Students in the Spotlight
Class of 2013
Pierucci was chosen by the Class of 2013 to deliver the student address at the May 11 commencement. His opening: “Allow me to begin by addressing the question on everyone’s mind here today: Why was I, David Pierucci, chosen to be student commencement speaker for the second class ever of this law school? Well, no matter what I’ve been telling my parents, it’s not because I’m class valedictorian. My grade in torts class took care of that.” Pierucci’s speech was funny and poignant, and included a spot-on imitation of Dean Chemerinsky. It also featured a comical description of notes “discovered” detailing the original plans for the law school. By popular demand - well, actually, his parents requested it - we have made available a videotape of the speech. Here's the text version.
Clinic students win freedom for detained teen
UCI Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic scored a surprise victory for an Anaheim teenager facing deportation. The client was handed over to immigration authorities about a year ago, when he was 14, after he was repeatedly questioned about his immigration status during 10 days in Orange County Juvenile Hall. The clinic sought to suppress evidence from those unlawful interrogations and to obtain related documents. In March, Jacob Barak ’13, Genny Kristie ’13, Pavneet Mac ’14, and Danila Toscano ’13 accompanied the client to what they thought would be a routine hearing. But Immigration Judge Frank Travieso ended the proceeding and thanked the clinic for its pro bono service. His ruling allows the client to remain in the country and came after the government failed to turn over the court-ordered documents sought by a prior clinic team of Edgar Aguilasocho ’12, Andrea Feathers ’12, and David Koch ’12, with assistance from Jamie Tremmel ’14.
Class of 2014
Markovitz’s essay on the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Supreme Court case was one of two chosen for the 2013 Rona R. Mears Student Writing Scholarship. The writing competition, sponsored by the ABA Section of International Law, encourages law students to participate in the practice of International Law and allows contestants an opportunity to weigh in as amicus curiae on how the courts should rule. “Rather than trying to determine how the Court was likely to decide a case, the point of my research was to help me think about what the Court should do,” said Markovitz. He was well-versed in the case since he and other students in UCI Law’s International Human Rights Clinic helped clinic director Paul Hoffman prepare oral arguments before the Supreme Court in October 2012. Read more about Markovitz's experience in this Thomson Reuters feature.
Class of 2013
Edelstein is one of 15 aspiring public interest lawyers awarded the California Bar Foundation's 2013 Public Interest Bar Exam Scholarship. The scholarship assists public interest-oriented law school graduates with the costs of taking the California Bar Exam. Edelstein has completed over 300 hours of pro bono service, working with organizations in Los Angeles and Mississippi focused on helping those in poverty. During the summer of 2011, she worked at the Mississippi Center for Justice on a campaign to reopen an elementary school in a predominately African-American community. Nichols Elementary was closed for cost savings despite being the highest-performing school in the district, and the community rallied to reopen it. After working on the campaign during the Winter Alternative Break, Carly says she was compelled to return to Mississippi to assist the grassroots efforts by helping craft a legal strategy for community members. "I decided to become an attorney because I believe in the power of the law to remedy injustice and to transform communities,” she says.
Class of 2013
This 3L has been awarded the Inaugural Class Fellowship. The Fellowship is the Class of 2012's gift, created to sponsor a one-year public interest fellowship of at least $30,000 for a new graduate of UCI Law. The mission of the Fellowship is to establish a tradition of public service at UCI Law by assisting one graduate in developing a strong foundation for a career in public interest law. Hassan’s project is called the Affordable Housing Advocacy Project, which will be hosted by the Public Law Center. It will use a combination of direct services, advocacy, and community action to address the housing needs of low-income residents. Sitting on the Inaugural Class Gift Committee that selected the Fellowship winner were Class of 2012 graduates Denny Chan, Chris Dalbey and Jean Su.
UCI Law impresses again in Jessup Moot Court
The UCI Law team competing in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition performed exceptionally well at the Pacific Regional, where it faced 21 other schools, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UCLA, and USC. The team was undefeated in the first four rounds, defeated USC in the quarter-finals, and made it to the semi-finals with three other teams. Team members Celeste Ahl, Jenny Hua, Sabyl Landrum, Rebecca Liu and Kate Wagner wrote two outstanding briefs (called “memorials”), winning First Place in the overall rankings by a wide margin. Kate Wagner won Third Place out of 88 competitors for oral advocacy, and Celeste Ahl won Fourth Place. All five team members together mastered extraordinarily complex facts and difficult international legal issues in this year’s problem. Full results here
Anna Bennett and Stephanie Wilson
Class of 2014
These 2Ls represented UCI Law in the 10th annual National Animal Law Competition in February and ultimately placed third out of 17 teams in the NALC Appellate Moot Court Competition, beating teams from UCLA, University of Chicago, and Berkeley. Bennett also was one of four students awarded a "Rare Perfect Score During a Round," and received five out of six judges' votes for "Best Oral Advocate" in the preliminary rounds. "Anna and Stefanie worked extremely hard to represent UCI, and should be very proud of this result," said Prof. Trilby Robinson-Dorn, the team's coach. Wilson launched UCI Law's chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and her work as a volunteer law clerk with Best Friends Animal Society was recently featured in this article.
