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Western Regional Legal Writing Conference presenters, panelists and participants on the steps of Northwest Hall at McGeorge.

McGeorge Hosts Western Regional Legal Writing Conference

August 9, 2016

Tags: Advocacy Center, Faculty & Scholarship, 2016, News

McGeorge School of Law hosted the Sixth Annual Western Regional Legal Writing Conference (WRLWC) on Aug. 5 and 6, 2016. The topic this year was "Awakening the Force: LRW and the Development of Professional Identity." McGeorge professors Hether Macfarlane and Jeffrey Proske organized the two-day conference, with assistance from professors Adrienne Brungess, Dan Croxall, Maureen Moran and Mary-Beth Moylan

The conference program described the theme: "Awakening the Force: LRW and the Development of Professional Identity is more than just a wink at a mythical struggle from a galaxy far, far away. It is intended to underscore the development of "Professional Identity" as an important curricular concern for law schools and to highlight how LRW faculty can contribute to the conversation."  

After the conference welcome at noon on Aug. 5 by McGeorge professors Michael Colatrella Jr., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and professor Moylan, Director of Global Lawyering Skills Program, and lunch, the conference began with a series of short presentations and discussions.  

The first presentation of the conference was "Breathing New Life into the "A" in "CRAC": CPR + Compare, Introducing a New Method for Teaching the Analysis Section of a Brief" by Nina Farber, Visiting Instructor of Legal Writing, Brooklyn Law School. Then "Teaching Right-Brain Thinking: Letting the Cat Out of the Bag" was presented by Norman E. Plate, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.  "Ready or Not: How to Assess Professionalism Under the New ABA Requirements" was presented by Susan Smith Bakhshian, Director of Bar Programs and Academic Success, Loyola Law School — Los Angeles. Professionalism Instruction for International LLM Students: How Should We Teach About Plagiarism and Professional Responsibility" was presented by Jonathan Gordon, Professor and Associate Director LLM Lawyering Skills Program, Mentor, Provost Scholars Program, Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

The final presentation of the first day was "Bridging Theoretical with Experiential Coursework — A Step in the Right Direction" by Adrienne Brungess, Professor of Lawyering Skills, McGeorge School of Law, followed by a reception at the McGeorge house on campus.  

Day two began with breakfast and coffee on the McGeorge Quad, followed with the  presentation "Awakening the Force: The Development of Professional Identity Through Self-Assessment and Self-Reflection in the First-Year Classroom," by Fiona McKenna, Assistant Professor, Legal Writing Program, Golden Gate University Law School. Karin Mika, Legal Writing Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, then presented "Cultivating Professional Identity through Personal Connection at the Earliest Stages of Law School: The Evening Student."

A panel discussion about "The New Mosaic: Professional Identity Development for Diverse Students," was moderated by Hether Macfarlane, McGeorge School of Law. The panelists included McGeorge alumni Bashar Ahmad, '08, Boutin, Jones, Inc.; Carmen-Nicole Cox, '11, Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.; Kathryn Patterson, '09, Cota Cole, LLP; and Ederlina Co, a new Global Lawyering Skills professor at McGeorge School of Law.

After lunch, the conference continued with a panel discussion about "The Stand-Alone Professional Identity Course," moderated by Grace Hum, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, University of San Francisco School of Law. The panelists were Rupa Bhandari, Assistant Dean of Student Services, UC Hastings College of the Law; Jerome M. Organ, University of St. Thomas; Jeffrey Proske, McGeorge School of Law and Clifford Zimmerman, Northwestern, Pritzker School of Law.  "Beyond Innocence: Using Miller Resentencing Litigation to Teach Professional Values," was presented by Christopher Hawthorne, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing Clinic, Loyola Law School Los Angeles. Then Bob Brain, Loyola Law School, presented "Development of Professional Identity through Volunteer Service and Leadership in Legal Writing Organizations.

The final presentation of the conference was "Creating a Mindful Identity," by Courtney Lee, Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director of Academic Support, McGeorge School of Law.  Speaker biographies are available in the conference program (pdf).

Hosting of the annual Western Regional Legal Writing Conference rotates among law schools each year, and in 2017 it will be held at Seattle University.

Participant Reviews

"Pacific McGeorge put on a great conference. Sacramento is a lovely city, and McGeorge has a beautiful campus. The group was a great mix of veteran and novice, and the group just the right size to be able to have enough people to share ideas while still maintaining the level of intimacy that allows you to get to know one another and actually remember who everyone is! I also had a great time taking pictures of our colleagues with the various Pokemon running around the campus." — Karin Mika, Legal Writing Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law


"I want to thank McGeorge School of Law for hosting and organizing the Western Regional Legal Writing Conference on "Awakening the Force: LRW and the Development of Professional Identity." I attended the Saturday session and found the panels to be excellent in presenting tips on how we can help law students to develop their professional identity.  There were many ideas given to integrate into our existing courses or a stand alone course. Thanks to all the panelists who presented. Thank you also to the professors at McGeorge for their warm hospitality at welcoming us to their beautiful campus on a perfect summer day.  I wish everyone a great start to their fall semester." — Edith Ho, Director & Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, University of San Francisco School of Law

Panel and Group Photos

WRLWC 2016