ran out for Raji, a representative
for the fictitious state of Westmoreland, but the bench wanted to keep
it going. "I know we're over time," Justice Levinson said. "But
we're having fun." Rohanath was given another moment to reiterate
her arguments as well. All four members of the final bench made it
clear that both advocates did an outstanding job of arguing their cases
and the decision was incredibly close. Read
Dorsey High School Students Get a Lesson in Law at Southwestern
As part of Southwestern's minority outreach efforts, an eager contingent of students
from Dorsey High School spent a late-April morning at the law school
learning about negotiation. Professors Isabelle Gunning, Karen Smith,
Katherine Sheehan, and Laura Dym Cohen, along with students from the
Muslim, Black, and Latino Law Students Associations, helped organize
the event. "It came from recognizing the need for more minority
students in law school," third-year day student A.D. Williams
said. "The goal of the program is to give these students a different
image of lawyers than what they are used to seeing in the hope they
realize that they can pursue law as a career regardless of their circumstances.
Its one thing for the kids to hear about it, but the impact is
so much greater when they see law students who look, dress, and talk
just like them."
The minority outreach program aims to connect with high schools (and community
colleges), especially those with a high percentage of minority and working
class students, and excite them about law school generally and Southwestern
in particular, Professor Gunning explained.
"I hope that the students will feel that law school is something that they
are capable of doing and something at which they will excel," Professor
Gunning said. "In addition, the high school students see our law school
students of all colors and backgrounds working together successfully." Read
Honors Programs Announce 2007-2008 Leadership
Southwestern congratulates the following students on their appointments
to leadership positions in two of the school's honors programs:
Moot Court Board of Governors
Nick Francescon (Chair)
Interscholastic Trial Advocacy Program
Board of Governors
Doug Baek - Chair
Andrew Pongracz - Academics
Bahar Geslin - Alumni Relations & Special Events
Marie Maurice - Competitions
Students Elect 2007-2008 SBA Executive Board
Following elections held last month, the Student Bar Association announced next year's governing board. The elected officers are:
President - Robert Glassman
Vice President (Day) - Mitch Federer
Vice President (Evening) - Nicole Pierson
Treasurer - Heshanti Rohanath
Secretary - Jessica Munoz
ABA Representative - Matt Lane
SBA Honors Students and Organizations with Awards
Last month, at the Annual Student Awards Banquet, the following "SBA
Awards" were presented in recognition of outstanding service during
the 2006-2007 school year:
SBA Student Organization of the Year Award
and Sports Law Society
SBA New Student Organization of the Year Award
Tax Law Society
SBA Staff Member of the Year Award
SBA Class Representative of the Year Award
Law Review & Law Journal Announce Write-on Competition for 2007
Don't miss the opportunity to become a member of Law Review or Law Journal! The Southwestern University Law Review
and Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas
2007 Write-on Competition packet will be available Friday, July 27 at the Library Circulation Desk or online. The deadline to submit is Monday, August 6. More information will be mailed to eligible students and is also available online
. Questions should be directed to Law Review
, Law Journal
or the Student Affairs Office
Q: You served as director of the legal writing program for the past 12 years. What was the most significant part of your experience?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
A: The most significant part of my experience was the relationships I developed with the research faculty and the LAWS faculty. They are a tremendous group of teachers who are committed to the program and who have dedicated themselves to their students. It has been a wonderful collaboration.
Q: Although this year's Moot Court problem was developed and written collaboratively, you were the principal author the previous eleven years. What things do you consider when you are writing the problem?
A: The spring semester of the LAWS course is one of the highlights of the first-year student experience, and so the Moot Court problem has to be well-thought through. It has to be interesting for students, teachers, and judges alike. A significant challenge in developing the problem arises because the problem has to have two issues, as students pair up into teams, with each student responsible for one of the issues. Finding two issues that are compatible with each other and that are nearly equal in complexity is difficult. Once I've found the two issues, I start constructing the record. I draft the pleadings and documents, deposition excerpts, and anything else needed to complete the factual and legal record upon which the problem is based. I've always liked this part of the process because I can get creative in inserting, shaping, and slanting the facts in obvious and subtle ways so that the students really have to dig into and think carefully about the record to make their arguments and to respond to the other side's arguments.
