Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
Southwestern Reporter

Spring 2013, Number 1


Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to Speak at Southwestern Commencement

Jackie LaceyThe Hon. Jackie Lacey, the newly elected District Attorney of Los Angeles County, will deliver the keynote address at Southwestern's 98th Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2013 at the Shrine Auditorium. She will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the ceremony.

Dean Austen Parrish said, "As Los Angeles County's first female and first African American district attorney, Jackie Lacey is a trailblazer who has accomplished so much and has made a difference in our community through hard work and raw talent. She is a tremendous role model for our students, and I can't imagine a more appropriate person to address our new graduates. We are honored to have her join us."

As the District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Ms. Lacey oversees the largest prosecutorial agency in the nation. The District Attorney's Office has over 2,000 employees, which include nearly 1,000 prosecutors, 800 support staff and more than 250 investigators. Prior to the November 6, 2012 election, she was the Chief Deputy District Attorney, the second highest ranking prosecutor in the office, responsible for running the office's day-to-day operations. She held various other leadership positions for nearly 12 of her 28 years as a Los Angeles County prosecutor.

Southwestern trustee Robert Philibosian '67, himself a former Los Angeles County District Attorney, said, "Jackie Lacey is a true up-from-the-ranks prosecutor. She is a strong law enforcement leader who is totally dedicated to justice and public protection. We are indeed fortunate she will share her words of advice and encouragement with our new graduates during her first year in office." Read more.


2013 Biederman Scholars Selected

Biederman ScholarsIn an effort to recognize excellence in academic achievement, and encourage and facilitate career success, the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute established the Biederman Scholars program to help expand opportunities for promising future entertainment lawyers. The four students named this year as Biederman Scholars are Matthew Alsberg, Arya Djafroudi, Sarah Swanson and Matthew Whibley.

"Matthew, Arya, Sarah and Matthew were selected from among an extraordinarily talented group of Southwestern students," said Professor Steve Krone, Director of the Biederman Institute. "Each of them combines outstanding academic credentials, a rich and interesting background and a fabulous work ethic. They have consistently excelled, and I expect great things of them in the future."

As Biederman Scholars, they will take part in a variety of Institute initiatives, including an industry mentor program, behind-the-scenes participation in Biederman Institute programs such as the "A Conversation with..." series, and priority placement in entertainment and media company externships and law firm practicums. The Biederman Scholars will also assist faculty in developing new and continuing Biederman Institute programs such as the entertainment and media law blog, the Biederman Awards event held to honor outstanding members of the Southwestern entertainment and media law community, a new summer international program in India, and an Entertainment and the Arts Legal Aid Clinic. Read more.

Biederman Institute Hosts 10th Annual Conference with MLRC

Continuing the decade-long collaboration with the Media Law Resource Center (MLRC), the Biederman Institute and the MLRC hosted the 10th Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference on January 17 to the largest crowd yet at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood. Panels covered discussions on copyright protection with the onset of emerging technologies and consumer demands; the increasingly complex issues raised by international production and distribution by US-based media companies; and right-of-publicity claims, the balance between individual publicity rights and First Amendment protections, and the risks of misappropriation claims in today's world.

10th Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference

Pictured: Rebecca Sanhueza of Time Inc. discusses the "Rights (and Wrongs) of Publicity: The Evolving Law of Misappropriation." The panel also included (seated, from left) Robert C. O'Brien, Arent Fox LLP; Vineeta Gajwani (obscured), Electronic Arts Inc.; Bruce E. H. Johnson, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; and Brid Jordan, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP; and was moderated by Nathan Siegel (far left), Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP.

