Results tagged “Guest Alumni Blogger”

November 18, 2013

Waterstone SJ blog Picture.jpgKatherine Macfarlane '06, our newest Guest Alumni Blogger, was a standout student at Loyola Law School, where she was chief articles editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review and received the Dean's Service Award. She later clerked for the Hon. Frederick J. Martone of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and for the Hon. Arthur L. Alarcón of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is now teaching fellow and assistant professor of professional practice at LSU Law Center. And her scholarship is getting noticed. Her law review article, "The Danger of Nonrandom Case Assignment: How the Southern District of New York's 'Related Cases' Rule has Shaped the Evolution of Stop-and-Frisk Law," is forthcoming in Volume 19.2 of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law and is quoted in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

-Associate Dean Michael Waterstone

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November 18, 2013

kmacfarlane.jpgBy Katherine A. Macfarlane '06, Guest Alumni Blogger
Teaching Fellow and Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, LSU Law Center

On October 31, 2013, the Second Circuit took the unusual step of removing Southern District of New York Judge Shira Scheindlin from two high-profile stop-and-frisk cases: Ligon v. City of New York and Floyd v. City of New York. Ligon is a Section 1983 class action challenging the NYPD's trespass arrest policy, or "Operation Clean Halls," a program through which NYPD officers patrol private apartment buildings across New York City. Judge Scheindlin oversaw Ligon since its filing in March 2012. Floyd, also a Section 1983 class action, challenged the NYPD's street-level stop-and-frisk practices, arguing that they amounted to racial profiling. Floyd was filed in January 2008, and immediately assigned to Judge Scheindlin.

The Floyd trial began in March and lasted nine weeks. Thirteen days before the Floyd trial began, the Floyd plaintiffs withdrew all claims for damages, and as a result, Floyd was tried to Judge Scheindlin, not to a jury. Floyd was decided in an August 12, 2013 order spanning 193 pages. Therein, the judge granted a sweeping injunction against the NYPD that ordered changes to NYPD policies and activities, appointed a monitor to oversee stop-and-frisk practices, required a "community-based joint remedial process to be conducted by a court-appointed facilitator," and ordered that one precinct in each of New York City's boroughs place body-worn cameras on their police officers. On the same date, Judge Scheindlin entered a similar decision in Ligon, ordering changes to the NYPD's trespass arrest policies, oversight by the same monitor appointed in Floyd, and revision of NYPD training materials and programs. In its October 31 order, in addition to removing Judge Scheindlin from Floyd and Ligon, the Second Circuit stayed the orders in Floyd and Ligon pending appeal.

But why was Judge Scheindlin removed? In its October 31 order, the Second Circuit found that Judge Scheindlin violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges due to the appearance of partiality created by her "improper application" of the Southern District's "related cases rule," as well as "by a series of media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court."

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September 10, 2013

gilliam.jpgBy James Gilliam, Guest Alumni Blogger

Given the poverty crisis plaguing California, I was excited to have the opportunity recently to attend a Community Legislative Briefing hosted by The California Partnership -- of which the ACLU of Southern California is a proud member -- a diverse coalition of health, human service, labor, low income, immigrant rights and civil rights community-based organizations that have come together to fight poverty in our state.

The ACLU of Southern California believes that economic justice and civil liberties are inextricably intertwined. Indeed, basic economic rights are an essential prerequisite for the full and fair functioning of democracy in the United States and for the development and flourishing of civil liberties. So, we were excited to host this diverse group of community members, lawmakers, and advocates to discuss various policy proposals that, if enacted, will all come together to rebuild and restore our Golden State.

Budgets are about choices and priorities. Will California choose to reinvest in safety-net programs after $15 billion in health and human services programs were slashed in the last four years alone? Will California choose to expand its already bloated prison system instead of prioritizing cost-effective and evidence-based alternatives to incarceration that strengthen public safety while reducing over-incarceration? Will California choose to close the widening income inequality gap by passing and implementing common-sense policy changes?

