Category: Legal News/Opinions

Ocean cleanup problems and solutions

MattBy Matthew D. Batista

The Problem

Plastic Does Not Disappear. “Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.”  Plastic permeates the Earth and its ecological systems. Since the advent and mass adoption of plastic, roughly over the last 100 years, humans have treated plastics like they are bio-degradable. Spoiler alert, they are not. Plastics also gradually break down into smaller debris, making the collection problem even worse. The result is an astonishing concentration of plastics, often ending up in oceans around the globe.

Pacific Gyre Accumulation. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (“GPGP”) is a region of the Pacific Ocean, between the United States and Japan, where dumped plastics accumulate due to natural ocean currents. The GPGP is an area of incredible plastic concentration, estimated to be roughly twice the size of Texas. Though the problem has been known for some time, a recent study—using perhaps the most comprehensive research method yet—has concluded that the concentration by weight of plastics in the GPGP may be between four and sixteen times more than previously estimated. The study estimates a minimum total of at 80,000 tons (approximately 176,000,000 pounds) of plastic floating in the gyre. Continue reading “Ocean cleanup problems and solutions”

Attorney Q&A: Gayle Blatt, Board of Trustees member

By Jules Copon

blatt_gayleOn the corner of First and Laurel St. sits the law office of Casey Gerry, one of the most prominent plaintiff’s firms in San Diego. The ornate Mediterranean exterior eases you to the marble and mahogany of the reception area where awards nearly wallpaper the room. Multiple standing plaques displaying “The Best Lawyers in America,” emblazoned in gold, affirms the standard of this powerhouse firm.

Casey Gerry partner Gayle Blatt, our very own CWSL 1985 alumna and member of the CWSL Board of Trustees, gleefully briefs The Commentary on her legal career and various law school memories. Continue reading “Attorney Q&A: Gayle Blatt, Board of Trustees member”

Opinion: What’s the deal with Brett Kavanaugh?

By Oliver Fredricksonbrett_kavanaugh

After a historically chaotic confirmation process, Brett Kavanaugh was finally sworn onto the Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 6.  Kavanaugh’s confirmation hung in the balance for 89 days amid concerns about his strongly conservative beliefs and later allegations of sexual assault. Nevertheless, the Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 50-48.

President Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the seat left by the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Since 2006, Justice Kennedy had been the decisive “swing vote” on a number of important issues. Replacing this seat with the unapologetically conservative Kavanaugh entirely reconfigures the composition of the Court. With a loyal five-man conservative bloc, future decisions on women’s rights, gay marriage, voting rights, the environment, and affordable health care will lie in the balance. Continue reading “Opinion: What’s the deal with Brett Kavanaugh?”

Youth sue U.S. over climate change

MattBy Matthew D. Batista

Little substantive action is being taken in the United States to combat the grave challenges that climate change is clearly presenting. This summer, two massive Northern California wildfires burned, raining ash and spreading smoke as far as New York. The Carr fire burned over 220,000 acres in Redding, CA, and the Mendocino Complex fire burned over 410,000 acres across Colusa, Lake, and Mendocino counties. California is not alone in dealing with historic heat and wildfires: across the United States in the last 30 days, there has been over 2,000 new daily record high temperatures and over 5,000 new daily highest minimum temperatures established. Internationally, wildfires in Greece have killed at least 91 people, and Japan recorded its highest ever temperature on July 23, 2018 at 106 degrees. Sweden is experiencing the worst drought on record, with wildfires burning into the Arctic Circle.

These serious problems have led to a rise in climate and environmental litigation in U.S. courts. October will see a novel case heard in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Juliana v. United States.
Continue reading “Youth sue U.S. over climate change”

SBA President: Welcome to 2018-19!

edgar_lopez3By Edgar Lopez, Student Bar Association President

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! I hope you had a great summer.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Edgar Lopez, and I am currently a 3L student at CWSL. I grew up in Beaumont, CA and attended undergrad at Cal State San Bernardino. I ran for SBA President because I enjoy being part of something that benefits the greater good. As President, I want to continue hosting and supporting great events, both on and off-campus. I am also excited to bring new ideas to the CWSL community.

Now let me tell you a little about who we are and what you can expect this upcoming year. Continue reading “SBA President: Welcome to 2018-19!”

