Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
Southwestern Reporter

Spring 2013, Number 1

Southwestern Welcomes New Adjunct Faculty

Additional practitioners and experts in a variety of fields have joined Southwestern's adjunct faculty for the remainder of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Thomas DeBoe - Public Interest Law Practice

Thomas DeBoe, who has a solo-private practice specializing in family law, landlord-tenant law and criminal defense, is co-teaching Public Interest Law Practice with Professor Peggy Farrell in the 2013 Spring Semester. He previously worked as a housing attorney for the HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance, allowing him to advise and represent HIV positive tenants on housing issues and unlawful detainer actions. He supervised law student interns from Loyola, Southwestern, UCLA and USC law schools on client interviews, legal research, legal pleadings and legal communication, and developed housing training materials and pro bono clinics for volunteer students and attorneys. Professor DeBoe previously worked for the State Bar of California as a staff attorney with the Office of Trial Counsel and as a Deputy Public Defender for the Los Angeles County Public Defender Office. He received his J.D. from Loyola Law School, where he was on the Dean's Honor List, and his B.S. in Mathematics from Murray State University.

Larry Verbit - Television Production Law

Larry Verbit, who has over thirty years of combined management and legal experience in the entertainment and media business, is teaching TV Production Law during the 2013 Spring Semester. Prior to opening his own firm, Professor Verbit was an attorney with the firm of Heenan Blaikie and its successor firms, Berkowitz Black & Zolke and Berkowitz & Black. The firm was affiliated with Heenan Blaikie, Canada, which is one of Canada's largest law firms. He has a diverse expertise as a production counsel on more than 50 television series, specials, presentations and films, and has written articles published in several law reviews and other publications, including Broadcast Law Reporter and Entertainment Law and Finance. He received the prestigious Ladas Award given by the United States Trademark Association for his article on "Moral Rights." He is a former chairman of the Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Entertainment Law Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. He is also an Advisory Committee Member of Southwestern's Biederman Institute. He received his J.D. from Southwestern, his M.F.A. in Arts and Theatre Administration from Florida State University, and his B.F.A. in Theater with a concentration in Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

  Professor Jessica Berch

A Dozen Questions for Professor Jessica Berch

Q: What was your fondest law school memory?

A: I have no one particular memory. When I think back to law school, it is the friendships and connections I made that have most influenced me. Several professors opened their doors to me, and I am forever grateful for their guidance, support, mentorship, and eventually friendship. I remain in contact with many of them to this day.

Q: Based on your practice experience, what are the skills and abilities that you believe make an excellent litigator?

A: You need to be tough, but fair; passionate, but sensible; tenacious, but flexible. Good advocacy requires you to prepare rigorously and see and understand all sides of the problem so you can best navigate your way to victory.

Q: What is the most common misconception about class action suits and representing defendants in such matters?

A: The most common misconception I have noted is that class action defendants must be bad. The paradigmatic class action cases are against companies like big tobacco. So people tend to think that if you work on class action defense, you must represent clients who did really awful things and deserve to be punished. That was simply not true in my experience. Rather, I saw plaintiffs’ lawyers overusing the class action. I agree that it makes sense to aggregate certain small claims that plaintiffs could not otherwise afford to bring. But class action litigation brings with it tremendous expense for defendants, and defendants may feel they have to settle even unmeritorious claims because of the risk of a massive plaintiffs' verdict. 

Q: What aspects of your pro bono work were most rewarding for you to work on and why?

A: I most enjoyed working on impact litigation - cases about abortion rights, free speech, and freedom of religion - decisions that would have far-ranging impact.

Q: Why did you decide to transition from practicing law to academia?

A: A friend and colleague recently told me, "I liked practice, but I love teaching." I told him I would steal this line, and this is my first opportunity to use it. I enjoyed the practice of law. I had great clients, worked for a wonderful firm, and spent my time on interesting cases. But now I am free to research and shape the law based on my own designs, not a client's needs or budget constraints. And I get the chance to share my passion for the law with the next generation of lawyers. Nothing could be more fulfilling than that!

