Biederman Institute Executive Board Strengthens Southwestern's Entertainment Industry Ties
Southwestern's Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute continues to strengthen its Hollywood connections and has brought together prominent attorneys from leading film studios and entertainment law firms to serve on its executive board.
The 16-member Biederman Institute Executive Board plays a critical role in the growth of the internationally recognized Institute. According to Professor David Kohler, the Institute's director, "Board members will be extremely helpful in our efforts to provide outstanding students with more opportunities to gain industry experience and future job placement, shape and focus our course offerings, develop new programming concepts, and expand the Institute's access to speakers and other resources."
Dean Bryant Garth said, "The involvement of these accomplished and highly respected leaders of the entertainment and media industries is what the Biederman Institute is all about - connecting our students and programs with the key people, law firms and studios, and ensuring that our curriculum is on target for preparing our graduates to be effective lawyers in this exciting field."
Board members are also very enthusiastic about their participation. "The Biederman Institute has been providing Southwestern students with outstanding educational and networking opportunities since its inception a decade ago," said Board co-chair Wayne Levin '88, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Business & Legal Affairs at Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. Read more.
Southwestern Debuts Diversity Week
Building on the strong commitment to diversity that has been central to the law school's mission since its founding, the Southwestern community will celebrate Diversity Week with a variety of events and activities during the week of October 5. Highlights will include a discussion of significant U.S. Supreme Court cases related to diversity issues, career services panels on diversity, the annual cultural food fair, a cultural dance presentation and networking receptions with alumni and other legal practitioners of varying backgrounds.
"I am very proud of Southwestern's commitment to Diversity," said Professor Nyree Gray, Director of Diversity Affairs. "I think Diversity Week is just another opportunity to share the importance of bringing together people with different life experiences and showing how it strengthens our community."
"Diversity Week is a natural fit for Southwestern," said Robert Mena, Director of Student Affairs. "These events will provide students with opportunities to network with professionals who are dedicated to diversity, as well as for all of us at the law school to learn a bit more from each other about the rich diverse perspectives, cultures and experiences that are represented among our colleagues." View a pdf of the complete schedule of the week's events by clicking here.
Throughout the week, a Diversity Gallery featuring displays about prominent alumni and diverse faculty will be on display in the Central Hall of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. Profiles include trailblazers of the bench, bar and elected office.
Cultural Food Fair
Cuisine from around the world will be featured at the popular annual Cultural Food Fair on Wednesday, October 7 from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on the Student Commons. Student organizations will offer delicious ethnic appetizers, main dishes and desserts from just about every corner of the globe.
Ethnic dances will be performed and great taste continues when the Kogi Truck, a local media and Twitter sensation, arrives bringing Korean Barbeque on wheels on Thursday, October 8. The festivities will be held out on the Promenade starting at noon.
Students and alumni will gather for the first annual Diversity Reception on Thursday, October 8 at 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. Sponsored by the Armenian Law Students Association (ALSA), Asian Pacific-American Law Students Association (APALSA), Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Latino Law Students Association (LLSA), OUTLaw (formerly known as LGBT), and Women's Law Association (WLA), the special cocktail reception celebrating Southwestern's diversity will provide an excellent networking opportunity.
Law Journal Symposium Explores Exclusionary Rule
The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution seek to, among other things, protect U.S. citizens from compelled testimony and unreasonable search and seizure, as well as provide the assistance of counsel to all who have been charged with a crime. However, these amendments only emphasize the need to protect citizens’ constitutional rights, not the ramifications for any violations by the state or federal government. As a result, the judiciary formulated the Exclusionary Rule, which operates to exclude from criminal trials any evidence obtained in violation of these rights. On Friday, October 9, the Southwestern Journal of International Law will bring together renowned legal scholars through the day-long symposium, The Future of the Exclusionary Rule - American and International Perspective, to discuss the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions, look to international methods used to handle illegally obtained evidence, and explore whether the Exclusionary Rule should or will be abolished by the United States Supreme Court. Read more.
