ua law logo high res | Link                                                                                        June 26, 2013


This week's three featured members of the Arizona Law community are student Shirley Wang, Professor Brent White, and alumna Cristina Castaneda. Enjoy!


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Until the footnotes,




Student News
Yan "Shirley" Wang (Accelerated JD Class of 2014)

Yan Wang, or Shirley, as she is known at the law school, is part of a strong group of international students at Arizona Law who are pursuing the innovative Accelerated JD for Non-US Lawyers. Her hometown is Qingdao, China, where she earned a master's degree with a major in international public law from Ocean University of China, one of our global partners.


Wang, Shirley

The Accelerated JD program gives lawyers from outside the US the opportunity to finish their JD in two years (with a non-US law degree), or as little as 18 months (if those lawyers also have an LLM). "Before I knew about the Accelerated JD program at Arizona Law, I was planning to get another Master's degree in the Netherlands," Shirley said. "But the advantages here, including the opportunity to learn American law and the ability to improve my English - especially my legal English - have been wonderful."


Shirley has found the people at Arizona Law extremely welcoming. "I think the professors here are very nice to students - they really care about us," she said. "When I arrived in Tucson at midnight last August, Ms. Mandy Shoemaker picked me up at the airport. Professor White, Professor Rabe, and Ms. Barb Carlson also helped us a lot in our daily life and study. They bring us to the supermarket, or invite us for dinner. They treat international students like family members."


After graduation, Shirley plans to practice law in China. In fact, she's already passed the Chinese bar exam. "I lived in Beijing for four years, so I will probably work for a law firm there and focus on international trade." Still, she hasn't ruled out the possibility of practicing in the US, she said, since experience working here would be valuable back home.

Outside of the law, Shirley says that she really enjoys the Tucson climate (especially in winter!), as well as shopping with friends. In December, Shirley sat down with Nancy Stanley to talk about her experiences. You can watch some of her interview


Faculty News
Brent White

Brent White has been with the College since 2006 where he is a Professor, serves as Associate Dean for Programs and Global Initiatives, and is also an Affiliated Professor of East Asian Studies. Brent's national and global journeys have landed him in Tucson, where he is now helping to spread Arizona Law's influence around the globe.

  White, Brent

Brent grew up in Alabama. "After law school I clerked briefly and ended up in Nashville as a public defender, which is what I intended to do when I graduated from law school - before becoming a clinical law professor," he recalls. "I loved being a public defender, but I wanted to experience the opportunities of Washington, DC."


In DC, Brent practiced white-collar criminal defense at Crowell & Moring and handled cases involving Japanese price-fixing. "I speak Japanese, so I spent a good deal of my time on that case, working and translating. But I soon discovered that white-collar crime wasn't where I wanted to end up."


The concept of place was very important to Brent; he saw a posting for legal director of the Hawaii ACLU and applied. "Almost immediately, I forgot that I had done so. And when I got a call two months later for an interview, I was surprised. But I interviewed over the phone and was offered the job and accepted it, never having been to Hawaii. I had lived in Okinawa, Japan, before, and I'd been told the cities were similar."


When he got off the plane, he immediately knew it was the right choice. He worked in Hawaii for five years on cases involving free speech, employment discrimination, and even a class action involving over-detention of prisoners.


At that point, Brent was ready to make the move to law teaching and worked at NYU's Lawyering Program for two years before going on the teaching market. "I saw the Arizona Law posting for a civil procedure and mediation professor. I'd been to Tucson and knew that I'd enjoy living here."


And to me, that seems right - a recipe for Tucson might well be to take a little bit of the south, a good chunk of the west, a touch of the Pacific, and healthy sprinkle of DC and New York, then bake (at least that would be the recipe in June!).


Brent teaches a variety of classes and enjoys them all for different reasons, but admits that his favorite is civil procedure. "I love teaching first-year students and watching the transition from a lay person's view of the law - that there are answers - to a law student's view at the end of the semester - that the law is largely indeterminate, and that there are no answers! To watch the thinking go from black and white to nuanced reasoning is very gratifying."


White, Brent (visit)
Brent on a recent visit to Sun Yat-Sen University in China


Brent is excited about his part in creating the Accelerated JD program, working closely with David Gantz, and with the strong support of the faculty. He's always had an interest in international issues, and has lived in China, Cambodia, Thailand, and Mongolia, as well as Japan.


"I've always wanted to see the law school become more global in its focus," he says. "It's traditionally been international, with strong programs in trade and business as well as IPLP, but we've begun to think differently about globalization. For many companies, the ideal lawyer is fully trained in two jurisdictions, more for translating legal thought than just language.


"So Arizona Law designed the Accelerated JD as a two-year JD for international lawyers. It gives those lawyers access to the transformative first year of the JD, and bridges the gap for international lawyers so they learn to think like American lawyers."


It also has benefits for the US students. "It enables the US students to form connections with lawyers who are already very high-level in foreign countries - senior counsel at law firms, government officials, mining attorneys and so forth. This fall, we'll have students from ten countries, which is a globalization of our legal education in the classroom as well as of our student body and the U of A network."


Brent adds, "Even though our Accelerated JD program is only three years old, we've learned a lot about how for many lawyers from outside the US there's value in the JD over the LLM. "It shows that there is a great demand for international lawyers to have a path to the JD that makes sense."


For more information on Brent, including a list of his published papers, you can visit his faculty profile.


Alumni News
Cristina Castaneda (LLM '07)

Originally from El Salvador, where she earned her first law degree, Cristina Castaneda was working at a law firm in San Salvador when she decided to get her LLM from Arizona Law.