Q: With parents in prominent positions in the legal field - in the judiciary and legal education - how have they influenced your career goals?

A: My dad is a law professor. Every day he woke up excited to go to work, and every night when he came home he said he had the "best class ever." How can you not want to have a career like that? My dad certainly influenced my decision to enter the academy.

My mother is the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. She has taught me that women really can succeed in many arenas - sometimes all at the same time. That is, they can have families, important and meaningful careers, and outside interests. My mom is the reason I am never complacent and am always looking to do something better tomorrow.

Q: What excites you the most about teaching law?

A: Infusing students with passion for the law!

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of Civil Procedure for your students to grasp?

A: Civil procedure cuts across many different fields of law - property, contracts, torts, intellectual property, environmental law, and the list goes on and on. Civil procedure is much more than just a "set of rules" helping to organize these fields. It is the system that helps cases move through the courts in a logical and orderly way. Civil procedure teaches students a way to think about the law and how to "think like lawyers."

Q: What is the nature of your current research? 

A: The article I am currently researching and writing seeks to unsettle the allegedly black-letter rule that deficiencies in subject-matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time, even for the first time on appeal. I hope to show that the reason for that rule does not justify the rule and that courts have departed from the rule so many times that the rule no longer withstands any real scrutiny. Ultimately, I will propose a new rule on the waivability of subject-matter jurisdiction. This article, like my other articles, lies at the core of civil procedure and examines whether current law is working and, if not, suggests changes.

Q: What would it surprise law students to know about you?

A: My husband and I owned an all-ages concert venue in Arizona before I went to law school.

Q: Is this your first time living in Los Angeles? What are you enjoying most about living in Southern California (so far)?

A: This is my first time living in Los Angeles. I have a few favorite things: I have been a vegetarian since 1991, so my absolute favorite thing about Southern California is the abundance of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. What a delight! Second, of course, is the wealth of entertainment available here.

Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of the legal profession?

A: In no particular order: playing with my dogs; going to concerts (from classical to punk); watching Cardinals football; tasting new beers; curling up with popcorn and watching a Law & Order marathon (or maybe Curb Your Enthusiasm depending on my mood); volunteering with animal organizations; anything with my husband.

Q: If you could do anything and knew you could not fail, what would you do?

A: Be a rock star, lead guitar of course!