Suzanne Lawson ('13)
Jennifer Ludolph ('14)
3L Suzanne Lawson and 2L Jennifer Ludolph won a significant round in a Superior Court lawsuit over living conditions, brought by residents of Rancho Garcia Mobilehome Park in Riverside County. The suit by 34 current and former tenants contends that conditions at the park are unsafe and unhealthy because of inadequate wastewater treatment, frequent sewage backups and power outages, among other issues. Working with the Community and Economic Development Clinic, Lawson and Ludolph successfully opposed defendant Rancho Garcia’s motion to strike punitive and exemplary damages from the lawsuit and a move to dismiss the complaint by demurrer. At a Feb. 15 hearing in Riverside Superior Court, the students argued the case for their clients before Judge John G. Evans, who then ruled in their favor. Fellow UCI Law students Francisco Balderrama, Tiffany Full, Vithya Krishnakumar, Meg Tanaka and Jennifer Wong also worked on the briefs for the hearing.
Tina Salvato and Akhil Sheth
Class of 2013
This team finished second and won Best Brief in the ABA First Amendment and Media Law Diversity Moot Court Competition, a strong showing for UCI Law's first appearance in this annual program. Salvato and Sheth submitted essays early in the school year, and were one of eight teams selected to write briefs. After they submitted a brief in November, the UCI Law team was one of four selected for oral argument. After facing Georgetown Law’s team in the semi-finals, Salvato and Sheth advanced to the Feb. 7 finals in Dana Point, where they argued in front of judges from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims and California's Fourth District Court of Appeal. In addition to the competition, the students attended workshops and panels at the ABA Forum on Communications Law Annual Conference, and met members of the national media law bar, assisted by media lawyer Jean-Paul Jassy, an adjunct professor at UCI Law.
Class of 2013
This 3L was recently selected as the American College of Bankruptcy 2013 Distinguished Law Student for the Ninth Circuit. The award includes an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the annual College of Bankruptcy meeting March 14-16, 2013, where the College will induct its Class XXIV at the Smithsonian Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, and will honor the 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipient, the Honorable Burton R. Lifland. "Joe not only has a lively mind for bankruptcy but also embodies a strong commitment to professionalism and pro bono service," said UCI Law Prof. Katherine Porter, who teaches bankruptcy and consumer law. She is especially proud of his recognition because only one student per region is selected for this honor.
Women's Law Society
Members of student group Women's Law Society have been particularly busy in recent weeks, organizing events that spotlight challenging issues affecting women. In January, WLS helped bring Allyson Sonenshine, director of the Orange County Women's Health Project, to campus to speak about the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and with The Federalist Society co-hosted Cathy Young, columnist and book author, who discussed the "War on Women." On Feb. 5, WLS co-hosted with the Entertainment Law Society and OutLaw a screening of "The Invisible War," an Oscar-nominated documentary about the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Kirby Dick and attorney Susan Burke, lead litigator of class-action suits against the U.S. military. This Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, WLS stages UCI Law's second annual production of "The Vagina Monologues" to raise money for UCI Law's Family Violence Clinic. Watch this promotional video, produced by students Crystal Adams and Claire-Lise Kutlay, for more information about the show.
Class of 2013
This 3L worked with UCI Law's Consumer Protection Clinic to save the home of a Stockton, Calif., man and his family who were days away from foreclosure. After months of negotiations with the bank, Alvarez was able to expedite a request for a mortgage loan modification that previously had been unfairly denied. Through phone calls, letters and emails, Alvarez, supervised by Prof. Noah Zinner, diligently sought a fair review of the homeowner's request, and ultimately the homeowner got a significant reduction in his principal balance. "I will be able to afford and keep my house," says the homeowner. "I will never forget Alex and Noah's contribution to my life at this critical juncture." Read more about Alvarez's work and the Consumer Protection Clinic in this feature.
UCI Law team compete in Bankruptcy Negotiation Competition
UCI Law 2Ls Raj Shukla, Katherine Riley and Adib Assassi, coached by Jeffrey Golden and Hutch Meltzer of Weiland, Golden, Smiley, Wang Ekvall & Strok LLP, participated in the inaugural Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Negotiation Competition on Saturday, Jan. 26, at USC Gould School of Law. The UCI Law team competed against teams from 11 other law schools, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, USC, Chapman, Drexel University-Earle Mack School of Law and BYU Law School. Organized by the Educational Programs Subcommittee of the Ninth Circuit, together with the USC School of Law, the competition involved the preparation and exchange of written term sheets followed by two rounds of in-person negotiations. The American College of Bankruptcy provided judges for the competition and assisted teams in recruiting bankruptcy lawyers, judges, and financial advisors as coaches as necessary. More information on the American College web site.
Class of 2013
This 3L serves on the UC Office of the President's LGBT Task Force, launched in summer 2012 to ensure UC campuses are welcome and inclusive environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff. Task force members are gathering information to craft a comprehensive action plan to present to the UCOP in mid-2014. One of only three students appointed to the task force, Sepler-King has been working with UCI's LGBT Resource Center to identify issues both specific to the campus and system wide. Some of the needs are surprisingly basic: None of the campuses currently requires LGBT cultural competency training for students and faculty, and there's a scarcity of non-gender public restrooms on UCI and UC Merced's campuses, Sepler-King said. At the task force's Feb. 1 meeting, members will be assigned individual projects. Click here for the UC news release about the task force.
Class of 2013
This 3L has been chosen for the prestigious Skadden Fellowship, allowing her to spend two years working with Disability Rights Legal Center to enforce the legal rights to education of homeless youth with disabilities in Los Angeles County. Beginning in Fall 2013, Smith will develop advocacy materials specifically for homeless youth with disabilities, represent them in enforcing their rights, and participate in policy advocacy at state and federal levels. Smith is one of 29 graduating law students and judicial clerks named 2013 Skadden Fellows. "I hope to live up to the high standards set by UC Irvine School of Law by fighting to ensure that those who are most marginalized in society get the educational and legal services to which they are entitled," Smith said of her award. Read the UCI Law Press Release. More about the Skadden public interest fellowship.
