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Alumni Relations





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Christopher Montes de Oca

Christopher Montes de Oca Named 2017 Rising Star Trial Attorney of the Year by The Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA)

Christopher Montes de Oca (Western State Class of 2006 | Dean’s Counselor) has been selected by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) as the 2017 Rising Star Trial Attorney of the Year. He will be honored at CAALA’s 69th Annual Installation & Awards dinner on January 13, 2018.

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Alumni News

Neil Pedersen Presents at Seminars on Depositions, Law Practice Management and Technology

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen participated in a seminar entitled “Mock Depositions: Don’t Make a Mockery of Yourself,” on September 12. At this Orange County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division program, Professor Pedersen conducted a demonstration deposition and then participated in a panel discussing deposition fundamentals.

Professor Pedersen also was one of four speakers at the Orange County Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Section’s annual program, held September 14, entitled “Building and Growing a Successful Practice.”  Professor Pedersen spoke about all aspects of law practice management and technology during the two-hour panel discussion.

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Cynthia Hackler Flynn

Cynthia Hackler Flynn has been selected by Super Lawyers as one of their 2017 Southern California Rising Stars

Cynthia Hackler Flynn (Western State Class of 2010) has been selected by Super Lawyers as one of their 2017 Southern California Rising Stars, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Only 2.5% of attorneys in Southern California receive this distinction.

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Christopher Montes de Oca

Christopher Montes de Oca recently Recovered a $10.8 Million Verdict for His Client

Christopher Montes de Oca (Class of 2006 | Dean's Counselor) was co-counsel on a recent case where he recovered a $10,778,626 verdict for his client who was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident.

https://www.lexisnexis.com/jvsubmission/b/case_of_week/archive/2017/05/11/california-state-jury-awards-10-year-old-10-8-million-after-suffering-traumatic-brain-injury-as-seat-belted-passenger-in-vehicle-that-was-rear-ended.aspx

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Alumni News

Neil Pedersen Presents on Running Law Practice, Tips for New Lawyers

On April 22, Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen participated as a panelist at a workshop at UCLA Law School entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Opening and Maintaining a Law Office.” Professor Pedersen spoke about a variety of subjects including the decision to open a firm, impediments to expect in the process, business development, and maintaining work-life balance when running a law practice.


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Douglas W. Schroeder

Beloved Alum and Adjunct Professor Passes

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our friend, teacher, classmate, and colleague, Douglas W. Schroeder, Western State Class of 1988. Doug has been a valued member of our family, beloved by colleagues and students alike for his warmth, dedication to the teaching craft, and devotion to his students. A Dean's Counselor and a member of the alumni Hall of Fame, Doug will be remembered as a great friend to the school. We know this will be very hard news for the many of you who, like us, counted Doug as a friend.

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Kevin Calcagnie

Kevin Calcagnie Named 2017 Lawyer of the Year for Orange County in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions

Kevin Calcagnie (Western State Class of 1982 | Hall of Fame | Dean’s Counselor) was just named by Best Lawyer as 2017 Lawyer of the Year for Orange County in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions.

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Alumni News

Neil Pedersen Receives Professional Recognition

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen has again been named a Southern California Super Lawyer in the 2017 edition of Super Lawyers Magazine by Thomson Reuters. This distinction is conferred on select attorneys based on a process involving peer nomination, independent research and evaluation by the publisher, with about 5% of attorneys in the state being named to the list. Professor Pedersen also has been named as one of the 2017 “Best Employment Attorneys in Orange County” by the publishers of Orange Coast Magazine, for the fourth year in a row.

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Professor Neil Pedersen selected as this year's recipient of the State Bar Solo and Small Firm Section's Attorney of the Year award

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Western State Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean’s Counselor) at Western State College of Law has just been selected as this year's recipient of the State Bar Solo and Small Firm Section's Attorney of the Year award.

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Western State Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean’s Counselor) at Western State College of Law has just been selected as this year's recipient of the State Bar Solo and Small Firm Section's Attorney of the Year award. The award is given to one attorney each year that demonstrates the following characteristics:

  • Diligent work to increase the public’s confidence in the legal profession
  • Demonstrated leadership and dedication to the legal profession
  • Contribution to the betterment of the practice of law
  • Devotion of significant service to the public and legal community
  • Exhibition of exceptional accomplishments in the practice of law
  • Contribution to the positive image of the legal profession

The honor will be presented to Pedersen at the annual Solo and Small Firm Summit on June 17, 2016 in Newport Beach, Calif. Pedersen received the award because of his "selfless dedication" to educating law students and attorneys about the practice of law. This includes teaching and interning students at his firm Pedersen McQueen, APLC, mentoring attorneys through formal and informal mentorship channels, along with his publications and speaking engagements as well.