Q: What is the most important piece of legal writing advice you would give to students?
A: Understand the task in front of you; understand your goal; and understand your audience. Then shape your writing to accomplish your goal. Give yourself as much time as possible to review and revise your writing.
Q: How did your previous work as a counselor and therapist prepare you for a career in law?
A: Both counseling and lawyering share the goal of helping people, and both fields require understanding and working with people in order to help them as much as possible. Because of my education and training in psychology and counseling, I think I have become a better listener. Effective lawyers are good listeners and they are adept at getting people to reveal what they know and even what they feel. Counselors, therapists, and lawyers also need to be effective communicators. It's important to communicate with people in a way that makes sense to them.
Q: Talk a bit about the recent awards you've received from APALSA and the Moot Court Honors Program.
A: I was and still am incredibly humbled and honored to have received APALSA's first Lifetime Achievement Award this past month. Going forward, I hope I can live up to it. I am very lucky to have worked with outstanding APALSA presidents and board members over the past 15 years. Every APALSA board has worked hard to serve not just its membership but to extend its help to every student and to also serve the law school community generally.
Receiving a dedication from the Moot Court Honors Program this year was also a great honor. I am always impressed by what great advocates represent Southwestern. Every team has to do a tremendous amount of work for its competition, and the students' overall commitment to the program has inspired me to do as much as I could to help make the first-year intramural competition as good as possible. I've worked closely with every Moot Court board since I arrived at Southwestern 15 years ago. The board and I, along with substantial help from many administrators, have worked together on the intramural competition for the past 12 years. I have participated in the Moot Court Boot Camp, dating back to its first session some 14 or 15 years ago. Overall, I have greatly enjoyed working with Moot Court.
Q: In 2000, you were honored for Excellence in Teaching. In your opinion, what makes an outstanding law professor?
A: We have a great faculty at Southwestern, and I was thrilled to have received the Excellence in Teaching Award. I think teachers have to adopt a classroom style that is true to who they are because ultimately they reveal themselves to their students anyway. For my civil procedure class, I try to keep in mind that I have first-year students, that law school is stressful, and that civil procedure concepts are difficult and foreign to many students. On top of all that, the course covers a lot of topics. I want my students to be relaxed in class and not tight, because anxiety is counterproductive to learning. So, I try not to take myself too seriously, but I want my students to take the material seriously and prepare for class. Students need to have some confidence in their professors. They need to know that the professor is on their side, has faith in them and really cares that the students grasp the material. Gaining the students' confidence also means that the professor has demonstrated mastery over the material. I prepare for every class like it's the last class I'm going to teach, because the truth is that's probably the only class in the semester that I will be covering a certain topic or point or case. As I'm preparing, I try to visualize how the class will progress, what I must emphasize, and what concepts may prove to be difficult to convey. Of course, experience comes in handy, and communicating effectively is an important key. I find repetition works well, and I will reiterate major themes, concepts, and rules several times throughout the course.
Q: What are some of your interests outside the legal profession?
A: I like to cook. I find cooking creative and relaxing. And besides, we've got to eat anyway. I also like working in the garden and going to Dodger games.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: I like an assortment of music (rock, pop, 60s-70s Motown, 80s new wave, hip-hop, etc.). I really like the Beatles. Although they recorded as a group for only about eight years, their recordings form an impressive body of work. Their albums were consistently excellent and their music evolved in interesting and complex ways. They experimented with different musical genres and recording techniques, and their experimentation combined with their great musicianship (Ringo, by the way, is an incredibly under-rated drummer) produced music that was unique, varied, and, for me, deeply satisfying. Let me also add that I like listening to and watching comedians. They walk the high wire every time they take the stage, and they have to be confident about their material and in tune with the audience.
Q: What are some of your favorite legal themed movies/TV shows?
A: I pretty much like them all. I like all the different "Law and Order" shows. I like the corny, old-fashioned ones like "Matlock" and "Perry Mason." Whenever there's a hot legal or political issue, I like watching the pundits in action.
Q: As President-Elect of the Japanese American Bar Association, what are some of your goals for the organization?
