UCLA Law Newsletter

Fall 2015

A New Leader Emerges

Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin Takes the Helm

UCLA School of Law welcomes Jennifer L. Mnookin as the law school’s ninth—and third female—dean. A leading evidence scholar and a member of the UCLA Law faculty since 2005, she assumed the position in August. An award-winning teacher, an eminent legal scholar and a valued colleague, she has played an important role in shaping the law school’s rich and collaborative intellectual community. She shares her path to the deanship and her goals for catalyzing UCLA Law’s forward momentum in a recent UCLA Law Magazine article and Q&A discussion. With her extensive knowledge and experience, intellectual and institutional creativity, and commitment to the law school’s traditions of access, innovation and excellence, UCLA Law is poised for even greater success under her leadership.

Friends of the Court

From amicus briefs to appellate litigation, the UCLA Law faculty is making an impact

You didn’t have to be a constitutional law expert in 2015 to grasp the impact of federal court decisions on everyday life in America. Big issues before the U.S. Supreme Court dominated the headlines, from same-sex couples’ right to marry to the solvency of federally-run health insurance exchanges. Behind those headlines, observers willing to dig a bit deeper quickly discovered the fingerprints of prominent UCLA Law scholars, whose research and amicus briefs were cited in some of the year’s most important decisions.

Gift Establishes Chair in Legal Ethics

Professor Scott Cummings Named Inaugural Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics

UCLA School of Law has received a $2 million gift from Meyer Luskin, a UCLA alumnus and the chairman, president and CEO of Scope Industries, to establish the Robert Henigson Endowed Chair in Legal Ethics. Luskin made the gift to commemorate his longstanding relationship with his friend and attorney, Robert Henigson, a prominent lawyer and philanthropist. Professor Scott Cummings, a distinguished member of the faculty since 2002, has been named the inaugural Robert Henigson professor of legal ethics in recognition of his contributions to our understanding of legal ethics and the legal profession.

Professor Kang Appointed UCLA’s Inaugural Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Professor Jerry Kang was appointed as UCLA’s inaugural vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, and he assumed the position on July 1. In this capacity, he will serve as the senior campus official responsible for promoting equity and fundamental fairness at UCLA, leading and coordinating efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, staff, faculty, alumni and community partners.

A renowned scholar and a member of the UCLA Law faculty since 1995, Professor Kang has published influential research in numerous fields and is a leading scholar on implicit bias. He helped to establish the law school’s Critical Race Studies Program and served as its founding co-director. He has advised multiple campus affinity organizations and journals, has served on numerous diversity task forces and contributes to various community and research-based advocacy efforts.

Professor Eagly’s Research Expands Understanding of Immigrant Representation

Professor Ingrid Eagly, the newly-appointed faculty director of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, has authored two groundbreaking forthcoming articles based on new data related to immigration courts and the representation of immigrants. In the first national study of access to counsel in immigration courts, “A National Study of Access to Counsel in Immigration Court,” 165 University of Pennsylvania Law Review (forthcoming, 2015), Professor Eagly and Steven Shafer ’15 analyzed more than 1.2 million immigration cases decided between 2007 and 2012. They found that only 37% of all immigrants, and a mere 14% of detained immigrants, were represented by counsel. Moreover, having an attorney made a difference—for example, immigrants in detention won their cases at a rate 10.5 times greater than those who proceeded pro se. In addition, Professor Eagly’s article “Remote Adjudication in Immigration,” 109 Northwestern University Law Review (forthcoming, 2015), is the first empirical study of the use of televideo technology to adjudicate immigration court cases over a television screen, rather than in a traditional, in-person courtroom.

Professor Eagly also recently accompanied students Rocío Sánchez ’16, Sonia Gutiérrez ’16 and Jana Whalley ’17 on a week-long trip to Dilley, Texas, to provide volunteer legal assistance to female asylum seekers and their children incarcerated in the South Texas Family Residential Center—the nation’s largest immigrant detention facility. Working as part of the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project (CARA), they assisted women and children fleeing violence and persecution in Central America and Mexico in their credible-fear asylum interviews and bond hearings.

International Human Rights Clinic Students Document Human Rights Violations in Los Angeles County Jails

Clinic students also work to improve access to information for Syrian refugees

Students in UCLA School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic drafted a report that documents human rights violations resulting from medical neglect of women of color incarcerated in the Los Angeles County jail system. On behalf of Dignity & Power Now, the students conducted research, developed an interview protocol and surveyed ex-inmates to document access to health care, including mental health care, in the jails, as well as the consequences inmates faced when treatment and medicine were not made available. The report, “Breaking the Silence: Civil and Human Rights Violations Resulting from Medical Neglect and Abuse of Women of Color in Los Angeles County Jails,” released in August, details how Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and other personnel regularly denied the women interviewed vital mental and physical health care services. It underscores that the medical neglect violates domestic civil rights law, regional human rights law and international human rights law. Assistant Professor Tendayi Achiume, who leads the clinic, supervised the students’ research and edited the report.

