Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
Southwestern Reporter

Spring 2012, Number 1


Southwestern's Judges Tribute DinnerLegal Community Honors Southwestern Alumni on the Bench

A sold-out crowd of more than 700 guests gathered to salute the distinguished graduates of Southwestern who have served on the bench and to hear Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's keynote address at the law school's Judges Tribute Dinner on February 24. The event was held at the Los Angeles Millennium Biltmore Hotel as part of Southwestern's continuing Centennial Celebration.

Proceeds from the Judges Tribute Dinner are being designated for the newly established scholarship fund in the names of Justices B. Rey Schauer '16, Paul Peek '30 and Stanley Mosk '35, who all served on the California Supreme Court, to commemorate their outstanding service to the people of California and the Southwestern legacy they represent.

Brian Panish '84, of Panish Shea & Boyle and Chair of the Judges Tribute Dinner Committee, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. Other speakers included Dean Bryant Garth; Tom Hoberman '75, Chair of the Southwestern Board of Trustees; and Michael Downer '81, Trustee and Chair of Southwestern's newly launched Second Century Campaign. In her remarks, Justice O'Connor commented on the rich history of trailblazers from Southwestern in the justice system and promoted judicial independence and the need for a renewed emphasis on civics education in the schools. (Click here to read more about her remarks.)

During Southwestern's first century, the law school produced well over 450 distinguished judicial officers of superior courts, state supreme courts, administrative law and workers compensation courts, military courts, tribal courts, courts of appeal, and US bankruptcy and district courts, among other jurisdictions. In addition to hundreds of courtrooms throughout California, there is a Southwestern judicial contingent in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Washington DC, and Wisconsin, as well as Guam and Israel. Sponsors for the event as well as commendations from public officials and legal organizations are posted at

Southwestern's Intramural Competition Winners 2012First-Year Students Impress Judges at LAWS Competitions

It is difficult to believe that the articulate, poised and well prepared professionals who presented oral arguments and negotiated problems before leading jurists from local, state and federal courts only began their legal training in the last year. First-year students completed their unique intramural advocacy competitions with a level of grace, professionalism and style that has become a benchmark of Southwestern Law School.

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 188 students out of 368 went on to the intramural rounds: 82 for moot court, 65 for negotiation, and 41 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 March 31 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, where many of the winners were announced, Vice Dean Austen Parrish praised the participants. "Southwestern is the only law school in the country to recognize the advantages of offering students the choices of a three-track LAWS program," he said. "All of the students were simply extraordinary in their competitions." Read more.

Pioneering Women at the Supreme Court Share Experiences

When Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981, women had already been active in a variety of roles at the nation's highest court for many years. On February 24, 2012, an extraordinary panel of legal practitioners gathered at Southwestern to take part in "The Women at the United States Supreme Court," a program celebrating the contribution of women who have served on the bench, as clerks of the court, as Supreme Court Fellows or as attorneys arguing before the court. Southwestern, the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), and Southwestern's Women's Law Association co-sponsored the event.

"The Women at the United States Supreme Court" PanelThe Hon. Judith Chirlin, Executive Director of the Western Justice Center and President of the Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association, coordinated the program. Panelists included former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; attorney Patricia Ann Millett, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; Southwestern Professor Judy Sloan; and the Hon. Barbara Underwood, Solicitor General of New York. The panel was moderated by former CNN anchor Mary Alice Williams, now a professor of journalism at State University of New York, Purchase College. California's Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was the featured luncheon speaker. Read more.


Judge Otis WrightU.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright to Speak at Commencement

The Honorable Otis D. Wright, II '80, Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, will deliver the keynote address at Southwestern's 97th Commencement Ceremony on May 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. At the event, Judge Wright, as well as fellow Southwestern alumnus Dennis Codon '77 and Fellowship founder Carlos Siderman, will also receive honorary Doctor of Laws degrees.

