Commencement Speaker and Singer Selected
At Southwestern's 96th Commencement Ceremony on May 15 at the Shrine Auditorium, Krystle Thompson (day program) will deliver the student address and Shanna Moore (SCALE II) will sing the national anthem.
Student Commencement Speaker
Thompson volunteered to work at last year's commencement ceremony and found the student speaker so engaging and inspiring that she immediately knew that it was an opportunity that she wanted to pursue. "I've always been such a supporter of my classmates and the school, so I felt compelled to also support us as we moved on to the next steps in our careers," she said. "As Southwestern graduates, we should be excited about this thrilling new time in our lives."
Last year, Thompson served as Co-President of the Women's Law Association. She used her personal connections to help Southwestern host the Ms. JD's 4th Annual Women in the Law Conference, which was held in April. With an interest in pursuing IP law, she externed at RKO Pictures, working on the copyright chain of title for the company’s extensive film library. She also served as a teaching assistant to Professor Michael Scott's Copyright and Internet and E-Commerce Law classes. Thompson has been heavily involved with the Intellectual Property Law Section of the ABA this year, serving on two of its boards as the Law Student Liaison, providing the voice for more than 9,000 law student members. After commencement, she will continue her work with the IP Law Section of the ABA.
"I am so excited and honored to be chosen to represent my fellow graduates," Thompson said. "The Class of 2011 is such an amazing group of people that the inspiration to write a speech honoring them came easily."
National Anthem Singer
Moore grew up singing in various choirs and received formal training when she pursued a degree in vocal performance as an undergraduate student at San Francisco State University. She is proud to represent her SCALE II class at graduation and give the tight-knit group more exposure to the rest of the Southwestern community.
Although SCALE has kept her very busy, Moore has delved into campus life. She is a member of BLSA, where she was recently named Best Oralist at the Moot Court Competition that was part of the organization's Western Regional Convention in Las Vegas. Additionally, Moore is a member of Southwestern's Women's Law Association, Entertainment Sports Law Society and Tax Law Society, and she participated in Southwestern's VITA tax law program, served as a Dean's Fellow and assisted Professor Ron Aronovsky in researching an article about civil procedure.
Singing at commencement will be an emotional performance for Moore, who has been accepted to LL.M. tax programs at Georgetown and Northwestern. "I've come a long way in accomplishing my law degree," Moore said. "This degree has been 25 years in the making, and I think I'm a testimony to the fact that in this country, people can achieve dreams, and even greatness, if they are willing to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them."
Negotiation Team Wins National Environmental Law Competition
Third-year day student Jessica Rafipour and third-year evening student Antwoin Wall won First Place at the Lewis and Clark National Environmental Negotiation Competition, which was held at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. In addition to Rafipour and Wall, Southwestern's other Negotiation Honors Program team of second-year day students Garrett Behrens and Tim Kuhl also advanced to the final round.
Six teams from three law schools competed, including Lewis and Clark, Willamette University College of Law and Southwestern. In both the semi-final and the final rounds, Southwestern's Rafipour and Wall defeated the host school.
"The key to our success was composed of two essential elements: active listening and teamwork," Wall said. "With negotiating, listening is as, if not more, critical than speaking. And our teamwork was amazing. By the time we arrived at the competition, we were practically able to finish each other's statements. The judges were very impressed with how well we worked together, but we could not have succeeded, especially in the final round, without the guidance of our coach, Kyle Marks '10 (former Chair of the Negotiation Honors Program). Kyle was instrumental in keeping us calm, focused, and ready to win." Read more.
Moot Court Team Earns Second Place at National Evidence Competition
(from left, all holding awards) Professor Garland, Chandler Parker, Bryan Swaim and Courtney Martin with the judges
Southwestern's Moot Court team of second-year day student Courtney Martin and SCALE II students Chandler Parker and Bryan Swaim earned Second Place at the 26th Annual Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition. Brooklyn Law School hosted the event in which 36 teams competed. Southwestern's team defeated Georgetown in the quarterfinals and USC in the semifinals before losing to Georgia State in the last round.
"Preparing for the competition was challenging, intense, and extremely rewarding," Parker said. "What contributed most to our success was that each member of our team was truly committed to doing their best in the competition and was willing to put in the extraordinary amount of work required to succeed. Furthermore, our faculty advisor, Professor Norman Garland, proved to be an indispensable resource in terms of helping us expand our understanding of the law and perfect our arguments. The professors and alumni who donated their time and energy to judge us during the practice rounds truly prepared us for the difficult judges we faced in competition."