On behalf of the Syrian League for Citizenship (a Syrian-led non-governmental organization in Lebanon), students in the clinic also worked to improve Syrian refugee access to legal and other services. The students created a guide detailing information dissemination strategies that have been successful in improving access to vital information during refugee crises. The guide will be translated into Arabic by the Syrian League for Citizenship, and distributed widely to refugees and their advocates in Lebanon.

Williams Institute Research Impacts Marriage Equality

Williams Institute Research Director Gary Gates was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision legalizing marriage equality nationwide.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution requires marriage equality, extending “equal dignity” to one million same-sex couples nationwide. The historic decision cited an amicus brief by Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director Gary Gates and his research on the families of same-sex couples. The Williams Institute’s research was cited in more than half of the briefs filed in the Supreme Court case. The decision legalized marriage equality in the last 13 states that still banned it, states in which same-sex couples are more likely to have children, to earn less and to be racial or ethnic minorities, according to Williams Institute analyses. Approximately 70,000 same-sex couples are expected to marry in these states in the next three years.

J.D. Specialization in International and Comparative Law Launches

In the spring, UCLA Law’s International and Comparative Law Program launched a specialization in International and Comparative Law for J.D. students. The specialization is designed for students pursuing advanced study in international and comparative law, including international human rights law, and for those who intend to practice in those fields. More than 40 2L and 3L students are enrolled for the 2015-16 academic year. Students in the specialization can choose to structure their own curriculum to focus on any number of priorities, such as public international law, comparative constitutional law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international trade law and international intellectual property law, among others. The law school also offers a specialization for LL.M. students.

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Petition in UCLA Law Supreme Court Clinic Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted the petition for certiorari filed by Professor Stuart Banner and UCLA Law’s Supreme Court Clinic on behalf of Jorge Torres in the case Torres v. Lynch. Professor Banner and students in the clinic drafted and filed the petition in March and a reply brief in the case in May. The case addresses whether the conviction of a crime of arson under state law is an “aggravated felony” that can lead to deportation of a lawful permanent resident in the United States. Professor Banner, who leads the clinic, is working with students in preparation for the oral argument, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2015. 

Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation Gift Supports the Emmett Institute

The Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation has made a gift of $500,000 to establish the Ann Carlson Discretionary Fund, which will be used to support the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. The fund will be used for a wide variety of needs and opportunities, including graduate and undergraduate scholarships, fellowships, faculty projects and research. The gift will be matched through the Dan and Rae Emmett Matching Gift Challenge, doubling its impact.

Ralph ’58 and Shirley Shapiro have deep and lasting ties to UCLA and a long history of philanthropic support to UCLA Law. They have endowed four chairs at UCLA Law, including the Shirley Shapiro Chair in Environmental Law. A long-time member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Directors, Ralph Shapiro has served as president of the UCLA School of Law Alumni Association and as a member of the law school’s board of advisors. Shirley Shapiro is a member of the Emmett Institute advisory board.

Lowell Milken Institute Explores Diverging Points of View on Activist Funds

In March, the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy issued the “2015 Private Fund Report: The Role of Activist Funds” and held the second annual Private Funds Conference. This year’s conference focused on the current role of activist funds, which have taken the lead in challenging corporate management to deliver value to company shareholders. The 2015 conference attracted more than 80 attendees, including fund managers, investors, financial advisors, lawyers, academics, students and members of the public. It featured leading participants in the world of activist funds, including keynote speaker Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at CalSTRS, who explained why CalSTRS invests in activist funds.

Inaugural UCLA-Harvard Food Law and Policy Conference Focuses on Transparency in the Food System

In October 2014, the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy and the Food Law Lab at Harvard Law School hosted the first annual UCLA-Harvard Food Law and Policy Conference, “Transparency in the Global Food System: What Information and to What Ends?” The sold-out conference brought together notable academics and practitioners for a discussion of the issue of transparency in the food system. Panel topics addressed the meaning of transparency, the role of the consumer in driving changes in the food system and whether transparency can help address problems in the food industry. Dr. David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration and current professor at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, delivered the keynote presentation on “The End of Overeating.”

Susan Akens Named Executive Director of Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Law Program

Susan Akens, previously executive vice president, business affairs, at CBS Studios International, has been appointed executive director of UCLA School of Law’s Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Law Program. She joined the law school in July, replacing David R. Ginsburg who retired in June.

Akens was named executive vice president, business affairs, at Paramount Pictures International Television in 2003, a division that was merged into CBS Studios International in 2006. In this position, she oversaw all international business and legal affairs, set strategy for the division and led a team based in the United States and Europe. She previously served as special counsel for the entertainment department of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, representing clients in a broad variety of entertainment and multimedia transactions.