Students help settle hotel workers' dispute
Working in UCI Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic, current students and recent graduates helped 18 Long Beach hotel employees reach a $130,000 settlement with HEI Hotels and Resorts over denial of meal and rest breaks required by state law. The settlement arose from claims the employees filed with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Current 3Ls Brian Olney and Angel Camino (pictured) handled the settlement negotiations. Students in the clinic last year handled litigation: Ari Yampolsky ('12) represented the hotel workers in the first set of hearings in April, and David Rodwin and Emma Soichet (both '12) came back after graduation to handle hearings for clients. Also instrumental in the case were Acrivi Coromelas, Sam Lam, David Koch and Irina Trasovan (all '12), and the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center. More about the settlement in this news article.
Mock Trial results in repeat win for duo
The UCI Law Mock Trial Finals were held Nov. 5. First place went to Angel Camino and Marissa Oxman, the same team that won last year. Second place went to Nora Stefanos and Jess Krause. This year, students argued a civil case: Allen v. Neptune, a wrongful death lawsuit based on a scuba-diving accident. Witnesses included the victim's spouse, a scuba expert, the dive leader, and a meteorologist. UCI Law will begin sending teams of students to participate in national Mock Trial competitions during this academic year. Special thanks are extended to Justin Bernstein, the Mock Trial coach, and to Mock Trial judges John Thornton, Thy Bui, Steve Kaufman, Eve Brackmann, Kevin Snyder, Michelle Molko, Ben Cutchshaw and David Outwater. More about UCI Law's Mock Trial program.
UCI Law students awarded California Bar Foundation Scholarships
Jennifer Chin ('13), Crystal Adams ('15) and Tiffane King ('15) received prestigious scholarships granted to diverse law students and those committed to public interest careers. Chin, a leader of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and active member of the UC Irvine Law Review and Environmental Law Society, received the Bar Foundation's Public Interest Scholarship. Adams and King received the Bar Foundation's Diversity Scholarships. Adams came to UCI Law with Capitol Hill experience already under her belt, from an internship with Senator Dianne Feinstein. She aspires to be a lawyer who creates policy benefiting underrepresented communities. King, who suffered a near-fatal spinal cord injury seven years ago, has dedicated herself to helping others who sustained life-altering injuries. She plans to use her law degree to further champion the cause of people with disabilities.
Class of 2015
This 1L is prominently featured in the cover story of the new UC Irvine Magazine, which details Williams' military service and his efforts to provide support to fellow veterans who are now students. As an undergraduate at UCI, Williams started the campus' Alpha Psi Omega veterans fraternity to foster camaraderie among veteran-students and provide support as they transition to academic life. Williams himself described feeling out of step with his fellow undergraduates when he first arrived at UCI after serving four years in the U.S. Marines. Fellow students "usually didn't know what to say to me. They'd ask, 'Is going to war like [the video game] 'Call of Duty'?'" Read the full story: "Coming home to UCI" (PDF format).
Class of 2013
This 3L was awarded a 2012 scholarship from the Black Women Lawyers Assocation of Los Angeles Foundation, which supports second- and third-year law students who have demonstrated outstanding scholastic achievement, superior writing ability, community involvement and financial need. (She is pictured at left with Prof. Grace Tonner at the awards ceremony in May 2012.) Wilkins, a native of Santa Ana, earned her bachelor's degree in Speech Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and after college spent two years working on immigration and fair housing issues as a Diversity Fellow sponsored by Munger, Tolles & OLson LLP. At UCI Law, Wilkins is a Legal Writing Teaching Fellow, a Senior Notes Editor on the UC Irvine Law Review and is co-founder and President of the Black Law Students Alliance. She has logged many hours of pro bono work since her first year of law school and this summer, Wilkins was an intern at the ACLU of Southern California in Los Angeles.
UCI Law students help argue first case of new U.S. Supreme Court Term
3Ls Carly Edelstein and Andrea Smith and 2Ls Brooke Weitzman, Jonathan Markovitz, Sahaar Hafeez and Nick Hartmann can already claim experience in preparing arguments for the U.S. Supreme Court. The students in UCI Law's International Human Rights Clinic helped clinic director Paul Hoffman prepare the Oct. 1 Supreme Court oral argument in a case that's drawn international attention. Hoffman and the students represent Esther Kiobel, who sued Royal Dutch Petroleum in 2002 on behalf of her late husband and 11 other Nigerians, saying the company colluded with the Nigerian military to torture and kill protesters who were trying to halt oil exploration. Hoffman argued the case last term in February with student help, but the Court decided to put the case over to October and expand its scope. So the six students worked on the reply brief filed Aug. 31, then helped prepare Hoffman for the oral argument on the first day of the new term. Read more about the experience here.
Class of 2013
The UCI Center in Law, Society and Culture recently announced that this 3L is one of the 2012-13 Microsemi/Peterson Fellows. Henry joins three Ph.D. students from across campus with scholarly interests in socio-legal studies. These selected fellows participate in a year-long set of activities designed to further their interdisciplinary research training, through intellectual collaboration and exchange, and through the production of an original project. Henry's project will analyze the history and development of the master-planned community of Irvine. As a law student, Henry has interned in Washington, D.C., at the Federal Communications Commission and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and has logged many hours of pro bono work since her first semester at UCI Law. Read more about Henry and the other fellows here. During her first year at UCI Law, Henry was the first UC Irvine School of Law recipient of the Jackson Lewis Scholarship, which supports entering students with an interest in employment or labor law.