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Western State Adjunct Professor William Shapiro named to the 2016 faculty of The National Trial Academy and ABOTA’s Trial College at Harvard Law School

Western State Adjunct Professor, William D. Shapiro, Class of 1978, has been named to the 2016 faculty of both The American Board of Trial Advocate's Trial College at Harvard Law School and The National Trial Academy in Reno, NV, sponsored by the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association and ABOTA.

The Trial College is offered every two years, and Professor Shapiro was on the faculty in 2012 and 2014 as well. Professor Shapiro also will be a featured presenter at ABOTA's "Masters in Trial" presentation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May. Elected 2016 ABOTA National Secretary, Professor Shapiro has been invited to and featured in numerous "Masters in Trial" presentations, in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Arkansas and Nashville.

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Alumni News

Beloved Professor Passes

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend, teacher, classmate, and colleague, Professor Stephen Chavez. Professor Chavez graduated from Western State summa cum laude in 1998. He was the class valedictorian and gave the graduation address. He returned to Western State in 2010 as a professor. As Director of the Civil and Judicial Externship Program and Professor of Legal Writing and Research, he touched the lives of many students and had a significant impact on their legal careers. He was an outstanding teacher and colleague and we will miss him very much.

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Neil Pedersen Presents at State Bar Solo and Small Firm Summit

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Class of 1988) gave two one-hour presentations at this year’s State Bar Solo and Small Firm Summit on June 18, 2015, in Newport Beach, California. One presentation was entitled “Time Management for the Busy Attorney,” and the other was entitled “The Paperless Law Office: Using Technology to Maximize Efficiency and Profit.” The State Bar’s California Young Lawyers Association has asked Professor Pedersen to produce two recorded segments on those same topics for its Ten Minute Mentor program, where CYLA members can view ten-minute videos on topics related to the practice of law.

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Alumni News

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen Presents for California Young Lawyers Division Annual Practical Skills Training Symposium

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen presented at the State Bar offices in Los Angeles on May 22 on the topic of Making Good Client Choices. He was asked to present as part of the California Young Lawyers Division Annual Practical Skills Training Symposium, a two-day training program for young lawyers. The presentation included a series of video clips and discussion focused on heading off practice problems by identifying potential client issues in the intake process.

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Alumni News

The Hollywood Reporter has named David Fox (Class of 1985), to its Power Lawyer 2015 list of Hollywood's Top 100 Lawyers.

David Fox is a partner at Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light and represents a number of clients who had a spectacular year, including ‘Furious 7’ director, James Wan; ‘The Lego Movie’ producer, Dan Lin; and ‘Grey's Anatomy’ producers Tony Phelan and Joan Rater. Fox helped producer Dan Lin launch his Lego Movie empire and helped Tony Phelan and Joan Rater with Grey's Anatomy secure an overall deal at CBS.

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Alumni News

Carolyn Dillinger Launches JumpStart Genius Software

Adjunct Professor Carolyn Dillinger has created JumpStart Genius, an online software program to help law students and attorneys design, start, and manage their law firms. Professor Dillinger collaborated with a team of experts who provided content for the program, including Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen and Professor Kevin Mohr. JumpStart Genius has been approved as a member benefit for the California State Bar Section on Law Practice Management and Technology.

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Alumni News

Western State Alum Featured In ABA's Business Law Today

Alumnus Betty Boyd (Class of 2007) was featured in the American Bar Associations online publication, Business Law Today, in the Member Spotlight section. Business Law Today examines substantive and procedural issues relating to corporation, banking, business law and practice-oriented topics. It also highlights recent and important case law from state and federal courts as well as important studies and regulations. It is a publication of the American Bar Association Section of Business Law.