Professor Garland said it was a joy and a thrill to take this team to the Prince Competition. "The brief was solid and the three advocates were each and all worthy of top notch performances," he said. "And they delivered. They were on top of the subject and were a dream to coach. We lost by the narrowest of margins in the final round. I could not be prouder." Read more.
Moot Court Team Wins Second Place Brief, Reaches Semifinals
At the Tulane Mardis Gras National Sports Law Competition, Southwestern's Moot Court team of third year day students Daniel Benji, Trish Rosman and second-year day student Jenifer Slott received the award for Second Place Brief. The team defeated schools from UC Hastings, University of Kansas and Texas Tech to reach the semifinals. Alumnus Oliver Vasquez '00 coached the team to argue two issues: 1) whether a state sponsored sports gambling scheme satisfied a statutory exception to a federal anti-gambling statute; and 2) whether sports betting would be valid under a state-run lottery exception to its constitutional prohibition on gambling. Team member Benji said, "It was an extraordinary experience representing Southwestern and competing against such talented oral advocates."
TAHP Students Recognized at Competition
Of the Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) teams that competed in the American Association for Justice's Student Trial Advocacy Competition, two Southwestern students were individually recognized for their advocacy skills. Second-year evening student Kunal Jain won the award for "Best Witness,” and second-year day student Michael Bauer received two honorable mentions for his work as an advocate during the competition.
Junior Advocates Shine in TAHP's Bonelli Competition
This year marks the fifth annual John G. Bonelli Memorial Intramural Mock Trial Competition, the competition-based final examination for Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) Junior Advocates. The family of Southwestern alumnus and legendary Los Angeles trial lawyer John G. Bonelli '54 graciously sponsors the competition in honor of Mr. Bonelli by recognizing the two finalist teams and best individual advocate for their outstanding trial skills. Jeff Bonelli, Mr. Bonelli's son and an outstanding trial lawyer himself, judges the final round and presents the awards to the winners.
Bonelli Finalists Dora K. Clements (far right), J.B. Twomey (second from right) and Mathew Rudes (seated) with the judges and Jeff Bonelli.
This year, 19 Junior Advocates from the day, evening and SCALE programs competed in a two-round mock trial competition where the two top scoring teams faced off in a championship round to determine the best team. Students were required to present all aspects of a trial, including motions in limine, opening statement, direct and cross examinations and closing argument, and presented both sides of a civil defamation case - once as the prosecution and once as the defense. TAHP alumni returned to judge the Junior Advocates performances in both preliminary rounds, while Jeff Bonelli along with Hon. James Dabney, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, and Hon. David Herriford, also of the Los Angeles Superior Court, judged the final round to declare the champion. Dora K. Clements was named the winner of this year's Bonelli Competition and also received the nod for Best Advocate. Mathew Rudes and J.B. Twomey were honored as Second Place Team.
First-year Students Demonstrate Their Advocacy Skills in LAWS Competitions
They researched, wrote and practiced. They competed and advanced. And then they put on their most professional attire to argue, negotiate and present their cases to esteemed local, state and federal jurists. Southwestern's first-year students completed their intramural advocacy competitions in a gracefully choreographed, three-ring legal circus.
The culminating activity of Southwestern's unique three-track Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS) program enabled first-year law students to participate in and receive recognition for excellence in appellate (moot court), negotiation, or trial advocacy. Prominent members of the bench and bar served as judges for the final rounds in all three tracks.
Following two mandatory LAWS rounds, a total of 251 students out of 375 went on to the intramural rounds: 105 for moot court, 99 for negotiation, and 47 for trial advocacy. The top oralists and writers from those respective competitions are eligible to interview for membership in the Moot Court, Negotiation and Trial Advocacy honors programs.
During the Awards Banquet on April 9 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, where many of the winners were announced, Vice Dean Austen Parrish praised the participants. "Southwestern is the only law school in the country to offer a three-track LAWS program. All of the students were simply extraordinary in their competitions," he said. "It is evenings like this that make us as professors proud to call Southwestern our home. Read more.
