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Western State College of Law has been named a bronze-level Military Friendly® Graduate School for 2019-2020 by VIQTORY Media. To earn the Bronze distinction, schools must score within 30% of the 10th best school in their category. Western State is proud to showcase its commitment to veterans and their families.
Congratulations to the mock trial teams who competed across the country earlier this year! In November 2018, a team consisting of Kelsy Fraser, Canon Thomas, Sabrina Meng and Sean Kurdoglu had a successful deep run in the invitational Buffalo Niagara criminal law mock trial competition, advancing twice to the elite eight. Sean Kurdoglu put in a particularly impressive performance and won the "Best Overall" Award (out of the 128 competitors!)
On February 1, Professors Andrew Knapp and Jennifer Koh spoke at a symposium organized by the Southwestern Law Review on “Immigration in the Trump Era.” Both participated in a panel entitled, “Dimaya and the Crimmigration of Migration.” Professor Knapp shared about his representation of James Dimaya, whose case he took from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, and for whom he and the rest of the legal team prevailed in Sessions v. Dimaya (invalidating a portion of the “crime of violence” definition in immigration law under the void for vagueness doctrine), https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/lynch-v-dimaya/. Professor Koh’s comments focused on the void for vagueness doctrine and immigration enforcement, which arose from her law review article, “Crimmigration and the Void for Vagueness Doctrine,” which appeared in a 2017 issue of the Wisconsin Law Review (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2846572) as well as a forthcoming essay that will soon appear in the Stanford Law Review Online.
Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean's Counselor) presented his annual “Hit the Floor Running” at Western State on January 12. Part of a CLE program organized by Pam Davidson, Professor Pedersen’s program provided guidance for young attorneys on topics such as problem identification and problem solving, the written and spoken word, time management, professional conduct and ethics, and business development. Professor Pedersen also presented Surviving and Thriving in the Practice of Law at the Orange County Bar Association’s Last Dash MCLE event, held at Chapman Law School the same day. Much of the content from both presentations came from the curriculum of Professor Pedersen's Law Practice Management and Technology course co-taught with Adjunct Professor Carolyn Dillinger.
The CAP-Impact Podcast, a podcast hosted by the Capital Center for Law & Policy at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law featured an interview with Professor Jennifer Koh in a recent episode. Entitled “Immigration Law & Reform with Professor Jennifer Koh,” the podcast discusses her “work at the intersection of immigration law and criminal law, her new nonprofit project - the Orange County Justice Fund –and being cited in a Supreme Court ruling by the Notorious RBG.”
The Western State College of Law Immigration Clinic has been awarded Immigration Services Funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19 from the California Department of Social Services to help support the Clinic’s ongoing deportation defense legal services work! The grant was awarded in the full amount requested ($120,000 for a two year period).
Congratulations to Western State alumnus Cheryl C. Murphy (Class of 1997) on her appointment to a judgeship in the Riverside Superior Court!
On October 18, adjunct professor Carolyn Dillinger moderated the law panel, “Safeguard Your Technology & Business" at SMB TechFest at the Business Expo in Anaheim. Professor Dillinger organized the panel, which included WSCL alumnus Karima Gulick, to discuss the correct categorization of independent contractors and employees post Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court, and tax implications of 26 U.S. Code ⸹ 1202 small business stock for eligible C corporations planning to grow and sell in at least five years. The audience consisted of about 200 technology company owners and staff, including online viewers.
Professor Cheyanna Jaffke was sworn in to the Montana State Bar by the Honorable Julian Bailey. The swearing-in occurred in the Western State Moot Court Room on Monday, November 19. Professor Jaffke is now an attorney in Idaho, California and Montana.
