March 18 - 18, 2009
Before It's Too Late — How Can Law Schools Teach and Inculcate the Tradition of Civility
McGeorge Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, McGeorge Capital Center for Law & Policy, Cal-ABOTA, and the Sacramento Valley Chapter of ABOTA presented the 2009 Lou Ashe Symposium, entitled "Before It's Too Late — How Can Law Schools Teach and Inculcate the Tradition of Civility."
This symposium took place on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in the Courtroom at McGeorge.
The program featured excerpts from Cal-ABOTA's teaching DVD on "Civility Matters." With discussion featuring Justice John Gerrard, Supreme Court of Nebraska and David Casselman, President of Cal-ABOTA, Nancy Sheehan, President of the Sacramento Chapter of ABOTA, Leslie Gielow Jacobs, Director, McGeorge Capital Center for Law & Policy, and John Oakley, Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law, King Hall.
Thomas J. Leach, Professor of Law & Director, Trial Advocacy, McGeorge
Professor Leach team-teaches Trial Advocacy with Professor Joseph Taylor and Professor Cary Bricker and developed and teaches Advanced Trial Advocacy (a course added in 1999). He came to McGeorge in 1996 from Philadelphia, where he was a trial lawyer and partner at the firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath and taught as an adjunct professor at Temple University School of Law. He also directs and teaches trial-skills courses for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Professor Leach served a two-year clerkship with Judge Edmund Spaeth of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania before joining his firm in 1978. He litigated in the fields of general corporate and commercial disputes, specializing in franchising, construction, and automotive products liability cases. Professor Leach was also the chair of his firm's Alternative Dispute Resolution Resources Group, and litigated several multi-million dollar cases settled through ADR techniques.
John M. Gerrard, Justice, Supreme Court of Nebraska
Justice John M. Gerrard assumed office as a Nebraska Supreme Court Justice on July 6, 1995. Justice Gerrard is a Nebraska Wesleyan University graduate, earned a Masters in Public Administration degree from the University of Arizona, and graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1981. Prior to being appointed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, Justice Gerrard was senior partner in the law firm of Gerrard, Stratton & Ptak, P.C., in Norfolk, NE, where he was in private practice and engaged in a wide variety of general litigation matters for 14 years. Justice Gerrard has led numerous initiatives providing fair access to justice in Nebraska, including the Gender Fairness Task Force, the Minority Justice Committee, the Court Interpreters Advisory Commission, and the Judicial Branch Education Committee. Justice Gerrard received the State Bar Foundation's Legal Pioneer Award in 2009 and the Supreme Court's Distinguished Judge for Improvement of the Judicial System Award in 2006, for his innovative contributions to the improvement of justice in Nebraska. He is a member of the Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court and has been an active member of the American Board of Trial Advocates for more than 15 years.
Elena Duarte, Judge, Sacramento County Superior Court
Judge Duarte was appointed a judgeship with Sacramento County Superior Court by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008. She regularly hears various felony and misdemeanor cases and also serves as a back-up judge for juvenile cases. Prior to her judgeship with Sacramento County, Judge Duarte served as a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court since April 2007. She previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office from 1994 to 2007 in the Sacramento and then Los Angeles offices and was a trial attorney in the criminal division for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. from 1992 to 1994. Judge Duarte has lectured at Stanford Law School, San Francisco School of Law, Loyola Law School, and Southwestern Law School on topics included evidence, trial advocacy, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and collecting electronic evidence, among others. She regularly trains law enforcement and lectures nationwide on various topics, including the aforementioned topics as well as intellectual property rights enforcement and internet fraud. In September 2005, Judge Duarte was selected by the Daily Journal as one of the top 75 female litigators in California. Duarte earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California.
David Casselman, President, Cal-ABOTA and Senior Trial partner, Wasserman, Comden & Casselman, LLP
Mr. Casselman serves as President of Cal-ABOTA, and is a Senior Trial Partner at Wasserman, Comden & Casselman, LLP. In 2001, Mr. Casselman secured two jury verdicts within the top ten largest verdicts in the State of California (one for a plaintiff and the other for a defendant, cross-complainant). He is an original coauthor and editor of the 3 Volume Rutter Group California Practice Guide on Insurance Litigation. He is also an original coauthor of the California Judge's Association Insurance Litigation materials. Mr. Casselman has been involved in drafting California State legislation, including government liability immunity provisions and the so-called "Hayden law" protecting animals which have been impounded by public shelters. Additionally, he often serves as expert witness regarding legislation before the California State Legislature and is a court appointed and private mediator and arbitrator. Mr. Casselman earned a B.A. in Psychology "With Distinction" from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law.
Nancy Sheehan, President, Sacramento Valley Chapter, ABOTA
Ms. Sheehan currently serves as President of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of ABOTA. As well, Ms. Sheehan is a Shareholder and Attorney with Porter Scott. She joined Porter Scott after spending two years as a judicial attorney at the Third District Court of Appeal. She handled her first employment case in 1986 and quickly developed an interest in that area of law. Today, Ms. Sheehan leads a team of employment litigators and enjoys a distinguished reputation among members of the bench and bar as an expert in her field. Her record of results in trying more than 25 employment cases to juries in state and federal court puts her in demand by employers. Many of those cases involved challenging and complex facts that were sufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment. Her experience in the courtroom provides the basis for educational seminars for clients and other professionals. Ms. Sheehan has taught classes in employment law for risk managers, employers and attorneys. She also serves as a judge pro tem for the Sacramento County Superior Court, assisting in resolving employment cases.
Leslie Gielow Jacobs, Director, Capital Center for Law & Policy and Professor of Law, McGeorge
Professor Jacobs serves as Director of the McGeorge Capital Center for Law & Policy, dedicated to studying issues of federalism and government structure and aiding government policymakers who must navigate their complexities. Professor Jacobs has been a professor at McGeorge since 1993. During this time, she has authored a substantial and important body of scholarship on constitutional doctrine, governance and national security. Professor Jacobs' articles have appeared in law journals at Yale, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State, UC Davis, Rutgers, Tulane, Florida and Indiana. Her separate pieces of scholarship on bioterrorism and national security have appeared as invited submissions to Homeland Security: Law and Policy (William Nicholson, ed. 2005), Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense (J. Wiley, 2005), the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and the interdisciplinary journal, Biosecurity & Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice & Science. Most recently, she is co-author of Global Issues in Constitutional Law and the pending Global Issues in Freedom of Speech and Religion, both in casebook format and designed to supplement and modernize law school teaching through the introduction of international and comparative cases and materials.
John Oakley, Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law, King Hall
Professor John Oakley's teaching and scholarship focus primarily on the process of adjudication. He seeks to integrate practical expertise in the daily workings of rules of jurisdiction and procedure with a philosophically informed awareness of "the nature of law and judicial power, how the power to create and decide disputes over the law should be distributed and exercised, and what sorts of questions judges should ask themselves when deciding 'hard cases.'"
Jason W. Schaff, Associate, Klinedinst Attorneys at Law
Jason Schaff joined Klinedinst PC as an associate after graduating with distinction from McGeorge School of Law in 2006. His practice area includes the litigation of professional liability claims, complex construction defect claims, and general liability. In his short career, Mr. Schaff has already successfully defended several multi-million dollar lawsuits. Mr. Schaff is currently the Executive Vice President of the Barristers' Club of Sacramento, an organization dedicated to developing ethics and professional responsibility in young attorneys. In addition to these duties, Mr. Schaff is also an adjunct faculty member in the trial advocacy department at McGeorge School of Law, where he coaches a trial competition team.