Moot Court and TAHP Announce 2011-2012 Leadership
Southwestern congratulates the following students on their appointments to leadership positions in the school's honors programs:
Shannon Wainwright, Chair; Sabrina Jangda; Zayri Jilizian; Chris Knipprath; Rebecca Kohanbashiri; and Jenifer Slott
Ilyssa M. Adler, Chair; Timothy R. Kuhl; and Timothy Sutton
J.B. Twomey, Chair; Anet Badali; Katherine Bruce; Dora Clements; and Kunal Jain
Law Review and Law Journal Announce 2011-12 Leaders
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
Amy Beverlin, Daniel Kohler, Margaret Leidy and Melinda Carrido
Lead Articles Editors
Courtney Martin, Iman Nabizadeh, Meagan Gyongyos and Sarah Braun
Special Projects Editors
Nathalie Dina and Naseem Arjmand
Notes and Comments Editors
Elliott Jung, Alexander Larian, Hovik Oganesyan and Johnny Rundell
Lead Articles Editors
Natalie Rodriguez, Troy Mueller, Antoine Pitts and Adam Rapaport
Ilyssa Adler, Tiffany Gardner, Deborah Kahn, Shawnell Russell
Write-On in 2011
Don't miss the chance to become a member of Law Review or Law Journal through the Write-on Competition, open to all students who have completed at least the first-year day, second-year evening, second-year PLEAS, or first-year SCALE programs. The competition packet will be available online through a special TWEN page on Monday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m. Submissions are due Wednesday, May 18 by 5:00 p.m. Additional information is available online or through the Law Review and Law Journal offices.
Three-Peat: BLSA Negotiation Team Wins National Convention Competition
At the 43rd Annual National Black Law Students Association Convention held in Houston, Texas, Southwestern's BLSA chapter dominated once again. The team of second-year day students Gerri Marshall and Ryan Bonner won First Place in the Negotiation Competition, receiving the 2011 NBLSA International Negotiations Competition Pratima Narayan Award. This is the third consecutive year that Southwestern's BLSA chapter has won this competition.
(from left) Ryan Bonner, Courtney Collins and Gerri Marshall
Marshall attributed the team's success to the dedication of their coaches, Courtney Collins (third-year day) and Brent Tilley (fourth-year evening). Collins won the negotiation competition in 2010 and Tilley won in 2009. "Brent and Courtney gave up a lot of their time to practice with Ryan and me," Marshall explained. "We could not have won the competition without the sacrifices that they made for us. The five weeks of preparation consisted of Ryan and I researching the problems and engaging in sparring sessions with Courtney and Brent, where they helped us hone our technique."
Sixteen teams participated in the competition. In the final round, Southwestern's team defeated students from Michigan State University College of Law. In the semi-final round, Southwestern defeated a team from New York Law School. Bonner and Marshall argued three problems, conducting four negotiations throughout the competition. Read more.
SBA Board of Governors Announced
The Student Bar Association is proud to announce its Board of Directors for the 2011-2012 school year.
President - Michael E. Friedman
Vice President-Day - Deborah Soleyamni
Vice President-Evening - Lorenzo Callender
Secretary - Jordan Oslin
Treasurer - Jeff Weintraub
ABA Representative - Juan Palacios
Southwestern Student Successfully Argues in Federal Court
A widow faces deportation to Mexico, despite the fact that an immigration judge ruled that it would present an extreme hardship for her two minor, U.S.-citizen children. With the poise of a seasoned litigator, Southwestern student Melany Avanessians stood before a panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, and argued that the Board of Immigration Appeals erred when it re-interpreted the facts of this case. Three weeks after, the court issued its decision. The petition was granted and the deportation order vacated. Avanessians had persuaded the court, and the case was won.
While it is common for law students to prepare briefs and argue hypothetical problems in their classes or in front of jurists at competitions, few have the opportunity to stand before veteran judges to fight for real people facing potentially life-altering challenges. "During the first 10 seconds, I was kind of nervous, but when I started my argument, I realized just how prepared I was, and that gave me the confidence I needed. I had the information. I just needed to get it out there," Avanessians said.
Professor Caleb Mason served as Avanessians' supervising attorney. A former federal prosecutor with a desire to keep a hand in the practice of law while providing a unique opportunity for students to get appellate court experience, he established the Appellate Litigation Practicum at Southwestern. Read more.
Southwestern Students Help Join Families on Adoption Day
Southwestern students Marina Zakiyan and Shannon Thiele found it difficult not to get choked up as they helped a couple formalize the adoption of their three foster children. A few hours earlier, the new parents had married on the beach before packing their family and friends into Courtroom 419 of the Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court in Monterrey Park. As Judge Rudolph A. Diaz finalized the adoption, he looked at the incredible turnout and exclaimed, "Is this the entire clan!?"