Students Serve Those Who Serve Their Country
Since Spring 2010, a number of UCI Law students have volunteered at Camp Pendleton, doing pro bono work in the U.S. Marine Corps Joint Legal Assistance Office. The students do research, draft legal documents and assist military personnel in custody disputes, home foreclosures, landlord-tenant disputes, and citizenship applications. During the past year, Tom Wilson and Adam Barry (both Class of 2013) drove the 50 miles to the Marine base nearly every week, motivated by the eye-opening reality that even military personnel need help in seeking justice. The students were especially disturbed by the predatory practices of local businesses and landlords who lock young Marines, in particular, into contracts and leases that they can't fulfill when deployed. Read more about the students' pro bono work at Camp Pendleton in this feature.
Class of 2013
This 3L won 3rd place in the annual IDEA Student IP Writing Competition hosted by The Intellectual Property Law Review at University of New Hampshire School of Law for "original, publishable papers addressing compelling issues in intellectual property law." Fernandes, who has a Ph.D in biology with a specialty in genetics and molecular biology, wrote Duty to Deal: The Antitrust Antidote to the Gene Patent Dilemma, addressing the hot-button issue of patentability of an individual's DNA. Prior to law school, Fernandes published nine articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and was a plenary speaker at a major scientific conference. At UCI Law, she's a Research Editor on the Law Review, Secretary/Treasurer for the Black Law Students Alliance and is in the Appellate Litigation Clinic , where she is preparing to argue an immigration case before the Ninth Circuit.
Lisa Petak (Class of 2014)
Thomas McClain (Class of 2013)
These students were each named the 2011-2012 Trailblazer/Pioneering Spirit of their respective class by peer vote, for initiative and innovation in starting organizations, pushing for progressive policies, and "bringing something new and exciting" to UCI Law. McClain, who is vice president of the Black Law Students Alliance, uses "both formal and informal avenues to recruit African American students to UCI Law and to develop a consciousness of diversity on campus," admiring classmates said. Petak's leadership skills were obvious early on, but she wowed her classmates by organizing an acclaimed law student production of "The Vagina Monologues" as a fundraiser for the Family Violence clinic. Her peers applauded her passion and commitment to "getting UCI Law students talking about violence against women and related issues," and how she tackled such a project in her first year of law school. Petak follows that performance with a new role this year: leading the Student Bar Association.
Class of 2013
This rising 3L was named the 2011-2012 Community Bridge Builder-Internal by student body vote. The award recognizes one student who is committed to strengthening the community within UCI Law and who makes a special effort to maintain the unique, collegial culture here. In nominating him, fellow students cited Sheth's dedication to advising new students by sharing his personal law school and employment experiences in panel discussions. He also helped students in Prof. Whytock's Procedural Analysis course by teaching sections on outlining and preparation. "His generosity in those sessions went far beyond the call of duty for a research assistant," said one fan. The baked goods he often brought to share with classmates were also appreciated, and another student described Sheth as "an incredibly graceful athlete and person."
Class of 2015
This incoming UCI Law student is the force behind a movement to freeze UC tuition rates. Campbell, a 24-year-old UCI graduate, began gathering signatures in April for a proposed state constitutional amendment to prevent tuition inflation like the yearly increases that totaled about 40% during his three years at UCI. He hopes to get the amendment on a statewide ballot this fall. Overall, UC and California State University tuition has gone up about 80% over the past five years. Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed a state budget that could freeze tuition at public universities, but is dependent on whether voters approve his tax initiative in November. Read more about Campbell and his efforts in this news story.
Brooke Weitzman (Class of 2014)
Phil Syers (Class of 2013)
These students were each named the 2011-2012 Student Leader of their respective class, chosen by peer vote for their dedication to the UCI Law mission through their leadership on campus. In nominating Syers, fellow classmates said he is "a great example of working hard on school while remaining sane," and noted his service as the student representative on the Academic Affairs Committee. He was also a Community Fellow, mentoring new 1Ls last year, and has logged many hours of pro bono work. Weitzman is "involved in everything," her classmates said, but is especially passionate about pro bono work and acquainting prospective students with UCI Law. She led prospective students on campus tours, was a key organizer of the 2012 Public Interest Law Fund event, and logged 50 hours of pro bono work, all in her first year of law school. This fall, she will be a Community Fellow for the incoming Class of 2015.
UCI Law's first graduates set high bar for public service, scholarship
The inaugural class, which graduated Saturday, May 5, not only amassed impressive academic accolades, but also passionately pursued public service over the past three years. In addition to launching the UC Irvine Law Review, the Student Bar Association and a long list of other student organizations, about 98 percent of the inaugural class participated in the pro bono program, logging 5,323 volunteer hours during their three years. More than a quarter of the class – 15 – have landed prestigious clerkships with federal and state judges. Read more about the Class of 2012's achievements in this feature story.
Students represent real-life clients before federal appeals court
Ten 3Ls appeared before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in mid-April to represent clients in five real-life appeals cases - and so far, the court has ruled in the students' favor in two of the cases. Colin McGrath, Erica Maloney, Jeffrey Wachs, Lori Speak, Jenny Tryck, Eric Zhou, Adam Brauner, Xenia Tashlitsky, Matt Plunkett and Selwyn Chu appeared in pro bono cases they took on through UCI Law's new Appellate Litigation Clinic. Supervised by clinic directors Peter Afrasiabi and Kathryn Davis, students in the clinic meet with the client and investigate the issues on appeal, review the trial record, develop a legal theory, write an opening brief and reply brief, and argue the cases before the appeals court. Read this feature about the cases the court has already ruled on. And learn more about all eight of UCI Law's legal clinics.