First Annual Conference Explores Online Privacy in Today's World

The Biederman Institute also held its First Annual Online Privacy Conference on February 22, co-sponsored by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the law firm of Johnson & Johnson LLP. This day-long event featured four panels, a luncheon Q&A with Erin Egan, the Chief Privacy Officer, Policy for Facebook (pictured below, left, in discussion with Professor Doug Lichtman of UCLA), and a dinner address by Charles Harwood, Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the Federal Trade Commission (pictured below, right). Covering the "hows" and "whys" of privacy, the event created a forum for such important topics as the threat of online privacy in people's lives; the intersection of privacy and reputation; how digital marketing has an impact on privacy, consumer protection and identity; and how the digital revolution has affected both workplace and private online activity.

First Annual Online Privacy Conference


Southwestern Team Excels at International Moot Court Competition

Price Competition TeamAt the 5th Annual Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at Cardozo Law School in New York, Southwestern performed exceptionally well, earning awards for outstanding advocacy and brief writing. The team of Matthew Alsberg, Isaiah Costas, Christopher Lloyd and Almara Sepanian made it to the semifinals at the Americas Regional Rounds, which featured 21 teams from North America, Central America and South America. Southwestern finished within the top four teams at the competition, losing to eventual overall winner Brooklyn Law School during semifinals. This strong showing earned the team a trip to Oxford, England, to compete in the international rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme.

Alsberg and Sepanian received awards for Best Memorials (best briefs) in the regional competition. Costas and Lloyd also received Outstanding Oral Advocacy awards, finishing as two of the top five oralists (out of more than 50 competitors) at the competition. Southwestern was the only participating team to have more than one of its competitors win an oralist award.

Professor Alexandra D'Italia served as the team's advisor. "Isaiah and Chris both performed as consummate professionals," she said. "They were responsive to the bench's questions; they were persuasive and engaging in their arguments. I am not only proud of them, but of Matt and Almara who wrote persuasive and compelling briefs. All four of them make teaching an absolute pleasure." Read more.

TAHP Teams Impress at Regional  Competition

Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program (TAHP) recently sent two teams to a regional tournament of the National Trial Competition (NTC) in Tucson, Arizona. In the preliminary rounds, the team of Michael Morse and Ashley Smolic were ranked first out of 24 teams. Southwestern’s second team of Andrea Friedman and Anastasia Sagorsky ranked third overall in the initial rounds. Although they did not advance to the Nationals, Friedman and Sagorsky were one of four teams to make it to the final rounds of the regional competition. Morse and Fetyko advanced to the semifinals.

Twelve law schools sent teams to the regional competition, including UCLA, Pepperdine, Loyola, University San Diego, California Western, Whittier, University of Arizona, La Verne, Chapman, Thomas Jefferson and Western State. The competitors argued a murder case, in which a father was accused of shooting a young man, after learning that this man was romantically involved with his underage daughter. The defendant brought an affirmative defense of insanity.

"NTC, which is one of the premier trial advocacy competitions in the nation, has tough rules, including that teams can consist of a maximum of three advocates," Sagorsky explained. "Both of our teams consisted of only two advocates, meaning that both advocates had to present both sides of the case - prosecution and defense. Also unique to NTC is the fact that the competition provides witnesses (instead of other team members acting as witnesses, as is usually the case), and the advocates have only 15 minutes to prepare the witnesses before each round."

TAHP alumni Phil Bather '10 and Navid Nakhjavani '04, as well as evening student Kunal Jain, coached Friedman and Sagorsky. Alumni Brandy Chase '06, Jeremy Davis '11 and Maryam Parsioon '09 coached Morse and Smolic.

"In preparing for each competition, we get to work with our coaches, who are TAHP alums who love the program and cherish their experience to such a degree that they take time from their busy practices to coach our teams," Sagorsky said. "It's mentoring meets trial bootcamp meets a lot of fun, laughter, and a great sense of community."

Southwestern Student Shines in the Spotlight

Thomas DeLorenzoSecond-year PLEAS student Thomas DeLorenzo was featured in a recent issue of the ABA's Student Lawyer magazine, which focused on his interest in Health Policy Law (read the story here). He also served as a guest columnist for Frontiers Magazine. The article discussed the case he helped Whatley Kallas LLC fight (and win) against Anthem Blue Cross, following the insurance company's plan to move all HIV/AIDS and other specialty drugs to mandatory mail order service (read the complete article here).

