They are brilliant, passionate, inspirational, demanding, and unwaveringly dedicated to excellence in legal education. They are leaders in their areas of academic discipline and true pioneers whose innovative and visionary programs accomplished everything from freeing the wrongfully convicted to changing the law of land.
“They” are the 14 distinguished professors and former deans who are retiring from California Western School of Law after more than 400 years of collective service. Their retirement is a pivotal moment in the school’s history because these are the very faculty members who formed the foundation of California Western.
Ultimately, the most important legacy they leave behind are the thousands of students and alumni they equipped with academic and practical legal skills who have become outstanding lawyers in every possible legal field.
“This is a historic moment,” says President and Dean Niels B. Schaumann. “The faculty members who are retiring helped create the law school as we know it today. They formed the heart and soul of this school for a generation. They are the faculty members who established the tradition and culture of being student centered and taking more interest in students than is the norm for legal education. This is evident in the exceptional generation of lawyers they have helped produce, many of whom are leaders in their communities.”
As California Western looks forward to the future, we look back to honor the legacy of these 14 great faculty members and thank them for their service.
The immense amount of scholarship emanating from California Western on a wide array of legal topics is often the only way those outside of San Diego become familiar with the law school.
No one knows this better or enjoys the process more than Professor Michal R. Belknap, the prominent historian-turned lawyer who has written eight books and countless articles on American legal history.
“One of the real joys of my 30 years here at California Western has been the opportunity to explore in depth and enlighten others on the legal history of the United States. In particular, the history of two incredibly important topics, civil rights and civil liberties in the 20th century,” says Belknap, who obtained a master’s and a Ph.D. in history before he entered law school.
“I have intensely pursued scholarship for two reasons,” Belknap says. “It has been immensely satisfying personally and professionally, but I also believe it has played a major role in raising California Western’s profile nationally.”
As interested as he was in scholarship, Belknap had an equally passionate devotion to teaching and preparing students with the skills to practice law. He enjoyed teaching Constitutional Law and Criminal Law and was the visionary creator of the Summer Enrichment Program, which he directed for two decades. The six-week program is targeted at students who are just about to enter California Western.
“Summer Enrichment gets students off to a good start by showing them exactly what they will need to do to succeed in law school,” Belknap says. “It is designed to be a rigorous program in which students have a lot of fun but also work hard.”
Belknap will continue his scholarship in retirement, even as he recovers from injuries sustained in a car accident. “I will sincerely miss the daily contact and interaction with students and my faculty colleagues,” Belknap says. “I am very comfortable knowing that during my time at California Western, I conveyed a great deal of knowledge to a lot of bright students and even inspired some of them to pursue careers in criminal law. I have seen many of my students become superb lawyers, and while I don’t know the extent to which I can take credit, I am thrilled with their success.”
Earl Warren Professor of Law Michal R. Belknap
Professor Laurence A. Benner has dedicated his life and academic career to using the law to create a criminal justice system that is more fair and just.
For more than 30 years, Benner’s passion has led to some remarkable accomplishments, both through his teaching at California Western and his extensive work nationally as a scholar and advocate in the criminal justice arena. As managing director of California Western’s Criminal Justice Program, Benner co-founded the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy and designed the Bail Project and the Pro Bono Traffic Court Clinic to give students real-world experience. He is particularly proud of the fact that many of his students have gone on to become prominent defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges.
“I hope I have taught my students the art of legal reasoning and their responsibility as a lawyer to use the power to shape the law through interpretation and create a society that is more fair and just,” Benner says. “I have tried to teach them to see that the law is not just a set of rigid rules or status quo norms to be blindly followed, but rather that the law is flexible and can evolve to be used as an instrument of justice.”
Benner often took his students out of the classroom and into the real world. Together they conducted a statewide empirical study on indigent defense and testified before the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, which recommended reforms.
What Benner achieves nationally year after year is essentially a separate and amazing career in itself. His scholarship has been cited in the United States Supreme Court as well as leading criminal justice textbooks and treatises on criminal procedure. Excerpts from his critique of the law on confessions, entitled “Requiem for Miranda,” and his empirical research on search warrants have been extensively relied upon by both courts and scholars. The Other Face of Justice, which he co-authored, has been nationally recognized as a basic resource for improving criminal defense representation for the indigent accused.
Benner has received many honors and awards, including election to the Fellows of the American Bar Association in recognition of his service to the profession, which includes a long and productive involvement with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
Planning an active retirement, Benner will continue lecturing nationally at training programs and consult on cases like the current ACLU class action lawsuit to reduce excessive public defender caseloads in Fresno, California. He is also finishing up a book on criminal jurisprudence in the Roberts Court.
“I think I can speak on behalf of all of the retiring professors when I say we are extremely proud that we carried on California Western’s tradition of not only preparing students to pass the bar and practice law, but to become valuable members of the community who will contribute to society.”
Professor Laurence A. Benner
For a private tax and estate-planning attorney who had never planned to teach, let alone become a tenured faculty member at a law school, Professor Susan A. Channick enjoyed the most remarkable of careers in legal education.
Channick still finds it hard to believe the sudden turn her life took in 1987 when California Western, which had hired her as an adjunct professor, invited her to take a one-year visiting professor appointment.
“I decided to take the position but thought I would then go back to my practice," Channick recalls. “But something fortuitous happened. I realized I loved teaching and it was something I wanted to do as a career. It led to a terrific 29 years here at California Western.”
Another major shift came 13 years later when Channick, who had become interested in health and medicine as a physician’s daughter and wife of a doctor, decided teaching contracts, trusts, and estate planning was becoming less appealing to her.
“What really fascinated me was the intersection of health and law, but of course, I had no real experience or training in that field, so I decided to use my next sabbatical to get a Master of Public Health from Harvard with an emphasis on health policy. It turned out to be a great decision because it informed and enhanced the rest of my career at California Western,” Channick says.
Channick eventually became a pioneer in the nascent field, creating the first health law concentration on the West Coast. She also became an in-demand speaker and writer on issues relating to healthcare access, aging populations, healthcare reform, and cost containment. She served as the Co-Director of the Institute for Health Law Studies and director of the California Western/UC San Diego Joint Master’s Degree in Health Law and Policy.
“California Western’s early move to embrace health law has paid huge dividends because with our excellent program, we have an important niche in a rapidly expanding and increasingly critical area of law,” Channick says. “It is great for students who are interested in health law because there are now so many career opportunities available after they graduate. It has also been an extremely valuable recruiting tool to attract students to California Western.”
In retirement, Channick plans to write a book on remedies with Professor Jessica K. Fink and become more involved with local nonprofit organizations. She also plans to spend time with her grandchildren and enjoy the fruits of her remarkable career at California Western.
“I will certainly miss the wonderful students we have here and the fantastic colleagues I came to respect so much,” Channick says. “It’s hard to explain how appreciative I am towards the school because it has meant so much to my life. I got my J.D. here and spent nearly three decades here as a professor. I loved every minute of it.”
Professor Susan A. Channick
Of the 14 professors retiring from California Western, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and the Clara Shortridge Foltz Professor of Law Barbara J. Cox is one of the few who doesn’t feel compelled to continue working or line up activities to keep her busy.
“I really achieved most of what I set out to accomplish,” Cox says. “I worked extremely hard as a law professor here for 30 years and had a wonderful run. I said the things I wanted to say, wrote the things I wanted to write, and had an impact on the issues I wanted to influence. It’s time to let that part of my life go.”
At the top of Cox’s list of achievements was the long and hard-fought—but ultimately successful—battle for the right for same-sex couples to marry. Last July, Cox celebrated when the Supreme Court announced it was striking down marriage bans in the remaining 13 states that continued to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“It was thrilling, highly emotional, and ultimately one of the most satisfying chapters in my life. It was even more impactful because it completed a 25-year struggle to achieve equality for my spouse, Peg, and me,” Cox says.
As momentous as that achievement was, Cox has also had a long and distinguished academic career. She is a gifted teacher who loved the classroom and thrived on demystifying civil procedure and property law.
“My Women and Law class was also vitally important to me and to the students who took it. It opened their eyes to the many issues still facing women in the legal field today,” Cox says.
Cox was equally valuable outside of the classroom. She spent countless hours on accreditation site visits for the ABA and AALS and used these experiences to improve California Western’s own performance. She is the only faculty member to serve as both associate dean and vice dean.
“I took on these very demanding administrative positions because I am service oriented and we needed capable people to step up and do the hard work of running the school,” she says. “My career would not have been as balanced or complete without it.”
Cox has a deep appreciation for her years at California Western, even as she looks forward to moving back to her 70-acre tree farm in Wisconsin with Peg.
“I have nothing but gratitude for the school, my wonderful colleagues, and the opportunities I was given. I really wanted to become a legal academic and the school took a chance on me and offered its full support, even though my area of expertise was controversial. Hopefully, I repaid that confidence. I will always have a warm place in my heart for California Western,” Cox says.