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July 29, 2013

Waterstone SJ blog Picture.jpgIt is with great pleasure that I introduce our third guest alumni blogger: James Gilliam '03. James has long been a champion of social-justice issues -- a topic area on which he will blog in this space. James teaches the Public Interest Law Practice Seminar, Sexual Orientation and the Law and other subjects as an adjunct professor at the Law School, where he was a public interest scholar. James has served as the deputy executive director of the ACLU of Southern California since 2010. Previously, he was a litigation associate and associate pro bono coordinator at Paul Hastings, where he helped the firm notch its first appearance on The American Lawyer's "A-List Pro Bono Score Card."

-Associate Dean Michael Waterstone

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July 29, 2013

By James Gilliam, Guest Alumni Blogger

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Twenty years ago, I attended my first gay Pride celebration in my hometown of Nashville, Tenn. It marked the beginning of my advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community -- and has informed all that I have done since. This is the work that drives me.

Over the past two decades, the tools I've used to enact change have evolved as I have continued my education. I began my career in the LGBTQ movement as the director of the organization that produced the Pride event in Nashville. But I soon learned the power of the law. City officials tried, time and again, to block the celebration. They increased the number of costly, off-duty police officers we had to hire to provide security. They demanded, the morning of the event one year, that we display documents proving that our tents were flame retardant. Every year but one, they refused to close the main street for our parade. When necessary, we threatened a lawsuit; and each time, our celebration proceeded.

I wanted to wield the power of the law for good. So I came here, to Loyola Law School, on a public interest scholarship. When I graduated a decade ago, many states still considered gays and lesbians criminals. Just months later, while I was studying for the bar exam, I witnessed the law serving as an agent of justice: In Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Texas's law -- which criminalized sexual acts between same-sex partners, but not partners of the opposite sex -- was unconstitutional.

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July 1, 2013

By Patrick Kelly, Guest Alumni Blogger

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While the housing market finally seems to be rebounding, the effects of the foreclosure crisis continue to reverberate throughout California. Many homeowners are still struggling and in need of help in order to save their homes. The State Bar of California, in partnership with the Office of Attorney General Kamala Harris, has stepped up to provide assistance.

In November, Harris announced a $10 million grant program for organizations that provide housing counseling and legal services to homeowners. The funds were secured through the National Mortgage Settlement . The State Bar offered to help administer the new grant program, in conjunction with the Attorney General's Office. Because the State Bar already administers legal services grants, we were able to offer our help at no cost to taxpayers. That means that the entire $10 million will go to the people who are struggling and need it most.

The State Bar has been compiling and processing dozens of applications to help the selection teams set up by the Attorney General's Office make funding recommendations to the Attorney General. These applications are from legal aid organizations and other nonprofits proposing innovative, scalable and sustainable approaches for helping California families dealing with a foreclosure crisis. About $9 million is going toward Consumer Assistance Grants, which will give families the resources they need to achieve longterm financial security, including counseling, legal representation and financial planning assistance.

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May 29, 2013

PatKellyBlog.jpgBy Patrick Kelly, Guest Alumni Blogger

This speech was originally delivered at Loyola Law School's 92nd-annual Commencement Ceremony held on Sunday, May 19, 2013 on the campus of Loyola Marymount University.

I want to start by giving two additional and very important acknowledgments:

First, I would like to recognize the parents and loved ones of today's graduates who have supported the graduates through this rigorous process. Indeed the honor they receive today belongs as much to you as it does the graduates of the class of 2013.

Second, I would like to recognize all of the professors who worked so hard to bestow on the graduating class, the learning and benefit of their skill and experience that made today possible.

I ask the graduates to now stand, turn around and recognize by your applause the members of your family, your friends, your significant others and your professors, who have played such an integral part in reaching this significant milestone in your career.

