File #4513: "DICTA_vol16_no2_2016.pdf"


VOL. XVI - NO. 2
MARCH 2016

Deans get
an earful
at forum

11 days in Havana:
By (Ret.) Judge Isaac Borenstein
n the one hand, Cuba is in the
news all the time it seems. On
the other hand, as 24 law students
learned recently, there are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about the island
and its people.
This is one of the best lessons at any
level; seeing for yourself is believing, or
at least discovering. In a unique educational experience, these 24 students, with


the participation of Prof. Elizabeth Trujillo and visiting professor and retired Judge
Isaac Borenstein, spent 11 days in Havana
with 5 days of classes at the University
of Havana Law School, joined by Cuban
law students and professors. The subject
this past January, during the intersession
course, was Cuban economic changes, the
business environment, contract law and
Whereas the media reports in the U.S.

Cuban native reflects during
visit to island with students
from Havana — including during President Obama’s recent historic visit — appear to focus on “Havana is collapsing
and Cubans live in slums; only old American cars are running; the island is frozen
in time,” and other “catchy phrases,” our
law students were able to get to know the
beautiful and interesting Cuban capital by
moving around it, often alone, without trying to hold on to limited perspectives.
Continued on page 5

E Former DA is new Suffolk
general counsel. Page 7


Suffolk University Law School visiting professor (and retired judge) Isaac Borenstein lectures to students during January trip to Cuba.

By Melanie Maynor
n Feb. 2, 2016, the SBA Student Issues and Concerns Committee
hosted a Q & A event with Suffolk
University Law School, Dean Andrew Perlman and Dean of Students, Laura Ferrari.
The event was open to all law school students, with a variety of questions raised.
Dean Perlman began by stating that he
finds being dean of the law school gratifying and is very positive about the school’s
future. He reminded the audience that prior to being our dean, he has been on the
faculty for the past 14 years, and that his
emphasis as dean is on ensuring practical
training for the students.
The topics raised included questions
about schedules for evening students versus day students, questions regarding the
current issue between Suffolk University’s
president and the Board of Trustees, to
ranking the law school.
Q: Evening students are frustrated over
course scheduling and final exam schedules. Scheduling for evening students does
not seem to take into consideration their
work schedules.
Continued on page 4

E QLA panel reflects on civil
rights challenges. Page 9
E Study abroad proves a valuable experience Page 8
E Asian-Pacific American
Law Assoc. president honored by magazine. Page 11

Page 2



Section letters are no mystery
By Shakesha Coleman
hen I arrived two Augusts ago
and discovered that I was in Section “1D,” I thought, “What does
the ‘D’ mean?” I wondered if the ““D”
meant what Ds in school usually mean
— that the person being given the “D” is
somehow less adequate. Were Section D
students the last to be offered admission?
Were we the section with the lowest GPAs
or LSAT scores?
Finally, I asked a second-year student,
who happened to be in a “higher” lettered
section, if there was any meaning to the
section letter designations. Much to my
chagrin, she said that there was, and that
the letters corresponded to attributes such
as GPA, LSAT score, whether or not students were granted scholarships, and personality.
This person told me that students were
grouped according to personality, and that
the decision-makers alternated the letter
that corresponded to the section in which
Type A students were placed — so that
one year Type A students would be in Section A, another year they would be in Section C, and so forth.
This student also informed me that she
had been given this information by an official source, but refused to reveal who
or what the source was. Believe me, I
asked. Later, another student from this
same “higher” lettered section told me
that some sections get a more challenging courseload, and that she and another
student from her section had asked to be
transferred to a “lower” section due to the
workload. (Is transferring between sections even allowed?)
I found this hard to believe, but what
did I know? This person had been here
for a whole year before me — and she
said her information was official! I struggled with this idea for obvious reasons,
but mainly because many of my 1D classmates seemed so smart. (I had also met
some “higher” lettered section schoolmates who did not seem so smart.)
At least two of my section mates were
offered coveted OCI positions — one of
which was offered two positions and had
to choose which one he wanted! (He “settled” for being an associate at Ropes and
Gray, LLP.) So clearly, “higher” lettered
sections do not have a monopoly on success. Law school is hard enough without
the added pressure of thinking your section letter is a scarlet letter concerning
your potential.