On October 20, 2018, Professors Jennifer Koh and Sabrina Rivera spoke on a panel entitled, “Immigration Enforcement and the Rule of Law” at the Western Law Professors of Color/Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty Conference at the UNLV Boyd School of Law. Prof. Rivera shared her insights on immigration enforcement gained as a result of visiting immigrant detainees as the Theo Lacy Jail in Orange, CA as well as her experience representing an individual with a viable claim to U.S. citizenship who had been detained by federal immigration authorities at that facility. Prof. Koh shared her recent law review article, When Shadow Removals Collide: Searching for Solutions to the Legal Black Holes Created by Expedited Removal and Reinstatement, 96 Wash. U. L. Rev. 337 (2018), which examines the legal regimes governing expedited removal and reinstatement, and argues for the federal courts to use arbitrary and capricious review to invalidate the use of reinstatement based on prior expedited removal orders.
Professor Jennifer Koh has published, When Shadow Removals Collide: Searching for Solutions to the Legal Black Holes Created by Expedited Removal and Reinstatement, 96 Wash. U. L. Rev. 337 (2018). The Article explores two of the most common forms of shadow removals (i.e., removals that bypass the immigration courts), expedited removal and reinstatement of removal, and the collision of the two. The Article traces the operation of the two removal processes, both independently and in combination with each other. It emphasizes the harsh statutory bars on judicial and habeas review, and the resulting inability of the federal judiciary to ameliorate the harshness of removal in this context. The Article then suggests that the use of reinstatement based on prior expedited removal orders fails the basic administrative law requirement that federal agencies demonstrate reasoned decision-making and avoid arbitrary or capricious action. Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Judulang v. Holder, which applied arbitrary and capricious review in the deportation context, the Article encourages courts to more closely scrutinize the use of reinstatement based on expedited removal. The article is available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3160259.
Professor Kevin Mohr has been appointed to the State Bar of California’s Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services. The Task Force is charged with identifying possible regulatory changes to enhance the delivery of, and access to, legal services through the use of technology, including artificial intelligence and the delivery of legal services online. Professor Mohr recently completed work on a multi-year State Bar project as a consultant to and member of the Rules Revision Commission, which resulted in the first comprehensive changes in nearly 30 years to California’s Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers. The work of the Access to Justice Task Force is scheduled to last until December 2019.
On October 9, Professor Jennifer Koh was featured on the radio show, “Ask A Leader,” aired on KUCI FM and hosted by Claudia Shambaugh. She spoke about Irvine Mayor Don Wagner’s attempt to place discussion of the California Values Act (SB 54), a law that limits local and state law enforcement’s involvement in federal immigration enforcement, on the agenda of the Irvine City Council. The show is available at: http://askaleader.com/?p=1443. Although the Irvine City Council meeting later that day was subsequently cancelled due to lack of a quorum, SB 54 was listed on its agenda for discussion at the time the show was aired.
Congratulations to Western State alumnus Eric A. Keen (Class of 1995) on his appointment to a judgeship in the Riverside County Superior Court!
Professor Eunice Park presented on “Cultural Competence to Advance Diversity and Inclusion in Practice: Why, How, & Assessment,” at the 2018 Western Regional Legal Writing Conference, held at UC Irvine School of Law, from September 28-29. Professor Park’s presentation included discussion of appellate brief problems she drafted for Western State’s 1L Moot Court Competition.
James Otto Heiting (Class of 1975 | Hall of Fame | Dean’s Counselor) just concluded service of two years as a Bench-Bar Coalition Executive Committee member-at-large for the Southern Region of California. The Bench-Bar members also unanimously ratified the nominating committee’s recommendation of Mr. Heiting to serve as the next Southern Region co-chair for a two year term.
First appointed to the bench in 2005 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Judge Larsh (Class of 1986) has served as Supervising Judge at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, the Justice Center in Westminster, and for the Domestic Violence Courts.