Vice Dean and Clara Shortridge Foltz Professor of Law Barbara J. Cox
Of all the deans who have served California Western over its long history, there may have been none more important—or appreciated—than Michael H. Dessent.
Dessent’s pivotal tenure is best described by those who worked closely with him during his 10 years as dean beginning in 1986. “It is hard to describe just how many critical roles Mike played at California Western,” says Barbara J. Cox, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. “When he became our dean, the school was having financial problems and, with his businessman’s eye and knowledge, he helped turn the school around. By the time he stepped down as dean, the school had regular surpluses that helped to fund our endowment and reserves.
“The faculty also expanded significantly over his tenure as dean with 15 current professors being hired during those years,”Cox adds. “When Mike returned to the faculty after his service as dean, he became a powerhouse professor, teaching large classes and captivating his students. Mike also served as an important mentor to many of us on the faculty and has inspired countless students as they moved from his classes into practice. It is hard to imagine California Western without Mike Dessent.”
Professor Jan Stiglitz says Dessent was simply the best dean the school has ever had. “Mike was terrific,” Stiglitz says. “He could command a room as well as anyone I have seen, and was great at public relations on behalf of the school, making everyone he came in contact with feel good about California Western. I don’t know if Mike knows this, but we called him ‘Dean Dollar.’ If you came to him with a good idea or a request, he was not afraid to say yes, even if it meant that it might cost some money or was not a traditional scholarly endeavor. He understood the importance of supporting innovation and the importance of faculty morale.”
Dessent is proud of his role in starting the school’s excellent diversity program, in constructing the building at 225 Cedar, and acquiring the land for the new library. He is also honored to have been able to teach business law to so many students, and pleased to have fostered a unique atmosphere at California Western.
“The one constant over my 30 years here has been the positive spirit of our students, faculty, and staff,” Dessent says. “There is tremendous loyalty, little turnover, and the morale has always been very high around here. I think it comes from the fact that everyone cares about the school, cares about the students, and is focused on doing whatever it takes to help them succeed, both while they are here and in their careers. That is what makes California Western such a special place.”
Dean Emeritus Michael H. Dessent
When Professor Marilyn J. Ireland was asked recently to describe the impact she had in her 35 years at California Western, she responded with a hearty laugh and declared, “Well, the school is there, isn’t it.” She was only half joking, for she did, in fact, play a significant role in helping guide the school out of a troubled time in the mid-1980s.
“I was chair of the Faculty Executive Committee at a time when we desperately needed new leadership,” Ireland recalls. “The days of divided power between President Castetter and Dean Friesen had left the school in a dangerous financial situation. I thought if anybody had the duty to speak up it was me. I heavily lobbied the Board of Trustees to make a change. In the end, they hired a fantastic dean candidate in Michael Dessent. Mike absolutely saved the school.”
Ireland smiled as she admitted she deserved the reputation she developed as a “loquacious contrarian.” She frequently, and cantankerously, spoke up when she saw things that could be improved.
“I was pretty forceful championing the hiring of Professor Jamie Cooper,” Ireland says. “He has turned out to be one of the most important hires in the last 20 years. He has built an incredible international program that is improving justice systems around the world.”
Ireland was willing to devote time to improve the function and faculty of California Western—including chairing the Curriculum Committee when it began its early focus on combining practical and academic training, but she was always happiest in the classroom. In addition to teaching at California Western, she contributed her pedagogy on the faculty of many other schools, including UC San Diego’s Department of Communication, San Diego State University’s Department of Women’s Studies, University of San Diego Law School, and Washington University Law School. She also taught at two foreign law schools, Victoria University, in Wellington, New Zealand, and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Maribor, Slovenia.
“I used to say, you name it, I taught it!” Ireland says.
Ireland also actively advocated for women in law, having served as vice president of the National Association of Women Lawyers and chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Women in Legal Education. She was once named Woman of the Year by the local chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Health issues—including a kidney transplant—have slowed Ireland considerably in retirement, but she says she is happy. She is cheered up by fond memories of her years as a law professor.
“I truly loved California Western. The brilliant educators here would have stacked up favorably against the teachers at any other law school in the nation. We had a unique camaraderie that produced graduates with productive careers as practicing attorneys, and who have undertaken important leadership roles in the community.”
Professor Marilyn J. Ireland
When Professor Andrea L. Johnson, a Harvard Law graduate who worked as a corporate attorney and government lawyer, came to California Western in 1990, she was searching for new frontiers. She found them, becoming a true pioneer in leveraging technology to improve legal education.
Johnson, the Director of California Western’s Center for Intellectual Property, Technology, and Telecommunications Law, has a long history of working with technology in legal education. She was the first non-scientist summer faculty member at NASA’s Lewis Research Center, where she teamed with scientists and teachers to create a system that integrated technology into math and science curricula for middle and high school students.
Johnson also created and taught the first distance-learning course at an American law school in 1996, using videoconferencing to connect two campuses and three outside sites.
“There was something thrilling about the idea of remote learning that ignited a passion in me to see how close we could come to recreating the live classroom through technology. I knew we had arrived when I was able to teach my class from the back of a PT Cruiser at the Democratic National Convention,” Johnson says.
Among Johnson’s myriad other accomplishments was the creation of the school’s Trademark Law Clinic, which provides free legal services for individ- uals and small businesses wishing to obtain a federal trademark or service mark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Appropriately, it’s almost completely operated online.
Johnson, a self-described “Type A” personality, has no plans to stop working after leaving California Western. She’s looking forward to becoming even more accomplished as a mosaic glass artist and plans to volunteer more time to caring for hospice patients. She’ll keep her legal skills sharp taking commercial arbitration jobs and is going to expand her involvement with Aeronauts 2000, an online interactive and interdisciplinary curriculum that helps stu- dents improve their math and science skills.
“I’m excited because I have new frontiers to explore in my life that will be filled with a variety of fascinating pursuits,” Johnson says. “Working with high school and college students will be a priority and a true joy. The pioneers of tomorrow need to be engaged and nurtured today so they see possibilities and develop a vision. I can’t think of a better way of having a positive impact on young people and their future.”
Professor Andrea L. Johnson
Ask alumni who their favorite professor was at California Western and one name comes up with remarkable frequency: Professor William C. Lynch.
The genial, but demanding, professor who taught Evidence and Torts, won the school’s “Favorite Teacher Award” 10 times in his nearly 40 years at California Western. Why Bill Lynch was so beloved is simple: he cared deeply about his students and had a passion for building California Western into the strongest law school possible.
The seeds for Lynch’s excellence in the classroom were sewn from the unpleasant experiences he endured from cold and indifferent law professors at Boston College.
“I made a promise to myself when I began teaching at California Western that every student who came to my class was going to have a good experience. I was going to ask a lot of them and they were going to have to work hard, but they would learn a lot and get a big return,” recalls Lynch, who came to the school after a 22-year career as a Navy lawyer.
Lynch did far more than just teach at California Western. He invested immense energy and personal time outside the classroom to improve the school. He coached the National Moot Court Team, taught bar preparation courses, and traveled around the country recruiting students, hosting alumni events, and raising money.
Most importantly, Lynch was one of the influential “gang of five,” a group of professors who arrived at California Western at the same time in the late 1970s, when the school was in the throes of financial and academic crises.
“The school was on the brink of losing its accreditation and we knew something had to be done to save it. So we pushed to get the school on solid financial footing and we worked to improve the quality of the faculty. We also made sure California Western became a student-oriented school and then we changed the curriculum so that it reflected a more practical and modern view of the law.”
In retirement, Lynch is looking forward to traveling with Sally, his wife of 57 years, to places they have never had time to visit, like Yellowstone National Park and Alaska.
“Look, I never thought I would teach until I was 84,” Lynch says, smiling. “But I loved this school and I loved teaching. I truly liked my students and I think they liked me. It was a very happy arrangement.”
Professor William C. Lynch
Professor Phyllis C. Marion was recruited from the Midwest to California Western in the mid-1990s to oversee the planning and construction of a new law library, but she admits she was shocked at the poor condition of the school’s existing library when she arrived.
“The library was just awful,” Marion recalls. “It was spread throughout the 350 building and there was very little space for students to study and no room to add new books. It was no wonder the ABA was extremely concerned about the facility.”
Which is exactly why Marion was so excited to jump in and begin the process of building a new library. She was part of a dedicated team of faculty and staff, including Dean Michael H. Dessent and his successor, Dean Steven R. Smith, who worked collaboratively in the arduous process of designing and constructing the building.
The hard work paid off and the first law library built in the new millennium opened with a great celebration attended by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who helped dedicate the facility. The new library was nothing short of spectacular and it was very much a vision of what Marion believed a library should be in the 21st century.
“Most important to me was creating a space where students and faculty could be physically comfortable, a place conducive to studying and the pursuit of scholarship. It was also an era where technology was becoming important, so we made sure we not only had a state-of-the-art facility, but one that could change and adapt as technology evolves,” Marion says.