A: I am greatly honored to be JABA's President-Elect this year, and to be its 32nd President in 2008. JABA has a long history of service to the community. I want to help JABA continue its many activities and programs. JABA has established a Judicial Candidate Mentoring Program in which JABA members interested in becoming a judge or commissioner can be mentored by judicial officers. JABA has created a Diversity Committee, which is dedicated to creating partnerships with government agencies and private organizations in promoting diversity across the legal profession. The Committee also directs its efforts in motivating and educating students about the law and career opportunities in the legal field to encourage those with diverse backgrounds to enter the legal profession. More information about JABA can be found at www.jabaonline.org. JABA membership is open to anyone with interests and ties to the Japanese American community and who want to discuss issues, network, and serve the community. And membership is free to law students and new admittees.
PROESSOR DAVID KOHLER
PROFESSOR ROBERT LUTZ
- Panel Moderator, "Video in the Digital Age," Hot Topics in Intellectual
Property, Duke University (remarks will be published in the DUKE LAW AND TECHNOLOGY
- Moderator, "The Court System and the Media," Armenian Bar Association
Annual Meeting, Santa Monica
- Panelist, "Surgery on Dinosaurs: The Future of the Media Lawyer," 20th
Annual Media and the Law Seminar, Lawrence, KS
- Organizer, Moderator and Commentator, "International and Foreign Law in
Courts: The U.S. Controversy and the Foreign Perspectives," Spring
Meeting, ABA Section of International Law, Washington, D.C.
- Speaker, "The International and National Legal Framework for Evaluating
Anti-Terrorism Strategies: An Analysis of Critical Issues," Department
of Public Policy, School of Public Affairs, UCLA
- Speaker, "Workshop for Latin American Law Professors," Latin
American Law Workshop, Whitney R. Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies,
University Law School
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
Professor Tracy L. Turner Appointed Director of LAWS Program
Tracy L. Turner, Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and
Skills (LAWS), has been appointed as director of the LAWS Program.
She succeeds Professor Dennis Yokoyama who directed Southwestern's
legal research and writing program for the past 12 years and will now
concentrate his teaching efforts in civil procedure, remedies and related
areas (see interview).
According to Dean Bryant G. Garth, "Professor Turner brings
outstanding academic and professional experience to the classroom and
in the transformation of Southwestern's legal research and writing
course into our new cutting-edge Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills
Southwestern Cited in New Book on Legal Education
Southwestern is featured in a new book Educating Lawyers: Preparation
for the Profession of Law (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass) by William M.
Sullivan, Anne Colby, Judith Welch Wegner, Lloyd Bond, and Lee S. Shulman.
It explores the Carnegie Foundation's study of American and Canadian
law schools, where extensive field work was conducted during the 1999-2000
academic year. Southwestern's new first-year curriculum is cited as an example program along with
some high profile schools in the text. The back cover also features the
following quote from Dean Garth, "Educating Lawyers is no doubt
the best work on the analysis and reform of legal education that I
have ever read. There is a call for deep changes in the way law is
taught, and I believe that it will be a landmark in the history of
Hot Off the Press and Straight to Your Computer
Soon to hit a mailbox near you, the latest issue of the law school's magazine swlawnow
includes features on the people, programs and events of Southwestern.
Copies of the magazine will be mailed to students and alumni shortly,
and is also available online at www.swlaw.edu/news/publications.
Southwestern and West Legalworks to Co-host International
IT Law Summit
What internet issues are keeping Chief Privacy Officers
up at night?
Can you successfully negotiate the local laws and hidden complexities
in an international outsourcing project? How do you revitalize a failing
large-scale IT project?
These questions, along with some of the most important legal trends,
the newest business initiatives and cutting-edge technology advances
will be explored at the International IT Law Summit 2007, presented
by Southwestern and West Legalworks™. The two-day conference
will take place on campus June 7-8.