Class of 2014
A special committee of the UC Board of Regents nominated Flores to be the student regent for the 2013-14 academic year. Once the regents approve the recommendation in July 2012, Flores will serve as the student regent-designate for the coming year, able to participate in deliberations without voting privileges until her one-year term begins in July 2013. Read more about Cinthia and the nomination in this article. Flores was also awarded the prestigious Peggy Browning Fellowship in support of public interest labor law, which allows her to spend 10 weeks of summer 2012 working at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in Los Angeles. She is a member of UCI Law organizations Latina/o Law School Association and Public Interest Law Fund, and already logged 50 pro bono hours in her first year of law school. Prior to entering UCI Law in Fall 2011, Flores made headlines as the first Latina president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council.
UCI Law students score high in Student Negotiations Competition
The UCI Law team of Theresa Bichsel, Jennifer Chin and Tommy McClain, coached by Prof. Carrie Menkel-Meadow, placed 6th of 26 teams at the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section’s 13th Annual Student Negotiations Competition in March. The competition consisted of two rounds of negotiations based on the facts of the pending Supreme Court case American Trucking Associations v. City of Los Angeles. The UCI Law team represented environmental justice groups in the first round, and the city in the second round. Said McClain, "Not only was it an honor to represent UCI Law, it was a great opportunity to learn about the potential that appropriate dispute resolution holds for creating positive, lasting solutions when all of the parties can find and/or build shared interests and goals."
UCI Law's first Jessup Moot Court team makes strong impression
UCI Law's inaugural Jessup International Law Moot Court team entered the competition with no institutional knowledge, experience, nor the presence of their coach. But those disadvantages didn't stop the team of Jenny Hua, Andrea LaFountain, Sabyl Landrum and Jean Su from scoring high in the Pacific Regional Rounds. The UCI Law team placed 8th out of 24 schools, and made it to the quarter finals, losing by one vote on a three-judge panel to the University of Hawaii. Out of 96 oralists, Su placed 4th and Landrum place 10th. In a feature about the team, members reveal a secret weapon that helped disarm the competition. But Prof. Christopher Whytock, the coach who couldn't travel to the competition due to a prior commitment hosting a symposium at UCI Law, credits the team's natural talent and collegiality. Read more about the team and the March Pacific Regionals here. Details about UCI Law's Jessup program here.
Class of 2013
2Ls Brian Olney and Myles Couch faced off March 23 in the finals of the 2012 Experian-Jones Day Moot Court Competition. Both students calmly and skillfully answered tough questions from judges Stephen Reinhardt, Stephanie Seymour and Carlos Lucero in the challenging real-life case Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., which charged a Boeing subsidiary knowingly participated in abuse of prisoners by arranging flights for the CIA to transfer those prisoners. Both Olney and Couch earned high praise from the judges and respect from the hundreds of students, faculty, community members and visiting Admitted Students who packed overflow rooms to watch the contest. But only one could be deemed the winner, and Brian was awarded Best Oral Argument. More about the competition, including other award winners, here.
Nine students spent two months helping adjunct professor Paul L. Hoffman research, write briefs and prepare for oral arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a closely watched human rights case, then traveled to Washington, DC, for the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Feb. 28. After the hearing, the Supreme Court ordered the case reargued, so Brian Hardingham, Emma Soichet, David Rodwin, Jean Su, Jane Lee, Emma Rosenberg, Josh Schraer, Adam Sechooler and Jeff Klein will be busy another couple of months; the second opening brief is due May 3. The students signed up for Hoffman's clinical class on international human rights law before the high court announced it would take the case. More details in this Daily Journal article (PDF).
Toscano is one of only two law students chosen to receive the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County's 2011-2012 Wallace (Wally) R. Davis Memorial Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to Latino law students who have demonstrated a commitment to the Latino community. Toscano was feted at the HBA's annual Installation Dinner & Scholarship Fundraiser in March 2012 and continued UCI Law's winning streak with this generous award: A UCI Law student has been chosen for the Wally Davis Scholarship each year since UCI Law opened in August 2009. Toscano has been dedicated to pro bono work since arriving at UCI Law and was chosen for the Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Program in 2011.
In January 2012, 19 students spent their Alternative Break working at the Mississippi Center for Justice on various projects, including a long-range regional plan to build more sustainable communities. Some students researched a proposed HUD fair housing regulation that protects renters and homeowners from discrimination in financing, developing, selling and renting of homes. Students also learned about discrimination in the way aid money was distributed to neighbhorhoods hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.
Edgar Aguilasocho and David Rodwin
Class of 2012
Working with the new Immigrant Rights Clinic at UCI Law, 3Ls Edgar Aguilasocho and David Rodwin conducted a study on the local effects of the immigration program called Secure Communities, in which local law enforcement authorities pass on information about arrestees to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The two students interviewed Los Angeles residents in immigration detention and found “dire consequences even for Los Angeles residents who have no involvement in criminal activity,” they wrote in a Jan. 25 op-ed in the Daily Journal. This kind of policing is “unfair, arbitrary, and can lead to racial profiling,” they wrote.
Impressive number of Class of 2012 secure judicial clerkships
As the Inaugural Class nears graduation in May, nearly a quarter of the class of 58 students has already secured prestigious clerkships across the country, putting UCI Law behind only Yale and Stanford in the percentage of graduating students at the top 20 law schools to land such positions. Law clerks conduct research in cases before the court and help judges write decisions. The competition to fill such positions is fierce both for students and for judges seeking the best students. In addition, top law firms pay big premiums to attract former clerks. UCI Law's success rate placing students in these coveted positions has drawn national and local media attention.