Student ABA Rep Reflects on Summer Conference

By Nick Aliquo, SBA American Bar Association Representative

nick_aliquoHello everyone, my name is Nicholas Aliquo, and I am your returning American Bar Association (ABA) student representative for the upcoming school year. From August 1-5, I had the pleasure of attending my second ABA annual meeting, held this year in Chicago.

Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities, and this trip proved to be no different. Per the ABA, combining pleasure with business was a must. The ABA reserved seats at the Tony award-winning play “Hamilton” and a night at Wrigley Field watching the Chicago Cubs. Due to finals (boo) I had to unfortunately miss the play, but I was able to catch a Cubs game, and the Cubs just so happened to be playing the Padres (we won). Continue reading “Student ABA Rep Reflects on Summer Conference”

CPDO: Ten Tips for Acing Your First Week at Your Internship

By Jocelyn Salvatori, Assistant Director of Career and Professional Development, & Matthew Lab, Director of Professional Development 

Jocelyn Salvatori

Are you starting a new internship this month?  Or are you returning to the same internship after being away for a bit?  Here are some tips to make the best first impression, or a continued good impression, as a law clerk.  Maybe some of these things will sound obvious to you, but try not to roll your eyes because employers are always reminding us to remind you about these very same issues. Also scroll to the bottom for more specific guidelines for writing assignments. Continue reading “CPDO: Ten Tips for Acing Your First Week at Your Internship”

Q&A with Kiyana Kiel, New Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement

kiyana_kielCalifornia Western welcomes Kiyana Kiel as its new Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement. Kiel’s prior law school administration experience includes working as Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs at University of San Diego School of Law. Before that, she served as director of the McGeorge Education Pipeline Initiative, which coordinated academic enrichment activities, community service, and service-learning programs for K-12 and college students in the Sacramento region.

Kiel, a first-generation college student, earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature & Culture from UCLA and her law degree from UC Berkeley. In addition to working in legal education, she also has worked as an attorney, focusing on real estate, land use, and environmental transactions. Her passion for environmental law stems from her upbringing on her family farm in Compton, California, where she grew up riding horses, climbing avocado trees, and collecting eggs from the chicken coop. She and her husband have lived in San Diego since 2012, and they have a two-year-old daughter.

The Commentary interviewed Dean Kiel to ask about her professional background, her goals and ambitions in her new role, and her personal interests. Continue reading “Q&A with Kiyana Kiel, New Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement”

Dean Dizon Demystifies the Grading Curve

By Shane Dizon, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievementshane_dizon

It is with mixed emotions that I write this Commentary article, knowing it is one of the last (if not the last) opportunity I will get to address all of you while still playing the role of Dean Dizon. For those of you who do not know, I will be moving on to Brooklyn Law School to join its faculty as the Director of its Academic Success Program. It was a difficult decision for my family and me to reach, and I will dearly miss working with you, the faculty, and the staff of this great learning community.

But there is, at present, no time for tears. Only for “sweat equity,” as they call it in the business world – earning and owning a piece of the enterprise – in this case, your success as a law student and your solid foundational preparation for the bar exam.

Yet rather than bombard you with platitudes of how you should be doing every practice exam in sight and be prepared to put in the long hours to earn every point, I’m writing this article at your editors’ request to explain the grading curve in a bit more detail (for more information, you can also see Cal Western’s Academic Policies in full). Continue reading “Dean Dizon Demystifies the Grading Curve”

From Chris & Sara — Editors’ message

Dear Readers,

It has been our absolute honor and privilege to bring student journalism into the digital era at California Western. The Commentary started in 1973 as a print newspaper, carried forward by the hundreds of students over the past four decades who were willing to invest their time and talent into making student journalism a reality. We thank those students for their commitment to student journalism and for sustaining this valuable publication, bringing The Commentary into its current age.

This year, we decided to do something different. In November of last year, we launched the first-ever Commentary website. Although we value the importance of print journalism, we first and foremost wanted to make the news accessible, shareable, and interactive — and we felt that the online platform was the best way to do so, given the ubiquity of the Internet and social media.

With the support of a group of students who believed in us and our mission, we were able to launch our site and bring school and legal news into students’ lives. We were able to show you funny pictures of Professor Smith at the SBA Halloween auction. We were able to inform students on important legal issues such as California education reform, Cal Western student satisfaction statistics, and SBA elections. And we were able to highlight the awesome talent of our own students, such as our Moot Court teams that competed last fall, as well as our student organizations and journals that have hosted successful and impactful events, both on and off-campus. Continue reading “From Chris & Sara — Editors’ message”