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”

2L Ryan Stygar publishes second fiction book

By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chiefryan_stygar

Ryan Stygar is a full-time 2L student at California Western School of Law. He is also a former firefighter, a current SBA class representative, and a published fiction author. His latest book, an educational outer space-themed novel called “Snot Rocket and the Weapon of Math Destruction,” was released on Amazon last week.

“It’s not easy, but there’s always a way to make time when you really love what you are doing,” Stygar said. Continue reading “2L Ryan Stygar publishes second fiction book”

Presenting our final spring edition (4/12/18)!

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SBA Election Update: Original Election Outcome Remains Intact Despite SBA Split on Election’s Validity

By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief

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Dean Dizon Demystifies the Grading Curve

By Shane Dizon, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement

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Editors’ message
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New Elective This Fall:
Q&A with Professor Ebrahim
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Pro Bono & Public Service Honor Societies Recognize 90+ Students for 12,000+ Collective Volunteer Hours
By Erin LeClair
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In this final spring edition of The Commentary:

**SBA ELECTION UPDATE** – Original Outcome Remains Despite SBA Split on Election’s Validity

*PRO BONO/PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS* – 90+ Students Volunteered 12,000+ Hours Collectively

*PROFESSOR Q&A* – Meet Prof. Ebrahim and Learn about his New Fall 2018 Course

*BUSTING GRADING MYTHS* – Dean Dizon Demystifies the Curve

Also be sure to read our Letter from the Editors, written by Editors-in-Chief Chris Lawson and Sara Gold. It has been a pleasure to serve California Western this year!


SBA Election Update: Original Election Outcome Remains Intact Despite SBA Split on Election’s Validity

By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief

The outcome of the 2018/19 SBA election, which named Edgar Lopez and Sahar Hassanzada as SBA President and Vice President, will remain unchanged — now that SBA candidates Jeff Linton and Mark Simpliciano have withdrawn their calls for a re-election stemming from allegedly unfair election practices that resulted in Linton’s disqualification the night before the election.

Linton, an original candidate for the vice president position alongside Hassanzada, was disqualified from the election because he discussed his candidacy inside a CWSL classroom and discussed his candidacy after 5 p.m. March 22, both of which were contrary to the rules in the candidate instructions packet that all SBA candidates received roughly two weeks before the election and submitted signed consent to.

The election took place as planned on March 23 — with only Hassanzada running for vice president, and Simpliciano and Lopez vying for the president position. Lopez and Hassanzada were unofficial runningmates, as were Simpliciano and Linton, prior to Linton’s disqualification. Lopez and Hassanzada both won their respective positions.

Vice President Candidate’s Appeal

After the election, Linton submitted a complaint appealing his disqualification. In his complaint, Linton first argued that the two rules he violated were unenforceable because they are not included in the SBA By-Laws, which includes Section 14.3 delineating SBA campaign regulations. Second, Linton claimed that SBA Vice President Valerie Gurrola enforced the campaign regulations discriminatorily by not also disqualifying candidates Lopez and Hassanzada, who allegedly campaigned outside of the permissible time period and affixed a promotional poster to a campus fixture in violation of the rules. Continue reading “SBA Election Update: Original Election Outcome Remains Intact Despite SBA Split on Election’s Validity”

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”