Judge Wright continues Southwestern's legacy of distinguished public servants and is the fourth alumnus to serve on the United States District Court in recent years. He began his legal career as a Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals Section of the California Department of Justice. He went on to join the international law firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, specialists in all matters related to insurance, where he became a partner and was a civil litigator for 22 years. During that time, he was also a volunteer attorney with the HIV AIDS Legal Services Alliance (HALSA), handling housing and employment discrimination cases as well as preparing wills for the terminally ill. In November 2005, Judge Wright was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court where he was assigned to the Substance Abuse Court. Two years later, he was named to the federal bench by President George W. Bush. Read more.

Student Speaker and Singer Selected for Commencement 2012

Mathew RudesMathew Rudes (SCALE Program) has been selected as the student speaker representing the Class of 2012 for Southwestern's 97th Commencement Ceremony. An outstanding student who has overcome extraordinary medical challenges to excel in his classes, trial advocacy competitions and externships, Rudes' intelligence, kindness and sense of humor encourages those around him.

"I am thrilled to have been chosen as student commencement speaker," Rudes said. "It is such an honor and privilege to represent not just my fellow SCALE classmates, but the entire graduating class of 2012, as we take the first step into our future. In my speech, I want to inspire hope in what is, for most of us graduating, a chaotic and unpredictable period in our lives."

As a member of TAHP, Rudes and his teammates recently took First Place at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Trial Advocacy Regional Competition. He is currently working at the Van Nuys Hardcore Gang Unit/Prelim Department for his SCALE II externship. He explained that in his classes, his professors pushed and challenged him to attack difficult issues, question the norm, and find logic amongst chaos. "It was never easy, but the support of my family and fellow classmates and best friend helped me survive to reach the end," he said. Since birth, Rudes has endured chronic pain and more than a dozen major surgeries resulting from the rarest and most severe form of Marfan syndrome, a disease of the connective tissue.

A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, Rudes has dedicated his entire life to his academic career. "Now that I am graduating, I have to pave my own path forward, which is an incredibly daunting task. Still, I always hope that things will work out in the end, and that's a message I felt other students could benefit from." (Click here to read Southwestern's recent profile of Rudes.)

Tiffany GardnerTiffany Gardner (Day Program) will sing the National Anthem at the commencement ceremony. She began performing while growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from the Catholic University of America with a B.M. in Musical Theater and has performed with the Keegan Theatre and the Washington Savoyards in Washington D.C. Some of her favorite roles have included Laurey in Oklahoma!, Belinda in This is How It Goes, and Mother in Ragtime. After law school, she hopes to practice in the area of intellectual property law.

"I am honored to represent my class as the commencement singer," said Gardner. "When I sing the National Anthem, I think about the tenacity and perseverance of my class, and that we must remember the challenges of today will show us the opportunities of tomorrow."


Southwestern Packs a One-Two Punch at National Negotiation Competition

Negotiation Honors Program Winning Teams from the Lewis and Clark CompetitionAt the Lewis and Clark National Environmental Negotiation Competition, Southwestern's teams of Ilyssa Adler and Phillip Hall, and Jonathan Evans and Michael Laufer dominated, winning First and Second Place respectively. In the semi-finals, Adler and Hall defeated the team from U.C. Hastings while Evans and Laufer beat the home school, Lewis and Clark. As a result, both Southwestern teams advanced to the final round and faced off against each other.

"The edge that Southwestern has is our confident, cooperative style and the fact that we know the facts so well," Adler said. "We really dive in and take a strong interest in the problem and our clients."

Professor Cristina Knolton, co-advisor of the Negotiation Honors Program, and her husband Derek Knolton coached the teams to victory. "It is not the training for this one competition that made the teams so successful," Professor Knolton noted. "All four students began training for this competition in their respective LAWS Negotiation classes their first year in law school and continued to improve all year as a part of the Negotiation Honors Program." Read more.

Negotiation Teams Triumph Again with First and Third Place Finishes

Negotiation Honors Program Winning Teams from the Liberty CompetitionTwo teams from Southwestern's Negotiation Honors Program excelled at the National Government Contracts and Programs Negotiation Tournament hosted by Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Virginia. The team of Perrin Davidson and Daniel Emmer earned First Place and the team of Christina Chang and Jack Jordan Oslin took Third Place honors.