BLSA Chapter Honored at Western Regional Convention

BLSA Regional Chapter of the YearSouthwestern's BLSA Chapter earned THREE awards at the 2013 Western Regional Black Law Student Convention, including the highly-coveted Chapter of the Year! The chapter was also recognized for having the Highest Representation at Regionals and Highest Dues Paying Membership.

Southwestern Students Design and Implement an Immigration Outreach Campaign

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) ClinicSouthwestern students, under the supervision of Professor Julia Vázquez, joined volunteer attorneys from the Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Legal Assistance Project for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Self-Help Clinic at the Benjamin Franklin Public Library in Boyle Heights. This past June, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and met several key guidelines could request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.

Student organizers of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) ClinicInspired by their work with immigrant youth in Southwestern's Immigration Law Clinic, students Stefan Ali, Vanessa Manzi and Vanessa Sanchez worked closely with Professor Vázquez to develop, organize and implement a three-part Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Outreach Campaign. The National Lawyers Guild, Latina/o Law Students Association and Immigration Law Students Association recruited 20 Southwestern student volunteers to assist undocumented youths in preparing their DACA applications.

The full-day self-help clinic was the culmination of the larger outreach campaign which served community members of Garfield High School in East Los Angeles and Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Los Angeles. The first two workshops were conducted by Immigration Law Clinic students as well as Public Service Program (PSP) volunteers. These workshops included a DACA informational presentation as well as an evidence and exhibit preparation working session.

According to Professor Vázquez, "Our law students saw DACA as an opportunity for public service. Thanks to their vision and hard work, the DACA outreach campaign provided legal information and help to over 100 community members who would not likely have been able to afford private counsel." In total, student volunteers dedicated over 120 PSP eligible hours.

Southwestern Student Explores Entertainment Law in Canada through Academic Exchange Program

Daniel SpitzDaniel Spitz wants to practice in the entertainment law field and believes that diversifying his education can give him a unique edge to accomplish this goal. That is why he participated in Southwestern's foreign exchange program. He spent the Fall semester studying at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, where he took four courses in Media Law, Negotiation and Mediation, Corporate Law and Real Estate Law.

"When I initially researched law schools, I wanted to find a program where I could focus on entertainment law," Spitz said. "Southwestern jumped out at me with its incredible range of entertainment electives as well as the ability to go on a semester exchange to Canada. In that sense, Southwestern allowed me to customize my degree towards my future career goal of working in the international entertainment business."

Although he would like to remain in Los Angeles after he graduates, he would like to practice entertainment law that is connected with his native Canada, either assisting a firm or with his own production company Hackzor Media. In particular, he would like to work in areas related to television and new media content. And since a lot of production companies from the United States film in Canada, he can bring his unique perspective as a Canadian national who has been educated in both countries. Read more.

LLSA's Toy Drive Continues a Successful Tradition

LLSA Toy DriveSouthwestern's Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) hard work again helped to ensure the success of the 11th Annual Hoover Elementary Toy Drive, benefitting the students at Hoover Elementary. With the assistance of the entire Southwestern community, LLSA raised enough money and toy donations to give every single child at the school a holiday toy - over 850 smiling children! They then donated all extra toys to other economically disenfranchised children living in the area through the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.


Professor Jessica BerchA 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. Read more.

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

Sheba Sheikh

This month - Sheba Sheikh, Part-time Day Program
High fashion isn't just about wild clothing and the waifish models who strut down runways wearing outfits that cost more than most people earn in a month. Fashion is about the potentially lucrative union of art and commerce. Sheba Sheikh knows that in an industry that melds creativity and financial risks, legal matters are inevitable and fertile with opportunities for good lawyers. She has combined her love of fashion and law to create The Fashion Grid, a unique fashion law blog she calls, "an online platform for the fashion lover, fashion lawyer and fashion geek."