Family, Friends and Partners Day is Just Around the Corner
Family, friends and partners are invited to experience "a day in the life" of their law student on Saturday, October 10 from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This opportunity to meet other family members, friends and partners of Southwestern students and have questions regarding law school answered includes activities and speakers conveying the experience that students will go through in their law school program. More information has been sent in the mail, and any additional questions may be directed to the Institutional Advancement Office.
Program Offers Essential Tools for Bar Exam Success
Graduating students are invited to attend a "Beat the Bar Examination" workshop on Monday, October 12 at 12:30 and 5:00 p.m. in W311 (refreshments will be provided). The law school has designed the workshop to help students effectively prepare to take the California Bar Examination and will help anticipate events that may hinder that preparation (including family emergencies that take time and concentration away from studying), offer advice on the difficulties of working full-time or even part-time in another job while preparing for the bar, and provide guidance on managing child care responsibilities. The program will help everyone avoid risks, and will be of particular value to those who have experienced academic challenges at Southwestern.
Student reviews of last year's Beat the Bar workshop were highly positive. This year's workshop will provide you with a series of checklists to help you prepare. In addition, a panel of professors and recent Southwestern graduates will talk about how to get the most out of your bar exam preparation courses. To participate in the Beat the Bar Exam workshop, students must RSVP via email no later than Wednesday, October 7 to email@example.com and indicate whether you plan to attend the afternoon or evening program. Graduating evening students will be excused from their regular classes to attend this important workshop.
Upcoming Student-Alumni Events
Don't miss upcoming networking opportunities. For more information on upcoming alumni events or to RSVP, contact the Institutional Advancement Office.
Diversity Alumni-Student Networking Reception
Thursday, October 8
5:30 p.m., Second Floor, Bullocks Wilshire Building
See details above.
Southwestern's Nickel Club and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) MCLE: "Civility in the Profession"
Tuesday, October 20
Registration: 6:00 p.m., Seminar: 6:30 p.m., Networking Reception: 7:30 p.m.
Second Floor, Bullocks Wilshire Building
Student admission is complimentary. Reservations (to the Institutional Advancement Office) are required and will be on a first come, first serve basis.
19th Annual Public Interest Law Week Debuts Casino Night
The 19th Annual Public Interest Law Week (PILW) is fast-approaching, and the Public Interest Law Committee is looking for volunteers to assist with various activities. This year, activities will start on Friday, October 23 with the new Casino Night and Live Auction (which is co-sponsored by the SBA) and end on Thursday, October 29 with the Silent Auction Finale. This year's exciting week of events includes:
- Friday, October 23 - Premiere of Casino Night, which will be held in conjunction with the Live Auction, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. This new event includes a Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament, in addition to several tables of black jack, roulette and craps. Pre-sale tickets are $20 or $30 to play in the poker tournament ($25 or $35 for the poker tournament at the door). Playing chips, appetizers, drinks, and prizes are included in the ticket price. Tickets will be available for sale starting at the Cultural Food Fair on Wednesday, October 7 and on the Promenade on Thursday, October 8.
- Monday, October 26 - Keynote Speaker Leslie Starr Heimov, Executive Director of the Children's Law Center, at 12:30 p.m. in W311
- Monday, October 26 through Wednesday, October 28 - Bake Sale all day in front of the Westmoreland Building
- Monday, October 26 - Silent Auction bidding begins. The Bid Binder will be available in front of the Westmoreland Building.
- Tuesday, October 27 - Trivia Bowl at 12:30 p.m. on the Promenade (pictured below, left)
- Wednesday, October 28 - Exercise-a-thon at 12:30 p.m. in the Fitness Center
- Thursday, October 29 - Public Interest Employer Fair, co-sponsored by the Career Services Office, at 12:15 p.m. on the Promenade
- Thursday, October 29 - Silent Auction Finale, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Salle Moderne
Money raised through these events will fund summer grants for students working with legal agencies that serve the underrepresented. However, the entire Southwestern Community is needed to help make PILW a success. Interested students should sign up to help by using the electronic sign-up sheets on the Public Interest Law Committee TWEN page or by contacting Public Interest Law Committee President Garen Aliksanian. More information on Public Interest Law Week can be found online.