These six 3Ls researched, strategized and prepared oral arguments in a civil rights case that could influence how police use stun guns. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 17 ruled that Maui police used excessive force when they jolted Jayzel Mattos with a Taser, violating the Constitution's protection from unreasonable force. Mattos' attorney Eric Seitz said he was grateful for the UCI Law students' pro bono work preparing arguments for the 9th Circuit hearing. Seitz praised the students' "high quality" work and their "valuable insights and suggestions."
Class of 2013
This 2L traveled to Geneva in October to participate in the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review of Haiti. Emma lobbied for recommendations made by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, an extension of a pro bono project she started last year. She also Tweeted live from Geneva for the University of California Haiti Initiative, and then wrote a full account of the experience in the November issue of the UCHI newsletter. In addition to serving as Social Justice Chair for UCHI's Irvine chapter, Emma is a UCI Law Community Fellow and is also involved with the UCI Public Interest Law Fund.
Class of 2013
This 2L won an award of increased financial assistance for a Long Beach grandmother taking care of eight children. Stahl drafted a very persuasive legal brief in advance of a state administrative hearing, according to attorney Sonia Inamdar with The Alliance for Children’s Rights, who supervised Stahl in the case. At the hearing, Stahl appeared in front of the Administrative Law Judge and a Department of Children and Family Services County Hearing Specialist, and argued successfully on behalf of the client for retroactive public benefits. Obtaining the correct amount of financial assistance was critical in stabilizing the family and keeping all eight children together with their grandmother after their mother was deemed unfit to care for them.
Class of 2012
The California Bar Foundation recently announced that Soichet is one of 23 aspiring public interest lawyers receiving the foundation's 2011 Public Interest Scholarship. Award recipients are nominated by their law schools for demonstrating a commitment to public service and academic excellence. The announcement cites Soichet as a prime example, noting that her "experience on the front lines of education politics in Los Angeles led her to law school." She has also been active at UCI Law, serving on the inaugural Law Review Executive Board, providing Public Interest Law Fund leadership, and participating in UCI Law's first JonesDay/Experian Moot Court Competition.
Brian Olney, Emma Rosenberg & Jessica Hodgkins
Class of 2013
These 2Ls worked for human rights attorney Paul Hoffman on a submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, on behalf of torture survivor Melissa Roxas. Roxas was abducted by alleged members of the Philippine military while she was doing humanitarian work in the country. The students did the "lion's share" of work preparing the drafts of the submission, including interviewing Roxas and conducting factual and legal research, said Hoffman. The students also were with Roxas at an August press conference in Los Angeles (photo at left, with Hodgkins at far left and Rosenberg and Olney at right) to announce the submission to the UN, seeking investigation of human rights violations in the Philippines. More documents at Hoffman's firm web site. Read coverage of the press conference.
Class of 2012
This 3L spent her summer working with clients in New Orleans and Mississippi as a legal intern at The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, working specifically on Community Development projects aimed at increasing affordable housing and economic opportunities in the Gulf Coast. Glynn did research and writing work to help local organizations with issues including housing finance options, internal corporate policies and articles of incorporation, and assisted efforts to encourage the city of New Orleans to "affirmatively further fair housing." (Glynn is pictured at left making a presentation on the legal obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.) More information and a slideshow about the Gulf Coast Recovery projects.
2Ls & 3Ls contribute to success of Pre-Law Outreach Program
In just its second year, UCI Law's Pre-Law Outreach Program, or POP, drew 40 undergraduates from across Southern California to spend summer days in a classroom learning about what it takes to go to law school. POP is sponsored by the Orange County Bar Association and Kaplan, Inc., while the bulk of speakers and mentors at the six Saturday sessions were UCI Law students, faculty and staff, who gave up part of their weekends to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds prepare for and apply to law school. Students including Meg Tanaka, Azure'De Wilkins, Flor Tataje, Irina Trasovan and Edgar Aguilasocho offered valuable insider advice. Read a feature about the program and get details about applying for the Summer 2012 session.
3Ls Greg Mintz and Luke Boughen helped environmental nonprofit Surfrider Foundation win a lawsuit to provide the public access to Dana Point Strands beach. Attorney Brock F. Wilson of McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Irvine, which represented Surfrider in Surfrider Foundation v. The City of Dana Point, said Greg and Luke provided "invaluable assistance" in preparing the pro bono case. The UCI Law students' research and detailed legal analysis informed Surfrider's opening and reply briefs and oral arguments, Brock said.
Class of 2012
This rising 3L received the 2010-2011 Community Builder Award, chosen by fellow students as the Class of 2012 member who has gone above and beyond in his or her efforts to build a compassionate culture among students. Since his inaugural year, Sam has been involved in a long list of campus and community projects, newsworthy pro bono work and student organizations, including launching the UCI Law chapter of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, the only chapter in Southern California. Sam is working this summer at the ACLU of Southern California; he worked last summer at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.
UCI Law students snapped up for summer jobs
Once again, UCI Law students are batting close to 1.000 in summer employment. All 59 rising 3Ls and nearly all of the 83 rising 2Ls secured law-related jobs this season, despite the weak economy. And they are working for a long and impressive list of employers, including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which set up an innovative civil rights clinic at UCI Law to help process nearly 1,000 claims in a class action brought by the agency on behalf of Verizon employees who say they were illegally denied medical or family leave under the California Family Rights Act.