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Alumni News

William D. Shapiro receives the 2015 CAL-ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year Award

Adjunct Professor William D. Shapiro (Class of 1978 | Hall of Fame | Dean’s Counselor) recently received the 2015 CAL-ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, by many accounts the highest honor a California trial lawyer can receive. The California Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates awards it annually to the attorney who most exhibits excellence in advocacy, a distinguished career, and a reputation for civility, ethics, and fair play. William Shapiro currently teaches Civil Trial Practice at Western State.

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Neil Pedersen Publishes Article on Tracking Billable Time, Presents Webinar on Attorney-Client Contract

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame) has recently published in The Bottom Line, the official publication of the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section. His two-part article, entitled “Time Capture and Recordation: Part 1 – Capturing Your Time,” and “Time Capture and Recordation: Part 2 – Effectively Recording Your Time,” appear in the February and April 2015 editions of the journal. The articles focus on an attorney’s challenges associated with keeping track of billable time, and methods to most effectively capture and then record that time to assure client satisfaction, ethical compliance and maximized profits.

Professor Pedersen also presented a webinar sponsored by the San Diego County Bar Association entitled “The Attorney-Client Contract: The Intersection of Ethical Obligations, Risk Management and Client Retention Strategies.” The webinar, held February 11, emphasized that the attorney contract is far more than a document required by the Rules of Professional Conduct, and when created and presented properly, is a critical part of an attorney’s risk management and client retention efforts.

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Neil Pedersen, Doug Schroeder and Bill Shapiro Named Southern California Super Lawyers

Thompson Reuters has published its list of Super Lawyers for 2015. Adjunct Professors Neil Pedersen (’98), Doug Schroeder and Bill Shapiro (’78) have all been named Southern California Super Lawyers. This distinction is conferred on select attorneys based on a process that involves peer nomination, independent research and evaluation by the publisher, resulting in only about 5% of all attorneys in the state being named to the list. The full list of Super Lawyers can be found here.

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Governor Brown appoints Western State alumni to Orange County Superior Court

Congratulations to Western State alumnus John R. Zitny on his appointment to a judgeship in the Orange County Superior Court! Click here to read more.

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Governor Brown appoints Western State alumni to Orange County Superior Court

Also, congratulations to Western State alumnus Craig Arthur on his appointment to a judgeship in the Orange County Superior Court! Click here to read more.

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Alumni News

Congratulations to Jeff Brockmeier (‘13)!

Jeff Brockmeier (‘13) was recently sworn in to the California Army National Guard.

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Alumni News

Congratulations to William Shapiro ('78)!

Adjunct professor William Shapiro, who currently teaches Civil Trial Practice, was named Attorney of the Month in OC Attorney Journal. Click here to view the article.

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Alumni News

Neil Pedersen Honored by CELA and Named to Top Lawyers of Southern California

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen has been honored this month by the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), which has placed him on the “Wall of Justice” at this year’s annual CELA Convention, held in San Diego. Wall of Justice honorees are recognized for contributions to the CELA community, and Professor Pedersen was honored for his contributions in mentoring some of CELA’s younger members. Professor Pedersen also has been named as one of the Top Lawyers of Southern California for 2014 in the annual publication sponsored by American Legal Media and the Los Angeles Times. This is the fourth year in a row that Professor Pedersen has been so honored by this publication.

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Alumni News

Neil Pedersen Publishes Article in Law Practice Management and Technology E-News

Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen has published an article entitled "Let Technology Work For You, Not Against You" in the September-October edition of the State Bar of California Law Practice Management and Technology Section's E-News. This article is sixth in a series of articles on time management for attorneys. Professor Pedersen teaches Law Practice Management and Technology at Western State which includes content on time management techniques.

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Alumni News

Neil Pedersen Named Among Top Employment Law Attorneys in Orange County

Adjunct professor Neil Pedersen (Class of 1998, Hall of Fame Member) has been named one of Orange County’s Top Attorneys in the area of Employment Law by the Orange County Register’s OC Metro Magazine. Professor Pedersen teaches Employment Law and Law Practice Management and Technology. This is the second consecutive year that Professor Pedersen has appeared on this exclusive list.

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Alumni News

Alumna Nominated to Run for OCBA Secretary

The Western State Community congratulates Solange Ritchie (Class of 1994, Hall of Fame 2013), who has been selected by the OCBA Nominating Committee to run for OCBA Secretary the 2015-2016 term. Additionally, the State Bar’s Solo and Small Firm section will award Ritchie the 2014 Myer J. Sankary Attorney of the Year Award. The Section presents the Award each year to a lawyer who has shown dedication to public service, and demonstrated leadership to the legal community. The award will be presented on Friday evening, 9/12/2014, at the Section’s reception at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, the site of this year’s State Bar Annual Meeting.