Information technology has been
the driving force behind U.S. economic growth, adding $2 trillion a year
to the economy over the last decade,
according to a report by the Information Technology and Innovation
Foundation. Yet, with the rush to acquire and develop the latest and
greatest technology, companies have not fully contemplated the complex
and continuously-evolving legal and regulatory issues looming over
their deals. From data privacy protection to IP licensing to IT insurance
to patent prosecution, attorneys must be equipped with an up to the
minute understanding of the law and the latest strategies and practical
approaches for successfully managing, enforcing and protecting information
nationally and globally. Southwestern and West Legalworks have created
this one-of-a-kind event to help professionals optimize IT deals and
be better prepared to identify and solve the pressing legal concerns
of deal-making in today's whirlwind technology arena. For more information, contact Professor Michael Scott, and to register for the summit, call (800) 308-1700 or (212) 337-8444,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.westlegalworks.com.
Alumni Reception Pays Tribute to Alumni, Faculty and Students
The Southwestern community celebrated the Alumni Association's 20th
Annual Awards Recognition Reception on Thursday, April 19 with a silent
and live auction. This year's honorees included "Alumnus of the Year," Michael J. Downer '81, Senior Vice President, Fund Business Management
and Coordinator of Legal Compliance at Capital Research and Management; "Outstanding
Judicial Officer," Hon. David S. Wesley '72, Supervising Judge
of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Criminal Division; and "Outstanding
Friend," Professor Karen Smith.
(from left) Michael J. Downer, Hon. David S. Wesley, Dean Bryant G. Garth and Professor Karen Smith
In addition, two students were presented with scholarships during the annual
event, which is held to raise money for the scholarship fund. This year's recipients,
first-year SCALE student Joshua David Buck and second-year day student Greg
Mohrman, were selected based on their active involvement in community and law
school activities while upholding academic excellence.
Joshua David Buck and Greg Mohrman
Southwestern Alumna is Trump's New "Apprentice"
Stefanie Schaeffer '99 graduated from the law school's two-year
Southwestern alumna Stefanie Schaeffer has been chosen as "The
Apprentice." She won the sixth season of the NBC hit reality show
and a new job working for mogul Donald Trump, who said to her during
the show's live finale at the Hollywood Bowl, "You're obviously
brilliant based on your academic background."
Schaeffer, a 32-year-old
L.A. trial attorney, attributes much of her success on the show to
her legal education at Southwestern. She graduated
in 1999 from the law school's accelerated SCALE program. Read
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This Month: Second-year Day Student Thomas Cassaro
day student Thomas Cassaro is involved in finding methods to resolve many
issues in a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles, from
making neighborhoods safe to finding ways to make living near work affordable. "I'm
interested in things like how to make education work better in a city where
there is a lot of potential but lots of problems," he said. With
that impetus, he established the Public Policy Group (PPG) at Southwestern
to focus on people, agencies, and tools that can help people make positive
changes in their lives. As president of PPG, one of his goals is to publish
a journal that will serve as a public resource.
Cassaro's path to law school
has been far from traditional. Born and raised in Chicago, he initially
worked as a clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
and attended classes at DePaul University. But one especially vicious winter
in the mid-90s inspired him to move to Los Angeles's mild climate. One
of his new roommates in L.A. was a chef who cooked for touring bands. Cassaro
had worked as a short-order cook in high school, and soon he too went on
the road as a sous-chef. "It was a great time. I traveled extensively," he
said. He first toured with the Rolling Stones. He also prepared food for
Tori Amos, Phil Collins and Sarah McLachlan and learned to cook regional
cuisine, depending on where they were.
Several years later it got more
difficult to live on the road, especially after he adopted his pound-dog,
Paco. Another friend connected him to a
similar job for movie catering, which wouldn't require as much travel.
Cassaro fed the casts and crews on the sets of several films from "Castaway" to "The
Haunting" to "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." He also went
on to complete his B.A. degree in history at UCLA. During this time he
became involved with the community, working on social justice issues for
Los Angeles Friends of Tibet, where he was honored as 1999 Volunteer of
the Year. A Santa Monica judge he met through this organization inspired
him to pursue a law degree.
For the coming academic year, in addition to
his involvement in the PPG, Cassaro will serve as president of NALSA, although
he isn't Native American. "My
grandfather was a Native American history aficionado and it was one of
my focuses at UCLA," he said. "Plus, I had Professor Riley for
Property during my first year at Southwestern, and we really hit it off.