The teams negotiated three problems, which involved various facets of the fictional Ameritana Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the Ameritana Postal Service and proposed budget cuts concerning the unions, closing rural post offices and pending legislation.

The winning team faced off against Texas Tech University School of Law in the final round. "For Danny and me, it was the teamwork," Davidson explained about the winning duo's triumph. "We worked very well together which allowed us to shine as two parts of a whole. Also, our method set the tone for the other side, and allowed for us to control the negotiations from the start. Lastly, our coaching helped push us over the top."

The Third Place team competed against UC Hastings in the final round. "With the help of our teammates and coaches, Jordan and I went in knowing all possible contours of our problems," Chang said. "And we established a great rapport with our competitors to better facilitate the deals we made." Read more.

Southwestern Continues Winning Streak at NBLSA Negotiation Competition

National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) International Negotiation Competition Winning TeamThe Southwestern contingent once again dominated the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) International Negotiation Competition in March. The law school's team of Dana Branen (pictured, second from right) and Jonathan Evans (pictured, second from left) won the annual competition, which was held during the NBLSA conference in Washington, D.C. This is the fourth consecutive year that Southwestern's BLSA chapter has won, an especially marvelous feat for a competition that is only six years old.

The team argued problems based on real-life international issues, including issues surrounding the Greek financial bailout, an Israel-Lebanon maritime border dispute, and a Brazilian mining conglomerate's new investment in Mozambique. Twenty teams participated in the competition. In the semifinals, Branen and Evans defeated a team from the University of Oklahoma before facing off with a team from Ohio State in the final round. Gerri Marshall, a fellow student and member of last year's NBLSA champion team, coached Brenan and Evans. Read more.

TAHP Wins Regional Round of National Trial Competition

TAHP NTC Regional First Place TeamSouthwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program team of Bahareh Aghajani, Katherine Bruce and Kunal Jain tied for First Place at the Southwest Regional Round of the National Trial Competition (NTC), which was held in San Diego.

Southwestern tied with Loyola Law School for top honors at the event where 29 teams participated, including Arizona State University, Brigham Young University, California Western, Chapman University, Pepperdine University, Thomas Jefferson, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, University of San Diego, and University of Utah, among others. Read more.

TAHP Teams Earn Second and Fifth Place at AAJ Regional Competition

TAHP AAJ Second Place TeamAt the regional rounds of the American Association of Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Competition held in Santa Monica, Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) team of Jessica Balady, Dora Clements, Matthew Stumpf and Daniel Selarz finished in Second Place, and the team of Mackenzie Brown, Kevin Gres, Elliott Jung and J.B. Twomey finished in Fifth Place.

The teams were coached by Armen Amirkhanian '09 and Jennifer Turner '07, and Tony Koutris '96 and Andrew Pongracz '08, respectively. "For the advocates, an opportunity to compete in trial advocacy competitions is invaluable," commented Twomey, who is also TAHP Chair. "The process of preparation with knowledgeable and talented attorney is the most rewarding aspect of competing." Read more.

Moot Court Oralists Share Top Honors at Telecommunications Competition

Moot Court National Telecommunications Co-Best OralistsAt the recent National Telecommunications Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C., Southwestern teammates Michael Le and Sarah Moe were both named Best Oralist and will be acknowledged in an upcoming issue of Federal Communications Bar Report.

Professor Michael Epstein, who coached the team, said, "This recognition is all the more sweet considering that Michael and Sarah, as SCALE students, had no prior course exposure to Telecom or the First Amendment. Supporting the team all the way to Washington was writer Jenifer Slott, who diligently helped prep her teammates during their practice rounds." Eleven teams participated in the competition, which included entrants from Catholic University, Georgetown University, George Washington University and others. Read more.

Moot Court Takes Second Place at Labor and Employment Law Competition

At the Robert F. Wagner Sr. Labor and Employment Law Competition in New York, Southwestern's Moot Court Honors Program team of Daneen Furr, Ben Sampson and Arthur Sezgin earned a phenomenal Second Place. This is quite an accomplishment for a competition with 46 competing teams, and Southwestern only finished behind Charlotte. This also marks Southwestern's best performance at this particular competition to date, as the team defeated South Texas to advance to the final round. In earlier rounds, Southwestern defeated teams from UNLV, West Virginia, University of Mississippi and Marquette.