The site has several unique features to inform readers of both what is on trend for the industry and the hottest legal issues. One section, "Judging Fashion," invites readers to act as fashion lawyer by comparing two items of fashion, and polls them on whether they are line-by-line copies or inspired by trends. The law section of the blog follows juicy legal matters, such as how a judge has to weigh the division of assets between a successful designer and her estranged husband. The Fashion Grid manages to be edgy and cool and wonk-ish all at once, a pretty remarkable feat for a legal blog.

As an undergraduate student studying international relations at Stanford, Sheikh always had an interest in the law. After college, she worked as a project manager for The HAND Foundation as a researcher and project manager, then as a paralegal at a law firm. She considered pursuing an MBA, and given her interest in fashion, transitioned into worked in the finance department at Forever 21. She ultimately chose to pursue a JD over an MBA because she felt it would provide her with more opportunities.

"I knew I wanted to be back in Los Angeles for law school," Sheikh explained. "I was interested in Southwestern's renowned Biederman Institute. I also wanted to continue building my resume and working while I was pursuing my J.D." She spent a couple years working for HauteLook, a fashion, flash-sale e-commerce site. Currently, she is a legal associate for (a site created by founder Brian Lee), where she works with the general counsel on everything from filing trademark applications to drafting stock option agreements and contract negotiations. Her work with HauteLook and ShoeDazzle really made her interested in the cross-section of law, fashion and the Internet.

Sheikh decided to take classes that would allow her to learn about the legal issues specific to this niche, including Intellectual Property Licensing, Information Privacy Law, and Internet and E-Commerce Law, taught by Professor Michael Scott, as well as Entertainment Law Web 2.0, a Southwestern course taught by both Professor Scott and Adjunct Professor Craig Matsuda. During the Web 2.0 course, students learned about legal blogging and worked as editors for the Biederman Blog. "Writing for the Biederman Blog helped me create the foundation of learning how to write about legal issues in layman's terms. The course was also instrumental in allowing me to become comfortable with the technology and format that goes into setting up and promoting a blog, as well as the importance of connecting with the legal community," she said.

After attending Fordham's Fashion Law Institute in the summer of 2011, she decided to create The Fashion Grid and spent a considerable amount of time searching for the best available domain name as well as the developing the design of her site. "I really put a lot of thought into the look, feel and layout of the site. The aesthetics needed to be serious enough to capture the attention of lawyers, but also edgy enough to draw in the fashion lovers and industry insiders." Sheikh launched the site in March 2012. "I definitely think the Web 2.0 course was instrumental in helping me develop and launch my own blog," she said. "Professor Scott is a great professor and he's been a great promoter of my blog. I think it's always satisfying for a student to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom in the real world."

While The Fashion Grid periodically features guest writers, Sheikh is working on bringing on a staff of editors to help expand the blog's content. "I'm glad it's gaining attention and a following," she said. "I'm very proud of the blog, but with my work schedule, I don't have as much time as I would like to implement all my ideas. There would be so much more content on there if I had more time."

Sheikh doesn't just blog from the sidelines. Aside from her work and education, she attends New York fashion week and other industry events. "Fashion was always a creative outlet for me," she said. "But I never really thought it could be something that I could merge into my career. Over time, I figured out ways of weaving it in. I really made a conscience effort to make my experience in law school truly relevant to my interests. Once I discovered there was a subset of IP and Business law specific to fashion that was considered a serious practice area, I delved right into it and hustled. I believe when you understand and connect with the industry you are lawyering for, you'll be a better lawyer to your clients."

So far, The Fashion Grid has received exceedingly positive feedback from professors, law students, lawyers and casual readers. "I even had designers and other industry insiders reach out to me to ask questions about fashion law or inquire about writing for the blog," Sheikh said. "It's really allowed me to connect to a network and establish a professional identity."