Finally, I decided to speak with a
school official who would know better
than anyone what section letter designations really mean. I decided that no matter what I was told about what section letter designations actually mean, I deserve
to be here. I earned my acceptance letter
just like everybody else, and my grades,
GPA, and LSAT score are not an indicator
of my worth as a person or a legal scholar.
Apparently, I am not the only person
to have wondered about the meaning behind section letter designations. Thirtysix percent of the students who responded to a survey about their perception of
section letter designations indicated that
they, too, wondered about the meaning
of section letters. Almost half of the students surveyed admitted to not knowing if
the designations mean anything, but more
students thought the designations have
meaning than those that believed there is
no meaning.
Thirty-two percent of surveyed students revealed that they have discussed
designation meanings with others. Forty-two percent have heard others discussing what the designations mean. Most students said that section letter designations
were never explained to them. Thirty percent revealed that another student had informed them that section letter designations are a function of past achievement
such as GPA, LSAT score, and scholarship achievement. Thirty-four percent of
surveyed students agreed that students in
some sections are exposed to more rigorous content than others.
A meeting with the Associate Administrative Dean of Enrollment and Registrar
herself, revealed some surprising news.
The only goal the school has in mind
when creating sections is to make each
section as diverse as the entire school.
The school tries to keep sections diverse
in terms of race, gender, and ethnicity,
and tries to maintain equity among students and faculty.
For instance, twenty-four percent of
Suffolk Law School’s students are people of color. The school attempts to reflect
this ratio in each section. Academic credentials and scholarship attainment are
not considered when sections are created. When students are admitted, it is not
always known whether or not the student
will get a scholarship.
Further, sections are put together after tuition is due, and are filled up right

until the first week of classes. Students
are offered admission at various times, so
groupings based on such detailed characteristics are not possible. There actually
is no discussion about the sections and the
criteria for placement.
After chuckling at the idea that she
and others actually have time to measure and fawn over the personalities and
past achievements of admitted students
and correlate that information to potential
success, Dean Lorraine Cove reminded
me that students in the “higher” lettered
sections fit into the grading curve just like
everyone else, and suggested that faculty could not follow the mandatory grading
curve if everyone in any section deserved
the highest possible grade.
Dean Cove encourages students to “separate your character and integrity from
how you perform on exams,” and not to label oneself by the grade received on an
examination. A grade of C does not make
you a “C” person. Dean Cove informs that
there is a strong correlation between firstyear grades and bar success, advises all
students to register for bar related courses and to take advantage of all the available bar resources Suffolk offers, and insists that the entire Suffolk community is
committed to student success.
According to Dean Cove, a number of
alumni identify their own law school experiences with classmates and faculty
based on their first year section, and tend
to mentor new students who are similarly sectioned. This is likely to be the only
manner in which section life may lead to a
Sections are not compared to each other. There is no indication that students
from one section tend to have a higher bar
passage or employment rate than others.
So there you have it: Section groupings
have nothing to do with perceived ability;
it’s just about keeping each section even
and diverse.
I guess in a place like law school —
with its grading curves and competition —
it’s easy to create or be attracted to a scenario that puts you on top or distinguishes you from the pack. That, and our society teaches us to associate the letters A
through F with “grades.” But here at Suffolk, greatness is expected from all of us.
Special thanks to Dean Lorraine Cove for
taking the time to speak with me about section
letter designations, and to those of you who
took the time to complete the survey!

Page 3

Shakesha Coleman
Art Directors
Gamze Yalcin
Craig Thaddeus Martin
Prof. Michael Rustad
Prof. Thomas Koenig
Melanie Maynor
Bridgett Sandusky
Anthony Hugar
Judge Isaac Borenstein (ret.)

Dicta is the official student newspaper of the Suffolk Law School
community, existing solely to
help foster a sense of community
through communication. The goal of
Dicta is to educate, inform, enlighten, and entertain the student body
through outstanding reporting and
editorials on news, events, trends,
sports, arts, food, and popular culture.
The opinions and views expressed in Dicta are not necessarily those of the Dicta staff and are
not the opinions of Suffolk University Law School or the student body.
Suffolk Law School students control and conduct all facets of this
paper. Dicta does not discriminate
against any persons and complies
with the university policies concerning equality.
Dicta encourages students, alumni, faculty, and administrators to
submit letters to the editor and articles for publication. Submissions
should include the author’s name,
class and/or position at the university or in the community. Dicta reserves the right to edit and publish
all submissions. Anonymous submissions will not be published.
Printed by Sun Chronicle Media,
34 South Main St., Attleboro, Mass.