First Amendment Conference Features Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist
On Saturday, October 24, the Biederman Institute will host the 14th Annual Free Speech and Open Government Assembly, a day-long conference about First Amendment rights. Sponsored by the California First Amendment Coalition, the Biederman Institute, and the McCormick Foundation, the event will feature a series of speakers and panels on journalism, technology, law and public policy as they relate to freedom of speech and freedom of information rights.
Featured speakers at this year's event include 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner and Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Berzon, and Alex Jones, Director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and author of the just-released "Losing the News." Panel discussions will focus on a variety of topics, including: journalists' use of social media for reporting, new online tools to track the influence of money on legislation, financing and performance of local public schools, and training sessions on how to get inside news stories about local police and the criminal justice system (and avoid being "spun" by government officials). Some sessions will be conducted in Spanish and Vietnamese to accommodate colleagues in the ethnic media.
In addition to the regular program, the event will afford opportunities for informal conversations and socializing for the journalists, lawyers, academics, students, public officials, community activists and other guests.
Extending a Helping Hand for First-years
Professor Paul Bateman, Director of the Academic Support Program, will present the following workshops to further assist first-year students. Both workshops will take place at 12:30 and 5:00 p.m. in W511.
- Monday, November 2 - Writing Law School Essay Answers
- Tuesday, November 10 - Law School Multiple Choice Questions
Students Invited to Visiting Speaker Series
Each year, distinguished professors from leading law schools nationwide speak at Southwestern and share their scholarly research on a variety of cutting edge topics. Associate Dean Michael Dorff invites all students to attend the Visiting Speaker Series, which is designed to stimulate ideas for new faculty scholarship, promote collaboration with other legal faculties and enhance the intellectual life of the law school. This year the speakers include law faculty members from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, UCLA, American University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Torcuato Di Tella (Buenos Aires), as well as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas. All presentations are held in BW370 at 12:30 p.m. and include a light lunch. Students interested in attending must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the RSVP is received, students will receive a copy of the speaker's paper to read before attending. Click here to find out more about the speakers, their respective topics and the dates they will be on campus.
Learn More about the Concurrent-degree Program with the Drucker School
Representatives from the Drucker Graduate School of Management will be on campus in mid-October to discuss the new concurrent J.D./M.B.A. and J.D./M.A.M. degree programs. Keep an eye out for specific dates which will be announced shortly, or contact Professor Molly Selvin, Director of the Southwestern-Drucker Program at email@example.com or (213) 738-6624.
Mark your calendars - the Career Services Office (CSO) will be hosting many informative and valuable workshops in the coming weeks:
Off the Record with...
The CSO will continue to hold its series of brownbag lunches, "Off the Record with...," throughout the semester. Don't miss your chance to hear from five alumni as they discuss their practice areas. Bring your lunch; the CSO will supply the drinks and dessert. Each alumnus will give a brief introduction about what they do, where they do it, and how they got there. Then, you will be broken off into small groups as you have the opportunity to network and chat with each alumnus in an informal setting and learn more about the practice of law.
The upcoming topics are:
- "Off the Record with... Transactional Lawyers versus Civil Litigators" on Tuesday, October 13 at 12:30 p.m. in the Salle Moderne . Ever wondered what the difference is between practicing in a transactional area versus a litigation area? Are there different skill sets needed or different personality types needed for these areas?
- "Off the Record with....Plaintiffs' Lawyers versus Defense Lawyers" on Thursday, November 5 at 12:30 p.m. in the Salle Moderne. What's the difference between representing a plaintiff and representing a defendant? Are there different skills sets or qualities needed? Do certain classes matter for one versus the other?