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Alumni News

Alumna appointed Judge of the Orange County Superior Court

The Western State community congratulates Nancy E. Zeltzer (Class of 1977 and Hall of Fame inductee), who has just been appointed Judge of the Orange County Superior Court by Governor Brown.

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William Shapiro ('78) Recognized as Trial Advocate, Educates Other Attorneys

Adjunct professor William Shapiro, who currently teaches Civil Trial Practice, was nominated “2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the California Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (Cal-ABOTA) and named “2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of the Inland Empire. Professor Shapiro will be a featured presenter on “Voir Dire” at Cal-ABOTA’s upcoming Masters in Trial professional education seminar in September, has given multiple “Civility Now” presentations this year in Southern California, and recently was invited to give a “Closing Argument” before members of the Arkansas Bar Association at their June 2014 Annual Meeting.

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Alumni News

Anabella Bonfa ('94) writes about Tips to Becoming a Great Legal Networker

Anabella's article, Tips to Becoming a Great Legal Networker recently appeared as part of the Continuing Education of the Bar Blog. She has involved herself with mentoring Western State students and recent graduates along with giving on-campus presentations on her area of expertise, trademark litigation. She will be coming to the campus this September for a LinkedIn workshop.

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First Annual Criminal Law Alumni Mixer a Big Success

The Criminal Law Association and the Criminal Law Practice Center hosted an Alumni Mixer at Florentine’s in downtown Fullerton Friday evening. Approximately 50 lawyers and students were present to mix and mingle with each other. Deputy public defenders, deputy district attorneys, private defense counsel, and a judge from Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties interacted with law students, providing them with excellent contacts for possible externship opportunities and jobs after graduation.

Alumni News

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Alumni News

Western State Alumni Officers of Long Beach Barristers

Four Western State Alumni were installed as officers for 2014-2015 in the Long Beach Barristers, a group for practicing lawyers aged 35 and under in Long Beach, CA.: http://longbeachbarristers.com/. The Western State community congratulates our graduates incoming President Christopher Montes De Oca, class of ’06; Vice President Sean Brady, class of "08; Secretary Elisa Guadan, ‘11; and Membership Chair Christy Beard, "06 as they assume their leadership roles in this dynamic young lawyers' organization.

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Alumni News

Judge John Nho Nguyen Retires from the Bench

The Western State community proudly congratulates alumnus Judge Nguyen on the conclusion of his distinguished career as a Judge on the Orange County Superior Court. Dean Adams and senior faculty were in attendance with over 200 guests at a gala retirement dinner sponsored by OCAABA, Western State, and 14 other organizations in honor of Judge Nguyen. The event was held at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel on November 18th. A member of the Western State College Class of 1988, Judge Nguyen was the first Vietnamese Judge to serve in Orange County. He was inducted to the Western State Hall of Fame in 2001, and awarded an Honorary "Doctor of Laws" degree from Western State College in 2008. Judge Nguyen has also taught at Western State as an adjunct faculty member. Western State College is proud to celebrate the legal career of an alumnus who is so accomplished and esteemed.

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Alumni News

Govenor Brown Appoints Honorable Sherri Honer To Orange County Superior Court

Kudos to Hon. Sherri Honer (Class of 1996) on her appointment as Judge for the Orange County Superior Court by Governor Brown. She joins over 100 active judicial officers in California who are Western State graduates.

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Alumni News

Jeff Witjas Gives Talk To Entertainment & Sports Law Society

Jeff Witjas, Senior VP, Talent, at APA Talent and Literary Agency, spoke at Western State's Entertainment & Sports Law Society on Friday, October 4. Graduate of the Class of 1979, Mr Witjas characterizes his role as a talent agent as "one of the most exciting jobs anyone can have" and credits his law background for giving him "the balance and the ability to be reasonable and understanding" required for his success.

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Alumni News

Western State Graduate Named President Of The Beverly Hills Bar Association

The Western State community congratulates Diane Karpman, class of 1974, Principal of Karpman and Associates, who was recently installed as the 82nd President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.

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