  • 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



Dean Garth and Professor Carpenter among "Most Influential People in Legal Education"

Dean Bryant G. Garth and Professor Catherine CarpenterIn its first list of "the most influential people in legal education," National Jurist magazine has included Southwestern's Dean Emeritus Bryant Garth and Professor Catherine Carpenter among the 25 finalists. The individuals on the list were chosen from nominations received from around the country which were first narrowed down to 50 by the magazine's editorial team and then rated by 350 prominent legal educators for the final list. The finalists were published in order of influence in the January issue of National Jurist; Dean Garth was listed as number 7 and Professor Carpenter was number 9.

One of the country's leading experts on law school curricula, Professor Carpenter is co-drafter and editor of the ABA's comprehensive report, A Survey of Law School Curricula: 2002-2010. The survey, which garnered extensive media coverage, documents the changes law schools have made to meet the significant challenges and demands of the evolving legal landscape. The study is an update of A Survey of Law School Curricula 1992-2002, the most comprehensive national examination ever conducted on law schools, for which Professor Carpenter also served as principal drafter and editor.

Dean Garth is one of the most prominent international scholars on the legal profession, dispute resolution, globalization and the rule of law. In addition to leading Southwestern as its tenth dean for the past seven years during which the law school made major advancements in virtually all areas, Dean Garth is co-editor of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Journal of Legal Education, chairs the Advisory Board of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) and serves on the Executive Coordinating Committee of the pioneering "After the J.D." study of lawyer careers.

Professor Ostrove Marks 45 years with Southwestern

David OstroveProfessor David Ostrove '58 marks his 45th anniversary as a member of Southwestern's adjunct faculty this year. A former President of the American Association of Attorney-CPAs, Professor Ostrove has taught a variety of tax law courses, most recently Accounting for Lawyers, Estate and Gift Taxation, Federal Corporate Taxation, Wills & Trusts, and Survey of Federal Income Tax. He is a graduate of Southwestern, as are his two sons, Robert Ostrove '80 and Ken Ostrove '82. He was honored as Southwestern's Alumnus of the Year in 2009.

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. Read more.

Argentine Professors Eager to Learn About American Human Rights Law as Siderman Fellows

Siderman FellowsArgentine lawyers Celina Giraudy and Ezequiel Gutierrez de la Carcova have devoted their careers to helping those who have been disenfranchised. The opportunity to spend a year focusing solely on their studies and to learn about human rights law and the legal system in the United States while earning an LL.M. degree appealed to the couple, who were selected to serve as the 2012-2013 Siderman Fellows at Southwestern.
In Argentina, Giraudy worked as a human rights attorney for the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ), and served as a professor at the University of Palermo. Gutierrez also served on the Palermo faculty as a professor of the Public Interest Law Clinic, as well as for the Human Rights Clinic of ACIJ/University of Buenos Aires. In addition, Gutierrez has served as an Assistant of the District Attorney in Buenos Aires.

During their first semester at Southwestern, Giraudy and Gutierrez took courses in Legal Writing for LL.M., Constitutional Law, Constitutional Criminal Procedure and Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation. Additionally, Giraudy enjoyed the Women in the Law Seminar taught by Professors Judy Sloan and Alexandra D'Italia. "All of the courses are really interesting," Giraudy said. "The seminar for me is especially interesting. It's not like a lecture. We have the opportunity to discuss more deeply women's issues and discrimination." 

Gutierrez appreciated the Youth at Risk Seminar taught by Professor Myrna Raeder and Professor Karen Smith's Constitutional Criminal Procedure course. "I like the case method of teaching the law here," he said. "It's a good way of studying law, and the fact patterns are helpful. In Argentina, it's more of a lecture structure and learning what the law says in the abstract." Read more.