Hear from a Panel on Careers in Environmental Law
The Environmental Law Forum, in conjunction with Professor Ronald Aronovsky and the LACBA Section on Environmental Law will host a panel presentation on Careers in Environmental Law on Thursday, October 15 at 12:30 p.m. in BW370. A variety of panelists will discuss a variety of career options within environmental law. Lunch will be served. These panelists include Erica Kelly Martin, Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 Southern California Field Office; Randolph C. Visser, Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton and Co-Chair of the Sheppard Mullin Global Climate Change Team; Kelly O'Donnell, in-house environmental counsel, Southern California Edison; and Sabrina Venskus, public interest/solo practitioner, Law Offices of Sabrina Venskus.
Upcoming Workshops and Seminars
Join the CSO for the following workshops and seminars:
- "OCIP is Only One Way to Find a Job" on Tuesday, October 20 at 12:30 p.m. in W311. OCIP isn't successful for the majority of people, so other methods of finding a job will be discussed. Come learn all of job hunting techniques and how to find the "hidden" job market.
- "How to Start Your Own Law Practice" with Professor Ira Shafiroff on Tuesday, October 20 at 4:45 p.m. in W311 This informative seminar will discuss the pros and cons of opening up a solo practice as well as provide practical tips to accomplish this goal. Even if you don't plan on "going solo" right out of law school, this is a practical seminar to attend for anyone who eventually wants to be her/his own boss.
- "Researching, Locating and Applying to Law Firms" on Wednesday, October 21 at 12:30 p.m. in W329 and 5:00 p.m. in W311. Learn how to locate law firms and then what to do once you've found them. What are information interviews and how do they help in your job search? Come learn how to locate and apply to potential employers.
- "So you want to be a District Attorney?" on Thursday, October 22 at 12:30 p.m. in W311. The presentation, lead by Southwestern alum and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Craig Kleffman '05, will discuss what Deputy District Attorneys do, what you need to do to prepare for such a career, as well as other practical pieces of advice for this career path.
- "Resume Writing for 1Ls" on Wednesday, November 11 at 12:30 and 5:00 p.m. in W311. This workshop will focus upon how 1Ls can build their resumes and phrase their experience to make it more attractive to legal employers. All class years are invited to attend.
Learn about Public Interest Opportunities at the Public Interest Employers Career Fair
The CSO will host the Annual Public Interest Employers Career Fair on Thursday, October 29 at 12:15 p.m. on the Promenade. Numerous public interest organizations will be available on campus to chat with students about volunteer, summer, and career positions with their organizations. This is a great way for students to learn about different practice areas and options, start the networking process, and potentially meet an employer that can help develop their resume.
Career Services Office Hosts an Open House
The CSO will host its Annual Open House on Monday, November 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All students, especially 1Ls, are encouraged to drop by the third floor of the Westmoreland Building and meet the team, learn what the office has to offer, and view the available resources. Refreshments will be served all day.
PROFESSOR DEBRA BASSETT
PROFESSOR ALAN CALNAN
- 2009 Annual Supplement, FEDERAL COURTS, 12th ed. (with C. Wright and J. Oakley; Foundation Press, 2008)
Annual Supplement, CASES AND MATERIALS ON CIVIL PROCEDURE, 5th ed.
(with D. Crump, W. Dorsaneo, III and R. Perschbacher; Lexis Publishing,
- E-Pitfalls: Ethics and E-Discovery, 36 NORTHERN KENTUCKY LAW REVIEW 449 (2009)
PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER CAMERON
- DUTY AND INTEGRITY IN TORT LAW (Carolina Academic Press, 2009)
- Teacher's Manual, LABOR LAW IN THE CONTEMPORARY
WORKPLACE (with R. Corrada, K. Dan-Schmidt, C. Fisk and M. Malin;
Thomson West Publishing, 2009)
- 2009-2010 Supplement,
LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS: STRIKES, LOCKOUTS AND BOYCOTTS, 2nd ed.
