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California Western graduates provide broad perspective needed to solve nation’s leading problems

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San Diego maintains a strong connection to the issues that shape our nation and world. Many of those responsible for the perspective behind key decisions were educated at the region’s schools, including California Western School of Law. A number of California Western alumni -- thanks to their skills, circumstances, or both -- find themselves working in areas that attract the spotlight, and which potentially could impact thousands, if not millions of lives.

Just scratching the surface, it is easy to find California Western alumni deeply involved in everything from major government financial reform and legal battles over the BP (NYSE: BP) Gulf oil spill to protecting the treatment of war captives. In each case, these alumni rely on the skills they acquired in law school in combination with what they learned in rising to the top of their respective legal fields. Their high degree of professionalism and ethics has created a reputation for the school as a home for ethical thought leaders.

Working behind the scenes to help craft a fiscal recovery plan for the United States, California Western graduate Joshua Odintz balances competing interests to develop new ideas to balance the national budget by 2015. Odintz served as chief tax counsel to the president’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which issued its final report in December. In this role, Odintz presented tax reform options to the bipartisan commission, co-chaired by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton administration official Erskine Bowles. His broad perspective allowed him to navigate technical, legal and political realities to develop innovative new ideas for containing costs and increasing revenue. The committee’s recommendations will guide future discussions of this crucial national issue.

Leading by example defines the career of Brig. Gen. Kevin M. Sandkuhler (Ret.), former U.S. Marine Corps Staff Advocate to the Commandant. In a legal memorandum addressed to military leaders, he objected to the interrogation methods used with terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. When declassified by Congress, his legal memorandum thrust him into the national spotlight and helped shape the national debate over issues of torture and human rights. Even in the face of opposition among military leadership and the public, Sandkuhler held to his belief that the United States ought to act within the spirit of the law and honor its obligation to humanely treat all prisoners of war.

Hundreds of miles from the nation’s capitol, another California Western alumnus works to protect the vulnerable and uphold the rule of law. Leading trial attorney Richard Meadow helps manage one of the first class action suits filed in the wake of the April Gulf oil spill, designed to protect the rights of Gulf Coast residents and provide a layer of transparency for those responsible for the worst environmental disaster in decades.

Through their engagement in vital national issues and their principled work on behalf of clients, these advocates reflect the values that help make California Western School of Law what law school ought to be.

Submitted by California Western School of Law

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