As she moves into retirement, she plans to continue her long volunteer involvement with Friends of the San Diego Library. Marion knows she will always have a special place in her heart for California Western’s law library.
“I know I will be back and I will feel like I always do when I walk in the library—it is a beautiful building that still seems new— even though it is 16 years old,” Marion says. “I will always see the library as my most significant accomplishment. I really believe a great library makes a significant contribution to the academic achievement of students and the research efforts of our faculty. It is also an important recruiting tool for prospective students who are able to see a wonderful space, where they know they are going to spend a lot of time. I am extremely proud to leave a wonderful facility and great staff to my successor.”
Professor Phyllis C. Marion
Over the breadth of his remarkable 35-year career at California Western, Professor John
E. Noyes is perhaps most proud of the fact he has managed to balance the three areas he believes are most important for a faculty member: teaching, scholarship, and service.
What is amazing is that Noyes has not just engaged in those areas, he has been a brilliant practitioner in all three, to the point he has earned a well-deserved international reputation in his academic disciplines: law of the sea and international law in general. As a teacher, Noyes brought these subjects to life for his students.
“The classroom was satisfying for me because I had a chance to introduce students to new fields that are both fascinating and important to society,” Noyes says. “I especially enjoyed engaging with students one on one or in small groups, helping shape their thinking and sharing with them not only the historical context of the law, but also how it evolves to adapt to a changing world.”
As a scholar, Noyes’ credentials are impeccable and extensive. He has more than 100 publications to his credit and his books are widely used in international law and law of the sea courses as textbooks.
“My favorite book was International Law Stories, a co-edited compilation that delved into the interesting back stories behind some of the most famous international law cases—how they arose, why they became classics, and why they continue to be important,” Noyes says.
It is hard to believe Noyes had any time left for service, but he found a way to give back not only at his school, but also through several national and international organizations. At California Western, he started the International Legal Studies Program, advised the International Law Journal and moot court team, and actively participated on numerous academic and search committees. Nationally, he was on the council of the ABA’s Section of International Law, chaired the AALS Section on International Law, and has been deeply involved for many years with the International Law Association, including serving as president of its American branch.
Noyes made a point of praising the faculty support staff and the library for being the “unsung heroes who are the backbone of this institution. The school couldn’t prosper without them.
“I am so appreciative of the school because it provided me with a wonderful platform from which I could pursue all three of my goals,” Noyes says. “Personally, it was rewarding, and I like to think the work was important and will have some lasting impact on both my students and my field.”
Roger J. Traynor Professor of Law John E. Noyes
In countries throughout the world, there are dozens of professionals who have risen to prominence as high-ranking judges, top corporate attorneys, and key government and public service lawyers, thanks in part to the legal skills they acquired at a special program offered at California Western.
Many would almost certainly attribute their success to energetic Professor Jacquelyn H. Slotkin, who in 1998 re-established the Master of Laws in Comparative Law (LL.M.) and Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.) program, revitalized it, and then nurtured it for nearly two decades into one of California Western’s most important and effective efforts.
“It was such a joy for me to be part of such an amazing program that wasn’t just an academic success, but also became a profit center for the school,” Slotkin says. “We took foreign lawyers and introduced them to the best of what the American legal system and culture have to offer. They took these skills back and applied them to the legal systems of their home countries. As their unofficial, proud Jewish mother, I stay in touch with many of them. It is thrilling to see them build fabulous careers where they are making a real difference.”
By all rights, Slotkin should not have been around to take over the program. “I had been a successful private practice attorney when I accepted a job as a legal skills instructor in 1988, a teaching position where you teach for two years and then you are out,” Slotkin recalls. “They asked me to stay two additional years, and I slowly climbed my way up through sheer determination and hard work, eventually becoming a professor with full tenure. I will be forever grateful to people like Dean Dessent, Dean Smith, Professor Cox, and Professor Lynch, who recognized my talent and commitment.”
The LL.M./M.C.L. program may be the highlight of Slotkin’s career, but she is proud of other accomplishments, including writing several law review articles and three books about women and work life balance, directing the Legal Skills program, and serving on the Admissions Committee at California Western. She took this latter role very seriously because it gave her the opportunity to help shape the face and quality of those admitted to the school.
In the end, however, what gave Slotkin the most pleasure was teaching.
“It has been the one true calling and passion in my life and the thing I’ll miss most,” says Slotkin. “Teaching has always been an amazing high for me, and I loved doing it at California Western. Our students are unique. They are looking for mentorship and support, and they are not the type of lawyer who bills $1,000 an hour. They are the kind of practitioner who is more interested in making the world a better place.”
Professor Jacquelyn H. Slotkin
Between 1996 and 2012, California Western evolved into one of the most forward thinking and dynamic independent law schools in the nation. It provided students with some
of the best practical legal education available while creating a host of innovative programs with a national and international impact.
It is no coincidence the leader of California Western during that 16-year period was Dean Steven R. Smith. Yet, Smith modestly declines to take credit for what was achieved at the school during his tenure.
“Looking back and thinking about all that happened, it was certainly an amazing period,” Smith says. “It is important to say that it is not what I did, it is collectively what the law school did during those years. Our success was the result of a phenomenal team effort that included the faculty, staff, trustees, and even the students themselves.”
Modesty aside, consider just a few of the remarkable advancements that occurred under Smith. High quality practical education became the focus as the STEPPS Program launched and the bar passage program made California Western first among San Diego’s three law schools in bar passage rates. “The faculty and staff who ran these programs are the true heroes in my eyes because their hard work resulted in huge benefits to our students,” Smith says.
Other examples that occurred during the Smith era include: the California Innocence Project freed a number of wrongfully convicted inmates; the Community Law Project provided free legal services to low-income San Diegans; and California Western’s international programs worked to revamp entire judicial systems in Latin America while improving individual legal skills.
Smith helped improve the quality of the faculty and encouraged increased scholarship and publication among the professors and he raised California Western’s national profile and stature through his deep involvement with the American Bar Association. He also oversaw the remodel of the 350 building and construction of the new law library. He developed dual pro- grams with San Diego State University and UC San Diego and helped create the Kennedy Scholars program that resulted in the school developing a close personal relationship with Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
That doesn’t exhaust the list of what was accomplished during Smith’s time at California Western, but it does allow the former dean to reflect on a remarkable period in his life as he enters semi-retirement. Smith will continue his scholarship and writing books, while expanding his community involvement with organizations like The San Diego Foundation.
“I think what I am proudest of is the impact we had on students, not just while they were here at California Western but as they moved into the profession,” Smith says. “We gave them a truly valuable practical education with the skills we knew they would need in the real world and then we helped them get those important first jobs. I like to say we prepared them not for the first 30 or 40 weeks of their career, but the first 30 or 40 years.”
Dean Emeritus Steven R. Smith
As career highlights go, it does not get much better than personally walking an inmate out of prison where they spent 25 years for a crime they didn’t commit.
Professor Jan Stiglitz has experienced the joy of helping free a number of wrongfully convicted inmates in his role as founder and Co-director of the California Innocence Project (CIP), one of the most important and high-profile programs at California Western.
“It is one of the most thrilling things I have ever done,” Stiglitz says. “The reason I became a lawyer was because I loved watching Perry Mason defend innocent people on TV. I never practiced criminal law, but the California Innocence Project has given me the chance to champion and set free those who have been wrongfully imprisoned.”
An added bonus for Stiglitz was the enjoyment of working with the upper-level CIP students who were so willing to spend countless hours of their time and energy to research a wrongful conviction claim.
“Seeing the passion these students invest in doing the mind-boggling number of things required to free someone from prison is exciting and inspiring for all of us,” Stiglitz says. “I’ve been pleased to see so many of them go on to work as public defenders or other innocence-related careers, including several who have stayed on and became extremely valuable staff attorneys for CIP itself.”
CIP is only one of Stiglitz’ many accomplishments in his 35 years at California Western. He has been one of the school’s most active professors, teaching Sports Law, Civil Procedure, and Torts I, among others. He is an expert on labor and employment issues and is an appellate advocacy scholar.
Stiglitz looks back with pride on his many years in the classroom, primarily because he believes his demanding teaching style was beneficial to students.
“I loved working with first-year students because it gave me a chance to impress upon them the importance of rigor and the attention to detail they would need as lawyers. I have been told it was not a lot of fun for my students, but I know most realized after they graduated that I had helped prepare them for the real world where clients would be counting on them to resolve their problems,” Stiglitz says.
As Stiglitz heads to retirement, it is the influence he had on students that will serve as his legacy.
“I have no illusions that anything I have done at California Western will be remembered 40 or 50 years from now,” Stiglitz continues. “What is important is knowing I have had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of students. I often hear back from many of them or see them in court or at an event and it is always fun to watch them out in the real world pursuing successful careers and applying some of the skills and principles I taught them. That is the most satisfying reward of all.”