Awards Recognition Event Salutes Southwestern Community Leaders

Alumni Award HonoreesFour distinguished members of the Southwestern community will be honored at the 25th Awards Recognition Reception, Silent Auction and Reunion on Thursday, April 25. This year's award recipients include:

  • Professor Catherine L. Carpenter '76, "Alumna of the Year"
  • Hon. Robert J. Schuit '79 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, "Outstanding Judicial Officer"
  • Dean Emeritus Bryant Garth, "Outstanding Friend"
  • Carole Weiner, Associate Director of the Taylor Law Library, "Betty Trier Berry Award"

"Our four honorees are truly exceptional," Dean Austen Parrish said. "They are leaders, innovators and role models, and each have made tremendous contributions to the law and to legal education. They reflect the very best of Southwestern, and we are proud and privileged to honor them."

The event is sponsored by the Southwestern Alumni Association to help recognize individuals for their extraordinary service to the law school, community and legal profession. In addition to the awards ceremony and cocktail reception, the evening features a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support to outstanding Southwestern students. Additionally, the event serves as a reunion celebration for the classes of '63, '68, '73, '78, '83, '88, '93, '98, '03 and '08.

The event will be held at The Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 Lucerne Blvd., beginning at 6:00 p.m. The cost to attend is $60 for alumni and friends; the cost for Southwestern students is $40. Click here for additional information about the event.

Chau '92 Elected to California State Assembly

Assemblyman ChauAlumnus Ed Chau '92 was elected in November 2012 to represent the 49th Assembly District in California. He was recently sworn in, and in this position, he will serve the communities of Alhambra, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Temple City and portions of Montebello and South El Monte.

Growing up in a working class family, Mr. Chau learned the value of hard work and a good education early on. He attended local public schools and worked his way through college to become an engineer. A former Montebello School Board Member and small business owner, Mr. Chau has also served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court.

"My colleagues and I are ready to hit the ground running as we work together to create jobs and ensure that students in the state receive a top-notch education," Mr. Chau said in a statement on his website. "Good schools lead to good jobs, so it is fundamental that we recognize that that these two issues are closely intertwined and both must be addressed for California to continue its path toward renewed prosperity."

Southwestern Alumni Named to LA District Attorney's New Leadership Team

Joseph EspositoAs Los Angeles County's new District Attorney Jackie Lacey began her term in office, she appointed Professor Joseph Esposito '89, Co-Director of Southwestern's Trial Advocacy Honors Program, as Assistant District Attorney in charge of Special Operations. He most recently served as the LADA's Director of Specialized Prosecutions. Other Southwestern alumni taking on new leadership posts in the DA's Office are Sergio Gonzalez '84, Head Deputy of the Justice System Integrity Division, who will now direct Prosecution Support Operations, and Julie Dixon Silva '95, who will continue as Legal Advisor.

Brian Panish '84 Selected as a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year

Brian PanishBrian J. Panish '84, a partner at Panish, Shea & Boyle in Los Angeles, has been selected as a 2013 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) in the Personal Injury category. Last year, Mr. Panish won more than $300 million in personal injury recoveries for his clients. One of the most prominent plaintiff's attorneys in the country, he previously won the largest personal injury and product liability verdict in U.S. history ($4.9 billion - Anderson v. General Motors Corp.).

Active in the Southwestern alumni community, Mr. Panish served as Chair and Master of Ceremonies for Southwestern's Judges Tribute Dinner in 2012. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Southwestern's 96th Commencement Ceremony.

California Lawyer magazine named 60 attorneys around the state as the 17th Annual California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards. Recognized in 21 areas of legal practice, the honorees include prosecutors, public-interest lawyers, and attorneys from international law firms. The recipients of the CLAY Awards will be featured in the March 2013 issue of California Lawyer.