Professor Jennifer Koh’s two recent law review articles have been reviewed on JOTWELL (Journal of Things We Like (Lots)), a blog that “creat[es] a space where legal academics can go to identify, celebrate, and discuss the best new scholarship relevant to the law,” according to its mission statement. In an essay entitled Extreme Expedition, Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law Mary Fan states: “Jennifer Lee Koh’s body of recent work is powerful and timely because it guides us through the realities of present immigration process, which defies expectations.”
On July 27, 2018, Professor Jennifer Koh filed an amicus brief that she wrote on behalf of a broad coalition of over forty legal services organizations, legal associations, law firms, public defender’s offices and law school clinics that seek to advance the interests of noncitizens impacted by the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.
Professor Jennifer Koh has published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, which discusses the rise of deportations without court hearings. She co-authored with Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, law professor at Penn State Dickinson School of Law.
Caren H. Seenauth (Western state Class of 2014) has accepted a position as Corporate Counsel at Best Buy. Caren will be returning to the very first company to hire her as college grad.
Professors Andrew Knapp, Jennifer Koh, and Daniel Sharp all served as speakers at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference (http://aila.org/conferences/in-person/annual) in San Francisco, which took place from June 13-16. Their panels addressed preserving due process protections in immigration court (Professor Knapp), evidentiary objections in immigration court (Professor Koh), and management and leadership skills for immigration attorneys (Professor Sharp). The AILA Annual Conference is the largest immigration law gathering of its kind in the country, and each year brings together thousands of immigration law practitioners, leading law experts, government officials, and other legal professionals from around the United States and the world.
This Spring, Kevin Calcagnie (Western State Class of 1982 | Hall of Fame) and partner Cynthia Garver (Western State Class of 1999) were co-recipients of the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for 2018.
Professor Neil Gotanda received the Haywood Burns & Shanara Gilbert Award for Outstanding Activist-Teacher-Scholar at the 2018 Joint Conference of the Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (NEPOC) and the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty (CAPALF). The award is named for Professor and Dean Haywood Burns (CUNY Law School’s second Dean) and Professor Shanara Gilbert (founder and co-director of CUNY Law School’s Defender clinic) who were deeply committed to human rights and the struggle against racism and economic and social injustice. The Joint Conference was held on May 31 at Albany Law School, Albany, New York.
On June 5, Professor Jennifer Koh spoke at a joint meeting of the International Law and Immigration Law Sections of the Orange County Bar Association on U.S. asylum and refugee law. She presented on the topic with Professor Marisa Cianciarulo, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Chapman University’s Dale Fowler School of Law.
The WSCL Law Review named Professor Philip L. Merkel as recipient of its Distinguished Faculty Member Award for the 2017-2018 academic year. It also presented Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean’s Counselor) with its Distinguished Alumni Member Award. The presentations were made at the Law Review’s Awards Banquet, held on April 27 at the Doubletree Hotel in Irvine. Many Law Review alumni as well as current members attended the event.
From May 24-May 26, Professor Jennifer Koh participated in the Immigration Law Scholars and Teachers Workshop held at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia, PA. As a member of the conference planning committee, she co-organized a portion of the workshop devoted to clinical teaching and advocacy, along with Professor Jennifer J. Lee of Temple Law School. Professor Koh also served as a commentator for a works-in-progress session for law faculty presenting draft papers. Additionally, she presented a draft of her forthcoming article, “When Shadow Removals Collide: Searching for Solutions to the Legal Black Holes Created by Expedited Removal and Reinstatement,” which will be published in the Washington University Law Review later this year.
Jeff Witjas (Western State class of 1979) Senior Vice President, Talent, Agency of the Performing Arts (APA) delivered the Commencement Address to the Western State College of Law graduating class of 2018. Jeff Witjas was born in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Bowling Green State University, majoring in Political Science and receiving a minor in Philosophy. While at BGSU, he was the first President of the Undergraduate Alumni Association, a member of the tennis team, Key King, and Vice-President of the Student Body.