Professor Jan Stiglitz
Every California Western student who felt well prepared to practice law after graduation owes a huge debt of gratitude to Professor Janet Weinstein.
During her 35 years at California Western, Weinstein was a pioneer in promoting and improving clinical legal education. In 1980, she transformed a fledgling externship program into the Clinical Internship Program, a nationally recognized program that provides students with invaluable hands-on experience in the world of law.
In 2004, Weinstein helped create the STEPPS Program, one of the first skills training and professionalism courses in the nation that provides students with a simulated lawyering experience supervised by working attorneys.
“I was obsessed with improving legal education because I knew it could be so much more effective,” Weinstein recalls. “I wanted to ensure the preparation of our students went beyond academics and equipped them with the real-world skills and professionalism they would need to be successful lawyers immediately upon graduation.”
Weinstein’s accomplishments at California Western went far beyond practical education. She was one of the first faculty members in the country to design an interdisciplinary program in child abuse and neglect. Later, she helped develop a dual master’s degree program in social work with San Diego State University.
Along the way, Weinstein found time to assist a number of community organizations dedicated to justice for juveniles, especially those who have been abused, neglected, or incarcerated. One of her proudest achievements was co-founding the Community Law Project, one of California Western’s most important programs because it provides free legal services to hundreds of low-income and minority San Diegans each year while enabling students to help clients with real-world problems.
Weinstein is already enjoying retirement and keeps remarkably busy by helping with her triplet grandchildren, practicing yoga, and improving her considerable skills as an abstract fluid watercolor artist. She says she will always have fond memories of California Western.
“What gave me the most joy at California Western was getting to know the students and helping them grow into outstanding lawyers, especially when we could infuse them with passion to make this a more just society,” Weinstein says. “I enjoyed pushing my students to really figure out what they needed to learn and I like to think that most of them have carried that way of thinking with them throughout their careers as lifelong learners.”
Professor Janet Weinstein
At Coe College in Iowa, Wendy Bashant assumed the role of vice president of student life to replace the existing vice president, who unexpectedly stepped down. Through this opportunity, she discovered a passion for helping students.
“I thrive in situations that allow me to help students see the bigger picture and understand the various paths they can take,” Bashant says. “I really want to meet students where they are and help them work through challenges.”
Bashant started in March 2016 and leads California Western’s student life departments, including academic achievement, admissions, career and professional development, financial aid, and student and diversity services. She comes to California Western from UC San Diego’s Thurgood Marshall College, where she served as dean of student affairs and was a member of the faculty, teaching an honors seminar in 19th century British literature. Bashant is married to physician David Bittleman and has two cats, Brixton and Pi.
With more than a decade managing law libraries, Phillip T. Gragg brings extensive experience to California Western. Gragg has dabbled in everything from primatology research at the San Diego Zoo to politics in the California Governor’s Office. The diversity of his career ultimately helped him realize his goal of becoming a law librarian.
“During law school at the University of Iowa, I held a research fellowship with a law professor,” Gragg says. “In the course of that work, I got to know one of the law librarians, who knew a little bit about everything. I have always been a generalist, so law libraries and administration were a good fit,” Gragg says.
After law school, and subsequently receiving his Master of Library Science degree from the University of Arizona, Gragg went on to work at the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center Library in a variety of roles. Most recently, he was founding library director and served on the faculty at Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho.
Gragg serves as head of educational technology, information technology, and the law library at California Western, and will offer a future seminar on the Second Amendment. His wife Valerie was a deputy prosecuting attorney in Boise and they have a 3-year-old daughter named Abra
Two new spaces on campus have opened—the Experiential Learning Center (ELC) and the Student Center. Both have similarities, according to Jolie Cartier, Executive Director of Facilities Management. “They maintain the integrity of their original buildings’ architecture and they are both about the same size—2,230 square feet,” Cartier says. “In redesigning these rooms, our goal was to maximize their functionality while finding ways to preserve the aesthetic of the original Italian Renaissance architecture of the campus.”
According to Linda H. Morton, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, the ELC—in addition to housing the STEPPS Program— offers state-of-the-art classrooms and meeting areas for students, staff, faculty, and community members to interact. Susan Finster, Assistant Dean for Student and Diversity Services, adds that the Student Center offers convenient access to diversity services, bar programs, first-year tutoring, student government, academic/ non-academic counseling, and a conference room and multipurpose room for student use.
Technologically, both areas feature digital displays in the lobby/waiting areas and multimedia conference rooms. “The ELC includes three conference rooms with dual 80-inch monitors, and the Student Center contains one with a single 80-inch monitor,” says Barbara Glennan, Assistant Library Director for Public Services and Education Technology. “All conference rooms support video conferencing and allow presentations from a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone.”
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING CENTER
Location: 225 Cedar Street (formerly the campus bookstore)
Houses: STEPPS office; classroom and meeting spaces
Location: 350 Cedar Street (formerly the Stanford Reading Room)
Houses: Department offices and meeting spaces
“The law school’s competition teams are extraordinary. The California legal community has known for a long time—but now the nation knows it.”
So says second-year student Brent J. Griffith, who—with teammate and fellow 2L Anthony Vargas—recently completed an impressive run all the way to the championship of the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition. The duo was bested only by a team from Harvard Law, finishing second in the tournament and solidifying California Western’s place among the nation’s elite. Before going head-to-head with Harvard, Griffith and Vargas defeated Yale, Stanford, and Drexel University to reach the final.
It has truly been a remarkable year for California Western’s Moot Court Honors Board (MCHB). Griffith and Vargas constitute one of three teams to advance to national or international rounds and represent the law school across the country—an unprecedented accomplishment that underscores the dedication of the program’s students and alumni.
“The incredible success of these teams is a byproduct of the training they receive, the hard work of all of the competitors, the willingness to help prepare fellow teams for respective competitions, and the wonderful coaches— graduates of the program who continue to contribute to it,” says Distinguished Practitioner Mario G. Conte, MCHB’s faculty advisor.
The Philip C. Jessup appellate team—consisting of second-year students and competition “rookies” Kimberly K. Del Frate, Ciara J. Ryan, Jessica R. Gross, Megan D. Villamin, and Laura E. Goolsby— advanced to the international round of 32 for the first time in California Western’s history. This year, thousands of students represented more than 550 law schools from 80 countries in the world’s oldest and largest moot court competition.
“To be called one of the best teams in the world is an honor,” says Villamin. “I am immensely proud of my team, and I sincerely could not have asked for a better one.”
Del Frate echoes her teammate’s sentiment. “It felt amazing to share this success with a very tight-knit group that was able to lean on each other for support and help. I came out of the Jessup competition not only with a sense of accomplishment, but also with a new group of friends— and that is a great feeling.”
California Western placed fifth overall in the American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition in New Orleans, finishing ahead of more than 200 schools from coast-to-coast. 3Ls Sarah E. Reeb, Madelynn F. Woodhall, Tarina Mand, and Monty Randhawa defeated Illinois, Akron, and Northwestern en route to the tournament’s quarterfinals.
It seems that each year, the law school’s competition teams outdo themselves, which comes as no surprise to Conte. “We have a very special group of students and coaches who make this program so valuable and unique to California Western.”
Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition team
Philip C. Jessup appellate team
American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition team
Sally Wong-Avery ’83 is ambitious. She seeks to instill a greater understanding of human rights, freedom of speech, and the rule of law in Chinese lawyers in an effort to reform how China is governed.
A philanthropist and advocate, she believes there is a way to make this vision a reality through an ambitious new project that she conceived with her alma mater, California Western School of Law.
Launched earlier this year, the “Asia Initiative” focuses on the Pacific Rim, recruiting potential law students and practicing attorneys throughout the region to California Western to study for their J.D. or LL.M. degrees. Wong-Avery and Professor Thomas D. Barton have already made multiple trips to Asia to jumpstart the effort, which will include Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“It is true China has almost caught up with the world financially and in so many other ways, but they are still behind in human rights,” says Wong-Avery. “If we can plant a seed with legal professionals in China about Western law, I believe within a generation they could have a major influence on their system, especially after the older hard-liners have passed.”
That Wong-Avery would take on such a project is a testament both to her affection for California Western and her passion to make the world a better place. She and her late husband, Dennis Avery ’70, son of the Avery Office Products founder and a former associate dean at California Western, have given the school more than $2 million in contributions. They have also supported countless other causes worldwide, ranging from funding AIDS programs in China and Africa to building public libraries in Central America and helping workers in indentured servitude learn about their labor rights.
“Sally is one of the most dynamic, compassionate, and inspirational people I have ever met,” says Professor James Cooper, who is also involved with the Asia Initiative. “This incredible woman of the world who dines with the President of Taiwan, is close to Stephen Hawking, and travels the world as a global ambassador for so many great causes, is equally happy to assist low-income Asian immigrant families start their new lives in San Diego.”
