On December 13, Adjunct Professor Neil Pedersen presented a half-day seminar to young lawyers from all the Orange County law schools entitled “Hit the Floor Running: Practical Advice for New Attorneys.” Organized by Student Services’ Pam Davidson and held on the Western State campus, Professor Pedersen provided 75 “nuggets” of wisdom for young lawyers on topics that included time management, the written and spoken word, building competence, professional conduct, problem identification and problem solving, client handling, business development, and surviving and thriving in the practice of law. It was well received and is now being planned as a recurring program.
Professor Stephen Chavez presented at the Legal Writing Institute’s (LWI) one day seminar which took place at Southern Illinois University Law School, in Carbondale, Illinois, on December 12. The theme of the seminar was “Preparing Practice Ready Students.” Professor Chavez’s presentation, “Starting From Scratch: Developing Scratcher Exercises for Student Motivation and Engagement,” was designed to help both new and veteran instructors motivate students to participate in class discussions and group activities through the use of “scratcher” cards. Unlike traditional multiple choice exercises, scratcher cards provide immediate feedback to students and instantaneous information to professors to measure success in meeting teaching goals. Professor Chavez’s presentation provided exercises for both individual and group exercises.
Professor Glenn Koppel, a member of the American Law Institute, has just returned from a two-day meeting, at the ALI headquarters in Philadelphia, of the Members Consultative Group for the Restatement Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States. The meeting was called to solicit members’ comments on drafts covering Sovereign Immunity, Jurisdiction and Treaties.
Professor Myanna Dellinger moderated a panel on international economic law at the 2014 biennial meeting of the American Society of International Law. The theme of the meeting was “Reassessing International Economic Law and Development: New Challenges for Law and Policy.” Held at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, the meeting featured speakers from New Zealand, Australia, and Germany as well as numerous top American scholars.
Professor Dellinger’s prediction that the United States and China would reach an agreement on climate disruption, made in her 2014 Fordham International Law Journal article, “Narrowed Constellations In A Supranational Climate Change Regime Complex: The ‘Magic Number’ Is Three,” materialized last week. See White House Office of Press Secretary Joint Announcement. Professor Dellinger’s article analyzes treaty precedent in the economic and environmental arenas and explains how a trilateral agreement between, most likely, the United States, the EU, and China, has the potential for broader substantive and procedural expansion in relation to climate change based on previous successful frameworks.
Professor Robert Molko led a team of students to a very successful run in the Chicago Appellate Lawyers Association (ALA) Competition the weekend of November 8. Kylie Starr, 2L, Lynet Shigg, 2L and Alex Shaaban, 2-3L, won numerous awards in the competition, including Second Place Team Overall in the competition; Alex Shaaban: Second Best Oralist Overall in the competition, First Best Oralist in the semifinals and First Best Oralist in the preliminary rounds; Kylie Starr: Second Best Oralist in the Semifinals. The competition took place at the federal courthouse in Chicago, Illinois, and each of the final and semifinal judging panels included two judges from the Illinois Court of Appeals. The fact pattern involved CIA employees leaking confidential information to foreign entities; and the issues involved the questioning of a CIA employee without giving him his Miranda rights, for the sake of national security interests, and the meaning of a code word used by the CIA co-conspirators. The team’s impressive performance led the president of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association to invite Western State back next year.
On October 25, 2014 in Paso Robles, California, Professor Kevin Mohr participated with other leading ethics experts in a day-long legal ethics and technology seminar titled: “Building and Expanding a Twenty-First Century Law Practice: Technology, the Cloud and Ethics.” The seminar, sponsored in part by the The Rutter Group, covered topics that included how to create a virtual law practice ethically, the use of cloud computing in law practice, the ethics of outsourcing and offshoring legal services, implementing effective cybersecurity measures to protect confidential client information, and the ethics of online lawyer marketing and use of social media. The seminar was well-received by an enthusiastic audience of lawyers and paralegals.
Professor Kevin Mohr recently published an article titled “The Ethics of Outsourcing Legal Services” in the October issue of the BOTTOM LINE, the leading publication of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section (LPMT) of the State Bar of California. The article comprehensively addresses the principal ethical duties implicated when a lawyer outsources legal services in his or her practice: to preserve and protect confidential client information, to provide competent legal services, to avoid conflicts of interest, to communicate with the client concerning significant developments in the representation, not to charge an unconscionable fee or to divide fees with a non-lawyer, and to avoid assisting in the unauthorized practice of law by exercising independent judgment over, and accepting ultimate responsibility for, the outsourced work product. The article also provides practical guidance for practitioners by identifying precautions a lawyer should take to ensure compliance with ethical duties. Professor Mohr concludes that when such appropriate safeguards are implemented, a lawyer can meet his or her ethical obligations when outsourcing legal services.