The tears of joy among their witnesses were contagious, especially as their 1-year-old son squealed out "Daddy!" throughout the proceedings. Immediately after the adoption was official, their 6-year-old proudly stated her new last name as she and younger sister danced around in their party dresses.
Judge Pellman with the students
In this culminating event of Adjunct Professor Amy Pellman's Children and the Law class, 17 Southwestern students helped facilitate 23 adoptions on a warm April day. A judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Professor Pellman worked closely with The Alliance for Children's Rights to pair students with local attorneys who work pro bono to complete the adoptions. (Fawn Shanz of Dickstein Shapiro LLP served as Thiele and Zakiyan's supervising attorney.) The Alliance is Los Angeles’s preeminent free legal services organization dedicated solely to protecting impoverished, abused and neglected children, assisting more than 100,000 children and families over the past two decades. Read more.
Southwestern Student Participates in Military Externship Opportunity
For those who are not in the military, the thought of a court martial will probably evoke images of Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson exchanging heated barbs in "A Few Good Men." When third-year student Denise Quintana thought about practicing military law, she wanted to learn what it was really like. An externship opportunity with the California Army National Guard helped her learn the fundamentals while gaining valuable experience and getting a taste of lifestyle in the service. Throughout the semester, Quintana has externed at the California Army National Guard Judge Advocate General Corps of the 40th Infantry Division in Los Alamitos. She has been working on a court martial (a military trial) involving an accusation of sexual assault.
Her supervisor, Captain Dwight Stirling, is a Judge Advocate for the prosecution. When topics come up that require research and writing, he assigns these subjects to his externs. In the court martial that Quintana worked on, one of issues that arose was that the defendant allegedly provided a confession that was recorded on three DVDs. But one of the discs malfunctioned.
"Obviously, I want to use the part of the confessions on the second and third discs, but the defense will say that without disc one, the confession can't be put into context," Captain Stirling explained. "So I had Denise research legal precedents based on military case law to help me make arguments for using the discs. Then I had her write a research memo and reduce it to the first draft of a motion (the final draft will go to the judge) explaining why these discs should be allowed." The case was scheduled for February but got continued until the end of June. In the meantime, Quintana and the other externs have been conducting a "mock court martial" to look at the case from all angles and get an idea of how it may play out. Read more.
Southwestern Offers a Unique Externship Opportunity with the Children's Law Center
Southwestern's Clinical Program has partnered with the Children's Law Center to offer an exciting new externship opportunity for students. Dana Branen, Kristen Cortez and Deborah Kahn have been selected to participate in this inaugural year with Professor Laura Cohen as faculty advisor. This summer, they begin a year-long commitment with full-time work for ten weeks over the summer, followed by part-time work during the school year, earning two units of externship credit for both the Fall and Spring semesters.
The Children's Law Center of Los Angeles (CLC) is a nonprofit, public interest law corporation funded by the Los Angeles Dependency Court to serve as appointed counsel for abused and neglected children in Los Angeles County. CLC attorneys represent children in the foster care system, advocate for critical support and services and serve as their "voice" while these children are under the jurisdiction of the dependency court. Practicing in dependency court requires the development of expertise in a variety of areas, including negotiation and mediation skills, legal research and writing, and trial skills along with an array of non-legal areas related to child and family well being including, child development, health and mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and special education. The organization offers an unparalleled level of expertise in child advocacy and a unique opportunity for law students and attorneys who wish to specialize in the representation of children in child abuse and neglect cases.
Be the first to hear the news when you find Southwestern on Facebook! Plus, current students can get reminders about events and deadlines across campus - simply "like" the Student Affairs page.
PROFESSOR ROBERT LUTZ
PROFESSOR CALEB MASON
- Speaker, ABA Human Rights Summit on Corporate Responsibility, Washington, DC
- Speaker, "Issues Related to the Regulation of Foreign
Lawyers," ABA Task Force on International Trade in Legal Services,
- Speaker/Organizer, "Accrediting Foreign Law School and
Qualifying Foreign Lawyers for the Bar," ABA Section of International
Law Spring Meeting, Washington, DC
PROFESSOR ARTHUR MCEVOY
- The Police-Prosecutor Relationship and the No-Contact
Rule: Conflicting Incentives After Montejo v. Louisiana and Maryland v.