Page 4


Deans respond to student
questions at issues forum
Continued from page 1
A: Dean Perlman and Dean Ferrari
stated that they are open to suggestions.
The school tries to make the schedule as
fair as possible. The deans said that they
will work one-on-one with evening students to try to resolve any issues.
Q: Above the Law’s article that accused Suffolk Law School of turning a
back room in its library into a “dungeon”
for Suffolk’s Client Services Innovation
A: Dean Perlman stated that he was
disappointed with the article. The key
value of the program is to give students
insight to real world law practice with
technology. Dean Perlman did state that
the program is still waiting for its first
project to come.
Q: How does the recent battle between
Suffolk University president McKenna
and Suffolk University Board of Trustees affect the stability of the school as a
whole? Will it distract from the improvements that the school has already made?
A: Dean Perlman stated that he was
disappointed that the battle was being
played out in the press, and that it is a
distraction. However, he believes that the
challenges won’t have any effect on the
emphasis of the law schoo’’s long-term vision. He also reassured the audience that
all the prior reductions in the number of
admitted students had been planned and
were purposeful. He ensured high quality
credentialed student, and envisioned better bar passage rates.
Q: Is tuition going up after the 2015-16
school year?
A: Dean Perlman reassured the audience that he is trying to keep tuition flat.
He stated that the school’s bills were being paid by reducing expenses, reducing
faculty and receiving money from the use
of the fifth floor by the Sawyer Business
Q: Are there any plans to address the
noise issues in the library from the fifth
A: Dean Ferrari encouraged student
who were seeking more quiet to move to
the quieter side of the library.
Q: What was being done about the law
school’s low bar passage rates?
A: Dean Perlman agreed that the bar
passage rates are too low and is current-

From left: Jenna Borkoski, director of the Committee for Student Issues and Concerns; Dean Perlman; Dean Ferrari; Breanna Lynn Arsenault; Melanie Maynor.
ly looking at proposals that would bring
them up.
Q: What is happening between Suffolk
University president McKenna and the
Board of Trustees?
A: Dean Perlman told the audience
that the audience (students) knew as
much as he did. He said that he was doing his best to keep out of the situation,
is deeply disappointed that the battle was
being played out in the press, as he believed that it should have been kept behind closed doors.
Q: What is being done to address the
problems with the Financial Aid Office?
A: The deans agreed that the transitions at the school, including the Financial Aid Office, had not gone as smooth as
they could have gone.
Q: What is the school doing to address
the lack of diversity at Suffolk University
Law School, with regards to students and
A: Dean Perlman agreed he doesn’t see
enough diversity at the school, either in
the student body or the faculty. He commented that faculty diversity is accomplished through hiring and the school has
not done much hiring lately.
Q: Is the school doing anything to increase summer placements for 2L’s and
3L’s, something similar to Northeastern

Law School’s co-op program?
A: Dean Perlman agreed that the
school could do more, and stated that he
was open to ideas. He believes that smaller classes will help, and that the school is
close to being able to guarantee that each
student will get some type of practical experience while in school.
Q: The school needs to sponsor and
hold more events with alumni.
A: Dean Perlman agrees!
Q: Is there anything that the school is
planning to do to address the issue of separating out class schedules for evening
students and day students, respectively?
A: Dean Perlman said that with fewer
students come fewer classes. Dean Ferrari reiterated that she will work one-onone with a student to address scheduling
Q: Why is the law school not ranked?
A: Dean Perlman stated that he is not
sure why the law school is not ranked,
but noted that many of the school’s program are highly ranked.
The event concluded with Dean Perlman talking one-on-one with students
over food and beverages.
The Student Issues and Concerns
Committee thanks Dean Perlman and Dean
Ferrari for their participation in this event.