Today is a very exciting and up beat day. You have completed one of the most rigorous courses of instruction of any professional undertaking. You have sacrificed much to get here and may sometimes ask "Why did I do it". I would like to suggest an answer to that question.

We all come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences. In my case as Professor Poehls indicated, I was a professional musician and played with the Beach Boys and many other musical groups. I am often asked why I gave that career up to go to law school. I know some of you have asked yourself the same question.

I suggest the answer is the same for all of us. - we wanted to help others and make our society a better place. Thus we are all unified in our commitment to help others find a better life. Indeed our main calling as lawyers is to help others - clients, family, friends and our community.

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April 29, 2013

PatKellyBlog.jpgBy Patrick Kelly, Guest Alumni Blogger

Regarding the crisis in the courts that I discussed in my previous blog post, I have been asked "What is the Bar doing about it?" The answer is: The Bar as an agency of the government can only take limited action; however, it is strongly supporting the work of the Bench-Bar Coalition and the Open Courts Coalition that exist for the sole purpose of keeping the courts open for the public through increased funding. I am on the steering committee of the latter group, chaired by Paul Kiesel and Naill McCarthy, and we are working together to facilitate budget discussions between the various departments of the court.

More importantly, we have been regularly meeting with court officials, representatives of the executive branch and legislators. For example, on March 11, both the BBC and the OCC traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators and support the court by attending the Chief Justice's State of the Court address. I personally met with many legislators, including the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, to underscore the crisis and secure full funding for our courts. I am pleased to say that everyone with whom we met understands the importance of the issue to their constituents and agrees we are at risk of losing many of the benefits of our justice system. To a person they support increased funding for the courts.

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April 22, 2013

Waterstone SJ blog Picture.jpgI am excited to introduce our second guest alumni blogger. We are proud to welcome Pat Kelly '69 to our Summary Judgments blog. In addition to being a Western Region Managing Partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, Pat is the current President of the California State Bar. He is also a member of the Law School's Board of Overseers. We are looking forward to having Pat blog about many of the important issues facing the bar, including the court funding crisis.

-Associate Dean Michael Waterstone

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April 22, 2013

PatKellyBlog.jpgBy Patrick Kelly, Guest Alumni Blogger

I believe the current court funding crisis is the greatest threat to our justice system and access to justice for our citizens I have seen in my 42 years of practice. I have focused upon this as the number one issue affecting the public and lawyers in California and have made it an integral part of every speech and discussion I have had since taking office in October. Examples of the carnage caused by these funding cuts exist everywhere in California -- seven courthouse closures in Fresno, four courthouse closures in San Bernardino County and 10 courthouse closures in Los Angeles County, just to name a few examples.

The real toll is to the users of our courts -- the citizens of California who have a constitutional right to full and fair access to our justice system. Not only are we losing the neighborhood court system that provided access to all, but also user fees have escalated to the point that we are moving toward a disastrous pay-for-play system that is certainly not what the framers of our Constitution had in mind when they defined our rights. Moreover, the framers of our Constitution could not have envisioned a system where the rich have access through private judging whereas those less affluent and the poor have to stand in a line that because of a decline in resources is growing longer. These cuts have also threatened small businesses, the very engine of California's economic recovery. The importance of this issue cannot be overstated. Paraphrasing Alan Greenspan, one of the key elements of business growth is ready access to a justice system that provides prompt dispute resolution.

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January 31, 2013

Kabateck.jpgBy Brian S. Kabateck '89, Guest Alumni Blogger

Most lawyers don't know that in 1975 Governor Brown signed a law that radically changed medical malpractice litigation in California. That law, known as MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act), was born in a time when most doctors were in private practice and the insurance industry was largely uncontrolled and financially crushing doctors by boosting malpractice premiums. Among other reforms, MICRA capped any pain and suffering award at $250,000. In the 38 years since MICRA became law, there has been no change whatsoever in the $250,000 cap - and during the same timeframe, inflation has dramatically affected the value of $250,000. In fact, if you apply a basic cost of living factor for inflation, that same $250,000 would now approach approximately $1.1 million. While under MICRA there is no artificial cap on economic losses such as medical care, life care and lost earning, its $250,000 cap on non-economic damages intended to offset the real costs of human suffering creates an unfair situation in cases involving the loss of a child, a non-income earning spouse or a retired person. Quite simply, the life of a child lost because of medical error is only worth $250,000 in California. Outrageous!