Marisa Blackshire '06 Earns ABA's Distinguished Environmental Advocates Award

Marisa BlackshireMarisa Blackshire '06, a senior associate with Alston & Bird in Los Angeles, is among the 12 young lawyers from across the country being honored by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources with the 2013 Distinguished Environmental Advocates Rising Stars Award. The award, which recognizes the contributions of lawyers to the development of law, policy and programs in the areas of energy and the environment, will be presented on March 22 during the Section's 42nd Spring Conference in Salt Lake City.

"This award is particularly special to me because it not only recognizes my environmental/land use practice, which I enjoy immensely and take a great deal of pride in, but also my commitment to my community," Blackshire said. "In addition to my practice, I have a passion and commitment to at-risk youth, and I'm tremendously grateful that my employer and the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources are supportive of, and see the value in that aspect of my life as well!" Read more.

Prestigious Fellowship Enables New Grad to Serve Veterans

Ely GrinvaldWhile Ely Grinvald '12 was a student at Southwestern, he immersed himself in a variety of public interest activities. From the first day he volunteered at Public Counsel, he knew that this was exactly where he wanted to work after graduation. Becoming an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow has allowed him to do this.

As a Fellow, he works at Public Counsel's Center for Veterans Advancement (CVA). When he was a student, he spent three semesters as a volunteer for Public Counsel, two with the Consumer Law Project and one with the CVA. In this position, he advocates for and assists homeless and low income veterans with legal issues, ranging from tickets and warrants to consumer, tax and family law matters. CVA is a project of Public Counsel, the nation's largest pro bono law firm. The CVA is a national leader in veteran's advocacy, and provides direct representation, or representation through pro bono partners, to veterans and their families.

"This is my dream job," Grinvald said. "My clients are veterans. Most are homeless; there's no way they can afford an attorney. CVA has a close partnership with the Los Angeles County Bar Association, so I can also place clients with pro bono attorneys in order to help more veterans." Read more.

The Lawyer Behind America's Favorite Judge

A profile of Amy Freisleben '84, Executive in Charge of Production for Judge Judy, by Lindsay Nelson '11

Amy FreislebenThe Biederman Institute did not exist when Amy Freisleben '84 attended Southwestern. In fact, the only entertainment related offering was one very exclusive class taught by Donald Biederman himself. However, the lack of entertainment electives didn't hold her back. She has been a production attorney at CBS for the past fifteen years and is currently the Executive in Charge of Production for Judge Judy, the number one show in first-run syndication, averaging over 9 million viewers a day.

Freisleben was first hired as a production attorney for the show in 1998. She has continued working there in different capacities, most recently as the Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for CBS Television Distribution. In that role, she was in charge of all production related legal work for Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown. This involves everyday production legal issues such as reviewing promotional material, website issues, clearances, litigation, and the traditional legal work that comes with handling actual small claims cases on the show.

At the end of 2012, Freisleben was promoted to Executive in Charge of Production for Judge Judy. She now oversees both the business and legal issues involved with the production of the show, which involves managing the budget, setting the production schedule, overseeing production management and post production, and handling research and travel issues. "It is essentially the day to day operation of the show," she explained. She admits that it is a lot of work, but she enjoys it.

Before starting her career in entertainment, Freisleben practiced general business litigation. She heard about an interesting job opening through a coworker at her last firm and so she went for it. "I just welcomed the new challenge," she said. "It sounded different and fun." Although her litigation experience is certainly beneficial in her entertainment career, she doesn't miss it too much (especially not the time sheets). "I was a litigator for many years before I started working as a production attorney and I have never looked back," she said.

However, she does look back fondly at Southwestern. She hadn't anticipated a career in entertainment when she was in law school, but now she is glad to see the development of the campus and Southwestern's entertainment law program. "When I went there, Southwestern didn't yet own the Bullocks Wilshire Building or have the Biederman Institute, so it's wonderful to see what has happened to the school," she said. "The best is yet to come for Southwestern."