Mina’s List
founder to
relate story
Suffolk Women of Color Law Students
Association “Hearing Her Story” series is
a unique speaker series held throughout
the year which showcases the legal journeys of faculty, professors, judges, attorneys, alumni, and community leaders.
Through these events we hope to encourage, inspire, and empower women of color law students and others in our Suffolk
Past speakers, such as Dean Camille
Nelson and Professor Elizabeth Trujillo,
have not only shared their experiences as
women of color in the legal field, but also
their perspectives as members of a minority community
fighting for
justice in
their own
unique ways
to be able to
contribute to
the larger diversity initiative.
The next featured speaker in the
“Hearing Her Story” series will be Tanya E. Henderson, Esq., who will relate her
experiences in “Dynamic Women Transforming Society” from 6 to 8 p.m. on
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in the first floor
function room.
Henderson, SULS JD’01, is the founder and executive director of Mina’s List.
Henderson was a policy director for Women’s Action for New Directions, the U.S.
National Director for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,
a legal consultant for the Ministry of Social Affairs in Lebanon on issues of gender-based violence and women’s political
participation, and part of a research team
in Ethiopia working with Harvard Medical School to research and draft policy on
gender inequality, economic development,
and health.
Her work in international human rights
and empowering women across the globe
inspires us to also look toward similar
contributions in our future legal careers.


Introducing the Asian Pacific
American Law Students Association

Members of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Assoc. executive board at Suffolk University
Law School include: president Cherie Ching, vice president Winnie Choi, treasurer Linda Vo, secretary
Da Eun Lee, inter-APALSA chair Ramon Livingston, community service chair Kwok Tse, diversity cochair Jolethia Rogers, diversity co-chair Xiayun Summer Zhou and PR/social media chair Linchi Liang.
TOP LEFT: Members of the
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association take a dim
sum study breaks in Chinatown.
BELOW LEFT: General Meeting
and Green Project Presentation
before the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
APALSA is organized to articulate and promote the academic and professional needs and
goals of the Asian Pacific American law students at Suffolk University Law School. The group
serves to instill a greater awareness in the Asian Pacific American attorney and law student
of the needs of the Asian Pacific American community and encourages the membership to
commit resources to respond
effectively to those needs. Suffolk University Law School’s
APALSA chapter is all inclusive
and open to any student regardless of racial or ethnic background.

Page 5

Cuban visit an eye-opener
Continued from page 1
Unlike the typical visitor, including
the media, Suffolk’s law students stayed
in Cuban homes, walked all through
the neighborhoods, got around on every means of public transportation, ate
in restaurants where locals dined, had
classes on a lovely campus, and more.
Suffolk’s students, as one would hope
any traveler would, went to Havana to
listen, to learn, to understand, and to
exchange in mutually respectful ways;
they were not there looking for “catchy”
headlines. As a result, these 24 students
came back full of knowledge, very affected, full of respect and affection for their
new Cuban friends. The course in January 2016, like its original first seminar in
January 2015, was meant to provide substantive legal training, understanding
comparative systems of justice, and cultural and language growth.
These 24 lucky participants, like the
original 24 in January 2015, return with
greater legal knowledge, and new Cuban
friends. In addition, they have returned
with an appreciation of a people who
have learned to live with less; more connected, day to day, with one another than
in the U.S.; who show a remarkable generosity; committed to a national health
system and respected public schools and
universities; and a deep culture, museums, amazing music and dance.
As for a dilapidated city? Well, its partially true. There are parts of Havana
that are in great need of repairs — and
there are beautiful, well kept neighborhoods, with cafes and restaurants and
stores. The old U.S. cars? There are
many and its wonderful how these “wizards of invention” keep the cars running
... and, there are also new cars, Japa-

ABOVE: SULS professor Elizabeth Trujillo lectures to University of Havana Law School and
SULS students. BELOW: Students visit the International Court of Arbitration.

nese, Italian, German, and French cars.
Cuba has many problems facing it,
including an inefficient economy with
heavy state control and terribly low salaries. This has contributed to the creation
of an underground economy, including a
large number of sex workers. Likewise,
issues of a lack of freedom of expression and a lack of elections as we know
them, are real problems. No one, however, is starving in Cuba. Everyone is provided for — and, as the Cubans remind
us, “You Americans have your own serious problems.”