(with D. Ray and W. Corbett; Thomson West Publishing, 2004)
- CLICK HERE FOR MORE FACULTY ACTIVITIES -
Law Review and Law Journal Announce New Staff Members
The Southwestern Law Review welcomes 2009-2010 staff members Alan Harris, Alan Hart, Amanda Moghaddam, Barouir (Brian) Yeretzian, Colleen Kelley, Craig Spiro, Danielle Foster, Eric Anthony, Eric Bonholtzer, Jean Ahn, Jenerra Crenshaw, John Guo, Kristin Marker, Laura Bishop, Leslie Kolafa, Mariana Aroditis, Matthew Mong, Olga Leier, Peter Schoettler, Shaili Pezeshki, Suhn Lee, Tara Sattler, Tim Meade and Timothy Follett.
The Southwestern Journal of International Law welcomes 2009-2010 staff members George Ashkar, John Begakis, Daniel Benji, Clark Braunstein, Nicole Carney, Jennifer Carter, Hagar Cohen, Stephanie Foster, Esther Garcia, Loni Harada, Hillary Higgins, Michael Joy, Nitasha Khanna, Crystal Lara, Arnold Lee, Georgina Lepe, Calvin Lowery, Morgan McDonald, Carolyn Najera, Marina Nazarbekian, Justin Rogal, Rachel Stapleton, Brandon Sweeney, Cheryl Tao, Natalie Wright and Isaac Zaghi.
Students Take on Positions to Assist SBA
The Student Bar Association is proud to announce the support staff for the 2009 -2010 school year.
- Director of Academic Affairs - Nicole Abboud
- Director of Alumni Affairs - Natalie Wright
- Director of Business Affairs/Promotions - Chad Derby
- Director of Community Affairs - Amie S. Park and Katherine Topor
- Director of Evening Affairs - Chad Derby
- Director of Student Affairs
Off Campus - Larry Castruita
On Campus - Suren N. Weerasuriya
- Director of Student Organizations - Elliott Jung
- Director of Student Welfare - Melany Avanessians
- Parliamentarian - Mathew Mann
- Webmaster - Eric Anthony
New Student Ambassadors Selected
Students selected as Student Ambassadors participate in Admissions functions throughout the year and serve as an excellent resource for prospective students and applicants. They attend admissions events, present their views on "Student Life" panels, and conduct campus tours, among other activities. Mark Velez, a second-year evening student said that he and his fellow Student Ambassadors can "give prospective and entering students a glimpse of what makes Southwestern an exceptional law school." He points out that the Student Ambassador program itself illustrates how "the environment around campus is that of a large supportive family that wants the students to succeed."
After a careful selection process and recommendations from faculty, the following students have been named as Southwestern Student Ambassadors for 2009-10: Alan Harris, Alma Dumitru, Anna Sarukhanyan, Antwoin Wall, Ashley Decker, Ashton Inniss, Brooke Ferri, Chad Derby, Cheryl Tao, Chris Chaplin, Chris DeClue, Christina Gentilini, Colleen Kelley, David Lalazarian, Esme Ganz, Danielle Foster, Genevieve Younce, Georgina Lepe, Inga Miller, Jeff Harris, Jenerra Crenshaw, Judale Usher, Justina Hooper, Kerrigan Hennings, Kyle Marks, Laura Bishop, Leah Cohen-Mays, Leslie Bouvier-Hashemi, Leslie Razo, Liliana Rodriguez, Malek Adel, Margaret Lee, Mark Velez, Nathan Howser, Nicole Abboud, Nitasha Khanna, Olga Leier, Omar Bengali, Parrisa Peik, Renee Dubie, Shaili Prezeshki, Shanda Lowe, Stella Pogosyan, Steve Lee, Tara Hicks, Tim Klubnikin and Yakeen Qawasmeh.
Students Extern Throughout Los Angeles
This semester, 76 Southwestern students are serving in externships, with 21 in judicial offices (including 3 on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals), 28 in government agencies, nine in public interest agencies, and 16 with in-house legal departments (consisting mostly of companies in the entertainment industry). Visit the externship section for more information on how to apply and get hands-on experience in the legal field.