If Wong-Avery has a special place in her heart for immigrants, it is due in part to being an immigrant herself. Ten years after Wong-Avery’s parents moved her family from Hong Kong to North Borneo to teach, they sent the 16-year-old Wong-Avery and her sister to San Diego to keep them from harm during a conflict in Malaysia. Her mother and father eventually joined them in San Diego, where they opened two successful Chinese restaurants.
Wong-Avery would go on to graduate from UC San Diego and California Western and was a solo practitioner doing immigration work. For the last 30 years, she has immersed herself in a remarkable array of activities to assist San Diego’s Chinese community. She co-founded the Chinese Historical Society and the Chinese Service Center, which provides free services to seniors and non-English speaking immigrants; and is also president and principal of the highly successful Chinese School of San Diego in Kearny Mesa.
“If I can help someone in any way, I just do it,” Wong-Avery says. “I believe whatever gifts we have been given in our short time here on earth should be used to do things for other people that improve their lives.”
“Sally has literally helped tens of thousands of people in San Diego and has never asked for anything in return,” Cooper says. “Everyone should try to embrace the selflessness that Sally Wong-Avery demonstrates daily.”
Participating in your Regional Alumni Association Club is a great way to reconnect with your fellow California Western classmates and alumni! Here’s what’s happening across the country with our Alumni Clubs:
Austin Alumni Club
COURTNEY D. WALKER ’12
“The Austin Alumni Club had its kick-off party in March and it was a huge success. We also participated in the Volunteer Day of Service in May and look forward to organizing seasonal happy hours in Austin to bolster membership and enhance relationships.”
Chicago Alumni Club
STEPHANIE A. CAPPS ’11
“California Western’s regional club program is about to make its debut in Chicago! I am in the process of reaching out to fellow local alumni in an effort to attract participation in the program and bring them the opportunity to form valuable networking platforms and friendships.”
Dallas Alumni Club
MICHAEL J. NOORDSY ’93
“Thank you to those alumni who came to our second annual Regional Club Happy Hour in March. We hope to plan several new events in the future!”
Denver Alumni Club
MORGAN A. DUFFY ’15
“The Denver Alumni Club had its first event in February and it was a great success. The gathering included California Western alumni who graduated 15 years ago to recent grads—with attorneys working in a vast array of legal fields.”
D.C. Alumni Club
AL C. TIERNEY ’09
“On March 22, 2016, the D.C. Alumni Club hosted its second annual event with an excellent turnout from alumni around the region. Many of those who attended expressed their interest in meeting more often; accordingly, club officers will begin exploring opportunities to have more frequent events.”
Hawaii Alumni Club
DAWNIE M. ICHIMURA ’96
“The Hawaii Alumni Club held its Fourth Annual Luau in May. In addition, California Western, with assistance from Hawaiian alums, has started a scholarship which is awarded to students with Hawaii ties.”
Houston Alumni Club
STEPHANIE J. MAGERS ’06
“The Houston Alumni Club has organized two alumni gatherings as we try to build awareness and participation. We hope to see you at the next event!”
Las Vegas Alumni Club
INGRID M. PATIN ’08
“The Las Vegas Alumni Club is gaining traction with local alumni and the Las Vegas community after a successful special event last year with Dean Niels Schaumann. Our upcoming activities for the year include a volunteer event at Three Square Food Bank, the annual 1L Send-off, and the happiest happy hours.”
Los Angeles Alumni Club
DAVID B. KIRSCHNER ’05
“The L.A. Alumni Club has a number of goals to serve those California Western alums living in the region. We hope to accomplish two primary objectives: offer a source of networking opportunities for graduates north of San Diego and to provide opportunities for social gatherings and the ability to reconnect with classmates from California Western.”
New York Alumni Club
JAMES N. PHAN ’08
“The New York Alumni Club has members all over the tri-state area,which is a testament to California Western alumni being involved and committed to maintaining ties from 3,000 miles away. We just completed our annual alumni reception where we were able to speak with local admitted and prospective California Western students.”
Phoenix Alumni Club
ALAN LEWENSTEIN ’05
“Recently, alumni Ashlee B. Fletcher ’11, Jillian B. Francis ’12, and Tait D. Elkie ’02 joined our club as officers and we are very excited for the future of the Phoenix Alumni Club. We participated in the Volunteer Day of Service and look forward to our signature event in early August, the Fourth Annual 1L Reception.”
Sacramento Alumni Club
NICOLE M. EGAN ’11
“The Sacramento Alumni Club is pleased to announce that we held our first event, a mixer in May at the downtown deVere’s Irish Pub. Co-chair Robyn K. Riedel ’13 and I were very pleased to meet our fellow Sacramento alumni at this event.”
Seattle Alumni Club
BRUCE E. MACDONALD ’87
“The Seattle Alumni Club marked its official launch in April 2015 with a reception downtown attended by over a dozen California Western alumni as well as current and prospective students. We came together again last summer for an alumni and family gathering at Safeco Field to attend a Seattle Mariners baseball game.”
For more information, contact Lori Boyle at email@example.com.
California Western witnessed a substantial increase in private giving in 2015 thanks to the generosity and engagement of alumni and friends in the community as well as the hard work and dedication of the law school’s development team.
Dean Niels B. Schaumann noted that institutional advancement will play an increasingly important role in California Western’s path to becoming an even more successful and robust institution. He added that 2015’s fundraising success is already “helping set the stage” for great things to come.
Year-over-year comparison between 2014 and 2015:
Total funds raised from private sources went from $386,463 to $878,296—an increase of 127 percent.
New alumni donors rose by 117 percent, with a 44 percent increase in the alumni donor participation rate.
Total amount raised in our annual fund campaigns went from $241,890 to $395,227, an increase of 63 percent. The most successful of these campaigns—Giving Tuesday—brought in almost $150,000 this year, nearly three times more than the previous year.
Development’s young grants program secured 18 awards totaling $131,400, including seven from grantors with no prior history of giving to the law school. The program also achieved a 27 percent success rate in terms of grants solicited to those received.
The number of gifts of $10,000 or more rose from seven to 18, an increase of 157 percent.
In joint fundraising efforts with the law school, the California Innocence Project achieved a 44 percent increase in its number of donors.
“A wide range of people and programs—both within and outside the law school—helped make these and other recent fundraising achievements possible,” Schaumann says. “We are grateful to them all.”
These distinguished donors have demonstrated a passionate spirit of giving, a commitment to the traditions of yesterday, and a vision of tomorrow—ensuring that an excellent legal education will be available to future generations of students.
LELAND G. STANFORD CIRCLE
This society, named after the founder of California Western, recognizes lifetime giving at the highest level, comprising a select group of individuals and couples whose lifetime giving totals $100,000 or more.
Roy M. ‘74 and Diane Bell
Harold A. and Eileen Brown
Han P. ‘74 and Meredith J. Ching
Constance L. ‘74 and David C. Clapp
Dean E. Donald and Merle Shapiro
Family Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, Inc.
Dean Emeritus Michael H. and Carolyn Dessent
Martha A. Gafford
Frederic L. ‘81 and Janis Gordon
Huggy Bear, Inc.
J. Randall ‘81 and Kathleen Jones
Howard J. ‘80 and Beverly S. Silldorf
Dean Emeritus Steven R. and Lera B. Smith
Universidad Catolica de Temuco
The Honorable Howard B. and Joan C. Wiener
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Robert S. and Marion L. Wilson
Sally T. Wong-Avery ‘83
James ‘73 and Linda R. Ybarrondo
JURIS LEGATUM SOCIETY
This society recognizes those who have made a planned gift to California Western School of Law. With their gift, members of the Juris Legatum Society leave behind a legacy of their generosity and commitment to California Western, making a lasting impact on the school and its students for years to come.
Professor Emeritus George N. and Martha A. Gafford
Marlene J. and Roger A. Gaskins
Kenneth L. ‘71 and Patricia Greenman
Howard J. ‘80 and Beverly S. Silldorf
Dwight E. and Fern Stanford
RISING LEADERS SOCIETY
This society recognizes loyal alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and have made gifts to the law school in three consecutive years. These future leaders of California Western support the law school above and beyond the value of their gifts by inspiring a culture of giving among their peers.
Alissa L. Bjerkhoel ‘08
Daniel L. Essig ‘07
Lindsay A. Herf ‘08
Carina M. Jordan ‘14
David B. Kirschner ‘05
Drew A. ‘09 and Eva M. Lautemann ‘09
Alexa Leibl ‘15
Audrey A. McGinn ‘10
Doctors Erica J. Pascal ‘06 and
Michael J. Hostetler
Matthew P. and Brannen Reinhart ‘07
Alex W. Sachs ‘05
Angela H. Santamaria ‘11
Edwin N. Schwartz ‘13
Michael A. Semanchik ‘10
Shaun A. Spalding ‘11
Patricia L. Zlaket ‘09
This society recognizes the individuals whose generous annual support maintains the core operations of the law school and strengthens programs of central importance to our mission.