The Wagner Competition is the nation's largest student-run moot court competition and the premier national competition dedicated exclusively to the areas of labor and employment law. This year's case involved a wrongful termination case involving an obese worker in violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Professor Christopher Cameron served as the team advisor. He commented, "Their oral advocacy was some of the best I've seen at this competition, and got even better with each trip they took to the podium."

Moot Court Team Reaches Semifinals in New Orleans

At the 17th Annual Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational Competition, the team of Simon Barta and Lakeshia Dorsey performed well, reaching the semifinals. A total of 32 teams participated in the competition. Southwestern's team defeated Western State University College of Law in the octa-finals and Marquette University Law School in the quarterfinals. Barta and Dorsey argued that NBA players should be able to enjoin an NBA lockout, and they are entitled to antitrust relief once they have disclaimed interest in remaining in a union.


"W.A.Y." - Who Are You & Why Are You here?

Alfonso OrtegaThis month - Alfonso Ortega, Second-year Evening Student
Alfonso Ortega is driven, accomplished and practical. Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, he grew up in the Pico Union area of Los Angeles. He took a difficult childhood and turned his life into a series of accomplishments and successes. Now he spends each day trying to improve the lives of young people though education.

He completed his bachelor's degree at UC Irvine with a double major in Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies and began teaching math in 2008. "I always knew that I was either going to teach or go to law school," he said. "I was never in a hurry to do either. During college I worked as a realtor. I was fortunate enough to make a lot of money, but I realized that having lots of money didn't make me happy." As an undergrad, Ortega needed one more class to complete his second major and took a course that required 70 hours of early education work, which he completed at Caesar Chavez Elementary School in Norwalk. He discovered that the urban education system really needed good teachers.

Coming from an immigrant family, Ortega's English was initially limited, and he identified with many of the young people he saw in the classroom. He personally had found that math and numbers provided a universal language. So he decided that, before attending law school, he would teach. He enrolled in the Transition to Teaching program at Cal State Dominguez Hills, which gave him the opportunity to teach during the day while completing coursework to earn his credential at night. "During the first year I was a university intern, I worked at Lynwood High School," Ortega explained. "I was recruited by charters and more prominent schools, but I wanted to work at an urban school where I could have the most impact and give back to kids who needed it the most, so I chose that school and started teaching Algebra I."

Most students who walk into Ortega's class hate math. Many have failed the subject before. He often changes their minds about it. "I like being there for that process and helping them to connect the dots," he said. "Math is the gateway to graduation, especially in urban schools with high dropout rates." While his peer teachers spend the first few weeks of class laying down rules, Ortega tells students his personal story. His parents split when he was young because his dad was abusive. Ortega became a father at 15 and now has a teenage daughter. His life could have easily derailed.

"Most of them feel like they can relate to me. It surprises them to know that I've been through a lot," he said. "I tell them I'm here because I want to be and I believe that everyone has the potential to make it in life. There's no manual for the things that happen in these kids' lives. These kids have seen far more than what most adults have seen in their lives, but once they trust you, students will go to great lengths to please you." He also dresses in suits during the first month of class. He will not use slang in front of his students. "Here's a guy who grew up in the hood that refused to join gangs and got beat up for it," he said. "I tell them that I survived because I made a point to survive. I show them the letter that I received for the Wildman/Schumacher Scholarship from Southwestern, to help them dream."

At Southwestern, Ortega has especially enjoyed Professor Karen Smith's Criminal Law course and Professor Alan Calnan's Torts class. Ortega is also a Dean's Fellow as well as a member of APALSA and BLSA. Last summer, he participated in Southwestern's Summer Abroad program in Canada and loved studying International Criminal Law with Professor Caleb Mason. For the coming summer, he plans to enroll in Southwestern's Summer Abroad Program in Argentina. He would like to practice Immigration and Education Law. "I remember coming to visit Southwestern and hearing Assistant Dean Robert Mena speak," he said. "I liked the homey feeling at Southwestern. The students were nice and everyone was happy to be here. People interacted. I liked talking to everybody. It just felt like a very warm, connected environment."