Professor Eunice Park has published “Protecting the Fourth Amendment After Carpenter in the Digital Age: What Gadget Next?” in the May issue of Orange County Lawyer Magazine. The article notes the tension in the Supreme Court’s previous approaches to protecting personal information and observes that the decision in Carpenter v. United States, expected in June, will have significant repercussions for how lower courts will address other technology-based privacy challenges, including law enforcement’s use of cell-site simulators. In the meantime, the “reasonable expectation of privacy” paradigm appears to be a shifting one, as entire generations are growing up accustomed to sharing their whereabouts, activities and thoughts on social media.
On April 30, Professors Jennifer Koh and Sabrina Rivera presented at a concurrent session at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Chicago, IL. The annual AALS Clinical Conference is the largest gathering of clinical law professors in the nation. Their session was entitled, “Naming Our Core Values When Teaching and Lawyering in a Time of Crisis,” which explored how clinical legal teaching has been challenged and reinvented during the current period of political turmoil. They delivered the session with co-panelists Professors Kristina Campbell (University of District Columbia) and Katherine Evans (University of Idaho), and also planned the session with Professor Elizabeth Keyes (University of Baltimore).
On Friday, April 13, 2018, Western State College of Law Immigration Clinic students Greyson Morain and Gabrielle Gilbertson argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Greyson and Gabrielle, along with classmate Jennifer Pyka, are enrolled in the Immigration Clinic’s Ninth Circuit Project, and have been representing their client, Machjay Yagao, in a petition before the Ninth Circuit since the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year. Earlier in the year, they research and wrote opening and reply briefs to the court. The case, Yagao v. Sessions, involves the intersection of criminal and immigration law.
Kevin Calcagnie (Western State Class of 1982 | Hall of Fame) was recently named 2018 Product Liability Litigation “Plaintiffs Lawyer of the Year” in Orange County by Best Lawyers®.
On April 9, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a published decision involving crimes involving moral turpitude in the immigration context, in a case where Professor Jennifer Koh served as amicus counsel, along with Professor Kari Hong at Boston College Law School, on behalf of law professors and clinicians with expertise in immigration law or experience defending noncitizens in immigration proceedings.
Professors Kevin Mohr, Elizabeth Jones, and Cheyanna Jaffke received awards as the 2017-2018 “Professor of the Year” for the 1L, 2L, and 3L classes, respectively. Sarah Eggleston was also recognized as the “Librarian of the Year.” The awards were bestowed by the Executive Board of the Western State Student Bar Association at the College of Law’s annual Barrister’s Ball, held on March 31 at the Disneyland Hotel.
Adjunct Professor John Ohashi was a guest on the radio show and podcast, Critical Mass for Business Radio Show Series, hosted by Richard Franzi, on March 20. Professor Ohashi discussed his career, including currently teaching Corporate Finance and Accounting for Lawyers at Western State College of Law.
Western State students, Kyle Case and Steve Kim, had a great run at the Jerome Prince Evidence Competition at the Brooklyn Law School. They advanced all the way to the final four (out of 35 teams) and lost to the eventual champion. The Western State Team also won the 3rd best brief award.
On the 2nd anniversary of our move to our new building in Irvine, Western State College of Law hosted its first Alumni Network event of 2018, on campus. Showcasing our new building and celebrating the ubiquity of our Alumni Judiciary, the Judges' Night Mixer attracted a diverse assembly from throughout the legal community. Remarked Dean Allen K. Easley- "...and at the top of the list, with more of its graduates sitting on the OC bench today than any other law school anywhere - Western State - 20 grads! but as proud as we are about the accomplishments of our alumni who serve on the bench, tonight is about showing our appreciation for all the judges who work tirelessly to make a difference - whose independence is too often these days threatened by those who do not appreciate the value of an independent judiciary."
Western State had two teams at the Schreck Gaming Law Moot Court Competition at UNLV this weekend: Laura Mergenthaler & Anahi Millot-Audetat (coached by Professor Lori Roberts) and Jennifer Pyka & Luz Ayala (Coached by Professor Cheyana Jaffke). This was our school’s first time attending this competition; both teams were well prepared, argued extremely well, and represented Western State admirably.