Dean‘s Partners ($10,000 and above)
Fred H., Jr. and Jana K. Bartlit
Roy M. ‘74 and Diane Bell
Han P. ‘74 and Meredith J. Ching
Debra Carroll and Donald Duford Family Foundation
Kenneth E. Fait ‘69
Fleischman Law Firm
Martha A. Gafford
Gilbert J. Martin Foundation
Jeffrey S. ‘68 and Johanna J. Isaacs
J.B. & Emily Van Nuys Charities
Price Philanthropies Foundation
Philip L. ‘77 and Judith A. Sbarbaro
Steven and Lisa Pite Family Foundation at The San Diego Foundation
Michael J. Whitton with Troutman Sanders LLP
Robert S. and Marion L. Wilson
Dean‘s Associates ($5,000 to $9,999)
American College of Bankruptcy Foundation
Gilbert C. and Pamela S. Binninger
Boomer Family Fund of the California Community Foundation
Charles R. ‘70 and Dawn Grebing
Jeffrey D. ‘75 and Marie Lewin
Judith S. Levine
J. Landis and Sharon S. Martin
Marvin and Sandra Fong Family Foundation
Lauren A. Nguyen-Antczak ‘07 and David Antczak
North County Immigration and Citizenship Center
Doctors Erica J. Pascal ‘06 and Michael J. Hostetler
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP
Sandra Ramos Lechuga
Juris Fellows ($2,500 to $4,999)
W. B. Ahern
Christina G. Bobb ‘08
Gayle Breitbard Klusky
Vice Dean Barbara J. Cox and Peg Habetler
Robert M. ‘76 and Judith J. Dowd
The Honorable Rita C. ‘89 and Douglas E. Federman ‘89
Mark S. ‘82 and Cindy Garber
Griswold, La Salle, Cobb, Dowd & Gin, LLP
Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP
Michael J. Hoisington ‘98
Scott J. Ingold ‘07
James T. Nystrom Foundation
Rachel R. James ‘05
Michael Jones ‘98
Regina Knoll ‘05
Kathryn A. Martin ‘05
Stephen T. Pelletier ‘03
Eberhard H. and Jessica Röhm
Charles E. ‘71 and Christina C. Rumbaugh
Dean Niels B. and Carla Schaumann
Joshua B. ‘02 and Rahil K. Swigart ‘03
The Tosh Company
Wes State Lands, Inc.
Juris Friends ($1,000 to $2,499)
David R. Altshuler ‘72
William M. ‘81 and Nancy A. Aul
Professors Thomas D. Barton and Sharon L. Foster
Charles H. ‘82 and Sarah C. Beale
The Honorable A. Craig Blakey, II ‘79
Amber Lori Mary Bradshaw
The Honorable Larrie R. ‘68 and Kathleen R. Brainard ‘88
Brave New Films
Brian Malk and Nancy Heitel Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
CAPA The Global Education Network
Professor Susan A. Channick ‘80 and Rick Billings
Gerald L. Cockrell
David and Christine Court
Brian L. Daly
Diane and Elliot Feuertstein Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Michael H. Eisengart ‘86 and Gayle M. Blatt ‘85
Daniel L. Essig ‘07
Assistant Dean Susan Garrett Finster ‘92 and Dan Finster
Geraldo and Scarrain Gomes Fund
Ron P. Goldman ‘81
Kenneth L. ‘71 and Patricia Greenman
Douglas M. Grodin, M.D. and Maryann Lawrence Grodin ‘75
Alreen Haeggquist ‘02
The Honorable Judith L. ‘75 and John L. Haller
Nasra S. and Ansar M. Haroun
J. Randall ‘81 and Kathleen Jones
Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Oberman, Satterley and Bosl Foundation
Scott M. LaFountaine ‘08
Doctors Robert A. Leark and Cynthia Boyd
Thomas A. Lehrer
Samuel S. Lionel
Marc M. Lipschitz
Roger L. and Darleen K. Long
Vice Admiral Bruce ‘87 and Karen MacDonald
Mary Ellen Mahoney
Mark P. Mandell ‘77 and Dawn Rose
Chris Maxwell ‘75
Mitch M. ‘72 and Tomoe Michino
Miranda Law Group, PC
Associate Dean Linda Morton and Leonard Bole
Ambassador Thomas A. ‘68 and Zinetta Nassif
Nathaniel D. Davis Foundation
Jeffrey R. ‘80 and Tseela Newport
Paul C. and Carolyn K. Page
Peter P. Cardasis Trust
Ronald M. ‘69 and Laurie Resch
In Memory of Nancy Lee Accornero
Brigadier General Kevin M. Sandkuhler ‘81
The Honorable Jerry A. ‘66 and Janet Jephcott Scheer
Rick L. Schwartz ‘77 and Linda D. Fisher
Robert K. ‘75 and Kimber Scott
Howard B. and Jill M. Singer
Professor Jacquelyn H. and Doctor Robert N. Slotkin
Christopher L. Stai
Charles J. Szlenker ‘81
Professor Roberta K. Thyfault ‘84
Rikki S. Ueda ‘97
Robert D. Wallace
The Honorable Howard B. and Joan C. Wiener
Doctor Peter A. Winograd
The Honorable Lawrence F. ‘77 and Patricia M. Winthrop
Michelle M. Wu ‘94
2015 3L CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS
By contributing to the 3L Campaign, these students left a lasting mark on California Western, and a legacy of success and public service by which the class of 2015 will be remembered.
Rosa I. Acevedo
Olesya O. Adams
Omid J. Afati
Celene J. Alfaro Garcia
Abdulrahman A. Alhassan
Katherine R. Aul
Justin A. Behravesh
Michael D. Brenn
Fatima G. Brizuela-Ciani
Stephanie M. Caloca
Micaela De La Cerda
Angelika N. Dimopoulos
Hang T. Do
Jordan B. Du Bois
Jennifer R. Ellenbeck
Rachel M. Ferguson
Ernestine C. Fodge
Tania G. Fonseca Mendoza
Benjamin J. Grueschow
Paul H. Guillory, III
Shauna C. Guner
Giuliana M. Herrera-Rambla
Brock T. Irish
Travis W. Kohler
Kaitlynn C. Leier
Adam B. Levine
Patricia G. Mejia
Olivia J. Miner
Francelle Moreno Fernandez
Erika G. Orjales
Stephanie R. Phillips
Cynthia Rodriguez Rosales
Jacquelyn M. Roof
Chiharu G. Sekino
Heng G. Shi
Veronica E. Smith
Ramesses S. Surban
Tonya A. Timmersman
Cindy P. Wong
» Class of 1970
Ronald B. Schwartz was named in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America for his accomplishments in personal injury litigation, marking the 11th consecutive year he has been selected.
» Class of 1971
Mary Jo Greenwood is a labor arbitrator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and a book reviewer for the St. Augustine Record.
John E. Hopkins retired in 2015, having surpassed 200 jury trials in his career. He now has more time to play music and follow his granddaughter's running endeavors.
» Class of 1973
Roger J. Thompson retired from the Fresno County Superior Court, where he had been employed since 2013. He often surfs in Baja California and spends time in Los Angeles with his grandchild.
» Class of 1974
David K. Milton completed his 10th year with the California Association of Realtors as one of their legislative advocates.
Thomas D. Penfield was invited to teach in Rezekne, Latvia at the Rezekne University of Applied Sciences (Rezeknes Augstskola) through the Center for International Legal Studies.
» Class of 1975
Patricia (Trish) F. Halsey-Munroe was elected to the State Board of Directors for both the League of Women Voters of California (LWVC) and the LWVC Education Fund, a nonpartisan educational organization.
» Class of 1976
Timothy E. Fields cleaned the Warner Springs Ranch Resort title, one of the most toxic titles in the country.
Land Trust of Napa County announced L.R. (Randy) Skidmore III as their new conservation project manager.
» Class of 1977
Richard (Rick) B. Andrade has run his own practice specializing in construction and labor law since 1985.
Allen Y. Okubo was a featured actor in the film Popolo which won Best Drama at the San Diego Black Film Festival (2016), and is currently performing as Erronius in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Manoa Valley Theatre in Honolulu, Hawaii.
» Class of 1978
Debra Ann (Becker) Berg is an administrative law judge with the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
The Hon. N. Patrick Flanagan III was elected Chief Judge for the Second Judicial District Court.
Annie C. Hall has relocated to Palm Springs to practice trusts and estates.
John P. Rapillo continues to run his plaintiff's personal injury practice in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, California.
Lynda B. Unkeless is pleased to report that she survived major brain surgery in 2015 and her first e-book, Meet One New Person Every Day: The Magic of Conversation, is now available.