Page 6


Diversity my a%$!
By Shakesha Coleman
hen I walked into the foyer of Sargent Hall at the beginning of “Diversity and Inclusion Week” and
saw the banner announcing its inception,
I almost burst out laughing. I thought it
was funny that many of the people behind
some of the events, and many who claim
to support the concept, are themselves not
diverse and likely have very little understanding of what diversity even means.
My judgment is influenced by my personal experience here at Suffolk. I understood when I arrived at Suffolk Law
School, that networking would be important. But here at Suffolk, students seem to
require more than networking; they want
details. Apparently, I missed the memo
that extensive socialization is required, or
one risks being ostracized. Indeed, folks
here take greetings and meetings personally.
I think this is the case for two reasons. First, although we know how great
our school is, we are in the shadows of
our more highly regarded counterparts.
And not being ranked at all makes things
even worse. We don’t get the same reaction when we say “Suffolk Law School”
as when others say the name of their law
schools. Many of us are scared about how
Suffolk’s reputation will impact our chances at getting jobs.
Some students seem to have channeled
that fear into competing with others. For
most, this means sizing one’s self up to
others: Asking classmates how they’ve
fared on tests, asking how much others
are studying, asking around to see who already has a job lined up, observing what
time people arrive and leave Sargent Hall
to get an idea of how much time people
spend in the Building — hoping this will
be a clue about study habits, or using connections to look at classmates’ grades.
(Preoccupations that keep us from focusing on our own success.)
Greetings lead to meetings, and meetings lead to information, and information
is power. Denying people access to information builds fear of the unknown.
The second reason I think some students don’t tolerate diversity when it
comes to socialization is generational.
Most students here are millennials — super-sensitive beings who are used to being coddled, and who are not used to there
being a divide between themselves, authority, and anything they want, includ-

ACLU chief at Suffolk Law
ABOVE: Attorney Susan N. Herman, left, president of
the American Civil Liberties Union, chats with students
at reception following her lecture on terrorism in the
main courtroom at SULS. Atty. Herman’s lecture included discussion about the lawsuits the ACLU has brought
on behalf of people allegedly kidnapped, tortured, and
experimented upon under the auspices of the CIA. AT
RIGHT: Herman, right, is greeted by Eliza Bailey, editorin-chief of Suffolk University Law Review

ing relationships. Millennials tend to have
grown up having had friendly relationships with their parents and authority,
and have come to expect that level of comradery with everyone — even without having earned it.
My punishment for not being more social has been more severe among other
people of color. The other memo I missed
apparently stated that I have a special obligation to socialize with people of color,
and to attend certain events. Yet, the folks
who have made it the clearest that I have
not held up my end of the bargain have
not exactly extended the hand of fellowship to me, either, and have gone so far as
to judge me for my introversion.
This actually is what concerns me the
most: the idea that when someone’s conduct does not match your desires or ego,
the disappointment becomes a license to
pathologize — the very thing the diversity
movement was designed to prevent — and
the very idea that kept the Enslavement
Process (the TransAtlantic Slave Trade)
in business. The Battle Royal comes to
mind. These were fights slave owners
forced slaves into after blindfolding them.
I’m particularly disappointed because
lawyers are supposed to be among the
smartest people in society — with unsurpassed critical thinking skills. Where is
the critical thought in pathologizing a person, situation, or response that simply
does not assuage one’s ego?
Diversity is a thought process, not superficial acts of solidarity. It requires that
people appreciate others respective of
their sameness or lack thereof, whether
we are talking about culture or personality. It is keeping an open mind about people and situations so that you do not miss
out on their value. It requires people to
suspend judgment and any preconceived
notions or prejudices they have to people
and situations that are different — or the
same — or that you perceive to be different or the same.
Diversity also requires a certain level of security and self esteem. The diverse
person is fearless of differences, even
when they feel they are competing with
others, and get an unexpected result because they are confident about their own
value and do not approach people and situations with a sense of entitlement.


Page 7

Former DA is new Suffolk U general counsel
ATTY. SHEILA CALKINS, a native of Peru
(Mass.), earned a nursing degree from Alfred
University before joining the Middlesex County
District Attorney’s Office. She recently was
named Suffolk University’s general counsel
and took a few moment’s of her time to
answer some questions from DICTA.

Enjoy law school
and try to learn
about many
different areas
of the law. Don’t
yourself into
what you think
you want to do.

 Where did you go to law school?
Willamette University in Oregon —
when I graduated from college I really wanted to move out to the Northwest.
I chose Willamette, loved the Northwest
but returned to the east coast one summer
between my first and second year of law
school and met my husband who was born
and raised in Boston area. The rest is history and I am now in Boston.

 What was your first job out of law school?
I worked for a small medical malpractice/personal injury firm in Boston.
My undergrad degree was a BSN in nursing and it seemed like the right fit. When
I first started law school I was very interested in criminal law and torts. I feel
lucky I was able to try and work in both
areas over the years.

 How did your interest in education law
come about (or did it)?
After working at the Attorney General’s office and working with others in the
area around higher education, it became
an interest — especially the work around
Title IX and the Dept. of Education/Office
of Civil Rights recommendations for universities and colleges. I felt my experience
in the District Attorneys’ offices and the
Attorney General’s office would be useful.