Western State Immigration Clinic Staff Attorney, Sabrina Rivera, presented at the 36th Annual Law Day Conference, hosted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation Orange County, to discuss the history of immigration laws and policy. The March 5th event marked the first time in its history that the Conference hosted a panel on immigration laws and policy. The Conference brought together almost 500 Orange County high school students, teachers, judges and attorneys to discuss legal and social issues including immigration policy, freedom of speech on college campuses, rights of the accused on college campuses, and juvenile law.
On February 8, the Western State College of Law Immigration Clinic, led by Professor Jennifer Koh and Sabrina Rivera, was presented with the Community Justice Award by Resilience OC, in recognition of its efforts to help safeguard the due process rights of Santa Ana and Orange County residents.
Professor Elizabeth Jones has published “Possible Problems at the San Clemente Checkpoint” in the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, 6 Va. J. Crim. L. 43 (2018). The Article addresses the interplay between the U.S. Supreme Court law governing the immigration checkpoint program and the new, ever-shifting challenges facing the Border Patrol in administering these checkpoints. It examines recent cases originating from vehicle stops at the San Clemente checkpoint, and queries whether the government has been conducting pretextual stops at this checkpoint, and at others in the southwest border zone, to further a larger, arguably unlawful, agenda.
Western State College of Law is now home to the Delta Tau Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Many thanks to 3L Emily Gardner, whose hard work and generous spirit were instrumental in bringing this respected national organization to our law school.
Michael Jeandron (Western State Class of 2013) was just named to The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40.
On January 23, Professor Kevin Mohr and Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean's Counselor) joined with Western State alumna and former adjunct professor, Marla Merhab Robinson (Class of 1987 | Dean's Counselor), to present a legal education program at the Orange County Bar Association offices on the Practical and Ethical Issues of Both the Unanticipated and Planned Closures of a Law Practice. The program was completely sold out, reflecting the importance of the topics addressed to a profession confronting the aging and retirement of the Baby Boomer generation. The program has been recorded so that lawyers unable to attend in-person can view and make use of the important guidance provided.
On January 6, Professor Jennifer Koh served as a moderator and speaker for a panel taking place at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Conference in San Diego, California. The panel, entitled “Immigration Adjudication in an Era of Mass Deportation,” was hosted by the AALS Section on Immigration Law, and examined–and critiqued–tools used by the federal government to effectuate policy goals related to mass deportation. Other speakers included Lucas Guttentag (Stanford Law School and Yale Law School), Kevin Johnson (UC Davis School of Law), Jason Cade (University of Georgia School of Law) and Nora Phillips (Al Otro Lado).
Andrew Struve (Western State Class of 1998, Hall of Fame, Dean’s Counselor), with litigation partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, Adrianne Marshack, Esq., recently co-authored, “Far From ‘Concrete’ - How the Ninth Circuit May Be Making it Easier for Consumer Class Actions to Stay in Federal Courts.”
Adjunct Professor Yolanda Victoria Torres, who teaches Family Law, has been appointed by the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) to serve a 3-year term on its Board of Directors commencing January 2018. She also was elected to serve as the President-Elect for the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association (OCHBA), commencing January 2018, and in January 2019, she will serve as its President. Professor Torres hopes to see the OCBA and OCHBA help promote diversity in the legal profession, particularly the bench; continue mentoring students at local law schools like Western State; and connect with affiliate bar associations.
On December 2, Professor Jennifer Koh spoke on a panel entitled, “The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Higher Education” during a plenary session of the Higher Education Labor-Management Conference. The conference took place at California State University Long Beach, and was organized by the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College. Professor Koh’s comments focused on the potential benefits and limitations of sanctuary campuses and trends in immigration enforcement, particularly as they relate to university students.
