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June 28, 2021

Southwestern Starts Fall '21 with New Dean and 10 New Faculty

Southwestern Law School recently announced that Darby Dickerson, one of the most experienced and accomplished academic leaders in legal education, would take the standalone law school's helm on July 1st.  Not only is Southwestern preparing for its next era of leadership (Susan Westerberg Prager brilliantly led the school for eight years), but over the past several months Southwestern was hard at work recruiting some of the most sought-after legal scholars and educators in the country. 

Often referred to as a "hidden gem," Southwestern produces graduates who dominate many important practice areas in the competitive Los Angeles market. The Los Angeles District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices, public interest and civil rights organizations, the plaintiff's/ trial lawyers, music, entertainment, and real estate bars are peppered with successful and distinguished Southwestern alumni. 

Southwestern’s prominence is built on its 110-year long mission of diversity and inclusion, which is reflected in these prodigious additions to its already impressive cadre of educators and scholars.

Doctrinal Professors:

Image - Meera Deo
Meera Deo, Professor of Law:
 Meera Deo is a national expert on legal education, racial representation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is also Director of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), which houses the largest repository of law student data and is based at Indiana University-Bloomington. Before joining Southwestern, she was a tenured Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Professor Deo has also held visiting positions at Berkeley Law, UC Irvine School of Law, UCLA School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, and New College of Florida. She teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence, Law & Society, and Race & Law. Her research utilizes empirical methods to interrogate institutional diversity, affirmative action, and Critical Race Theory. Professor Deo's scholarship has been widely published in law reviews and peer-review journals and cited in numerous amicus briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2020, she was elected to the American Law Institute.  View Professor Deo's complete faculty profile here.

Image - Richard Jolly
Richard Jolly, Associate Professor of Law
:  Richard Lorren Jolly teaches in the areas of civil and criminal procedure, evidence, and torts. Professor Jolly brings nearly a decade of experience in legal practice, policy, and research into the classroom. This allows him to provide students with a learning experience focused on tying legal theories to their real-world applications. Prior to joining Southwestern, Professor Jolly gained extensive practice experience litigating complex commercial disputes, consumer and securities class actions, and government enforcement actions at leading law firms, including Susman Godfrey LLP and Buckley LLP in Los Angeles, California. Professor Jolly’s research primarily focuses on issues of public and private procedure. Specifically, he is interested in how parties customize procedures through contractual agreements in ways that can enhance or undermine the integrity of judicial institutions and the substantive development of law. View Professor Jolly's complete faculty profile here.

Image - Christopher Robinette
Christopher Robinette, Professor of Law: 
Christopher J. Robinette, an expert in tort law and theory, was appointed Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School in 2021.  He teaches Torts, Products Liability, and Foundations of Tort Law Seminar. Before coming to Southwestern, Robinette was Professor of Law at Widener University Commonwealth Law School, where he won both scholarship and teaching awards on multiple occasions. Professor Robinette also serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Tort Law, the only peer-reviewed journal devoted to tort law in the United States.  He serves as an editor of a leading torts treatise, Harper, James & Gray on Torts, and a leading insurance treatise, New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition.  Additionally, Professor Robinette edits TortsProf Blog, a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network. His work has been cited by federal and state courts in numerous jurisdictions.  He is frequently quoted in the media in outlets such as the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters, and The Washington Post. View Professor Robinette's complete faculty profile here.

professor WIlliam Wood
William Wood,  Associate Professor of Law: Professor Wood has taught some of the most unique and impactful courses at Southwestern as a visiting professor and now joins the doctrinal faculty. Professor Wood's research focuses on legal history, federal Indian law, and jurisdictional and property aspects of relationships among Indigenous polities, states and local governments, and the United States.  His scholarship has appeared in the American University Law Review, Kansas Law Review, and Tulsa Law Review and has been cited in opinions from the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of California. Professor Wood holds a joint J.D./M.A. degree in Law and American Indian Studies from UCLA with specializations in Business Law and Policy as well as in Critical Race Studies, an M.A. degree in history from UCLA, and a Master of Studies in Environmental Law and Master in Public Policy degrees.  Professor Wood has directed the Tribal Legal Development Clinic and taught Advanced Topics in Federal Indian Law and a seminar on Indian Gaming Law, Policy, and Politics at UCLA School of Law, where he was the inaugural Bernard A. and Lenore S. Greenberg Law Review Fellow. View Professor Wood's complete faculty profile here.

Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills (LAWS) and Academic Success and Bar Preparation Professors:

Image - Maleaha Brown​​​​​
Maleaha Brown brings experience as a legal aid litigator to Southwestern’s Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills faculty. Professor Brown takes a trauma-informed approach to legal education similar to her approach in practice when representing low-income survivors of domestic violence in the civil legal system. Prior to joining Southwestern, Professor Brown practiced at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. In these roles, Professor Brown litigated high conflict, complex family law, and other civil legal matters on behalf of the most vulnerable members of society to provide protection in the aftermath of abuse and against further victimization in the court system. Professor Brown is passionate about improving the experiences of diverse women in the legal profession. During and after her time at Howard Law, Professor Brown has been an active member of Ms. JD, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers. Professor Brown has served on Ms. JD’s Board of Directors since 2017 and currently serves as the Board Chair. View Professor Brown's complete faculty profile here.

Image - Faisal Kutty
Faisal Kutty
 brings experience as an attorney, legal educator, and human rights activist. He comes to Southwestern after more than two decades of practice and teaching experience at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana, and the Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law at Barry University in Florida. He has also taught comparative law, Islamic law, professional responsibility, and contract drafting.  Professor Kutty’s research interests are both doctrinal and pedagogical. His academic articles have appeared in law reviews and peer-reviewed books. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Manchester Journal of Transnational Islamic Law. He previously served on the editorial board of the Arab Law Quarterly. He has published hundreds of op-eds in publications worldwide, including the Toronto Star, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, Chicago Tribune, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, Arab News, Indian Express, etc.  View Professor Kutty's complete faculty profile here.

Image - Professor Janet Philibosian
Professor Janet Philibosian '04
comes to Southwestern full-time after serving as an adjunct professor and more than 16 years in private practice, where she represented a wide variety of clients, including large corporations, medical groups, property management companies, restaurant groups, and small business owners. Professor Philibosian also served as a Staff Attorney at Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, a nonprofit public interest firm representing the thousands of children in Los Angeles County’s Dependency Court. While a student at Southwestern, Professor Philibosian served as an Executive Board Member and Lead Articles Editor for the Southwestern Law Review.  She worked as a teaching assistant for Professor Robert Pugsley, and as a research assistant for Professor Catherine Carpenter.  Professor Philibosian served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Dickran Tevrizian (ret.), United States District Court for the Central District of California, and as a Certified Law Clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in the Central Trials Preliminary Hearing Unit. View Professor Philibosian's complete faculty profile here.

Image - Della Thompson-Bell
Della Thompson-Bell '02
comes to Southwestern from the City of Torrance, where she practiced law for over 17 years.  She began her career with the city in the criminal division as a courtroom deputy, prosecuting misdemeanor criminal cases.  She then moved to the civil division, defending the city in personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights litigation matters. Prior to Torrance, Professor Thompson-Bell was a law clerk and associate with the Law Offices of Robie and Matthai, where she practiced legal malpractice defense and insurance bad faith defense. While a PLEAS student at Southwestern, Professor Thompson-Bell served as a law clerk for the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson, United States District Court Judge, and the Honorable Allen Webster Jr., Los Angeles Superior Court Judge.  View Professor Thompson-Bell's complete faculty profile here.

Visiting Professors of Law:

Image - Gilbert Carrasco
Gilbert Carrasco 
is a recognized expert in Constitutional Law, with a special emphasis on the intersection of civil rights and immigration law and policy. Professor Carrasco practiced law for a decade, including serving in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, first as Special Assistant to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John E. Huerta, then as Trial Attorney in cases in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Illinois, where he developed and filed the first case in the history of the Department under both Title VII (employment) and Title VIII (housing). Professor Carrasco has taught for extended periods in China, Kuwait, and as a Fulbright Specialist in Constitutional Law in Ukraine.  In addition to teaching at Seton Hall, the University of San Diego, the University of Oregon, and Lewis & Clark, he was tenured at Villanova and since 2001 has taught as a tenured Professor of Law at Willamette University in Oregon, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights Litigation, Immigration Law and Policy, Sexuality and Discrimination, and Latinos and the Law. View Professor Carrasco's complete faculty profile here.

Image - D.O. Malagrino
D.O. Malagrinò
 joins Southwestern to teach Property, Wills, Trusts & Estates, and Land Use. Professor Malagrinò is a tenured, full Professor of Law (on leave) from the Charleston School of Law.  Professor Malagrinò is licensed to practice law in the state courts of California and in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Central Districts of California. He is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law and of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to academia, Professor Malagrinò spent six years in private practice in San Diego, specializing in complex civil litigation including securities fraud and antitrust class actions. Professor Malagrinò researches and writes in the areas of property law, comparative property law, law and anthropology, and sports law. View Professor Malagrinò's complete faculty profile here.

Southwestern's entire community warmly welcomes these
stellar educators and scholars to our Bison Family!