Southwestern and Armenia Ministry of Justice Initiate Unique Legal Fellowship in Armenia

Southwestern has partnered with the Republic of Armenia's Ministry of Justice to create an opportunity for an American-trained lawyer to spend a year working directly with the Ministry to cultivate Armenia's legal system. The inaugural Southwestern Armenia Fellow will be selected for the fall of 2012.

Southwestern Armenia Fellowship - Hon. Hovhannissian"A stable legal system is key to Armenia's continued growth and development, and having the cooperation of Southwestern Law School in our endeavor is truly inspired as well as inspirational," said the Hon. Grigor Hovhannissian, Consul General to the Republic of Armenia. "I hope that our Diaspora community will also be inspired and lend its generous support to the Southwestern Armenia Fellowship with Armenia's Ministry of Justice." The Armenian Bar Association is also supporting the Fellowship and has designated a representative, Mr. Armen Hovannisian, to work with Southwestern on this project.

Southwestern embraces the opportunity to serve a developing country and its people who are important to many within the law school community. A large contingent of Southwestern alumni are of Armenian heritage, and the Armenian Law Students' Association is one of the most active on campus. According to Dean Bryant Garth, "Not only is this a nice opportunity to contribute to the justice system in Armenia, but it is also an opportunity to develop a cadre of Southwestern graduates skilled and experienced in promoting the rule of law." Read more.


Southwestern Adds Four Outstanding Legal Practitioners and Scholars to the Full-time Faculty

Southwestern's New Faculty for 2012Southwestern will be welcoming four new full-time faculty members in Fall 2012. They each bring outstanding academic and professional credentials as well as tremendous enthusiasm for teaching and research:

  • Professor Ryan Abbott, an attorney and physician who is currently a resident in internal medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, has been appointed as an Associate Professor of Law and will teach in the areas of torts, health law and intellectual property.
  • Professor Priya S. Gupta, a member of the faculty at Jindal Global Law School in India, has been appointed as an Associate Professor of Law and will teach Property, and Law and International Development.
  • Professor John Heilman, a member of the Whittier Law School faculty, has been appointed as a Professor of Law and will teach Criminal Law, Evidence and courses in the Academic Support Program.
  • Professor Vivien T. Montz, of counsel to the firm of Siegfried, Rivera, Lerner, De La Torre & Sobel in Florida and former faculty member at the University of Miami School of Law, has been appointed as an Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills. Read more.

Congratulations to the 2011-2012
Excellence in Teaching Awards Recipients!

First-Year - Professor Danielle K. Hart
Upper Division - Professor Ronald G. Aronovsky
Adjunct - Professor Alexandra D'Italia

Southwestern Welcomes New Adjunct Faculty

A number of practitioners and experts in a variety of fields have joined Southwestern's adjunct faculty for the 2012-2013 academic year. Read more.


  • Elected, Chair, AALS Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2012 AALS Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
  • Re-elected, Executive Committee, AALS Section on Litigation, 2012 AALS Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
  • Organizer and Panel Moderator, "CERCLA - Private Enforcement," CERCLA and the Future of Liability-Based Environmental Regulation, Southwestern Law Review Symposium
  • The Roots of Removal, 77 BROOKLYN LAW REVIEW 1 (2011)
  • What's Prologue is Past: The Present of International Labor Law Predicts the Past of U.S. Labor Law, 18 SOUTHWESTERN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 145 (2011)



John Spirtos Joins Board of Trustees

John B. Spirtos '91, a highly successful and respected senior executive and Southwestern alumnus, was elected to Southwestern's Board of Trustees at the Board's Spring 2012 meeting. Mr. Spirtos is Chief Executive Officer of GridPoint Inc., a leading provider of smart energy solutions to consumers and producers of energy. He has nearly 20 years' experience in business operations, management, venture capital and legal capacities, having spent the last 15 years working on operational matters within the energy and communications technology sectors.