Law Review Symposium Examines 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism

On February 8, the Southwestern Law Review presented a full-day symposium entitled 40 Years of LGBT Legal Activism: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. Working with Professors Danielle Hart, Gowri Ramachandran, and Kelly Strader, the Law Review organized four panels, and Hon. Michael W. Fitzgerald, United States District Court Judge for the Central District of California (pictured below, right) - the first openly gay federal judge in the western United States - served as the keynote speaker for the event.

2013 Law Review Symposium

Pictured, left: Kellye Y. Testy, Dean and James W. Mifflin University Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law, speaks about her experiences in the panel "Out and Proud in the Profession: Stories of Success." Also pictured are Southwestern Professor Jay W. Gendron, Former Vice President of Business Affairs and Legal Affairs, Warner Brothers Television; James D. Nguyen, Partner, Davis, Wright, Tremaine, LLP; and Hon. Lisa M. Ginoza, Associate Judge, Intermediate Court of Appeals, State of Hawaii.

Law Journal Symposium Discusses the Future of Children in International Law

On February 22, the Southwestern Journal of International Law presented a symposium on The Future of Children in International Law. Southwestern's Clinical Faculty and Professors Christine Lorillard and Myrna Raeder worked with the Law Journal to cover the topics of Shattered Families; Rights of Children and Governmental Responses; Adoption, Abduction and the Hague Conventions; and Child Trafficking and Children in Conflict with the Law in the four panels of this day-long event. 

2013 Law Journal Symposium

Pictured: Bernardine Dohrn, Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern Law School, addresses the subject of Child Trafficking and Children in Conflict with the Law. Also pictured are Southwestern Professor Julie Waterstone; Wendi Adelson, Visiting Clinical Professor, Florida State University College of Law; and Stephanie Richard, Policy & Legal Services Director, The Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking.

Student Housing Construction Updates

Construction UpdateAs the new year got underway, the housing project had topped out with the fourth floor terrace and sun deck, as work also began on the interior units. Click here to see month-by-month updates of that progress.

JLE Fiction Contest Winners' Stories Published

Now you can read the stories that wowed best-selling authors. Winners of the first Journal of Legal Education Legal Fiction Contest impressed prominent judges with their imagination, skill and wit. After offering writers a rare opportunity to have their work read and judged by internationally known best-selling authors such as Michael Connolly, the Association of American Law Schools' Journal of Legal Education (JLE) and Southwestern selected the contest winners last July. The newly published print edition of the JLE's Fiction Issue (February 2013) features the top ten stories. Both the top ten and an additional ten runner-up stories are available online (see them here).

Steven Semeraro, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, won the contest with "The Birds They Sang at the Break of Day." His story topped an impressive 129 competition entries, which came from [diverse] writers throughout the United States. There were also international submissions from Canada, Germany, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, Israel and South Africa. Contestants who submitted entries included professors, deans, judges, lawyers, law students and professional writers. These original short works of fiction are related to law school or the practice of law. In addition to Connelly, the judging panel included writers Denise Hamilton, Marshall Goldberg and Charles Rosenberg.

Southwestern Fondly Remembers TV Host and BW Enthusiast Huell Howser

Huell Howser at Southwestern's Gala CelebrationThe Southwestern community will greatly miss our good friend Huell Howser who passed away earlier this month. Huell was a Bullocks Wilshire enthusiast who featured the landmark in several hour-long episodes of his popular program Visiting with Huell Howser on KCET. These focused on the closing of the store and Tea Room, then the restoration and adaptation of one-third of the building to accommodate Southwestern's Law Library, and finally the reopening of the Tea Room to serve Southwestern students, faculty and visitors, with a few updates as recently as December 2011. In October 2004, he served as Master of Ceremonies for Southwestern's Gala Celebration to mark the dedication of Southwestern's Dixon Courtroom and Advocacy Center and the completion of the transformation of the Bullocks Wilshire Building.

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