DePaul Law News

  • Student Spotlight

    DePaul Law student recieves Prettyman Fellowship

    First DePaul Law student to receive honor, Fadya Salem is "beyond excited" to become a Prettyman Fellow

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  • Faculty Spotlight

    Professor Wendy Epstein named 2016 Health Law Scholar for work-in-progress "Price Transparency and Incomplete Contracts in Health Care"

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  • Alumni Spotlight

    Annual law alumni awards highlight three who lead by example"

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Students explore courtroom firsthand with Shadow-a-Judge series

​​​​​As part of the College of Law’s Institute for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution​ and Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic​, students shadowed judges at several events during fall 2015. 

This year's annual Shadow-a-Judge series included a tour of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center at the Juvenile Justice Courthouse, a visit to the Chicago Immigration Court for a Q&A with an immigration judge and the chance to witness a sentencing hearing. Students had the opportunity to network, interact with judges and observe the crucial operations of the courtroom. 

On September 23, students attended the sentencing hearing of Bryant Brewer at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Brewer was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderberg. 

The [Shadow-a-Judge] experience puts law students face-to-face with the realities of life in the judicial system,” said Renita Ward, a second-year student who attended the Criminal Division event. “I had the opportunity to walk through the same entrance lawyers and court officials use at the courthouse, meet staff attorneys and clerks in chambers, witness court proceedings involving all parties (defense counsel, prosecutor, jurors, suspected offenders/inmates and the fact finder) and to ask questions of a sitting judge during lunch. The visit allows the machinations of rules of evidence and matters of law to be examined and questioned in real time.” 

I liked the overall experience of not feeling lost in a huge courtroom,” added first-year student Mary Johnson. “We had several guides and we were truly treated with respect and able to engage law clerks and judges in conversation. I honestly and sincerely thank you for the opportunity. It was great and super informative.” 

On October 28, students toured the Juvenile Justice Courthouse, including the school and living quarters for youth ages 10 to 16. The center houses juveniles who are awaiting adjudication of their cases by the Juvenile Division of the Cook County Courts and provides care for youth who have been transferred from juvenile court jurisdiction to criminal court. These youth would otherwise be incarcerated in the county jail. 

“The detention center is not normally open to the public,” explained Field Placement Program​ (FPP) Director Natalie Wolfe, “so getting to tour it is a unique experience, even though we do not get to interact with the juveniles themselves.” 

First-year student Candace Watkins found that the visit provided some clarity. “I am unsure about what area I want to focus on and this gave me a better perspective,” she said. “I especially enjoyed the small panel that allowed us to talk with members of each side of the legal system. I also enjoyed the tour of the juvenile facility.” 

As a new addition to the series, the immigration court Q&A gave students a chance to meet directly with immigration Judge James R. Fujimoto. The event took place on November 17 at the Chicago Immigration Court, also known as the Executive Office of Immigration Review. Asylum & Immigration Law Clinical Instructor and Director Sioban Albiol organized the Q&A, vetting students’ questions in advance before the group met informally with Judge Fujimoto and his clerks. In addition to Albiol’s yearlong clinical students, FPP Director Wolfe brought in four nonclinical law students. 

Shadow-a-Judge events take place every spring and fall semester. Please contact Natalie Wolfe at nwolfe2@depaul.edu or (312) 362-8312 if you are interested in participating in the spring 2016 program.

Creating a dialogue with Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore (JD ’77) is more than just a successful lawyer. His enthusiastic and dedicated litigation in important civil rights cases is the definition of a social justice advocate, and reminds us there is still much to be done to help people access the justice system. As a law student, Moore advocated for his fellow students while president of the Student Bar Association and for the community while participating in the school’s newly established and cutting-edge legal clinics. Those opportunities inspired Moore to represent people whose voices might otherwise not be heard.

As a dedicated civil rights attorney and partner at Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP, Moore gained increasing recognition this past year for his work and leadership in the landmark New York stop-and-frisk case, Floyd, et al v. City of New York. Moore estimates the victory will save nearly 600,000 people from undue harassment and embarrassment by police this year.

The high-profile civil suit filed on behalf of the “Central Park Five” will soon reach settlement. The case involves violent police coercion of five minority youths which lead to false confessions to a brutal crime in which exculpatory evidence was ignored. Moore also recently settled MacNamara v. City of New York, a case filed after the mass false arrests of about 1,800 protestors during the 2004 National Republican Convention.

“We have a gift as lawyers to be the voice for the people,” stated Moore, “and to confront those responsible for the violation of rights under the Constitution.” He sees the law as a tool not only for social change, but for psychological empowerment. “Our clients can’t just walk up to a police officer and grill them about what they did or could have done. Depositions are an opportunity for us to do that.” He continued, “I invite clients [to depositions] because, for them, it feels like someone is finally listening and asking the real questions.”