Langston Bar Association to Honor Alumnus
The Hon. Allen J. Webster, Jr. '71 of the Los Angeles Superior Court will be one of four honorees inducted into the Langston Bar Association Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 17 at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. Judge Webster serves on Southwestern's Alumni Board of Directors and is a member of the Dean's Black Advisory Council. In 1994, Southwestern presented him with the Alumnus of the Year Award. He is a past president of the Langston Bar Association and of the National Bar Association, the nation's largest African-American bar association. The John M. Langston Bar Association was established to support African American attorneys in Los Angeles. It is named in honor of John Mercer Langston (1829 - 1897), a U.S. Congressman from Virginia and one of the first African Americans in the United States to be elected to public office.
Former Senator Gordon Smith '79 to Head National Association of Broadcasters
The Hon. Gordon Smith '79, a Senior Advisor in the firm of Covington & Burling LLP, and former two-term U.S. Senator from Oregon, has been selected as the new president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). He will begin leading the premier advocacy organization for broadcasters on November 1. In an announcement from the NAB, the organization's Board Chairman Steve Newberry said, "We conducted an exhaustive search to identify the very best individual to lead a great trade association. We're convinced we have found that person in Gordon Smith. His background as a lawyer, a statesman, and as an entrepreneur - coupled with his extensive knowledge of broadcast issues from having served many years on the Commerce Committee - make Gordon eminently qualified to represent the interests of free and local broadcasters in Washington." Read more.
Library Offers Online Class Preparation and Study Aids
CALI Lessons and AudioCaseFiles, two online class preparation and study aids now offered by the Library, are available online.
CALI Lessons are interactive, computer-based tutorials provided by the non-profit Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). Over 800 lessons in 33 different legal subjects are offered. Southwestern is a CALI member, so lessons are free to all Southwestern students. Students will need Southwestern's authorization code to register on first use. The authorization code is available at the library circulation desk. Students have the option of running lessons directly from the CALI website or from a CD available at no cost at the circulation desk.
AudioCaseFiles provides audio MP3 files of opinions found in selected law school casebooks. AudioCaseFiles can be downloaded and played from a personal computer, burned to a CD or copied to an MP3 player for listening while commuting. The site also provides video of selected trials and hearings. Students must register with their Southwestern email address to take advantage of Southwestern's membership.
Southwestern Triples Bandwidth to Optimize Web Experience
Southwestern strives to provide an optimal information technology (IT) environment for students, faculty and staff. However, with ever changing elements such as smart phones and other mobile devices becoming an active part of that environment, the law school's network resources are being impacted at an accelerated rate. As more and more of these new devices began vying for bandwidth with laptops and PCs, all users began to experience a noticeable slowdown in the speed of the on-campus Internet connection. To address this issue, Southwestern was recently able to triple the Internet bandwidth on campus which greatly improved the user experience on the network immediately. The law school will also continue to monitor the situation and expand Internet resources in accordance with increasing IT needs as expediently as possible.
Nominate Outstanding Alumni or Faculty for CLAY Awards
California Lawyer Magazine is now accepting nominations for its Annual CLAY (California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year) Awards. Those submitted for nominations must be California attorneys who have made significant contributions during 2009 to "the law, the profession, a particular industry or the general good of the public." The submission deadline is Tuesday, December 1 (but early nominations are strongly encouraged). You can find more information about the CLAY Awards online.
Helpful information regarding flu season can now be found on Southwestern's website. Additional information will be added as it becomes available. To promote law school community wellness, hand sanitizing stations (pictured, left) are available throughout the Westmoreland and Bullocks Wilshire buildings.
Frank Acosta, Building Department, has over three years experience in the areas of general
building maintenance/janitorial, landscaping and automobile repairs.
Jose Maldonado, Building Department, has over 28 years of experience in building
maintenance, including plumbing and electrical repair, painting and general maintenance.
