Student perspective: Advice for finals preparation

By Nick Ahadzadeh, News Editor, & Ryan Stygar

We would like to start this article with a quotation from our favorite author:

“Ahhh, finals season. What a beautiful and joyous occasion.” – No One Ever

Finals are upon us, and they are quite similar to hurricanes – you want to prepare before they actually happen. Because we have already provided Academic Achievement’s exam tips, this time we wanted to give you our student perspective on how to get through finals with your sanity intact. The first set of tips is about study strategies, and the second set is about general study habits.

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Supreme Court panel: Professors discuss citizenship-based discrimination and more

By Rabiya Tirmizi & Oday Yousif

California Western School of Law has a tradition of hosting a panel with the constitutional law professors, where they comment on current and upcoming cases that have made their way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). On March 5, the American Constitution Society (ACS) and the Federalist Society continued this tradition by holding the “SCOTUS at Halftime: Review of the Current Court Session” panel event.

More than 60 students were in attendance as Professors William Aceves, Jessica Fink, and Glenn Smith all presented a case that has either been decided or is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Each professor explained the significance that the case will have not only on society, but on constitutional law.

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First Step Act signals progress in criminal justice reform

By Oliver Fredrickson

On December 21, 2018, after significant debate in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, President Trump signed the First Step Act into law. Despite falling short of what many criminal justice reformers were anticipating, commentators say that the First Step Act will deliver “the most significant changes to the criminal justice system for a generation.”


Most of us know that the United States has, both per capita and in total numbers, the highest prison population in the world. To emphasise just how far the United States exceeds the rest of the world when it comes to incarceration, take note of the following statistics:

Continue reading “First Step Act signals progress in criminal justice reform”

Q&A: New Professor Pooja Dadhania

Prof. Pooja Dadhania

Meet Pooja Dadhania, California Western’s newest full-time faculty member. Originally from Sterling, Virginia, Dadhania earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. She took Japanese language courses during college, and after graduation, she lived for two years in Kumamoto, Japan, where she taught English to elementary and middle-school students.

After that, she attended Columbia Law School for her J.D. and Georgetown Law School for her L.L.M. In addition to working in private practice, Dadhania has worked at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Now, she teaches civil procedure and immigration/asylum and refugee law at Cal Western.

The Commentary asked Prof. Dadhania about her interests, passions, and experiences:

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Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team

Your new Academic Achievement team consists of Imran Malik, Assistant Director of Academic Achievement, and Kiyana Kiel, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement. Both of them started working at Cal Western over the summer.

Luda Malik
Cute puppy alert: Prof. Malik’s dog, Luda

Prof. Malik grew up in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, where he did his best to avoid the sweltering heat. Determined to live somewhere with snow, Prof. Malik attended Pennsylvania State University for undergrad where he graduated with a BA in Political Science and a BA in History with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. After a couple of years advocating for policy change at think-tanks and working for Congress in D.C., he moved to the West Coast to attend law school at Seattle University. After law school, he moved to San Francisco to work for Kaplan Bar Review, and most recently he worked as an Academic Director of Academic Support Programs at another law school. Prof. Malik is a political junkie, regularly practices yoga, and has been a vegetarian since high school. He is also very happy to show you a picture of his little puppy named Luda.

Dean Kiel earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature & Culture from UCLA and her law degree from UC Berkeley. Her prior law school administration experience includes working as Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs at University of San Diego School of Law. 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.

Here’s the advice Prof. Malik and Dean Kiel have for finals prep: Continue reading “Finals advice from your new Academic Achievement team”

A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket

By Oliver Fredrickson

Back at full strength with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court began its new term on October 1.  Although this term’s docket does hold the same high-profile cases that we saw last term, it will nonetheless provide valuable insight into the trajectory the court will take in the coming years. The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh entirely recalibrated the ideological make-up of the Court, leaving the traditionally conservative Chief Justice John Roberts at the Court’s ideological centre. To give context of what a Court with Chief Justice Roberts at the center looks like, some of his notable decisions include: Continue reading “A look at the upcoming Supreme Court docket”

3L earns prize in national FDA law writing contest

By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief

Tyler_MarquezTyler Marquez was caught by surprise when she finally found out that her scholarly article, which she had submitted to the Food and Drug Law Institute’s annual competition months earlier, had won an award!

Marquez placed third in the Institute’s national Austern Writing Competition, which solicits articles about the legal implications of FDA-regulated industries, including food, drugs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and medical devices. She submitted her article back in early June.

“From June to October, time passed and I assumed I was not even being considered, so the news was a shock but also a nice surprise,” Marquez said.

Her paper, titled “The Phenomenon of Financial Toxicity: Health Care’s Insatiable Disease,” discusses the negative effect that rising pharmaceutical drug costs have on overall patient health. Continue reading “3L earns prize in national FDA law writing contest”

Current events recap: Kavanaugh panel & environmental rally

A Discussion of the Era of Kavanaugh -- Oday Yousif, ACS Vice President

More than 60 students attended a panel discussion Oct. 30 on the repercussions of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s recent appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hosted by the American Constitution Society and Women’s Law Caucus, the panel discussed how Kavanaugh’s confirmation will impact the Supreme Court and women’s rights. (For background on Kavanaugh, his views, and his confirmation, see our Kavanaugh coverage.) Additionally, the panel discussed the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court will have major implications for generations to come,” said Melissa Owens, president of the Women’s Law Caucus. “The discussion conducted through the partnership of ACS and WLC was truly invaluable for staff, students, and attorneys in the community.”


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Finding a sense of my people — my first 1L networking event

Messages Image(2018447729)
Brandon Birungi-Sengendo, back row, second from left

By Brandon Birungi-Sengendo

On November 10, I attended my first networking event as a law student, the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation’s 42nd Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala. My main motivation for going to this event was to develop a relationship with the black legal community in San Diego. On the night of, I made sure to arrive somewhat early so I could maximize the number of people I could talk to. Plus, there was a hosted wine bar I wanted to get to before the selection thinned out — seeing as I don’t often have a choice of wine options outside of the cheapest bottle I can find, after a long week of hoping not to get cold called.

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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”