In announcing the appointment, Dean Bryant Garth said, "Southwestern will benefit greatly from Mr. Spirtos' expertise and abiding interest in the advancement of the law school. His business acumen and connection to the law school will be invaluable as we pursue new opportunities for strategic partnerships, programs and campus expansion." Read more.


Professor Deborah Brazil '96 Selected as LACBA and CLAY Prosecutor of the Year

Deborah BrazilDeborah Brazil '96, an alumna and Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at Southwestern, has earned two distinguished accolades for her outstanding work as co-counsel in the successful prosecution of Dr. Conrad Murray for involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop singer Michael Jackson. The Criminal Justice Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) has named her Prosecutor of the Year. She will receive this award, along with her co-counsel David Walgren, at the 2012 Criminal Justice Awards Dinner, which will be held on May 9 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. At the LACBA event, two additional Southwestern graduates will be honored - Robert Schwartz '76 as Defense Attorney of the Year and Gigi Gordon '82, who will be honored posthumously for her service to the community.

California Lawyer Magazine also selected Professor Brazil (along with Mr. Walgren) as 2012 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) in the Criminal Law category. Southwestern recently conducted an interview with Professor Brazil to find out more about her experiences as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney as well what she enjoys most about teaching Trial Advocacy to future lawyers at Southwestern.


Two Southwestern Students Honored by Grammy Foundation

Trevor Roe and Jonathan EvansSouthwestern students Jonathan Evans (pictured, right) and Trevor Roe (pictured, left) were selected as two of five scholarship recipients from a nationwide pool of talented law students who entered the Grammy Foundation's 14th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) Writing Competition.

Evans wrote "Solving the Sampling Riddle: How the Integrated Clearinghouse Would Benefit the Industry by Promoting Creativity and Creating New Markets While Maintaining Profits for Source Material Owners." Although this issue is prevalent in hip-hop and dance music where musicians sometimes use samples from other songs in their compositions, Evans said he wrote from a copyright perspective. "In my paper I looked for a method that that would make getting clearance for samples easy, cost-effective and legal." Read more.

Siderman Fellow Delves into Human Rights and Refugee Law at Southwestern

Juan MondelliJuan Mondelli loves studying law in the United States. As a Siderman Fellow pursuing an LL.M. degree, he admires the devotion of his Southwestern professors and the opportunity to delve deeply into the subjects of immigration and asylum law. Mondelli started his year-long fellowship last August, which lasts through the current academic year, followed by a three month externship with the ACLU.

Since 2003, the Argentine lawyer has worked for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a protection officer and a legal advisor for the U.N. agency, he works on issues related to refugee protection at a regional headquarters that serves Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Peru. His main responsibilities entail supporting national governments and non-governmental organizations that assist refugees in their local integration process in the asylum country. His goal is to ensure that refugees' rights will be implemented and sustained. Additionally, he works on migration issues.

In Argentina, Mondelli regularly participates in the National Refugee Commission (CONARE) in charge of adjudicating asylum claims and conducts training and workshops for governmental officials. He also provides support to international workshops dealing with refugee protection. In 2009, he taught the 52nd Course on International Refugee Law in San Remo, Italy. He also supported as facilitator many of UNHCR Latin American courses on refugee protection.

At Southwestern, in addition to Legal Writing for LL.M. students with Professor Paul Bateman, Mondelli has taken courses in Evidence with Professor Caleb Mason, Constitutional Law and Human Rights with Professor Jonathan Miller and Immigration Law with Adjunct Professor Veronica Jeffers. He is taking asylum law with Adjunct Professor Gembacz, Constitutional Criminal Procedures with Professor Cammack, American Legal History with Professor McEvoy  and Constitutional Law II  with Professor Jonathan Miller, with whom he is working on an independent study on the right to asylum in the Inter-American Human Rights System.

"There is a huge difference between studying law in Argentina and the United States. It's wonderful to focus on the topics I want for an entire year," Mondelli explained. "Because of my experience working for the U.N., I know a lot about refugee and human rights law, but studying the U.S. system for immigration and asylum is important because it is so developed." Read more.

Law Review and Law Journal Announce 2012-13 Leaders

Congratulations are extended to the following students on their appointment to leadership positions on the boards of Law Review and Law Journal.