George Rabaja, SOS Assistant, Administrative Services, recently earned his B.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in Business Administrative Studies from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). While attending college, he worked as a Recreation Staff Supervisor at the UCR Recreation Center. Mr. Rabaja was also a Marketing Intern at the Davidson/St. Pierre Consulting Firm, Public Relations and Event Coordinator Intern at the Consumer Attorneys Association, and an Administrative Assistant and Tutor at the Eastside Cybrary Library.
Melodie Rivers, Student Services Assistant, SCALE Office, earned her B.A. in English Literature from UCLA. She recently served as Patron Relations Manager for the American Youth Symphony, a training orchestra for 15 to 27-year-olds, where she performed a variety of duties, including event planning, development, article writing and office management. Ms. Rivers is also a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America and a certified gemologist.
Nancy Rojas-Hill, Admissions Assistant, is a recent graduate of Scripps College in Claremont where she majored in Philosophy and minored in Environmental Analysis. While at Scripps, she was an assistant in the SCORE (Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment) Office where she coordinated campus events for the diversity organization, designed marketing materials, and performed general office duties. She also worked in the student-run Scripps Store as both a marketing and customer relations manager.
- Marissa Canché, Admissions Associate
- Linda Huynh, Academic Affairs Assistant, Office of the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Q: After earning a PhD in Philosophy at Columbia, why did you decide to pursue a law degree?
A: If you're interested in philosophy, you're probably interested in law. Law is where philosophical theories about morality and political systems actually come to life.
Q: What was the most useful lawyering skill you developed as Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal?
A: Settling disputes and asserting executive authority when necessary. A big law review is filled with driven, type-A staff members who are all sure they're destined to be big-firm partners, cabinet secretaries, or federal judges. You have to coax everyone into working and playing nicely with others, and sometimes deferring to other people's judgment. As a federal prosecutor, I had cases with competing law-enforcement agencies vying for control of the investigation, and I had to manage egos and agendas the same way.
Q: What was the most important aspect of your clerkship with Judge Fisher of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals?
A: Learning how the appellate process works- what a good brief looks like, what argument strategies are most effective, and most importantly, how an opinion actually takes shape.
Q: What was your most memorable case when you served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of California?
A: The ones that will stick with me are the ones that involved genuine uncertainty about the meaning of a criminal statute. I had two in that category - escaping from federal custody (18 USC 759) and threatening a major candidate for president (18 USC 879). In each case, the facts were easily proved up, but there simply was no clear legal authority as to whether the statute covered those facts. If you want to hear more, come by my office.
Q: What case was particularly gratifying among the pro bono cases that you have handled?
A: I had a client from China who had overstayed his visa because he had converted to Mormonism while he was here and was afraid to return. He had no money for a lawyer, and ended up being arrested and detained while he tried to fight his deportation order. I took his appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and after we filed our brief, the Justice Department decided not to contest the case and agreed to have it remanded to the immigration judge. On remand, my client was granted asylum, and he's now a legal permanent resident.
Q: Why was this case so important to you?
A: This case was particularly meaningful to me because I did the Ninth Circuit work, and then found two collaborators, also Georgetown alums, to handle the immigration court proceedings on remand. The case was an object lesson in the need for decent legal representation for people caught up in civil proceedings - most obviously deportation proceedings- and the consequences of our failure to provide such representation as a public good. This guy ended up, by luck, with three lawyers he never could have hired privately, and he ultimately prevailed. But most people in his situation, people with legal claims that might also be meritorious, have no such luck. Justice shouldn't be hit or miss like that.
Q: As a federal prosecutor, what was the most valuable advice you gave to your colleagues?
A: When I was a prosecutor, I kept a picture of a gorilla and a picture of a snake on the wall. When agents came in, they always asked why I had them, and I said: The gorilla comes at you, beats his chest, and shows you how strong he is. You want to fight, fine, but it's your choice. The snake hides in the grass and then bites your ankle when you walk by. We need to be the gorilla, which means we go to the defense and say "Here's our case; here's all the evidence that proves your client's guilt. Here's all the evidence that might help your case. You know what we know. Now, if you want to fight, that's your choice." Either we prosecute cases that way, or we're the snake, and we lose the trust and respect of the public.