While clients’ interests come first, Moore recognizes that the matters he litigates arise from social and political dialogue. He noted the importance of community and grassroots organizing, and speaks about change holistically. Representative of that approach, Moore’s cases tend to focus on patterns and policies that discriminate, and target systemic issues that disenfranchise large groups of people.

Moore reflected on the settlement of the three cases, emphasizing that it is not always about the win. “Even if you don’t win, there’s a cathartic effect for clients. That matters.” Going further, he criticized viewing cases as being “good” or “bad,” and stressed that “any case that vindicates the violation of civil rights is a good one.” The impact of Moore’s work extends far beyond New York. On a national and international level, he and others are helping to call attention and much needed reform to how the police and authorities interact with people, especially people of color. Moore suggests that anyone interested in entering the civil rights field should “just do it. Go out there and hang your shingle. There’s something to be said about perseverance and sticking it out.”

He would know.


DePaul moot court team earns top honors in Chinese intellectual property competition

A DePaul College of Law moot court team comprised of four first-year students placed third in the 2014 Beijing Foreign Studies University-Wanhuida Cup Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition in Beijing, China, on May 24 and 25. 

Teammates Precious Allen, Joseph Klein, Destinee Moyer and Shin Young Jo competed against 13 teams from Australia, China, Taiwan and the United States. DePaul's brief was ranked 4th overall and team member Precious Allen won the competition's Best Oralist Award. Shin Young Jo also was recognized as an outstanding oralist. 

Professor Len Cavise coached the team in Beijing, and professors Michael Grynberg, Joshua Sarnoff, Anthony Volini and Michael Graham prepared the team prior to the competition. 

This year, student teams performed and received feedback from a prestigious line-up of judges, including: a Minnesota Supreme Court justice, an assistant general counsel of Microsoft, the chief judge of Beijing's intellectual property appellate court, the legal management director of China’s Trademark Office, three senior partners from China’s largest intellectual property law firms, and four faculty experts from the United States, China and Australia.

The BFSU-Wanhuida Cup, now in its seventh year, is organized by Beijing Foreign Studies University, a longstanding partner of DePaul’s Asian Legal Studies Institute, directed by Professor Jerold Friedland.  


DePaul BLSA team takes second in national mock trial

From left, BLSA trial team members Letcher, Sommerman, Watkins and Sumlar.
DePaul's Black Law Student Association (BLSA) mock trial team placed second in the National Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition held in Milwaukee, Wis. on March 15, 2014.

Team members Katherine Letcher, Samantha Sommerman, Daniel Watkins II and Forrest Sumlar vied against the top 18 teams in the country, losing by 7/10 of a point -- one of the narrowest margins in the competition's history -- to Florida State in the final rounds. Alumni Theodore Thomas (JD '09) and Chalet Braziel (JD '09) coached the team to the highest finish in DePaul's history.


Moot court competition focuses on Cultural Property Implementation Act

The fifth annual National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition will run this Friday, February 21 and Saturday, February 22 at the Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.  

DePaul University College of Law welcomes 19 teams to the competition, including students from local schools Chicago-Kent, John Marshall, Northwestern and Southern Illinois. This year’s competition addresses questions concerning the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, which establishes a framework for imposing import restrictions on undocumented archaeological and ethnological materials.

The competition provides students with an opportunity to advocate in the nuanced landscape of cultural heritage law, a dynamic and growing legal field. 

The annual event is cosponsored by the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, which conceived of the idea six years ago. Now, firmly established, the competition attracts teams from law schools with top ranked appellate advocacy programs as well as those with art law programs. 

"One of the goals of LCCHP is to increase awareness of cultural heritage law, both within law schools and among the general public. This competition is an integral part of that growth and development," said Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Art, Museum, & Cultural Heritage Law Patty Gerstenblith.


Students connect with Illinois judges through IADR's Shadow-a-Judge

As part of the College of Law’s Institute for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution, students shadowed judges at several events during fall 2013.

From back left: Ewa Wieslaw, 1L; Precious Allen, 1L; Miriam Martinez, 3L; Mike McGivney, 1L; Judge Kathleen Marie Burke; Lana Smith, 1L; Haley Guion, 2L; attorney and court administrator Colleen Glass and IADR Assistant Director Natalie Wolfe.
The Shadow-a-Judge series included a tour of the Child Detention Center at the Juvenile Justice Courthouse, a visit to the Fifth Municipal Court in Bridgeview and a chance to witness Chicago criminal defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. defend in a jury trial at the Second Municipal District Courthouse in Skokie.

Students enjoyed the opportunity to network, interact with judges and witness the crucial operations of the courtroom. “It was great to see so many different types of cases and then be able to talk to the judges themselves about what they thought,” said first-year student Ewa Wieslaw. 