Southwestern Law Review CoverLaw Review Executive Board

Harout Dimijian

Managing Editor
Sheila Shah

Special Projects Editor
Ryan Powers

Notes and Comments Editors
Danielle Pittsenbarger, Angelica Weber, Max Gavron and Jeff Poole

Lead Articles Editors
David Carroll, Andrea Friedman, Mark Humphrey and Meredith Lierz

Southwestern Journal of International LawLaw Journal Executive Board

Alex N. Rosenblum

Managing Editor
Adam Gertz

Lead Articles Editors
Brooke Huley, Maxim Latman, Jack Risemberg and Michelle Rosenberg

Notes and Comments Editors
Jennifer Brody, Kate Greenfield, Alyssa Mervyn and Katie Wu

Special Projects/Research Editors
Lakeshia Dorsey and Christie Parks

Associate Editors
Isaiah Costas-Barofsky and Benjamin Tragish

Moot Court and TAHP Announce 2012-2013 Leadership

Southwestern congratulates the following students on their appointment to positions on the Moot Court and TAHP Boards:

Moot Court: Alexis Diamond, Chair; Simon Barta; Isaiah Costas-Barofsky; Paul Miailovich; Ben Sampson; and Joel Zari

TAHP: Anastasia Sagorsky, Chair; Mackenzie Brown; Jahmy Graham; Michael Morse; and Ashley Fetyko Smolic

SBA Board of Governors Announced

The Student Bar Association is proud to announce its Board of Directors for the 2012-2013 school year.

President - Juan Palacios
Vice President, Day Program - Stephanie Peatman
Vice President, Evening Program - Daniel Emmer
Secretary - Michael Ashjian
ABA Representative - Samantha Jackson


Students Represent Appellees in Litigation Practicum

Through Southwestern's Appellate Litigation Practicum, students gain real world experience working with Professor Caleb Mason on pro bono appeals in the Ninth Circuit - up to and including oral argument before the court. Students get hands-on training in legal research and writing as well as substantive law as it applies to the cases. They participate in every step of the process: review of the file; meeting with the client; assessing possible claims; researching case law; proposing arguments; drafting, revising, and proofing the opening brief; reviewing the response brief; drafting, revising, and proofing the reply brief; and negotiating possible settlement.

Last year, Melanie Avanessians '11 successfully argued before the court. Click here to read Professor Mason's summary of the latest Practicum cases involving a variety of issues, from deportation protection to sexual harassment.

Intersession Course Provides Unique Insight into Criminal Justice System

In January, Southwestern offered a new intersession course on Alternative Sentencing and Correctional Education. Professor Anahid Gharakhanian taught the class with Adjunct Professor Brian Fitch, Lieutenant and Program Director for Education Based Incarceration (EBI) and a 29-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"A lot of our students are interested in working in the criminal justice system," Professor Gharakhanian said. "They either want to be prosecutors or public defenders or eventually become judges. This class focuses on what happens following sentencing."

Approximately 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States, the highest number of prisoners per capita in the world. Recidivism rates are very high as well. Given these facts, the course explores possible alternatives to the current state of affairs to help reduce prison overcrowding and recidivism rates.

The class was extremely well received by the students, who particularly enjoyed hearing from a number of speakers, including ex-offenders, as well as an extensive tour of Twin Towers and Men's Central Jail. "We had 25 students take the first offering of the class," Professor Fitch said. "Everyone loved it, and many thought it should be offered as a longer course."

Intersession at Sea Combines Study and Hawaii

Hawaii Winter IntersessionDuring the winter break, Southwestern provided a unique opportunity to study law while taking a fantastic trip to the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawai Winter Intersession program allowed students to earn three credits with a choice of the Entertainment Law or Negotiation track. Over the course of the 14-day cruise, which set sail from San Pedro, California, students engaged in intensive study and still had time to tour the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Maui. The new program attracted 91 participating students, 68 of them from Southwestern.

Associate Dean Nyree Gray taught Negotiation. "For the first program of this kind, I'm glad that things went so well," she said. "Students really got a good academic experience."