"I was an associate at Arias & Muñoz, focusing in international contracting and corporate law," she said. "While reading about the U of A, I noticed that the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (NatLaw) was affiliated with the College. I then found out that Arias & Muñoz had worked with NatLaw on a previous country assessment during CAFTA-DR, the first free trade agreement between American and a group of smaller, developing economies. That, along with the leading international/commercial law professors at Arizona Law, scored high points for me, as I was mostly interested in international trade at that time."


Castaneda, CristinaAs with many others, the climate in Tucson played a part in Cristina's decision. "Other aspects that definitely led me into deciding to choose Arizona Law were financial support - I received two scholarship awards - and the fact that there are no earthquakes in Arizona. Coming from an earthquake prone country - I have lived through three major earthquakes in El Salvador, one in 1986 and two in 2011 - this was important to me."


She learned several critical skills while earning her LLM. "The Master's in International Trade Law allowed me to do several things in the course of a year," she says. "I improved my research and legal writing skills; I became much more familiar with US law; and the variety of elective classes with international perspectives allowed me to focus my degree in business-related aspects of international trade such as trade agreements and disputes, business organizations, and international taxation. Finally, I learned the importance of comparative commercial law."


All of this led her to where she is today. "I began as a Research Attorney at NatLaw, working mostly with Honduras as they introduced a new law on personal-property-secured transactions. Now, I am the Research and Development Director at NatLaw, and I enjoy every moment of it. Our work focuses on three areas: legal reform, particularly reforms or laws that are targeted to facilitating access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses; legal and judicial training; and research in various areas of law that promote economic development."


Cristina is particularly proud of her role in coordinating Natlaw's growing judicial training projects. "Our training projects began in Mexico with hands-on training for the judiciary in oral trial advocacy and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms with regard to commercial disputes. Today, our training projects have grown in subject matter and audience."


In addition to working with other faculty members, Cristina has been able to work with Arizona Law alumni and other friends of the College during the projects. "We've trained trial and appellate judges, lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders, law professors, and students, with a focus not only on commercial law but civil disputes, bankruptcy, and criminal claims."

On a personal note, Cristina has a passion for language and culture. "I am fluent in Spanish and English and have basic knowledge of French," she says. "I teach translation and interpretation at Pima Community College, and I am a member of their translation and interpretation studies external advisory committee. I have also been asked to speak at the U of A's Arizona LEND seminars on leadership and cultural linguistics. Finally, I volunteer with Lawyers for Literacy."



Movers and Shakers

Congratulations to Seattle-Area Alumnus, Ryan Dreveskracht ('09)

Arizona Law alum Ryan Dreveskracht, a lawyer at the Seattle-area firm of Galanda Broadman PLLC, was recently honored as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers Magazine. You can read the entire story here. This extraordinary firm is made up entirely of Arizona Law alumni, including named partners Gabe Galanda ('00) and Anthony Broadman ('07).


Judge Roxanne Song Ong ('78) Selected as Arizona Supreme Court's Judge of the Year

Song Ong, RoxanneCongratulations to the Honorable Roxanne K. Song Ong, Chief Presiding Judge of the Phoenix Municipal Court, who has been selected as the 2013 Arizona Supreme Court Judge of the Year by the Arizona Judicial Branch.


Judge Song Ong was appointed to her current post in November 2005 by the Phoenix City Council. She has served as a judge for the court since 1991 and was appointed as the Assistant Presiding Judge in October 2000. Before first becoming a judge in 1986 (with the Scottsdale Municipal Court) she practiced in the areas of criminal prosecution, defense, and immigration law.


Recently, she was also honored for leadership and commitment to the state by the Arizona Centennial Legacy Project as one of Arizona's 48 Most Intriguing Women; as the recipient of the 2013 Asian Pacific Community in Action Award for her work in the field of law, diversity, and particularly for her contributions to the Asian Pacific American community; and was profiled in a video made as part of the local series "Makers: Arizona," in conjunction with the national PBS documentary "Makers: Women Who Make America."




Is there something new or interesting going on in your life or your career? Do you have updated contact information or generally want to be more in touch with the college? You can always email us your latest news at


The Wildcat Wednesday - Letter of the Law is available every week for any colleague, family member, or friend who would like to keep track of life at the College. Anyone can sign up here.


We Need Your Help - Update Your Contact Information

In an effort to stay in closer contact with all of our alumni, we are asking you to update your contact information this summer. Please help us by filling out the brief form at the link below. Let us know the best way to contact you. Tell us more about your career and how we can better serve you! You can find the form here.


Attorney Mentor Program - Tucson

Tucson area alums - Connect with the Arizona Law community by volunteering for the 1L Attorney Mentor Program. Mentors give first-year students a direct connection to the local legal community. Depending on a student's needs and interests, a mentor might provide advice on navigating the demands of law school, share insight into the practice of law, invite the student to a community or legal event, or engage in a common interest such as sports or music.


For more information on how to serve as a mentor, visit:



Alumni Reception - Phoenix, AZ - July 10

Please join us for an Arizona Law Community Celebration on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 from 5-7pm at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar - Dreamcatcher Ballroom, 2 E. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ.


All alumni and students are welcome. Come to connect with old friends, network with new colleagues, meet our impressive students, and hear about the people and programs that advance our 98-year tradition of excellence. The event is co-hosted by Quarles & Brady, Greenberg Traurig, and LexisNexis. Please RSVP by July 5th to Marissa White, 520-621-8430.


Seattle Reception 2
Dean Miller (fourth from the left) at the Seattle Meet the Dean event


Seattle Dean
Dean Miller in Seattle



Upcoming Dates to "Meet the Dean" 

  • Washington, DC - July 10
  • San Francisco, CA - July 18
  • Sacramento, CA - July 29
  • New York City - August 6
  • Boston, MA - August 7 








Marc Signature  


Dean & Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law

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