Q: Why did you decide to transition from practicing law to teaching?
A: I was a teacher before I was a lawyer, and I always wanted to go back to it. I am not, however, giving up the practice of law. I intend to continue with pro bono work, and since we're in LA, my door is always open if any celebrities in trouble need someone to step out of their limo, shield them from the crush of reporters, and say, "Is this justice? Hasn't my client suffered enough?"
Q: What is the pre-law pro bono appellate practicum you developed at Cal Poly Pomona? How does it prepare students for either law school or the practice of law?
A: It was a great program. I had pro bono appellate immigration cases through Public Counsel, and my students, who were undergraduates planning on going to law school, worked on researching and drafting our Ninth Circuit briefs. They used the research tools law students are taught to use, and they learned how to conceive, draft, and hone a brief. They also got to do things like attend client meetings and negotiations with the government, and, ultimately, come to the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena when I argued. I believe one of my former practicum students enrolled at Southwestern this fall.
Q: What is the focus of your current scholarship?
A: Criminal law and procedure, particularly the recent developments in the Supreme Court's interpretations of the jury trial right and the Confrontation Clause.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of the legal profession?
A: I'm a jazz musician. I play clarinet and piano, and I've been gigging regularly for twenty years. I also like long ocean swims, and backpacking. I can't wait to go hiking in the Sierras.
Q: If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
A: Compose music for the movies.
"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?
This month - Joanna Allen, Third-Year Day Student
Joanna Allen never thought that she could be a peacekeeper until she became involved in negotiation. She quickly realized she had an aptitude for it and admits that she gets a thrill out of convincing others to see her side's point of view and eventually acquiesce to it. "Persuading someone that what you want is what they want as well, and that it is what's best for everyone, and to do it nicely, is the best feeling," she said.
A Midwest native with a hunger for international travel and a talent for negotiation, Allen's pathway to a legal education has been paved with ambition and achievement. She has three bachelors' degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Journalism-Advertising, Political Science, and Spanish. She spent a year during her undergraduate education studying abroad in Spain and speaks fluent Spanish. After graduating, she worked in international marketing for the Mexican department store Famsa, a job that brought her to Los Angeles and required frequent travel to Mexico. She then spent a year and a half as a government interpreter for the United States Department of Justice.
During her first year at Southwestern, Allen found the BLSA mentor/mentee program to be helpful as she acclimated. Inspired by her experience, she decided to give back and spent her second year serving as BLSA's Vice President of Academic Affairs, coordinating and hosting events for first-year students. Her alliance with Professor Nyree Gray helped her find direction. "Professor Gray has been pivotal to everything I've done in law school," Allen said.
It was Professor Gray who, along with Professor Cristina Knolton, established the new Negotiation Honors Program at Southwestern and brought Allen on board during its development. Along with BLSA Negotiation teammate Brent Tilley, Allen defeated more than 20 teams from law schools across the country to win the 2009 Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche International Negotiation Competition, which was held during the 41st Annual National Black Law Students Association Convention in Irvine. So what was the key to their big win? "Listening is the most important skill you need in negotiation," Allen explained. "So many think it's about being the loudest and being heard. But you have to actively listen to other side and develop solutions that work for everyone." Now she is serving on the board for the first official year of Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program and will continue to compete while helping her fellow student teammates prepare for competition.
Allen's law school experience has also provided her with other opportunities, including working as the only 1L summer associate at Gilbert, Kelly, Crowley & Jennett, where she researched, wrote, assisted with the discovery process and shadowed attorneys in court. This past summer, she studied art, criminal, comparative and international law in France and human rights law in Costa Rica. All of the travel has influenced her future plans. "I want to work internationally, but I don't know yet if I want to work for a firm or corporation. I want to work in developing countries as well. I love people, and I love the law, and I want to do as much as I possibly can."