Consider also that the entire practice of medicine has changed in the last 38 years. Most Californians who are insured get their medical care though managed care like an HMO or Kaiser. Gone are the days when private practitioners where the norm. Many patients feel like doctors are restricted in making decisions by administrators and other people who are not doctors but are often making the decisions for them. Patient safety is a serious concern in the United States today. It is estimated that more than 300,000 people die every year from medical errors. To put that number into context, medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. It's the equivalent of two full 747s crashing every day. In California, an estimated 37,500 people die from medical errors every year. Meanwhile, doctors have a more lenient discipline system than lawyers; many doctors go unchecked while wrestling with addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. The media seem to be reporting stories every day of serious medical errors and negligence. Michael Jackson is the most famous victim of medical negligence.

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January 14, 2013

Waterstone SJ blog Picture.jpgThis month, we are delighted to roll out what will be a regular feature of our blog: a guest alumni blogger. Our alumni network at Loyola is an integral part of our law school. And I can think of no one better to be our inaugural guest alumni blogger than Brian Kabateck. Brian is founding and managing partner at Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP. He is an important voice in consumer rights and the current president of the Consumer Attorneys of California. He is also a good friend of our law school and someone whom we are proud to call our own. Over the next month, we look forward to his observations on consumer protection and other areas.

--Associate Dean Michael Waterstone

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January 14, 2013

Kabateck.jpgBy Brian S. Kabateck '89, Guest Alumni Blogger

In a mix of news both bad and slightly less bad, the governor's proposed 2013-14 state budget slashes $200 million in court construction funding but mostly maintains the status quo for court operations already battered by years of deep cuts. The governor's finance team is to be commended for avoiding deep operational cuts that would have devastated California's courts. However, the loss of $200 million in construction money needed to maintain the state's aging court infrastructure amounts to more bad news for the justice system. Even though the budget proposal appeared to spare the courts from a fresh round of deep operational cuts for 2013-14, the system is already reeling from $1.2 billion in General Fund cuts over the past five years.

At first blush, the governor's new budget appears to maintain the status quo, but with the courts absorbing more than $1 billion in cuts over the past five years, the status quo isn't acceptable. The status quo has been a disaster. A prime example is in Los Angeles County, which during the current fiscal year has been forced to make upwards of $85 million in cuts to programs that have resulted in the ongoing closure of 10 full courthouses scattered around the region and other operational changes that have the net effect of creating long lines for basic services and slowing the administration of justice. The old axiom is justice delayed is justice denied. Well, lately there has been a lot of justice being denied all over the state.

The cuts of recent years have hit especially hard at some of the state's most vulnerable citizens - women, children, the poor, veterans, the disabled - who utilize family law and other specialty-court operations that have been among the hardest hit by years of budgetary slashing. We are facing a crisis. Courts are an important safety net for society, protecting our most vulnerable. This crisis is about real people who need help solving real problems. Even the most basic functions like paying a ticket or resolving a rental dispute have been turned into unbelievable inconveniences that cost average citizens both time and money. Staffing cuts at many courthouses have led to swelling lines and frayed tempers as the public has tried to tap the most basic services. In Los Angeles, people queued up to settle traffic tickets have in some instances been turned away at day's end and told to come back the next day. Such problems stand to grow even worse as the county grapples with more than $150 million in court cuts in the last couple years. Already, 10 courthouses in Los Angeles County are in the process of being shut down and services are increasingly being centralized in a single courthouse, threatening to make a bad situation even worse.

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