The Western State community would like to congratulate Orange County Trial Lawyers Association Top Gun Award winners, Richard E. Donahoo (Class of 1996) and Brian J. McCormack (Class of 1993 | Hall of Fame).
Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Western State Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean's Counselor) spoke at the “Jump-Start Your Law Practice” conference, a three-day law practice management forum in Indianapolis, Indiana, attended by solo and small firm practitioners from all over the country, on November 18-20. Professor Pedersen’s presentation was entitled “Law Office Employee Hiring, Firing and Management.” He also participated in two panel discussions, entitled “Money, Fees and Pricing (Making Your Money Work for You),” and “Time Management and Proper Delegation.” Most of Professor Pedersen’s content came directly from his Law Practice Management and Technology class taught at Western State.
Immigration Clinic Staff Attorney Sabrina Rivera was a panelist at the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles (LACLA)’s 30th anniversary celebration of Cheech Marin’s directorial debut of Born in East LA, hosted at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, on November 10. The panel discussion addressed current immigration policies, mass incarceration and deportation, and how the arts can be used to create social change. Other participants included Mark Torres, co-host of the radio show, Travel Tips from Aztlan; Marissa Montes, Co-Director of Loyola Law School’s Immigration Justice Clinic; Oscar Torres, co-writer of Innocent Voices, a film about El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s told through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy; and, Lena Khan, director of The Tiger Hunter, a comedy loosely based on her father’s experience emigrating from India to the United States in the 1970s. Over 100 LACLA students were in attendance.
On November 8, Professor Jennifer Koh was the featured speaker at the Laguna Woods Democratic Club's monthly meeting. She spoke on "Immigration and the Need for Humane Reform."
October 11, 2017 - Tempe AZ – Western State student, Blaine Brown, completed an Ironman 70.3 event, which is comprised of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. Successful completion of an Ironman 70.3 denotes a course time under 8.5 hours. After overcoming a few “hurdles,” Blaine finished the Ironman 70.3 in just over 7 hours. Well done, Blaine!
Adjunct Professor Judge Halim Dhanidina received the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. According to NAPABA, “This award recognizes the outstanding achievements, commitment, and leadership of lawyers who have paved the way for the advancement of other Asian Pacific American attorneys. These Trailblazers have demonstrated vision, courage, and tenacity, and made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American legal profession, as well as to the broader Asian Pacific American community.” The award was presented on November 3 to the Honorable Dhanidina, along with four other recipients, at a special ceremony during the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C.
On November 3, Professor Jennifer Koh spoke at a panel entitled, "A Changing Landscape: Immigrant Survivors of Family Violence in 2017," at the Orange County Family Violence Conference. The panel was moderated by Prof. Wendy Seiden of Chapman's Dale Fowler School of Law and attended by a number of social service providers from across Orange County.
Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen (Western State Class of 1988 | Hall of Fame | Dean's Counselor) spoke to the Los Angeles County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section on the topic, “Ethical Issues Presented by the Cyber-Security Threat to the Small Firm or Solo Practitioner,” on October 19. The program discussed the attorney’s duties of competence and confidentiality as they relate to the unique risks that arise by the use of technology in the law office, followed by practical tips to avoid or minimize those risks.
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.
On October 13, Professor Jennifer Koh spoke on a panel at the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Rocky Mountain Conference on Crimmigration in Denver, Colorado at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. The panel focused on legal strategies to defend against expedited removal and reinstatement of removal, two forms of removal used by the Department of Homeland Security to deport immigrants without providing immigration court hearings.
On September 28, Professor Kevin Mohr participated in a three-hour panel presentation on Recent Developments in Legal Ethics, Legal Malpractice and Risk Management, sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association. Professor Mohr is former Chair of the State Bar of California’s Ethics Committee and currently serves as a member of the State Bar’s Special Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Professor Jennifer Koh has published, “Anticipating Expansion, Committing to Resistance: Removal in the Shadows of Immigration Court under Trump,” in the Ohio Northern Law Review, 43 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 459 (2017). This invited symposium essay discusses the early indications of the Trump Administration’s plans to expand what Professor Koh has called the “shadows” of immigration court, referring to mechanisms in which the government deports people with little to no involvement from immigration courts and judges.