 You were an ADA for Middlesex County (if
my research is correct). What advice do you

Atty. Sheila Calkins, Suffolk University’s new general counsel, advises law students to sharpen their
skills in Trial Practice, Appellate practice and Mock Trial competitions.

have for law students concerning making
opening and closing statements?

or closing, that will put a jury to sleep immediately!

Yes, I worked as an ADA for many
years. One of my mentor’s early on suggested that with any case, big or small,
you study all of the facts, determine who
your witnesses will be, speak with each
of them — sit back and ask yourself what
do I want to tell them in my closing argument? It may seem backwards at first
but it makes perfect sense when you think
about it — it helps you to determine what
facts you need to bring out from each witness, it helps you outline your opening and
it is the pathway you will use throughout
the trial. Oh, and never read your opening

 What class or law school activity prepared you most for your tenure as an ADA?


Five Suffolk law students
attended the 3-day National Conference of Vietnamese American Attorneys. It was a fantastic learning experience
about the issues impacting Asian Pacific Americans in the legal community and in hopes of making a positive impact. As
one of our attendees Jolethia Rogers stated, the
theme of the conference
was really “Shake it up.”

meant I had to know and understand so
many different areas of the office. I feel
like that is similar to the GC position,
there are so many areas that GC is involved in as the University’s lawyer. Being a trial lawyer for so many years has
helped me become very organized and remain calm in stressful times. I also have
to say I never thought Contracts (1st year
law school) would become so useful again.

 What do you see as being your primary
responsibility as General Counsel of Suffolk
Representing the university and assisting the university community with issues
that arise.

 What types of matters do you handle for
the university?
Areas of the law I deal with regularly
are contracts, IP, employment, non-profit regs, governance; I also work a lot with
the university police on different matters.

 Feel free to tell us anything you think we
(law students) would want to know about
you or your role, or anything else!

 What class, law school activity, or experience has prepared you the most for your
new position as General Counsel of Suffolk

Enjoy law school and try to learn about
many different areas of the law. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into what you think you
want to do; that can change, so I recommend you try and get as broad an experience as you can get. For example, think
about taking trial practice even though
you may not feel you want to be a trial
lawyer, the skills you learn around standing up and presenting in front of people
— and being comfortable doing it — is invaluable in so many ways later on in life.

At both the DA’s and the AG’s office I
had a senior administrative role where I
oversaw many areas of the office, which

DICTA THANKS Atty. Calkins for taking the time
to share her experiences and wisdom with us.

Competitions or classes where you actually are on your feet, you have the opportunity to argue a case. Trial Practice,
Appellate practice, Mock Trial.

Page 8


Suffolk student travels abroad 3x
Suffolk Law student
exposed to different
cultures, economies
JD/MBA student Marcya Betts has
experienced a different side to her legal studies
by engaging in academic study in Sweden,
Puerto Rico and Cuba. She recently sat down
with DICTA for a brief chat about her travels.

E Did you start law school intending to
study abroad?
No, studying abroad never crossed my
mind before I attended law school. Once
I heard about and experienced the Lund
Program, I was sold.

E Where have you studied abroad while a
student here at SULS?
I have been to Lund, Sweden under the
leadership of Sara Dillion along with Professors Leah Grinvald, Renee Landers,
Jeffery Wittenburg and visiting professors
Judge Isaac Borenstein. I have been to
San Juan, Puerto Rico under the leadership of former Dean Camille Nelson. Last,
but certainly not least, I have been to Havana, Cuba under the leadership of Isaac

E How much did each trip cost?
It is really hard to say how much each
trip costs because I honestly try not to
think about it. The academic exchange in
Cuba cost me roughly $3,000. I would have
to estimate that Puerto Rico costed me
about $2,500, and Sweden cost me about
Please keep in mind that I was in Sweden for a month and I traveled on the
weekends. Also keep in mind that these
costs do not account for the credits taken.
I am a dual degree student so I pay per
credit hour. These courses amounted to
eight credits and cost me roughly $13,688
in student loans.

E How did you pay for your study abroad
I used student loans to pay for the cost
of the courses. In Sweden and Puerto Rico, I used a mixture of cash and credit
cards, but for Cuba I only used cash.