Seventh Critical Race Studies Symposium Celebrates the Work of Professor Cheryl Harris

In October 2014, nearly 400 scholars, advocates and activists from around the globe came together for the Seventh Annual Critical Race Studies Symposium, “Whiteness as Property: A Twenty-Year Appraisal.” The two-day event celebrated one of the seminal texts of Critical Race Theory, “Whiteness as Property,” which was written by UCLA Law Professor Cheryl Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert professor in civil rights and civil liberties, and published in 1993 in the Harvard Law Review. The participants reflected on the political, legal and intellectual context out of which “Whiteness as Property” emerged, explored the article’s impact, and considered how its theoretical arguments have shaped contemporary civil rights debates, pedagogy, legal practice and social movement organizing. Professor Harris delivered the event’s keynote address, discussing the personal and political genealogy of the article.

UCLA Law Inaugurates Transnational Program on Criminal Justice

The 2014-15 academic year marked the inauguration of the law school’s Transnational Program on Criminal Justice (TPCJ). Led by Professor Máximo Langer, the program fosters research and discussion on issues of international criminal justice systems and sponsors events to engage students and the criminal justice and comparative and international law scholarly community. 

In February, the program hosted the Latin American Criminal Justice in Action workshop, bringing together leading researchers working on Latin American criminal justice systems. TPCJ also launched the UCLA Criminal Justice Faculty Workshop, convening faculty members and doctoral students throughout UCLA whose work is focused on criminal justice issues. In the coming year, the program is planning an international, cross-disciplinary conference on the relationship between prosecutors and democracy in multiple countries and from different theoretical positions.

Environmental Law Clinic Students Participate in UN Climate Talks in Peru

Students in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic received hands-on experience advising on climate change issues as delegates at the 20th annual Conference of Parties (COP20) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change. The students traveled to Lima, Peru, in December with Cara Horowitz, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and co-director of the clinic. In Peru, they acted as legal advisors, attending negotiation sessions and providing legal analyses and other support to clinic client Islands First, which assists small, developing island nations in international negotiations. This is the third time that UCLA Law students have participated in the climate talks; students attended the UN climate conferences in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009 and Durban, South Africa, in 2011. A group of students is scheduled to participate in the upcoming climate change conference in Paris, France, in November and December 2015.

UCLA Law Launches Initiatives to Connect Alumni

UCLA Law recently launched new initiatives to help alumni connect and foster networking and mentoring opportunities. In January, the law school hosted an intimate discussion with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ’91 to mark the official launch of UCLA Law Women LEAD, an intergenerational network of distinguished alumnae aimed at empowering and supporting them in their careers. In March, the law school celebrated the launch of UCLA Law Unite, an initiative to connect alumni of all backgrounds with students from many of the organizations and journals focused on the diverse student community for mentoring, professional development and other engagement opportunities. UCLA Law Connect, a digital networking platform exclusive to UCLA Law alumni, was also created to provide a meaningful, seamless way for alumni to stay in touch with the law school and with each other.

New Faculty Appointments

Leslie Johns holds a joint appointment at UCLA School of Law and in the UCLA Department of Political Science, where she is associate professor of political science. She joined the UCLA faculty in 2008, and she was a visiting associate research scholar at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance from 2012 to 2013. Professor Johns’ research and writing focuses on the intersection of international law and international relations.

Douglas NeJaime, faculty director of the Williams Institute, was a visiting professor of law at UCLA School of Law for the 2014-15 academic year. Before joining the UCLA Law faculty, he was professor of law at UC Irvine (UCI) School of Law, teaching in the areas of family law, law and sexuality, constitutional law and legal ethics. Previously, he was associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and the Sears law teaching fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

James Salzman is the Donald Bren distinguished professor of environmental law with joint appointments at UCLA School of Law and at the Bren School of the Environment at UC Santa Barbara. He formerly held joint appointments at Duke University as the Samuel F. Mordecai Professor of Law and Nicholas Institute Professor of Environmental Policy. In more than eight books and eighty articles and book chapters, his broad-ranging scholarship has addressed topics spanning drinking water, trade and environment conflicts, policy instrument design, and the legal and institutional issues in creating markets for ecosystem services.

Faculty Scholarship, News and Announcements

During the past year, UCLA School of Law’s distinguished faculty members have published a host of notable books covering a range of diverse topics and have engaged in a wide range of scholarly pursuits. They are also consistently recognized for their excellence and for their contributions to scholarship and the profession. These are only a few of the many recent examples.

Professor Blasi Receives CLAY Award
Professor Crenshaw Named Among the Top 25 Women in Higher Education
Professors Crenshaw and Nanda and Alumna Priscilla Ocen Publish Report Exploring Impact of Zero Tolerance Policies on Girls of Color
Assistant Dean Herrera Receives Hispanic National Bar Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award
Professor Klee Receives American College of Bankruptcy Distinguished Service Award
Three Articles by Professor Korobkin Listed Among Top 25 Most Cited Contract Law Articles of Last 25 Years
Professor López Awarded 2015 AALS Deborah L. Rhode Award
Dean Mnookin Appointed to National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
Dean Emerita Moran Selected by American Bar Foundation as Inaugural Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law
Professors Schwartz and Wonsowicz Honored with UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award
Professor Shiffrin Discusses Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law
Professor Volokh Honored by the Carnegie Corporation as a “Great Immigrant”
Professor Zatz Awarded John Randolph Haynes Foundation Faculty Fellowship