» Class of 1980
The Hon. Stephen French has been appointed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
David S. Gibson has been re-elected to a new six-year term in the Henderson, Nevada Justice Court, where he serves as Chief Judge for 2016.
Richard Marshack concluded his term as President of the Orange County Bar Association’s Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section. Marshack is in his 30th year as bankruptcy trustee for cases in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Central District of California and Partner in his firm Marshack Hays LLP.
» Class of 1981
Mitchell A. Jacobs practices mediation for attorneys and litigants pertaining to all aspects of family law disputes.
Debbie E. (Gould) Propeck is an associate broker with RE/MAX Fine Properties in Scottsdale, Arizona. Gary B. Rudolph of Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel has been elected to a second term as Chair of the San Diego County Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Law Section for 2016.
» Class of 1982
Kenneth N. Greenfield is Vice President of the San Diego Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and a board member of Cal ABOTA.
» Class of 1983
Karen A. Holmes has been named in the 2016 edition of Super Lawyers magazine in the field of construction litigation.
» Class of 1984
James H. Breen is Managing Attorney for the Boston-based Safety Insurance Company.
David L. Crump published the book Conversations: Jury Selection, which takes a first-hand glimpse into the hearts and minds of the jury-eligible public.
Mass tort attorney Richard (Rick) D. Meadow is relocating from The Lanier Law Firm’s New York office to their headquarters in Houston, prompted by the firm’s growing role as one of the nation’s leaders in mass tort litigation.
Scott M. Sandler is the executive producer of the feature film Live Cargo, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016.
Mark S. Schechter was named in the 2016 edition of Super Lawyers magazine in the areas of ERISA/employee benefits law, and his son Corey Schechter ’11 was named a 2016 “Rising Star” by the magazine in the same areas.
» Class of 1985
Mark E. Ellis owns and operates the Ellis Law Group LLP in Sacramento, a boutique litigation firm. Ellis is a certified specialist in legal malpractice.
Shannon C. Smith-Crowley joined her 12-year lobbying practice with Wilke Fleury Hoffelt Gould & Birney, one of Sacramento’s largest law firms. She focuses primarily on health issues, including managed care, reproductive health, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Charles J. Tinlin was appointed to the board of trustees at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. Tinlin has served as County Judge for St. Johns County since January 1991.
» Class of 1986
Alexandra C. Chrysanthis joined the Prudhomme Law Office where she practices immigration law, after retiring as a chief deputy in the Criminal Division of the Clark County (Nevada) District Attorney’s Office.
James D. Portman has acted as chief legal officer of AIA Holdings, Inc., a managing general agent for surety insurance companies, since 2009.
» Class of 1987
Mark D. Dean is a Partner and shareholder at Blackburn & Stoll, LC in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Joseph P. Potocki has been named in the 2016 edition of Super Lawyers magazine in the field of construction litigation.
» Class of 1988
James D. (David) Crowe’s first work of fiction, Murderers, Madmen, and Lunatics, is a comical, and at times irreverent, look into the underbelly of personal injury and criminal defense law.
William D. Feingold was appointed municipal court judge in North Brunswick, New Jersey in June 2014.
» Class of 1990
Christelle C. (Frost) Beck and her daughter have been in practice together for seven years focusing on family and international family law.
Gina Champion-Cain owns a vacation home business, runs a clothing line, is a partner in Front Porch, a gourmet food and specialty products store, and is behind Swell Coffee. Champion-Cain’s restaurants include The Patio—which has locations in Mission Hills and Pacific Beach—as well as The Patio in Left Field at Petco Park.
Bradley L. Houston moved his office out of downtown Austin, Texas, to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, where he continues his practice concentrating on bicycle/motor vehicle collisions.
» Class of 1991
The Hon. Adriana Escobar was assigned as the sole Presiding Judge within the 8th Judicial District Court for Veterans Court, Mental Health Court, Felony DUI Court, Adult Drug Court, and the OPEN Program.
Carla A. (Goetz) Lawless celebrated seven years with McDermott Will & Emery, LLP in Chicago as an attorney in the discovery practice group, where she was honored by her firm and by Chicago Volunteer Legal Services for pro bono work with a Housing Forward homeless shelter.
Darren M. Pirozzi and Greg Rizio, Senior Partner of Rizio & Nelson, have been selected as “2015 Plaintiff Trial Lawyers of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Nancy L. Stagg and Benjamin J. Morris ’08, both attorneys with Foley Lardner, are representing Donald Trump in litigation involving Trump University.
» Class of 1992
Senior Partner and Executive Managing Partner for Client Relations, Tahmeena Iqbal Ahmed, serves as a regional manager overseeing the marketing team for the law offices of Bradford & Barthel LLP.
In addition to her estate planning, adoptions practice, and serving as a small claims court judge pro tem, Melody K. Anderson was hired to work part time at Disneyland.
Robert J. Kinney began his ninth year as a deputy attorney general in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.
Cookie Lea Olshein, Rabbi of Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, Florida was honored by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, with the inaugural "Tikkun Olam Service Award" for promoting tolerance, social justice, and the Jewish values of Chesed (kindness) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) on January 18, 2016, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
» Class of 1993
Pamela N. Clark-Meister was recently promoted to group counsel, supporting the “Internet of Things” group for Intel. Additionally, she recently served on the California State Bar Mentoring Task Force.
Allen G. Weinberg represents juveniles serving life or life-equivalent sentences whose cases have been granted review before the California Supreme Court. He has been featured in several recent Los Angeles Daily Journal articles on the rapid changes in constitutional law and how they affect juveniles tried as adults and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison.
» Class of 1994
Christine C. Alessio is a member of the La Mesa City Council; the SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) Board of Directors, and Vice Chair of the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee.
Kathleen A. Sweitzer was promoted to associate general counsel in the law department at Aon Corporation in Chicago where she leads a team of lawyers who provide corporate transactional and regulatory support for the Aon Hewitt U.S. health and benefits consulting business.
» Class of 1995
Steven M. Sweat formed a new practice in Los Angeles in the area of plaintiff's personal injury law.
» Class of 1996
Linda Cianciolo has been elected President of the San Diego Family Law Bar Association for 2016.
Lennie N. Gee recently closed her family law practice and works solely in estate planning.
S. Brook Millard joined the law firm of Robert DeBry & Associates, where he continues practicing in plaintiff's personal injury. He joins Brad DeBry ’96 at the firm which is one of the largest personal injury firms in Utah.
Darlene A. (Dornan) White was awarded the Judicial Officer of the Year Award by the San Diego Family Law Bar Association in November 2015 and the Foothills Bar Award in January 2016.
In addition to her political law practice, Pamela L. Wilson is founder and director of Scenic San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting billboard sign blight in San Diego County.
» Class of 1997
Todd R. Haas obtained a complete verdict in Scottsdale Indemnity Company v. Fitch Plastering, Inc., a case in which $9 million in damages were sought, but ended with the court ruling in favor of Scottsdale that no coverage applied.
» Class of 1998
Marcella (Ordorica) McLaughlin was designated as the ethics coordinator for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.
Jerrilyn Malana, Chief Deputy in the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, received the Community Legacy Award from Pacific Arts Movement at the 16th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Awards Gala.
Andras M. Marton was promoted to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army JAG Corps. In May, Marton was transferred from the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker to the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Jacquiline M. Wagner is President of JMW Seminars, LLC, a professional development company dedicated to improving the work performance of employees and supervisors. Wagner also serves as assistant general counsel for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
» Class of 1999
Lt. Col. Deric Prescott, USAF JAG Corps, was selected to serve as the staff judge advocate for Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Todd A. Sulger serves as the lead commercial attorney in the separation of Hewlett-Packard Company into two independent, industry-leading companies: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company and HP Inc. The transaction took a year to complete and is the largest corporate separation in history.
» Class of 2000
Jeffrey T. Malotte, a former member of California Western’s Board of Trustees, teaches securities law, business law, and corporate finance at the University of Tennessee College of Law.
» Class of 2001
George R. Kindley is an elder abuse and neglect attorney who specializes in assisted living cases and dedicates his entire practice to fighting for the rights of consumers and their families.
» Class of 2002
Amanda M. Bradley is relocating with her family to Madrid, Spain, after four years of practicing immigration law in Miami, Florida. She plans to open a law firm in Spain to provide representation to Europeans seeking a visa to live in the U.S.
David J. Cutitta II has been appointed as administrative patent judge to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Cutitta resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Irene Chung Cutitta ’02 and their two sons.
Jake Fulcher was named a “2016 Rising Star” in employment and labor law by Super Lawyers magazine. Fulcher devotes much of his practice to daily client counseling, developing best practices, and providing management and supervisor training on a variety of labor and employment related issues.
Jan K. Maiden was elected as the South Bay representative to the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Bar Association.
Tilisha T. Martin was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as a Superior Court Judge for the State of California.
Jan Neugebauer was named Partner in the tax law practice of Arendt & Medernach in Luxembourg, where she specializes in both national and international tax structuring on leverage and management buyout transactions, real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, and finance taxation.