E Did you write about your previous SULS

study abroad experiences when you applied
for subsequent trips?
I only wrote about my study abroad
trips to apply for the Cuba Seminar Program. There was no application process
for Puerto Rico, and I had never been
abroad when I applied for Sweden.

E Which study abroad experience was your
favorite? Least favorite? Why?
I honestly have to say, I do not have a
favorite or least favorite. Each program
provided me with a different perspective of life, opportunity, and experience
I would have never gained in the United
States. I have created strong bonds with
professors I would have never taken classes with otherwise.
I was able to travel to Berlin, Germany
during the 2014 World Cup while in Sweden, and lastly I was able to experience an
island that most people cannot experience
unless they fit into one of the 12 categories for authorized travel. My SULS study
abroad experiences have been phenomenal and I wouldn’t call one my favorite or
least favorite because that takes the value
away from the trip.

E Did you study abroad because it was related to your legal or business career goals?
I am always interested to see how the
legal and business industries operate in
different countries. I always think it is
better to experience it first had than to
hear it from third-party sources.
My goal is to work as general counsel for a corporation and these experiences will allow me to be more marketable.
Working for Nike has been a long term
goal of mine, and if I can master international law and business while merging
the two worlds together, it will make me
a great candidate for an in-house position

E What type of law do you intend to pursue,
and how do you think your study abroad
experiences will help?
I am pursuing corporate law. As most
corporations have international offices,
traveling abroad will give me an advantage concerning an ability to understand
different markets and the impact of cultural differences on various markets and
economies. Further, law can be personal. Understanding different cultures helps
you understand others’ values. Values are
the undertone of most laws.

JD/MBA student Marcya Betts as seen in some of her overseas study experiences. TOP:
With the famed “Little Mermaid” statue as a backdrop,
Betts joins a group of SULS students in Sweden. AT LEFT: Betts relaxes outside the University of Puerto Rico School of
Law. ABOVE: Betts is joined
by former Suffolk University
Law School dean, Camille Nelson, also in Puerto Rico. BELOW LEFT: Suffolk Law students take a break from studying in Puerto Rico to pose for a
group photo.


Page 9

QLA panel Mohammad Alwaheed becomes
reflects on first S.J.D. student at Suffolk to
civil rights successfully defend dissertation


he Queer Law Alliance (QLA) is
an organization at Suffolk University Law School that is dedicated
to serving current and prospective students through educational events, advocacy, and community service. The QLA
also strives to provide a visible network
of LGBTQ and ally students within the
school and within the legal community of
the Greater Boston area.
The alliance recently hosted its last
event for the year, in collaboration with
Black Law Students Association, the
President’s Diversity Initiative, and the
Dean of Students,
the 2016 Nutter
Speaker Series for
Diversity & Inclusion panel.
The event, titled “The Intersection of LGBTQ
Policy and the
Black Lives Matter Movement,”
was held on Tuesday, March 29
in the first floor
function room, and
featured a guest
panel comprised
of Professor Anthony Farley of Albany Law School, Ms.
Elle Hearns of Black Lives Matter and
Attorney Carl Williams of the American
Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
The discussion was moderated by
Professor Boonin with opening remarks
from Professor Cooper, and touched on
the role of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation in the #BlackLivesMatter
movement. The event aspired to connect
the historical involvement of queer people in the early civil rights movement to
the great need and potential for the LGBTQ to support the Black Lives Matter
movement now.
Continued to page 10

bY Bridgett C. Sandusky,
Michael L. Rustad & Thomas Koenig
Special to DICTA
n March 8, 2016, Mohammad Alwaheed had the honor of becoming
the first Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) student to defend his dissertation and be approved as the program’s first
The SJD degree at Suffolk is a postLL.M. degree that is awarded upon the
completion of an in-depth, publicationquality, dissertation that makes an original and creative contribution to the legal
Mohammad received his bachelor’s degree in Sharia Law from Umm Al-Qura
University, is a former judge, and is currently counsel at Saudi Aramco. Prior to
joining the SJD program at Suffolk, Mohammad Alwaheed completed his LL.M.
degree here with dual specializations in
International Law and Business and Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law.
As a LL.M. student, Alwaheed studied
Internet Law and Emerging Issues in Information Technology at the Boston campus and international commercial law
with Professor Rustad in Budapest, Hungary. He was a member of the first entering SJD class at Suffolk University Law
School in 2012.
Alwaheed wrote his dissertation on
multi-faceted legal issues that arose from
the release of the “Innocence of Muslims”
film trailer on YouTube that triggered violent demonstrations, deaths, and injuries
throughout the world.
Suffolk’s SJD program was founded
in 2012 and currently enrolls 20 students
from diverse countries, including Saudi
Arabia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Pakistan,
and the United States. These students are
working on key legal topics, such as Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, Intellectual Property Reform, Comparative Corporate/Securities Studies, International
Trade and Arbitration, Banking Law, Conflict of Law, Rent to Own, and Comparative Studies of Criminal Law, Freedom of