Nine UCI Law students receive Equal Justice Works summer awards
An impressive number of UCI Law students were named to the Equal Justice Works 2011 Summer Corps Program. Summer Corps members provide legal assistance to low-income and underserved communities around the country on issues of civil rights, community economic development, death penalty, disability rights, housing, domestic violence, education, public benefits and workers' rights. Out of nearly 1,900 applications, these nine students were accepted and will each receive a $1,132 education award upon completion of their summer work at a non-profit organization: Joni Carrasco, Selwyn Chu, Justin Greely, Richard Nguyen, Kristina Sapounakis, Emma Soichet, Danila Toscano, Michael Valdez and Michael Wasserman.
Alisa Hartz (Class of 2012)
Meg Tanaka (Class of 2013)
These students each received the Silent Hero Award for 2010-2011, chosen as the one member of each class who fellow students believe demonstrates outstanding leadership and commitment to student life at UCI Law, but who makes her contributions behind the scenes. Alisa is on the Executive Board of the Law Review, helped launch UCI Law's Public Interest Law Fund, and is working at Public Counsel this summer after working at the ACLU last summer. Meg's classmates also chose her for the Community Builder Award, for the über-volunteer's efforts to build a compassionate culture among students. Meg is working at Orange County Juvenile Court this summer.
Chris Dalbey & Jenny Tryck
Class of 2012
These 2Ls were the 2010-11 recipients of the Justice Stephen K. Tamura Scholarship. Created in memory of Justice Tamura, the first Asian American appointed to the California Appellate Court, this scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate academic achievement, commitment to community, leadership and financial need. After working at the Public Law Center last summer, Chris is working this summer at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP. Jenny worked for the Alaska Public Defender in summer 2010 and is at Gibson Dunn this summer.
Denisha McKenzie & David Rodwin
Class of 2012
These 2Ls started the Orange County Human Rights Association, the first student organization formed by the inaugural class and one of the most active on campus and beyond. In this video the two students talk to Dean Chemerinsky about their desire to "bring human rights home" - focus attention on local human rights issues, including right to education and fair and equitable consideration in criminal proceedings. During this summer break, David is working at the ACLU of Southern California and Denisha is working at Allen Matkins' Orange County office.
Class of 2012
This 2L recently won third place in the Louis Jackson National Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law. This annual competition is administered by Chicago-Kent Institute for Law and the Workplace and honors the memory of Louis Jackson, a founding partner in Jackson Lewis LLP, one of the most active employment litigation practices in the United States for over 48 years. Read Xenia's winning entry, and more details about the competition, here.
Class of 2012
Jillian was the winner of Best Oral Argument and co-winner of Best Brief in the Experian/JonesDay Moot Court Competition at UCI Law, during which students argued the real-life federal case Nasser al-Aulaqi v. Barack H. Obama that raised the questions, "Can the U.S. government legally order the targeted assassination of a U.S. citizen abroad who’s deemed a terrorist threat to the nation?" and "Does a father have any legal standing to contest such action to protect his son?" Sixteen 2Ls participated in the Moot Court Competition, which began in February 2011 with preliminary rounds and concluded with the final round on March 30, 2011, when Jillian represented petitioner Nasser al-Aulaqi and David Rodwin represented the U.S. government. Click here to see a photo slideshow of the competition.
Class of 2012
Andrea was co-winner of the Best Brief award in the Experian/JonesDay Moot Court Competition at UCI Law, during which 16 2Ls competed by arguing the real-life federal case Nasser al-Aulaqi v. Barack H. Obama, which raised the questions, "Can the U.S. government legally order the targeted assassination of a U.S. citizen abroad who’s deemed a terrorist threat to the nation?" and "Does a father have any legal standing to contest such action to protect his son?" Click here to see a photo slideshow of the competition.
In January 2011, 1L Lauren Gruber and 2Ls Sam Lam and Susan Lewis traveled to Jordan to meet and assist Iraqi refugees as part of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), a student-driven organization that helps individuals and families displaced by war and sectarian violence resettle in the U.S. or another safe country. The students' experiences during the nine-day Jordan trip, and their ongoing involvement with IRAP, are highlighted in this UC Irvine feature story. UCI Law's IRAP chapter is the only chapter in Southern California and was started by Lam, whose first case with IRAP in summer 2010 resulted in the release of an Iraqi Christian held in immigration detention in Southern California.
Class of 2012
This 2L recently won the annual Award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing presented by Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB). The award is granted to the best brief produced in the school's first-year research and writing program; in this case, it was Greg's summary judgment brief written in his Lawyering Skills class. His brief won for clear thinking, insightful legal analysis, and persuasiveness. The selection committee included Dean's Cabinet members Justice Sheila Prell Sonenshine (Ret.); Mark P. Robinson, Jr.; and Karla Kraft, Hodel Briggs Winter LLP.
UCI Law students inform and counsel Gulf Coast residents
Twenty-two UCI Law students spent part of their winter break in January volunteering on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The students assisted attorneys at the Mississippi Center for Justice in Biloxi with post-Katrina housing issues, oil spill fallout, educating community members about a port expansion that disparately affects poor neighborhoods, and researching a defense against the closing of an historically African American school. 1L Joe Boniwell and Pro Bono Director Anna Davis are quoted in a story in the MCJ February newsletter, while 1Ls Jennifer Ludolph and Azure'De Wilkins are pictured in the accompanying photo (and the photo at left) assisting residents.
Students make good use of Mark P. Robinson Jr. Courtroom
Formally opened on Jan. 10, 2011, the new, state-of-the-art Mark P. Robinson Jr. Courtroom is already getting plenty of use by students in the Trial Advocacy class and students in the Experian/Jones Day Moot Court Program. These students, the real-world cases they are tackling, and the courtroom are spotlighted in this UC Irvine feature. Click here for photos from the first day of preliminary rounds in the Moot Court Competition, which continue through Feb. 24, with subsequent rounds leading to the finals on March 30.
