Category: Legal News/Opinions

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”

New Elective This Fall: Q&A with Professor Ebrahim

Ebrahim headshotIn late June 2017, Tabrez Ebrahim, a Texas-raised patent attorney born in India, began his weeklong road trip from Houston, Texas, to San Diego, California. Just weeks later, he would begin teaching classes at California Western, marking the start of his first full-time teaching position.

Before pursuing a career in law, Prof. Ebrahim was a R&D engineer in Silicon Valley and attended Stanford University to attain his Master’s in mechanical engineering, as well as a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship.  He later earned both his JD and MBA from Northwestern University, before returning to his home state of Texas to eventually attain his LLM in Intellectual Property and Information Law from the University of Houston Law Center. Prof. Ebrahim also worked as a full-time patent attorney in Texas prior to joining the Cal Western faculty.

The Commentary sat down with Prof. Ebrahim to ask him about his journey, his experience at Cal Western, and his new IP elective course, Transactional Intellectual Property, that he will be offering in Fall 2018. Continue reading “New Elective This Fall: Q&A with Professor Ebrahim”

Networking tips for every setting

By Matthew Lab, Assistant Director of Career and Professional Development Office

The Career and Professional Development Office is excited about the career development programs and opportunities that we have prepared for this term.  This time of year presents many opportunities for you to develop your networking skills.  Networking is probably the most important non-legal skill that you will develop during law school.  For law students and lawyers alike, networking is and will continue to be a crucial aspect of your career development. It is a method through which we make new friends and establish valuable contacts; learn about different practice areas and career paths; promote ourselves and our employer; cultivate new clients; increase our self-confidence; and develop our professional presence.

The idea of networking evokes many emotions and almost none of them are good.  Networking can be intimidating and somewhat awkward.  Most of us have stood at the edge of a room at a “networking” event, wanting to speak with someone, but felt awkward or apprehensive about how to initiate the conversation.  Such feelings are normal.  After all, you are striking up a conversation with a total stranger. The good news is that networking gets easier with practice.  Truly, you get points merely for showing up; because the more events you attend, the more familiar faces you will see, and the more comfortable you will become.  Here are a few tips to help get you started: Continue reading “Networking tips for every setting”

Join the ABA! Message from Cal Western’s ABA representative

By Nick Aliquo, SBA American Bar Association Representative

Nick Aliquo

Hello everyone! My name is Nicholas Aliquo and I am your American Bar Association (ABA) Representative here at California Western. I’m assuming most of you, if not, all of you know that one of the many perks of attending California Western is that we are an ABA-accredited law school. However, not all students actually know what the ABA is and what the ABA can do for you. My job is to help fix that.

The American Bar Association is one of the world’s largest voluntary professional organizations, with over 400,000 members. There are 205 institutions that are ABA approved. The ABA is committed to serving its members, improving the legal profession, eliminating bias and enhancing diversity as well as advancing the rule of law throughout the United States and around the world. Membership is open to law students (hey that’s you!), lawyers (that will soon be you) and those just curious and interested in the legal profession (hopefully you). Now I know you’re wondering: okay, this all sounds great, but why should I care about these three letters or three words? Well, let me tell you! Continue reading “Join the ABA! Message from Cal Western’s ABA representative”