Shatzer, 58 CLEVELAND STATE LAW REVIEW 747 (2011)
- Presenter and Panelist, "Law, Profit and Disaster: A
Historical Analysis," Risk Assessment & Regulatory Process for
Potential Disasters Panel, Environmental & Energy Law & Policy Journal Seventh Annual Symposium, University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
Professor John Tehranian to Join Southwestern Faculty in the Fall
Professor John Tehranian has been appointed to the Southwestern full-time faculty as a tenured Professor of Law, commencing with the 2011-2012 academic year. Professor Tehranian brings a tremendous background as a scholar and practitioner in the areas of entertainment law, intellectual property and civil rights. He will teach Constitutional Law and Trademark Law at Southwestern and serve on the faculty of the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute.
Dean Bryant Garth said, "Professor Tehranian is an outstanding scholar and an inspiring and dynamic teacher. We are extremely pleased that he is joining the Southwestern community."
Professor Tehranian was most recently a tenured Professor of Law and Director of the Entertainment Law Center at Chapman University School of Law. He was previously a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, and has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. Among other subjects, he has taught Constitutional Law, Cyberlaw, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property, and Law & Literature. He is also an experienced entertainment and intellectual property litigator, having represented prominent Hollywood, publishing, new media and technology clients in high-profile litigation at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and One LLP.
Professor Tehranian said, "I am delighted to be joining Southwestern Law School, which has thrived under the leadership of Dean Garth, and I am looking forward to working with him and the law school's extraordinary faculty and staff. With its premier entertainment law program and Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute as well as its long-standing commitment to diversity, Southwestern is an ideal fit for both my scholarly and teaching interests. It is an honor and privilege to be part of this venerable legal institution as it enters its second century." Read more.
Southwestern Welcomes New Adjunct Faculty
A number of practitioners and experts in a variety of fields have joined Southwestern's adjunct faculty. Read more.
2011 Excellence in Teaching Awards Announced
Professors Karen R. Smith, Butler D. Shaffer and Christine Chorba have been selected to receive the law school's 2011 Excellence in Teaching Awards. Dean Bryant Garth said, "It is gratifying to see these honors going to professors who embody the kind of commitment to teaching excellence and student support that we so highly value." Read more.
Students Celebrate Achievements at Second Annual Public Service Awards Luncheon
Students who participated in Southwestern's Public Service Program gathered for a luncheon on April 7 to reflect on their contributions to the legal community through their volunteer involvement. During this academic year, more than 200 students cumulatively volunteered over 7,100 hours, providing much needed legal assistance and outreach under the auspices of a variety of legal aid agencies in the community as well as on-campus programs. Among them were the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, Teen Court, General Relief Advocacy Project (GRAP) and various SBA projects. Students also joined the Justice Bus™ trip to Paso Robles as well as a day trip to Lancaster, a partnership with OneJustice. The 35 graduating students who performed 75 hours or more of public service during their time in law school will receive a notation on their transcript and will receive recognition at graduation.
Consortium of Southwestern, LACBA, Bet Tzedek and Major Law Firms Launch First Small Claims Court Clinics in LA County
In a new community service program, SCALE students are volunteering alongside attorneys from LACBA's AIDS Legal Services Project, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, the Center for Civic Mediation and the law firms of Greenberg Glusker, Selman Breitman LLP and Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP to offer the region’s first Small Claims Court Clinics. Held at Southwestern typically the second Thursday of the month from 6 to 9 p.m., the clinics provide free workshops and one-on-one assistance to participants.
According to Professor Laura Cohen, "The Small Claims Clinic is a collaborative effort that truly benefits the community as well as our students, and is one of many volunteer opportunities available through our Public Service Program." The new program was featured in an article in the March 2011 issue of County Bar Update.
Southwestern Faculty Share their Expertise in Social Justice
Southwestern was well represented at the Trina Grillo Social Justice Retreat held at the University of San Francisco Law School in late March. As a new participant, Southwestern made a notable debut with six attendees, including two featured panelists: Professor Julie Waterstone, Director of the Children's Rights Clinic; Jennifer Rodriguez-Fee, Children's Rights Clinic Fellow; and Julia I. Vázquez, Immigration Law Clinic Fellow, as well as students Karla Cortez, Chris Treiber and Vanessa Rodriguez. The Social Justice Retreat provides a unique opportunity for public interest and social justice-oriented law students, faculty, and practitioners to exchange viewpoints, explore career opportunities and formulate strategies for social justice. Read more.
