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Center for Law and Ethics Events - Events

Upcoming Events

Please check back for future Center events.

Past Events

4/14/11 – A Public Defender’s Path to the Bench

The Honorable Linda Colfax, Superior Court Judge for the City and County of San Francisco

Judge Colfax will talk about her work as a Public Defender, her decision to seek a judicial appointment, her learning—somewhat to her surprise—that Public Defenders are rarely appointed to the bench, and her decision to run for election to a judicial office (successfully).   She will also talk about balancing family life and work life as a lawyer and as a judge. 

This event is co-sponsored by:
Criminal Law Society, Jewish Law Students Association, Pride Law Association, and Women’s Law Association

4/7/11 - Bill Lerach: A Life Enforcing the Securities Laws – Mountains Climbed and Mistakes Made

Mr. Lerach discussed his legal career enforcing the federal securities laws against large public corporations, Wall Street banks, and the big accounting firms. Over the course of almost 30 years, he was involved in most of the largest securities class-action lawsuits in history. His suits recovered over $40 billion for damaged investors, including a $7 billion recovery in the Enron securities litigation, the largest securities class action recovery to date. He will discuss the evolution of securities suits both before and after the so-called 1995 Reform Act, the rise of institutional investors as lead plaintiffs in securities litigation, the growing hostility of the federal courts toward private enforcement lawsuits, including the virtual elimination of third-party liability, and the events that led to his incarceration and disbarment as a result of an investigation of his firm's practices by the Bush Administration's Justice Department. 

10/30/10 – Symposium: Litigation, Settlement & the Public Interest: Fluid Recovery & Cy Pres Relief.

This symposium, co-hosted with the Public Health Trust and the American Antitrust Institute, discussed these doctrines which involve the distribution of relief in a class action to someone other than the victims of alleged wrongdoing, often to a public interest cause related to the underlying litigation.  Speakers examined the topic from the perspectives of judges, lawyers, and recipients and administrators of cy pres relief.  The keynote address was provided by Professor Geoffrey Hazard, University of California, Hastings.

9/25/10 – ABOTA Civility Matters! 

The Center welcomed back a panel of attorneys and judges to discuss civility and professionalism.  This year’s panelists included:

John Bates
Attorney, JAMS, the Resolution Experts

Thomas J. Brandi
Attorney, The Brandi Law Firm

Joseph McMonigle
Attorney, Long & Levit LLP

The Honorable John Kennedy Stewart
Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco

4/8/10 - Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to its Knees.

Patrick Dillon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, author and editor. He discussed his new book, Circle of Greed, on his recent visit to USF.

Circle of Greed is the epic story of the rise and fall of Bill Lerach, once the leading class action lawyer in America and now a convicted felon. For more than two decades, Lerach threatened, shook down and sued top Fortune 500 companies, including Disney, Apple, Time Warner, and—most famously—Enron. Now, the man who brought corporate moguls to their knees has fallen prey to the same corrupt impulses of his enemies, and is paying the price by serving time in federal prison.

If there was ever a modern Greek tragedy about a man and his times, about corporate arrogance and illusions and the scorched-earth tactics to not only counteract corporate America but to beat it at its own game, Bill Lerach's story is it.

1/30/09 - Discussion of the Revision of the California Rules of Professional Conduct

MCLE Ethics 2 Credits

On Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, the Center sponsored and organized a discussion of proposals to change the California Rules of Professional Conduct. The two Co-Vice-Chairs addressed the proposals of the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct and solicited the views of audience members.

1/27/09 – ABOTA Civility Matters!

Are some lawyers taking the “civil” out of civil law?  Some observers think that incivility among lawyers is on the rise.  Can a lawyer give his or her client excellent representation without behavior that is hostile, rude or downright mean?

A panel of members of The American Board of Trial Advocates, together with a San Francisco Superior Court Judge, all USF alumni, will discuss and give examples of civility, incivility and solutions to real life situations as part of an effort to support advocacy with professionalism.

5/27/08: – Ethics in Litigation Panel | Intensive Advocacy Program

The Intensive Advocacy Program is a two-week intensive course, focusing on litigation and trial techniques and strategies. The IAP brings seasoned lawyers and judges from across the nation to train law students in the art of advocacy. 

5/3/08 – 12th Annual Statewide Ethics Symposium Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct Notoriety

The symposium featured a keynote address by Professor Geoffrey Hazard, Thomas E. Miller Distinguished Professor of Law – Hastings College of the Law.