» Class of 2003
Scott H. Finkbeiner was recently selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers for consistently demonstrating a high level of knowledge, skill, and integrity.
Santo Riccobono recently joined the personal injury law firm BD&J in Beverly Hills, California.
» Class of 2004
Nick A. Falcone has been promoted to the Capital Defense Team in the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association, which represents defendants charged in death penalty cases.
Edwin R. LeAralica was recently promoted to Supervising Attorney at the King County Department of Public Defense felony trial unit in Seattle where he supervises 13 lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and social workers.
Anita L. Rufus hosts the weekly radio show “The Lovable Liberal,” writes an opinion column for an independent newspaper, and acts in local theater productions.
Christopher C. Walton was recognized by the San Diego Business Journal as “Best of the Bar” for 2016, and was honored by Super Lawyers magazine.
» Class of 2005
Kristopher M. Cronin and his wife Christine welcomed a son, Joseph Liam, to the family in June 2015.
Heather U. Guerena was promoted to Partner at Duane Morris LLP, in the firm’s San Diego trial practice group, where she handles matters involving franchise and contract dispute, land use, trademark, copyright and patent infringement, unfair competition and consumer legal remedies, and consumer lending and banking litigation.
Andrea Ly Mader has been a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County since June 2016.
» Class of 2006
Bradly M. (Brad) Bingham phased out his practice and signed on as in-house counsel to Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in San Diego.
Sarah Chase-McRorie was sworn in as President of the Colorado Women's Bar Association, one of the largest and most influential women's bar associations in the country.
Lauren E. Komsa Curtis joins transportation, insurance coverage, and product liability litigation.
Daniel R. Forde is a Partner of Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law, which is celebrating its sixth year in San Diego. He serves as Chair of the Real Property Section of the San Diego County Bar Association and is an avid golfer and surfer.
Kevin C. Murphy was re-elected to the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego's Board of Directors and to the Irish Bar Association of San Diego's Board of Directors.
Arthur A. Severance joined the Cammarano Law Group, a boutique firm in Long Beach that primarily handles cargo cases, and became the deputy chair of the State Bar's Admiralty and Maritime Law Advisory Commission.
Sarah E. Sheldon was promoted to senior tax counsel at MetLife, Inc. Potente Law Corp. received the La Jolla Village News 2015 Readers Choice Award as a top law firm and employs Kristen Walker Potente, alongside Peter M. Potente ’06, Victoria L. Chinsee ’13, and Daniel Edwards ’14.
Bradley S. Wallace opened the Law Offices of Bradley S. Wallace, P.C. in January 2016, a plaintiff-only civil contingency practice focused on injury and business litigation and trial.
» Class of 2007
Cammie E. Polischuk has transitioned from practicing law to settlement planning (government benefit protection, special needs trusts, liens, Medicare set-asides, structured settlements, wealth management, and attorney fee deferrals). Polischuk is expecting her third child with husband Wesley Polischuk ’07.
» Class of 2008
Carter B. Knopke is technology transfer and corporate counsel at DexCom, Inc., a leading San Diego technology company providing continuous glucose monitoring platforms that empower people to take control of diabetes and lead healthier, fuller, and longer lives.
Aaron M. Olsen was named a “2016 Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine.
Alexia E. Peters was awarded the "Breaking Away Award for Excellence" by KUSI and Torrey Pines Bank for her service as executive director of the San Diego Family Justice Center Foundation.
Hansdeep Singh, co-founder of the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination, recently presented a groundbreaking case law analysis on gender bias in the judiciary before the Office of the Attorney General for 12 countriesat a Pacific Islands Law Officers' Network conference in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Sada L. Sheldon recently opened the Law Offices of Khalil & Sheldon's second office in Alexandria, Virginia, focusing on trademarks, franchise law, and business law.
» Class of 2009
Tabitha M. Brincat recently opened her own office, Brincat Family Law, P.C., in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed in both Oregon and California and her practice exclusively focuses on family law in both states.
» Class of 2010
Judith E. Luther-Shiflett received the Washington State Bar Association’s Local Hero Award in recognition of her more than five years of dedicated volunteering at Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services.
» Class of 2011
Amber D. Curto, a fifth-year associate with the law firm of Ryley Carlock & Applewhite in Phoenix, Arizona, was nominated to begin her second term as Chair of the Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration section of the Maricopa County Bar.
Lindsey D’Agnolo has become an associate at the firm Heyl Royster. D’Agnolo focuses her practice in the areas of business and commercial litigation, long term care/nursing homes, and workers’ compensation.
Meghan J. (Bokath) Dohoney recently completed a three-year judicial clerkship with United States Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks.
Nicole M. (Schoonveld) Egan relocated her family to Sacramento, California, and accepted a position as the Clinical Legal Fellow with McGeorge School of Law Community Legal Services.
Kuscha N. Hatami Fard is a trademark and copyright attorney at Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, specializing in branding, counterfeit goods, and worldwide trademark and copyright prosecution, enforcement, and litigation.
Nicole N. (Barvie) Herman married Jeffrey Herman ’11 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Samuel A. Mazzeo started a boutique practice focusing on supporting nonprofits, small businesses, and artists in 2014.
Ashley M. Peterson opened her solo law practice, the Law Office of Ashley M. Peterson, in July 2015. The Point Loma firm specializes in real estate, business, and probate matters.
Lindsey J. Resha works at Hill International, Inc. as a claims analyst.
» Class of 2012
Samuel C. Doak continues with the Maricopa County Public Defender's Office.
Irina A. Doliner recently opened her own law practice focusing on employment law and personal injury.
Kristin N. (Lapoff) Guthrie is pregnant with her first child—a son. She is due on June 4, 2016.
Bella (Titiyevskaya) Guerrero and Michael Guerrero ’12 were married in September 2015. Bella is Vice President of Compliance and Legal Affairs at Guild Mortgage. Michael is an associate at Ballard Spahr LLP in Philadelphia.
Capt. Alexander A. Ismail and his wife Victoria Kuzmina ’14 live in Oahu, Hawaii. Ismail is on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps serving as a military prosecutor and special assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii, and Kuzmina has opened an immigration law practice.
Brandon Kammer joined Oregon civil defense firm Hart Wagner LLP as an associate. Based in the firm’s Portland office, Kammer primarily represents medical practitioners and healthcare facilities, devoting much of his practice to defending physicians against frivolous lawsuits.
Anthony M. Medina celebrates one year as Principal Attorney of AM Law Group in San Diego, focusing on family law, criminal defense, and immigration.
Jacqueline H. Rudolph recently left Viacom to spearhead the legal department at the Los Angeles startup Docler Media, which focuses on TV production, technology, and music.
» Class of 2013
Cedric W. Anderson is in-house counsel at Connor Group, Inc., a technical accounting firm.
Christine Y. Dixon received the San Diego Defense Lawyers' 2015 Outstanding New Lawyer award.
Shannel H. Halbo is employed by the YMCA of San Diego County and has been associate general counsel for three years.
Ardalan D. Hosseinpour works as a litigation attorney at Lorber, Greenfield & Polito, LLP defending construction defect claims.
Edwin N. Schwartz and his brother obtained a $250,000 settlement after two years in a work-related wrongful death case.
Gabriel S. Urias worked for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, where he focused on the implementation of the landmark class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson. Earlier this year, Urias was selected to be a fellow for the 2016 San Diego Leadership Alliance cohort.
» Class of 2014
Christina A. Alkire started a nonprofit, Sage Legal Services, Inc., whose goal is to provide affordable legal services to the San Diego County community in the areas of family and landlord/tenant law.
Elizabeth Baker ’14 and Morgan Wazlaw ’14 serve on its board as well as former California Western Professor Kathryn Fehrman and San Diego criminal defense attorney Phil Shapiro.
Gina E. Damiano works as a contract development manager for Apple, where she drafts commercial agreements for their reseller and distributor spaces.
Tomer T. Gutman is managing partner of Worden Williams LLP in Solana Beach, California.
In January, Carrie A. R. Hedayati celebrated the first anniversary of her solo practice, which focuses on domestic and international trademark, licensing, and copyright matters.
Daniel J. Hilton argued in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Mena v. Long, a case that led to a published opinion.
Tiffany N. Lynch works as a public defender in Illinois and is returning to San Diego in the fall to matriculate in to California Western’s LL.M. program.
» Class of 2015
Micaela W. De La Cerda works as a trial attorney for the Law Offices of Kim L. Bensen, staff counsel to Allstate Insurance Company.
Adam B. Levine works as an associate at CaseyGerry, specializing in serious personal injury, premises liability, and aviation.
Jennifer M. Roth was recently hired as a deputy district attorney in the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office. She is assigned to the Desert Division in Victorville, California.
Erik N. Weber advocates for students (and their parents), assisting them with individualized education programs. His third book is expected to publish this year.