Save the Date - Thursday, May 26, 7:30 p.m.
"A Conversation with..." Warren Lieberfarb, Chairman of Warren N. Lieberfarb & Associates and "The Father of DVD"
There is no charge to attend this event, but reservations are requested by contacting the Institute Office. Click here for more information.
New Drucker Policy and Management Courses Now Available to All Southwestern Students
The Southwestern faculty recently approved allowing all Southwestern students to enroll for credit in three Drucker Graduate School courses that will be offered in the fall semester. The courses include Arts and Cultural Policy (2 units) taught by Drucker Professor Jessica Cusick, as well as Managing the Professional Services Firm and Client Management (both 1 unit each) taught by Professor Bernie Jaworski, who holds the Peter F. Drucker Chair in Management and the Liberal Arts. Southwestern students do not need to be admitted in the concurrent-degree program to enroll in these courses. All three courses will be offered in the Fall 2011 semester; Arts and Cultural Policy will be offered on the Southwestern campus, while the other two courses will be held at Drucker's campus in Claremont. "These new offerings are a nice extension of our partnership with The Drucker School," said Dean Garth, "providing valuable skills and instruction in subjects not previously covered in depth at Southwestern."
Unique Winter Intersession at Sea Takes Students to Hawaii
Southwestern's newly established Winter Intersession provides students with a unique opportunity to study and earn academic credit during two weeks of the Winter Break while traveling to several Hawaiian Islands on Princess Cruise's Golden Princess. The program includes both an Entertainment and a Negotiation track, where students may enroll in three one-unit courses in either of the tracks. Entertainment track courses include Copyright, the Entertainment Industry and the Internet; Selected Topics in Financing and Distributing Independent Films; and Selected Topics in Motion Picture Production Law. Negotiation track courses include International Conflict Resolution; Mediation Advocacy; and Negotiation. Enrollment in the Winter Intersession is limited to students who have completed their first year of law school. Contact Professor Michael Scott or Associate Dean Nyree Gray, co-program directors, for more information. Information will be available on the website shortly.
SCALE Establishes Lecture Series
This semester, the SCALE Lecture Series was established to bring in experts on everything from white collar crime to homeland security to human rights, and allow them to share their insight and experiences with students and faculty. Professor Harriet Rolnick, Director of the SCALE Program, said, "The Lecture Series adds another dimension to SCALE, providing greater exposure to substantive areas of law not covered in the curriculum, an international perspective, and further insights into the realities of law practice." In its inaugural series, speakers included Gordon Greenberg, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Paul Irving, former Assistant Director U.S. Secret Service (Ret.); and Professor Irene Banias, Assistant Professor of Human Rights, Bogazici University, Istanbul. Read more.
- Lauren Villa, Legal Clinic Services Assistant
Gerald Agnew, Bruce Brusavich, Hon. Gerald Rosenberg and James Coufos Honored at Annual Alumni Event
In April, the Southwestern community gathered to salute four individuals who have contributed significantly to the legal profession, the law school and the greater community at the 24th Annual Awards Recognition Reception, Silent Auction and Reunion. Gerald E. Agnew '74 and Bruce M. Brusavich '80, prominent trial attorneys who embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Southwestern graduates, were named Alumni of the Year; Hon. Gerald Rosenberg '75, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, was recognized as Outstanding Judicial Officer; and James A. Coufos, Former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and a Southwestern Trustee, was honored as Outstanding Friend. Read more.
Alumni Q&A with Kia Kamran '96, Attorney at Law (Entertainment, Intellectual Property and Business Law Attorney)
Q: What is your fondest law school memory?
A: Oh man, there were so many. On the academic front, I had some
extreme "wow" moments. For example, learning the concept of
property-ownership and how the doctrine of "trespass" can apply across
so many different areas of law (and life). I also really loved learning
about copyright law, trademark law, contracts, and anti-trust law. And
Professor Shaffer's "Informal Systems of Order" seminar was totally
On the social front, I had a blast in law school. I
developed a close circle of friends early on, some of whom I keep in
touch with to this day. Just being amongst other people whose lives were
also thrown into chaos, and commiserating with them provided for many
cathartic moments. In general, law school was a blast for me, so it's
hard to point out THE fondest memory.
Q: Did you participate in any campus clubs or honors programs (Law Review, Moot Court, etc.) at Southwestern?