Western State students Steven Alvarado and Melissa Padilla, coached by Adjunct Professor Paul Smith, won first place in the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition, edging out 39 other teams from the U.S. and Canada.
On September 19, Professors Jennifer Koh and Sabrina Rivera, and Western State student Nathalie Cedeno, were recognized by the Santa Ana City Council for their efforts – along with a coalition of other attorneys and advocates – to support the City’s efforts to establish an Immigration Legal Defense Fund. Earlier this year, the Santa Ana City Council allocated $65,000 towards the creation of a legal defense fund that will support efforts to provide legal services to Santa Ana residents facing deportation, the first of its kind in Orange County. The recognition was presented at the city council meeting by Councilmember Vincent Sarmiento.
The Honorable Maria D. Hernandez (Western State Class of 1992 | Hall of Fame) recently received the 42nd Orange County Women Lawyers Association Gala Judge of the Year award on September 14, 2017. Judge Hernandez currently teaches Juvenile Law at Western State. *Photo courtesy of Orange County Women Lawyers Association.
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.
Immigration Clinic Staff Attorney Sabrina Rivera recently presented at the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) Annual Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, attended by more than 700 attorneys and legal professionals. She served as a panelist in a seminar entitled, “Stand Up, Fight Back! Advocating for Vulnerable Immigrant Populations Through Community Lawyering Under the Trump Administration,” which addressed the current administration’s executive orders and immigration enforcement priorities, community lawyering principles, and advocacy tactics for vulnerable immigrant populations. HNBA is the largest national association of Latino legal professionals, comprised of lawyers, law professors, students, legal professionals, state and federal judges, legislators, and bar affiliates operating across the country.
Immigration Clinic Staff Attorney Sabrina Rivera delivered the keynote address for California State University Dominguez Hills’ Fourth Annual Freshman Convocation on Friday, August 25 to over 1300 incoming college students, addressing the importance of strategically navigating their academic careers and involvement in social justice careers. Other guest speakers included CSU Dominguez Hills President Willie J. Hagan, deans, administrators, faculty and alumni.
On Sunday August 27, 2017, Professor Jennifer Koh delivered the keynote address for Women For: Orange County’s annual Suffrage Day Luncheon, which honors Orange County individuals who embody the spirit and characteristics of those who have struggled courageously for women’s suffrage and other Human Rights. The title of her speech was, “Re-imagining Political Activism in Orange County.” This year’s honorees were Peggy Thompson, Felicity Figueroa, Martha Milichek, and Ana Gonzalez.
Professors Jennifer Koh and Sabrina Rivera recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Amicus Committee in Matter of S-C-, a case pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
In June 2017, the Clinic released, “Protecting and Planning for Children: A Family Resource Guide for Orange County, CA Families at Risk of Deportation and Detention.”
Professor Robert Molko was a panelist at the California State Bar’s Law Enforcement Use of Force & Liability Conference at the USC Gould School of Law on June 2, 2017. His panel addressed the criminal and civil liability of officers for the use of excessive force and the most recent 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the subject, including discussions of qualified immunity and the recent rejection of the Ninth Circuit’s provocation rule.
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.
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.
On April 4, 2017, Alfonso Maldonado (’17) and Cristel Martinez (’17) became the first pair of Western State College of Law students to argue before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as students participating in the WSCL Immigration Clinic’s Ninth Circuit Project. Representing noncitizen Juan Beltran in his petition before the federal appeals court in Beltran v. Sessions, No. 16-70937, Alfonso and Cristel had researched and written Mr. Beltran’s opening brief in the fall, followed by a reply brief in the spring. They argued that their client’s waiver of his right to appeal an immigration judge’s order of removal against him was not considered and intelligent because the immigration judge had failed to properly advise Mr. Beltran of his eligibility for certain forms of relief from removal, and had also argued that the federal regulation addressing the finality of his order of removal was ultra vires of the federal immigration statute.