  • Overcoming Barriers to a Global Treaty on Medical Funding and R&D, 7 JOURNAL OF THE BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY 70 (December 2012)
  • Panelist, "Research and Health Care Policy: Driving IM Forward," Annual Conference for Integrative Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • "Inside Views: Potential Elements of the WHO Global R&D Treaty: Tailoring Solutions for Disparate Contexts," Intellectual Property Watch (January 2013)
  • Appointed, AALS Alternative Dispute Section Executive Committee
  • Appointed, AALS Litigation Section Executive Committee
  • Guest Speaker, "The Supreme Court and the Future of Arbitration," Annual Arbitrator's Meeting, Independent Film and Television Alliance, in conjunction with the American Film Market, Santa Monica, CA
  • Speaker (with Professor Christopher Ide-Don, UC Davis School of Law), "A Tale of Two Performance Test Courses," West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals, McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, CA
  • Perceptions of Justice: An International Perspective on Judges and Appearances, 36 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL (with R. Perschbacher; 2012-2013)
  • Presenter, "Deconstruct and Superstruct: Reexamining Bias in the Legal System," AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA
  • "Argument preview: Avoiding removal by limiting damages?" and "Argument recap: Manipulation versus 'master of the complaint,'" SCOTUSblog (January 2013)
  • Panel Moderator, "Off-the-Radar Issues in Criminal Justice," 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock & Looking Ahead, Annual Law Review Symposium, Southwestern
  • Roundtable Participant, Corporate Governance Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility, Institutional Investor Educational Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
  • Presentation, "Mutiny on the Pirate Ship: Renegade Distribution and the Development of a Media Assets," and Panel Moderator, "International Regulatory Restraints," IP for Creative Upstarts Conference, Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law Program, Michigan State University College of Law, East Lansing, MI
  • Panelist, "The How and Why of Privacy," Biederman Institute's First Annual Online Privacy Conference, Southwestern
  • Panelist, "Out and Proud in the Profession: Sweet Stories of Success," 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock & Looking Ahead, Annual Law Review Symposium, Southwestern
  • Panel Moderator, "LGBT Social Movements and the Law: History and Future," 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock & Looking Ahead, Annual Law Review Symposium, Southwestern
  • Panel Moderator, "Out and Proud in the Profession: Sweet Stories of Success," 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock & Looking Ahead, Annual Law Review Symposium, Southwestern
  • Ethics Presentation for Newly-elected LGBT Officials, Victory Fund Conference, Long Beach, CA
  • Panel Moderator, "International Relief Organizations and Human Rights" and "AIDS and International Human Rights," West Hollywood's Human Rights Speakers Series, Southwestern and West Hollywood, CA
  • Panel Moderator, "LGBT Diversity and Resistance," 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock & Looking Ahead, Annual Law Review Symposium, Southwestern
  • Panelist, Edelman Trust Barometer, Los Angeles, CA
  • Planning Committee and Welcoming Remarks, The 10th Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference, Biederman Institute and Media Law Resource Center, Hollywood, CA
  • Planning Committee and Welcoming Remarks, Biederman Institute's First Annual Online Privacy Conference, Southwestern
  • Panel Moderator, "Adoption, Abductions and the Hague Conventions," The Future of Children in International Law, Annual Law Journal Symposium, Southwestern
  • Guest Lecture, "The Role of International Economic Law in International Law," University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • Organizer and Speaker, "The Role of Legal Profession," American Bar Association Delegation to United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Participant and Presenter, ABA Mid-year Meeting, ABA Section of International Law Council and ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, Dallas, TX
  • Speaker, "The Legal Profession, Business and Human Rights," International Law and Human Security in the 21st Century, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO
  • Represented Southwestern, House of Representatives, AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA
  • State Court International Human Rights Litigation: A Concerning Trend?, 3 UC IRVINE LAW REVIEW 25 (2013)
  • Panelist, "Cashing-in on Innovation," Challenges, Uncertainty, and Change: Best Practices Collaboration for Development, Alumni Services, and Communications Professionals, Closing Plenary Session, AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA
  • Panelist, "Innovation and Part-Time Programs for Parents with Child Care Responsibilities," Unbundling Part-Time Programs from Full-Time Programs, AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA
  • Interviewed regarding presidential power to kill US citizens abroad if they're suspected of being members of al Qaeda, Sunday Morning Newsmakers (KRLA)

