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Western State At A Glance
Learn more about our graduates, their careers and how they are helping to shape the future.
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.Read More
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeff Brockmeier (‘13) was recently sworn in to the California Army National Guard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.