Western State College of Law student Gabrielle Gilberston has published an op-ed entitled, “How Law School Changed My Views on Immigration,” in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, a regional newspaper based in her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska. In the op-ed, she describes how her work representing a client through the WSCL Immigration Clinic challenged her views on immigration. Writes Gilberston, “Although I wasn’t passionate about immigration [at the beginning of the semester], the more I learned about my client’s life, the more I began feeling passionately about the injustices my client faced in immigration detention.”
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.
Professor Eunice Park published “The Elephant in the Room: What is a ‘Nonroutine’ Border Search, Anyway? Digital Device Searches Post-Riley” in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 44:3 Hastings Const. L.Q. 277 (2017). The article proposes an approach that obviates distinguishing between routine and nonroutine electronic device border searches, and rethinks the applicability in the digital era of notions of ingress versus egress, and imminent versus ongoing crime, in balancing the tension between law enforcement interests and individual privacy rights.
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.
On March 24, Professor Jennifer Koh spoke at Ohio Northern Law School at the Ohio Northern Law Review’s annual symposium, entitled, “Defining Law in a Time of Terror.” She plans to publish an essay in the law review in connection with the symposium.
On April 7, Professor Jennifer Koh participated in a panel entitled “Responses to Gender-Based Violence in the Trump Era,” which took place in connection with a conference on the Politicization of Safety sponsored by the UCI Initiative to End Family Violence. Her comments focused on the impact of current immigration enforcement policies on domestic violence in immigrant communities.
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.
Last week the Associate Dean at Western State College of Law, Susan Keller, returned to Harvard College, an undergraduate program within Harvard University, to participate in a symposium celebrating her undergraduate major, Folklore and Mythology. She talked about how the techniques she learned for studying oral and traditional narratives can inform the analysis of appellate legal opinions.
Last weekend, a team from Western State College of Law consisting of Jennifer Pyka and Luz Ayala, coached by Professor Cheyanna Jaffke, competed in the 2017 UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition.
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.
Professor at Western State College of Law, Lori Roberts, wrote an article titled “Brawling with the Consumer Review Site Bully,” which has been published in the University of Cincinnati Law Review, at 84 U. Cin. 633 (2016).
Attorney and faculty member at Western State College of Law, Sabrina Rivera, recently served as a panelist on the Immigration Attorney Panel held at Whittier Law School on Nov. 7, 2016. The panel discussed careers and networking for law students within Immigration Law. Other participating firms included Fragomen,Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP; Law Offices of Maciel & Ayala, LLP; LawOffice of Noreen Barcena; and My Advocate Group.
Professor Paula Manning’s presentation, “It’s What You Say AND How You Say It: Autonomy, Supportive Feedback, Mindset, and Motivation,” was held at McGeorge School of Law on October 18. In this presentation, Professor Manning discussed how faculty at McGeorge can provide feedback to students in ways that increase motivation, foster a growth mindset, and lead to greater student success.
Professor Gotanda was invited to speak by the American Constitution Society, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, South Asian Law Student Association, OUTLaw, Black Law Student Association and Alliance for Diversity. The presentation was part of a planned series of Critical Race Theory commentaries on well-known constitutional law cases.
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.
In a red-carpet ribbon cutting ceremony, The Irvine Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County Bar Association, the Irvine City Council and Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, welcomed Western State College of Law to its new location at 1 Banting, Irvine on the evening of Friday, April 29, 2016.
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 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.
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.
Jeff Brockmeier (‘13) was recently sworn in to the California Army National Guard.
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.
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.
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.