10/16/07 – Making Waves and Riding the Currents: Activism and the Practice of Wisdom

Charles Halpern – a public interest entrepreneur, innovator in legal education, and pioneer in the public interest law movement – is currently Scholar in Residence at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley. He was the Founding Dean of the City University of New York Law School at Queens College. Previously, he was a Professor at Stanford and Georgetown Law Schools, and a Senior Fellow at Yale Law School. He was the co-founder of the Center for Law and Social Policy (1969), the Mental Health Law Project (now the Bazelon Center for Law and Mental Health) (1971), and the Council for Public Interest Law (now the Alliance for Justice) (1976). After graduating with honors from Yale Law School and Harvard College, he practiced law at Arnold & Porter, in Washington, D.C.

From 1989-2000, he served as the founding President of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a $400 million grant-making foundation in New York City. He developed many innovative philanthropic initiatives, including Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers and interfaith dialogue with the Dalai Lama and religious leaders.

Halpern, who recently co-led a mindfulness meditation retreat for over 100 California state court judges, has practiced meditation for the past 20 years with a variety of Buddhist teachers and leads meditation workshops for lawyers, judges and law students. For the past four years, he has led the Boalt Hall Meditation Group, the oldest Law School meditation group. He serves as the chair of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

9/30/07 – State Bar Panel | Inadvertent Disclosure: An Attorney’s Ethical Obligations

Panel talk at the 80th Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California in Anaheim.

9/20/07 – Doing Well by Doing Good in a Plaintiffs’ Practice

Lori Andrus, Andrus Liberty & Anderson, LLP

Ms. Andrus discussed battling corporate greed and misconduct on behalf of their clients.

When CEOs choose profits over people, and when credit card companies prey upon the most vulnerable in our society, the civil justice system remains as the last protector. After the legislatures, and then the regulators fail, plaintiffs’ attorneys hold wrongdoers accountable.

5/29/07 – Ethics in Litigation Panel | Intensive Advocacy Program

The Intensive Advocacy Program is a two-week intensive course, focusing on litigation and trial techniques and strategies. The IAP brings seasoned lawyers and judges from across the nation to train law students in the art of advocacy.

3/29/07 – A Report from the Front Lines: A Successful Class Action Trial Against Wal-Mart

Jessica Grant, USF Alumna and recently named a 2007 “California Attorney of the Year” by California Lawyer Magazine, discussed her work in the precedent-setting wage and hour class action suit, Savaglio et. al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et. al., where a jury verdict of $172 million was obtained as well as a permanent injunction against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

4/8/04 – What Does the DOJ Have Against Jesselyn Radack?

A discussion with the former DOJ attorney who advised the government to honor John Walker Lindh’s legal rights.

4/16/03 – Ethics and War: Unethical Government Conduct in the Name of National Security

Professor Kathleen Clark is one of the most innovative Legal Ethics teachers in the country, and a nationally recognized expert on ethics and national security issues. In addition to post-9/11 constitutional restrictions imposed by the current administration, she addressed a historical pattern of misconduct in high profile national security cases, including:

  • Korematsu and Japanese internment cases
  • Ellsberg and the Pentagon papers case
  • Reynolds and the law of state secrets, and
  • Quinn and the prosecution of WW II German saboteurs

Professor Clark argued that the government’s tendency toward misconduct in such cases means that courts should not give such extreme deference to the executive branch in these situations.

1/16/03 – Whistleblower: A Story of Courage and Survival

Attorney Cindy Ossias is responsible for blowing the whistle on the illegal activities of former State Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush. Her story was featured on NBC's Dateline.

Ms. Ossias described her own story, including the investigation into her own conduct. She discussed the risks involved for a lawyer/whistleblower, and how the law could be reformed to protect lawyers who feel compelled to act for the public good.

4/16/02 – Doctors, the Law, and the Ethics of Death

Professor Zitrin discussed ethical issues relating to the physician’s role in death penalty cases, involuntary medication of mentally ill prisoners, making life and death decisions for the gravely ill, and other legal conflicts.

2/01/02 - Written Symposium

In conjunction with the USF Law Review, the Center for Applied Legal Ethics (now know as the Center for Law and Ethics) hosted a written symposium on teaching values in law school. Each of the four major contributors to this Symposium—Chris Eisgruber, Josh Rosenberg, Paul Tremblay, and Brad Wendel—grappled with a fundamental challenge for legal ethics: whether and how to teach values to students. Given the emphasis in law schools on remaining open to differing perspectives rather than arriving at orthodoxy and on engaging in intellectual exploration rather than inculcating values, that challenge is formidable. The scholars’ responses to that challenge appeared in 36 U.S.F. L. Rev. (2002).