A: Yes, I was Director of Activities (or some such similar title) for
the Student Bar Association during my second and third year and I think
I organized some Karaoke parties and other social events, etc. I was
also affiliated with the Entertainment Law Association. As far as honors
programs, I wasn't involved with Law Review or Moot Court, but I did
graduate with honors (top 10% of my class).
Q: Which Southwestern professors do you consider mentors and why?
A: Several. First off, Professor Robert Lind. He equipped me with 90%
of the technical knowledge that I use in my practice on a day-to-day
basis (Copyrights and Trademarks), and he was a true joy to learn from
because of his prowess with the subject matter and teaching skills. I
still talk with him regularly and speak at his classes.
Professor Butler Shaffer was unquestionably the most
intellectually-challenging and interesting teacher I've ever had. He had
wild but very PRINCIPLED views and theories on liberty, boundaries,
conflicts, etc. that really affected my views of the world. His
personality traits and teaching tactics were a pure treat and wildly
comical at times. He is the most Rock 'n Roll teacher I've ever had. He
has a brilliant mind. I have maximum respect for Professor Shaffer.
I really appreciated Professor Kelly Strader's criminal law classes. He
was the quintessential law professor with a super sharp mind and wit.
His Criminal Law class was the first law class I ever stepped into. I
remember he used to call on us and demand that we "think precise" and
challenge us to think like lawyers. Very cool. And finally, although he
was not so much of a "mentor," but Professor Jeffrey Light's Music
Business class was also extremely useful and interesting. Read more.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Q: Did you always want to pursue a career in law?
A: Not at all. I first wanted (badly) to be a ballerina. I then wanted and planned to become a scientist and applied to the chemistry and computer departments. The application form required adding a third priority topic, and since I knew it is hard to be accepted to the best law school, I added that to my form. When I got accepted everybody said no one says no to such an opportunity, and I gave up scholarships in chemistry and computers to go to law school. It is only at law school that I started loving law, it was a very exciting and enriching experience and I was convinced for life...
Q: Briefly describe the landmark Supreme Court cases you won in Israel concerning discriminatory government funding of educational organizations and regarding freedom of conversion and religion.
A: I represented the conservative movement in Israel. Despite its name, the movement is considered radical (or too radical) and is constantly struggling for recognition of the government. The need for recognition comes from the fact that Israel does not keep state and church separated as far as Jewish people are concerned. Since its first days, the State adopted the orthodox standards and definitions as its own exclusive civil way of measuring legal acts. For example - a Jewish couple married by an orthodox rabbi will be considered married but a similar couple married by a conservative (or reform) rabbi will not be acknowledged as married as far as the authorities are concerned. My funding case and my conversion case were aimed at forcing the Israeli government to treat orthodox and non-orthodox activities, people and rabbis on an equal basis. Winning both cases at the Supreme Court of Israel meant a revolution in the legal and political status of the non-orthodox communities and the many secular Jews that support them. The conservative movement got more funding from the government, and the State's officials were ordered to register as "Jews" the people who went through a non-orthodox conversion. These were very difficult and demanding legal battles that triggered intense public debate and some severe pressures on all the people involved - from clients to their lawyers to Parliament members and Judges. The results, however, were equally rewarding.
Q: What piqued your interest in transitioning from legal practice to teaching law?
A: It seems as if I always did it... when I was in law school my contract law professor, Professor Gabriela Shalev, suggested that I take the position of a TA, and I never stopped since then, not even for a semester. I guess I like witnessing people falling in love with the law and help them see its importance, its beauty and its flaws.
Q: Why did you want to pursue teaching law in the United States?
A: I actually wanted to join American academia more because of my work as a scholar. Many of my research interests are better known and more acknowledged here, and I was hoping to be able to join the academic community and to be able to take active part in the academic discourse that I am interested in.
Q: What was the most memorable aspect of teaching law as a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley?
A: I will never forget the orientation day when I first met my students. I asked "what brought you to law school" and they all said they want to change the world, work with NGOs and deal with human rights. No one expressed a wish to be a lawyer and earn money. "Only in Berkeley," I thought.
Q: What is the biggest difference between Israel and the United States in the area of contract law? How does this affect the way you teach contracts?