Students from Southwestern and other law schools who participated praised the program organization and friendly atmosphere. "The intersession cruise was a wonderful way to travel and take fun and interesting classes at the same time," second-year day student Erin Matchett said. "It was a unique experience I would highly recommend."

The next Hawaii Winter Intersession takes place December 19, 2012 through January 2, 2013 and applications are due by September 14 or when the program reaches full capacity. Additional details, including the application, can be found online.


New Appointments

Julie Alarcon, Administrative Services Assistant, earned her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. While there, she worked as a teller at the University Credit Union and as a Customer Service Representative for the Tesoro Corporation. She was the founding member/community service chair of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority and interned for Senator Barbara Boxer. Before joining Southwestern, she worked as the After School Program Site Director for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District and has been serving on the La Puente City Council as the Education Commission Vice-Chair since January 2011.

Brittany Alvarez, Student Services Assistant, Registration and Academic Records Office, earned her B.A. degrees in Philosophy and Studio Arts from Loyola Marymount University. She previously worked in law offices, real estate offices, and most recently at a post-production house in Venice that specializes in visual effects for commercials.

Lauren Castro, Financial Aid Assistant, earned her B.S. degree in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University. While there, she worked in customer service for Aztlan Gallery, as a Report Processor for Land America Tax and Flood Services, and as a retail Sales Associate. Most recently, she worked as an Office Assistant for Southern California Edison.

Ivory Floyd, Faculty Services Assistant, Faculty Support Services, earned his B.A. degree in English with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. Prior to joining Southwestern, he was a Customer Care Agent for eHarmony, a Writing Fellow at Nickelodeon Animation Studio, a Substitute Teacher for the Etiwanda School District and a Development Assistant for Departure Studios.

Trisha Tanaka, Administrative Assistant for Academic Administration, earned her B.A. degree in Global Studies with a minor in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While there, she worked as an Associate at Costco and a Service Manager at UCSB's University Center. She traveled to Thailand as part of UCSB's study abroad program and taught English to rural Thai elementary school students through the TU2U Mentoring Program. She has also volunteered at DAWG Humane Shelter, has been a physical therapist at Cornerstone Equestrian Center, and most recently worked as a receptionist at VCA Clarmar Animal Hospital.


  • Anna Olivares, Academic Support Office, Academic Support Assistant
  • Michael Zuniga, Data Entry Specialist, Institutional Advancement


A selection of scholarships and essay contests are available on the portal, in the Financial Aid Office (W102), and posted on the bulletin board in the Westmoreland basement.
Please note: The information regarding scholarships and essay contests provides a list for informational purposes only. Students interested in applying for any scholarship should contact the sponsoring organization directly for specific details and deadlines. External sites are provided for informational purposes only and are not endorsed by Southwestern.



17 Last Day for Tuesday Day and Evening Classes
18 Last Day for Wednesday Day and Evening Classes
19 Last Day for Thursday Day and Evening Classes
20 Last Day for Friday Classes
23 Early Summer Externship Orientation (for students going out of town or starting early), 12:30 p.m., W611
24 Monday Day and Evening Classes meet; Last Day for Monday Classes; Last Day of Classes
25 - 29 Reading Period

April 30 - May 11 Final Exams


11 2012 Spring Semester ends; SCALE I Period 4 Ends
13 Commencement Ceremony
 SCALE II Period 8 Ends
30 Mandatory Summer Externship Orientation, 5:00 p.m., W611
 Summer Session 2012 Begins


For more information, visit the events listing/announcements on MySouthwestern.

Contact: For matters regarding the Southwestern Reporter Online, contact the Public Affairs Office.
Student organizations, faculty and staff should submit articles or information to be considered for publication by the 1st of each month. Send submissions to the Public Affairs Office.
Southwestern Law School is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is fully approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association (321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60654, Tel: 312.988.6738). Since 1911, Southwestern has served the public as a nonprofit, nonsectarian educational institution. Southwestern does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, or prior military service in connection with admission to the school, or in the administration of any of its educational, employment, financial aid, scholarship or student activity programs. Non-discrimination has been the policy of Southwestern since its founding.