Class of 2012
This 2L has been selected as a 2011 Writer in Residence for Ms. JD, a national non-profit supporting the success of women in law school and the legal profession. As a Writer in Residence, Christina will write a monthly column, inspired by UCI Law, about innovators in the legal world. Read her first column here. More about the Ms. JD 2011 Writers in Residence.
Jean Su & Theresa Bichsel
Class of 2012
These 2Ls started the Environmental Law Society, a student organization now planning a Climate Law Symposium on April 1, 2011. In this video, the two students talk to Dean Chemerinsky about their passionate interest in utilizing environmental law to help human beings across the globe.
Class of 2013
1L Francisco Balderrama is one of only three law students chosen to receive the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County's 2010 Wallace (Wally) R. Davis Memorial Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to Latino law students who have demonstrated a commitment to the Latino community. Francisco will be feted at the HBA's annual Installation Dinner & Scholarship Fundraiser in March 2011 and continues UCI Law's winning streak with this generous award: 2L Flor Tataje was a 2009 Wally Davis Scholarship winner.
Class of 2012
This 2L is a 2010 recipient of a $2,000 scholarship from the NAPABA (National Asian Pacific American Bar Association) Law Foundation, awarded to law students who demonstrate a commitment to serve or contribute to the Asian Pacific American community as future leaders. Denny started UCI Law student organization Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), and has demonstrated his commitment to public interest law through recent pro bono work with the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, DC, where he researched the legislative history of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, and working last summer at the ACLU Voting Rights Project in Atlanta, GA, where, among other assignments, he drafted questions to cross-examine opposing counsel’s voting rights statistics expert witness.
UCI Law student group Orange County Human Rights Association (OCHRA) showed how much they care by organizing two successful donation drives during the Fall 2010 semester. The three-week Thanksgiving Food Drive, led by 1L Carly Edelstein, netted over 500 pounds of food - five times the goal of 100 pounds! - for the Orange County Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. That was followed by a two-week Holiday Gift Drive for women at CIW prison, which netted five full boxes of personal care items - everything from toothbrushes & toothpaste to tea and blank holiday cards. Pictured here are Gift Drive leaders (from left) Lauren Kaplan, Jessica Hodgkins, Zeenat Hassan and David Rodwin organizing the donations.
Acrivi Coromelas & Matt Plunkett
Class of 2012
These two Inaugural Class members successfully advocated on behalf of a foster caregiver through a pro bono project with the Alliance for Children’s Rights and Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips LLP. Due to the hard work of Acrivi, Matt, and two attorneys from Manatt, the monthly payments for an adoptive parent of a special-needs child have increased more than 50%. Additionally, the caregiver was provided retroactive payments.
Class of 2012
2L Chris Dalbey spent Summer 2010 working for the Public Law Center's Consumer Unit, where he worked closely with clients, gathering information for their cases. In this video, Chris describes his summer job experience, including how he got the job, the work he did and the valuable lessons learned.
UC Irvine Law Review Executive Board
Class of 2012
Sarah Bennington, Jessica Glynn, Colin McGrath, Emmanuelle Soichet, Jeffrey Wachs and Christina Zabat-Fran work together as the Law Review Executive Board, an example of the "unconventional and egalitarian structure" adopted by the Inaugural Class members creating UCI Law's first academic journal. As they prepare to publish their first issue, the board penned an op-ed piece for The Daily Journal that recounts the challenging experience of creating a credible law review from scratch, at a new school with innovation as a key goal.
Class of 2012
2L Elizabeth Levy, M.D., gave a presentation at the School of Medicine about health reform legislation and how it will reshape the health care landscape for underserved patients. Titled “Health Policy, the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), and the Future of Health Care for the Underserved,” Elizabeth’s October 2010 presentation was part of the medical school’s "Caring for the Underserved Today" series and drew an appreciative crowd of about 50 students.
UCI Law students participate in Pro Bono Week
1Ls and 2Ls volunteered in the community during National Pro Bono Week, Oct. 25-29, 2010. During Justice for All Legal Clinic Day, students like Mallory Sepler-King (pictured here at right in photo, conferring with Public Law Center attorney Vanessa Leonardo, at left) and Ryan Graham (whose photo ran with this news article) gathered information from clients at free clinics set up across Orange County. Later in the week, students gave "Know Your Rights" presentations at libraries across the county.
Sam Lam & Mohammed Elayan
Class of 2012
Pro bono work by these two Inaugural Class members helped win freedom for a detained Iraqi Christian seeking asylum. The two students spent dozens of hours researching domestic and international immigration law; drafting memos, briefs and motions; compiling information in the Iraqi Christian communities of El Cajon and Detroit; and at an Aug. 6 hearing, the two examined the one witness and argued a couple of obscure legal issues. "They did the actual substantive part of the hearing ... sophisticated stuff," said a lawyer on the case. Read details in this Daily Journal story.
Class of 2012
Inaugural Class member Edgar Aguilasocho was one of five law students chosen for the 2010 Howrey Externs for Legal Pro Bono Service (HELPS) program, which placed students with a commitment to public interest law in summer externships. Edgar spent 10 weeks working for L.A.-based National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) on numerous details involving Arizona SB1070 litigation, from researching First Amendment and solicitation laws and assembling databases on municipal anti-solicitation ordinances to helping organize a bus caravan from MacArthur Park to the May 29 march in Phoenix. Edgar also trained labor center organizers on federal programs and day laborers at street corners on their rights.