A: Despite years of British control, Israel is not a common law system, and the Israeli contract law is much more similar to contract law in France, Germany and Italy. That means that Israel has a code for contract law that was legislated by the Parliament. The leading norms are all defined in a general manner (not through cases) and must be followed by all courts. Since the code is filled with intentionally ambiguous terms (standards) such as good faith, public policy and justice, the judges of the Supreme Court have much more influence over the content of the law than in the United States. Also, Israeli contract law is far less formalistic than its American counterpart. For example, written contracts are not as protected as here (see above). As a teacher, I always try to do my best to simplify the materials and make them clear and understandable so the difference is not that significant.
Q: Based on your experience, what are some of the biggest differences between legal education in Israel and the United States?
A: Legal education in Israel is, for the most part, public and is happening at the biggest universities and next to other departments. That means that classes are far less nice than what we have at Southwestern. Apart from that, many things - from competition to ranking to pressure - are very similar.
Q: What excites you most about teaching at Southwestern?
A: The building (so beautiful). More seriously: the friendliness in the air and everywhere and the diversity of the student body.
Q: Explain the correlation in your research between contract law and feminism?
A: Contract law was made by men and for men, and it shows. For example, many years ago, it was decided that written contracts have supremacy over oral agreements, but that was in an era in which very few women could read and write. In my research, I focus on rules that may seem neutral but are in fact biased and sanction everybody that does not fit the profile of a businessman (who happens to be white and heterosexual).
Q: What do you miss most about Israel?
A: My two brothers, the coffee, the beach and the warm water of the Mediterranean sea, and - walking in the street knowing that everybody around me has health insurance.
Q: What are some of your interests/hobbies outside of the legal profession?
A: Dancing, Dancing, Dancing. Seriously, once upon a time, I was a classical ballet dancer and I never stopped taking classes and dancing. I am now doing Hip Hop, modern and jazz any time I can do it (and sometimes when I actually can't...)
Q: If you could do anything and knew you could not fail, what would you do?
A: Move to Italy, open a little restaurant and cook all day long (and drink some red wine too).
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Danny Kohler, Second-Year Day Program
Danny Kohler, who has always had a deep appreciation for the arts, refuses to paint himself into a corner. He studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and though he liked working with acrylic, he was too much of a realist to believe that he could make a steady living as an abstract expressionist. "After finishing school, I never made much effort to paint professionally," he said. "My focus changed quickly into being able to actually make a living. I paint now more for therapeutic value. I do it for fun."
With several attorneys in the family, Kohler's legal roots have always run deep, but he kept putting off law school. "Part of me wanted to blaze my own trail. Ultimately, I got led back to same path, but I had to arrive at it on my own terms." After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he returned to Atlanta (where he had spent his teenage years) and worked a number of diverse jobs, from art teacher to cheesemonger. He spent four years as a production manager for a residential remodeling company, a position he really enjoyed.
But then the economy flopped and his father became ill. All signs pointed him toward Los Angeles and Southwestern, so he could spend time with his dad, David Kohler, who helmed Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute until his death in October 2009. Kohler has no regrets about the path he has chosen. "I love the fact that I got five or six years to do my own thing, so that when I decided that I wanted to go to law school, I knew I could dedicate myself to it 100 percent," he said. "I also got to spend time with my dad. That was really important."
In fact, law school has surpassed his expectations. "There's a feeling of accomplishment in law that you don't get in another fields," Kohler explained. "Learning that I'm capable of a lot more than I thought I was has been the best part. That and the people at Southwestern; the faculty has been amazing, incredibly supportive, and the student body is fantastic as well."
Kohler found Professor Robert Lind's Copyright class particularly beneficial. As a staff member of Law Review, he wrote a note about copyright infringement, specifically inducement liability and the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Researching and writing that was an incredibly valuable and gratifying experience, another milestone in my legal education." He will serve on the executive board of Law Review next year.
Additionally, Kohler was one of three students selected as a 2010-2011 Biederman Scholar, an opportunity that helped him land a position as a summer associate at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. At this point, his fine arts background and natural enthusiasm for contracts and intellectual property seem to be steering him towards a career in entertainment law. The thought of staying in Los Angeles makes him happy as well.
Kohler spent the summer between his first and second year at Southwestern as a legal intern at Warner Bros. Entertainment. "It was great to get to work with so many talented and accomplished attorneys as well as all the other employees at the studio," he said. "Warner Bros is notoriously one of the most positive legal workplaces that you can hope to experience. Entertainment is what I've always thought I wanted to do and it was incredibly rewarding to get to see what that career looks like."