“I particularly liked the fact that people greeted us with open arms and that the judges took time out of their busy schedule to meet with us," said 3L Miriam Martinez, who attended the Fifth Municipal event in Bridgeview on October 18.

First-year student Alex Antonacci used the opportunity to take a closer look at the daily operations of criminal defense practice, “It was a perfect way to see what a typical day would look like, not only for the judges, but also for APDs or ASAs."

Aside from the chance to interact with the judges, students found the immersion valuable for bringing law school courses to life. "I enjoyed getting to sit in on a live jury trial," said 2L Francie Ekwerekwu. "The defense lawyer [Sam Adam Jr.] was a great, savvy lawyer and very fun to watch. Everything we learn in law school criminal law classes makes more sense now after watching that jury trial.”

"It was interesting to see how one of the cases I sat in on hinged on a vital piece of discovery that was overlooked by the defense," said first-year student Kaitlin Fitzsimons. "My Civil Procedures Professor, Professor [Steven] Greenberger, said we wouldn’t fully understand discovery until we were in the courtroom, and now I see why."

Shadow-a-Judge events take place every spring and fall semester. Please contact Natalie Wolfe at nwolfe2@depaul.edu or (312) 362-8312 if you are interested in participating in the fall 2014 program.


Illinois Supreme Court Justice Burke offers students tips on oral arguments

Justice Burke speaks to Criminal Appeals Clinic students at the Illinois Supreme Court's current location in Chicago.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke (SNL '76, DHL '05) offered advice to students in DePaul's Criminal Appeals Clinic on October 30, 2013, at the court's temporary residence in Chicago:

“State the rule of law. If the law is with you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. You could be arguing for a change in the law,” said Justice Burke.

Justice Burke shared her insights on making oral arguments and fielded student questions. She also discussed unique aspects of the court’s work and showed some historic photos of the Supreme Court. Clinical Instructor Laura Weiler, an attorney with the Office of the State Appellate Defender, arranged for the students to hear from Justice Burke.


Judge Wolfson honored with CBA's Stevens Award

The Chicago Bar Association (CBA) has selected Judge Warren D. Wolfson as one of four Chicago attorneys to be honored at the 14th annual John Paul Stevens Award Luncheon on September 26, 2013.

The Stevens Award is presented to “attorneys who best exemplify the justice's commitment to integrity and public service in the practice of law.” Judge Wolfson shares the 2013 award with recipients Judge William Hooks (BA ’75), Judge Diane P. Wood and William F. Conlon, Sidley Austin LLP.

Judge Warren D. Wolfson joined the DePaul University College of Law faculty in July 2011, after serving as interim dean of the College of Law for two years. While dean, he worked with the faculty to help establish DePaul's Institute of Advocacy & Dispute Resolution, which guides curricular areas including dispute resolution and mediation, litigation skills and trial advocacy, field placement and moot court.

He brings a wealth of expertise garnered through a legal career that includes nearly 34 years on the bench and extensive academic experience. He was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1975, elected to a full term in 1976, and was retained in that position for five consecutive terms. In 1994, he was assigned to the Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District, where he served until joining DePaul. Prior to his career on the bench, he spent 18 years in criminal defense practice

Co-author of Trial Evidence (5th ed., Aspen Publishers 2012) and Materials in Trial Advocacy (7th ed., Aspen Publishers 2011), Judge Wolfson also established and directed the highly respected trial advocacy program at Chicago-Kent College of Law from 1971 to 2009. During that time, he taught evidence and an advanced evidence seminar. Before joining Chicago-Kent, Judge Wolfson taught trial advocacy for 15 years at the University of Chicago and lectured for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He has also been very involved in judicial training programs for many years.

Please visit the CBA's website for more information and to reserve tickets for the awards ceremony.


Students take a glimpse inside Cook County's criminal justice system

As part of the College of Law’s Institute for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution, six students shadowed judges at the Criminal Division of the Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday, April 11.

Students spent the morning session on individual assignments in judges' courtrooms. They also had the opportunity to meet and ask questions of acting presiding Judge Clay, and to hear Judge Fox talk about the specialty courts over lunch.

“I thought the shadow a judge event provided an excellent insight into the criminal justice system here in Chicago,” said Aidan Forde, an Irish exchange student. The students also observed a variety of evidentiary and status hearings, 402 conferences, and several felony jury trials, including one with a double jury.

“There is so much going on at that courthouse,” said Sarah Gorham (’13). “It's hard to believe that, during my time at DePaul, I had never been there.”

Events take place every spring and fall semester. Please contact Natalie Taylor at ntaylor4@depaul.edu or (312) 362-8312 if you are interested in participating in the fall 2013 program.