    • Panelist, "Shattered Families," The Future of Children in International Law, Annual Law Journal Symposium, Southwestern
    • Panelist, "Families and the Criminal Justice System," Modern Families: Changing Families, Challenging Laws, University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, IA
    • Participant, ALI Model Penal Code Sentencing Member's Consultative Group Meeting
    • Participant, Incarcerated Parents Working Group, Los Angeles County Dependency Court, Los Angeles, CA
    • Participant, Youth at Risk Meeting, ABA Midyear Conference, Dallas, TX
    • Participant, Women in Legal Education Mentoring Event, AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA
    • Panel Moderator, "Rights of Children and Governmental Responses," The Future of Children in International Law, Annual Law Journal Symposium, Southwestern
    • Quoted in "FBI lab's woes cast growing shadow," The Washington Post
    • Panel Moderator, "TV Everywhere - Copyright Protector Nowhere or Somewhere?" The 10th Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference, Biederman Institute and Media Law Resource Center, Hollywood, CA
    • Panelist, "Privacy and Reputation" and Panel Moderator, "Privacy and the Digital Marketplace," Biederman Institute's First Annual Online Privacy Conference, Southwestern
    • Introduction of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Fellows Dinner
    • Honored (with Dr. W. Sloan), Support of Oberlin Conservatory and Violin Society of America Programs and Collection, Library of Congress Music Division
    • Presenter, "The Promise and Peril of Media and Culture in Global Mass Litigation: The Toyota Unintended Acceleration Litigation and Gulf Coast Claims Facility," University of Windsor Faculty of Law, Windsor, Canada
    • Guest Lecturer, Law and Catastrophe Seminar, University of Windsor Faculty of Law, Windsor, Canada
    • Quoted in "Toyota moves to settle two high-profile sudden acceleration cases," Los Angeles Times
    • Civil and Criminal Forfeitures in WHITE COLLAR CRIME: BUSINESS AND REGULATORY OFFENSES (Otto G. Obermaier & Robert G. Morvillo, eds.; with D. Parker; Law Journal Press, 2013)
    • Presenter, "Federal Political Corruption Statutes: An Overview and Recent Developments," Annual Meeting of the Advocacy Group, Santa Monica, CA
    • Panelist, "Off-the-Radar Issues in Criminal Justice," 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock & Looking Ahead, Annual Law Review Symposium, Southwestern
    • Chair, ABA/AALS Site Evaluation Team, Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, MA
    • Re-elected Chair, Board of Governors, Queen Margaret's School, Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
    • Elected, President, Musica Intima Choral Ensemble
    • Dangerous Undertakings: The Wind Done Gone, 60 Years Later and Copyright's Myth of Aesthetic Neutrality in THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (M. David & D. Halbert, eds.; Sage Publications, 2013)
    • Of Cheerleaders, Hobbits and Ginger Rogers: Hollywood and Trademark Law in HOLLYWOOD AND THE LAW (P. McDonald, E. Hoyt, E. Carman and P. Drake, eds.; forthcoming 2013)
    • Guantanamo's Greatest Hits: Sound, Meaning and Performer Rights in Music, 15 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF ENTERTAINMENT & TECHNOLOGY LAW (forthcoming 2013)
    • Curbing Copyblight: Three Modest Proposals, 14 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF ENTERTAINMENT & TECHNOLOGY LAW 993 (2012), selected as one of the best law review articles in the field of intellectual property by Thomson Reuters (West), republished in INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW REVIEW (Thomson Reuters (West), forthcoming 2013)
    • Presenter, "It'll Break Your Heart Every Time: Baseball, the Internet and Judicial Romanticism," Internet Law Works-in-Progress Conference, High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, CA
    • Presenter, "Performer Rights in Music," Annual Symposium of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, Vanderbilt University School of Law, Nashville, TN
    • Presenter, "White Geographies, Colorblindness and Race in the Age of Obama," Arizona State University Legal Scholars Workshop, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Tempe, AZ
    • Moderator, "Changing the Curriculum to Keep Pace With Technology," The Future of Law, Business, and Legal Education: How to Prepare Students to Meet Corporate Needs, Annual Symposium of the Chapman Law Review, Chapman University School of Law, Orange, CA
    • Interviewed, The Docket, KUCI 88.9 fm (UC Irvine Radio)
    • Elected, Member, Los Angeles Copyright Law Society
    • Re-elected, Executive Board, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter
    • Guest lecturer, "Mexican Narco-violence and U.S. Asylum: An Overview of the 'Winning' Asylum Cases," UCLA Department of History, Los Angeles, CA
    • Panel Moderator, "Shattered Families," The Future of Children in International Law, Annual Law Journal Symposium, Southwestern
    • Submitted Written Testimony, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights
    • Panel Moderator, "Child Trafficking and Children in Conflict with the Law," The Future of Children in International Law, Annual Law Journal Symposium, Southwestern


    • Speaker, "Marine Life Protection and Tribal (Fishing/Gathering/Harvesting) Rights in California," A Comprehensive Conference on Tribal Water Rights in California, Morongo Resort & Casino, Cabazon, CA

    ABA - American Bar Association
    - Association of American Law Schools
    - Los Angeles County Bar Association
    - National Association for Law Placement

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