WEB EXCLUSIVES: Couples on Campus & Military Spouses Balancing Academics and Service

California Western places a high value on giving back, a value shared by students, faculty, and alumni. Accordingly, this issue of Res Ipsa Online focuses on those members of our community who have volunteered their time, knowledge and even risked their lives to help others. Highlights include:

COVER STORY: Using the Law to Change Lives
Just two blocks from campus, a homeless man with failing kidneys is guided through a legal maze to receive critically needed care. In Vista, a domestic violence victim feels safer because she’s quickly able to obtain a restraining order against her abusive husband. In Santa Barbara, families rebuild their lives after a wildfire destroys their home. A wrongly convicted man is set free in central California after 22 years in prison and, 3,000 miles away in Chile, citizens enjoy expanded legal rights thanks to a revamped judicial system. All of these success stories have one thing in common: they were made possible through the hard work and commitment of California Western School of Law students, faculty, and alumni who volunteered their time and used their knowledge to help others.

SIDEBAR: Community Law Project
The challenges facing those who have no access to housing, medical care, or legal assistance often are overwhelming. Complicating the issue is the fact that there aren’t nearly enough resources in the community to assist all those who need help. California Western created the Community Law Project to address this growing gap while providing law students a unique opportunity to develop legal and life skills they could never acquire in the classroom. Professor Linda Morton and Professor Kenneth Klein helped create the project in 2004.
SIDEBAR: Street Law San Diego
For many inner city youth, the legal system is something to be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, that perception is changing in the minds of growing numbers of young people who have gone through Street Law San Diego at California Western. The Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy created the program in 2004, modeling it on the original Street Law program founded at Georgetown University. Taught by law students, Street Law is a practical, participatory educational program that explains law, democracy, and human rights over an eleven week period.

STORY: All in the Family
It’s a little bit of nature and a little bit of nurture for California Western legacy families who share a common path to the law. Kelly Hinds Greenman ’05 still remembers going to her father’s downtown San Diego law office as a child. She would spend the occasional afternoon manually putting supplements in law books. She knew even then that, like her father Ken Greenman ’71, she had a propensity for organization. Following in her father’s footsteps, Kelly attended the University of Southern California as an undergraduate. As she contemplated her next steps after graduation, the lure of the law and the inspiration of her father’s distinguished legal career prompted her to begin the process of researching law schools.

From Study Partner to Life Partner
One hears the stories and statistics all too often: law school can be tough on couples and marriages. These committed California Western relationships, which either began or were strengthened during their years on campus, are submitted as evidence that the statistics only tell part of the story.

Balancing Academics, Service on the Home Front
California Western recognizes the many sacrifices and contributions made by students who are currently enlisted in the military or serving as reservists. While these students have their own unique challenges in attending law school and fulfilling military responsibilities, there is another group of students making sacrifices to ensure the success of a voluntary military. The spouses and partners of those in the military each make their own contributions to the armed forces. Tara Gaston, a 3L, is married to Lieutenant Shafer Gaston aboard the USS Hampton based at Naval Base Point Loma. We asked her to share her experience as a military spouse with us.

Balancing Legal Studies with Military Service
Professors, staff, supporters, and friends of the law school have all shared in serving their country through military duty. But no other service is felt quite as intensely as the duty served by those current students who somehow find the way to balance a rigorous academic schedule with military responsibilities.

Ronald Bienstock '81
It would be difficult to find a happier California Western alumnus than Ron Bienstock. For more than 25 years he’s been able to pursue his twin passions - law and music. In his day job at Bienstock & Michael, he’s one of the industry’s most respected entertainment law and IP attorneys. In his spare time, he’s a talented bass player whose rock group, “The Suits,” has appeared on various television shows including “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” If that wasn’t enough, this past spring Bienstock, 53, won the biggest case of his life when he successfully represented 18 guitar manufacturers in stopping Fender Musical Instrument Corporation from trademarking its guitar shapes half a century after it had created them.

By all rights, Kenneth Klein today should be one of Texas’ top-producing furniture sales reps. Instead, he’s a popular California Western assistant professor and increasingly confident legal scholar who believes no less than that the U.S. Supreme Court has been wrong on a major constitutional issue for the past 200 years. “Walk through any graveyard and you won’t see a single headstone that talks how many hours someone billed, but you will see some that mention someone was a good teacher,” he says.
She was just 10 years old, but Linda Morton started on a very special path in life when she volunteered to sell light bulbs door to door to help raise money for her aunt’s grass roots public action organization. That early experience in her native Baltimore was one of several that ignited a lifelong passion in Morton to help others - a passion that burns as strongly as ever today at California Western, where she has built a remarkable career as one the school’s most creative and committed professors.

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