From left: Prof. Chris Gibson, Mohammad Alwaheed, director Bridgett Sandusky, Prof. Tom Koenig
and Prof. Michael Rustad
the Press, and Legal Dilemmas involved
in National Security.
“This is an exciting day for Mohammad, but also for Suffolk Law. In an ever increasingly global world, our SJD program provides new avenues for our students and faculty to collaborate together and to contribute to novel scholarship
on a variety of legal issues,” said Bridgett
Sandusky, director of Graduate Law Programs at Suffolk.
Sandusky heads up the SJD, General
LL.M., the LL.M. in Global Law and Technology and exchange programs with universities in Germany, Sweden, Mexico,
and Canada,
The chair of Alwaheed’s dissertation
committee was Professor Michael L. Rustad, who is the Thomas F. Lambert Jr.
Professor of Law and co-director of the
Intellectual Property Concentration at
Suffolk. Professor Christopher Gibson, director of the Business Law and Financial Services Concentration, was the first
reader. The second reader was Professor
Thomas H. Koenig, who has been a faculty member at Northeastern University
since 1977, serving as chair of the Depart-

ment of Sociology and Anthropology from
2002 until 2008.
The March 8, 2016 defense of Alwaheed’s dissertation was well attended by
graduate law students and faculty members. His defense began with a 30-minute
presentation of his research, followed by a
vigorous question and answer period with
Professors Rustad, Gibson, and Koenig,
followed by a question and answer period where other faculty members and students could question the candidate.
After these three stages were completed, the SJD committee convened and announced its decision to the Suffolk University Community: “By a 3-0 vote, the Committee determined that Mohammad Alwaheed successfully passed his SJD defense.”
In May 2016, Alwaheed will graduate
as Suffolk University Law School’s first
SJD graduate. The conferring of the first
SJD degree on Mohammad Alwaheed is
a proud moment in the history of Suffolk
University Law School. In the next two
months, two more candidates are scheduled for defense and they will also be open
to the public.


Page 10

Right mindset, preparation can QLA panel
determine success on bar exam reflects on
By Anthony Hugar
he bar exam is as bad as you want
to make it. Let this line soak in. Too
often students walk into bar review
with fear and nervousness at an all-time
high. The mantra they repeat over and
over is “I just want to pass.” After working
with several hundred students across the
United States and in the New England area I have seen a lot of success stories. The
most common element of success has been
from those students who approach bar exam preparations with a healthy and confident mindset. This is not a mindset of
“wishful thinking” but rather it is a goaldriven and determined mindset.


Aim high(er)
Write down the number you want to get
on the exam. I tell my students this during
my initial round of phone calls. A student
often says that they just want to pass, but
then the fear sets in that if they do not
pass they fail. This pass/fail line is razer thin.
Instead I tell students to pick a number
a few points beyond the required passing
score and say “I am getting a 295 out of
400.” Repeat this phrase often as you work
through your materials. A 295 out of 400 is
a solid passing score for most states [Massachusetts requires 270/400, New Hampshire requires 270/400, New York requires
266/400]. With this 25-point buffer you can
successfully decrease the risk of missing
the mark and more importantly you can
eliminate the fear of failure from your

Find Inspiration
When I studied for the Massachusetts Bar Exam I was fortunate enough to
stumble across the “Rocky” series on Netflix. It was perfect timing to see those too.
Rocky is the story of an underdog boxer
who rises through the ranks beating the
Heavy Weight Champion and taking down
the Soviet Union’s best fighter during the
height of the Cold War. Like Rocky I felt
like I was an underdog too having not taken a bar exam ever. With the mindset that
I have to train hard and have discipline
I was able to navigate through the eight
weeks of study. Many of my students do
the same.
One student I worked with was from

a very low-tiered law school. His weekly
scores were coming in off the mark. There
was very slow improvement from week-toweek. The one thing that was progressing
was the overall course progress. This student was moving at a good pace. I called
the student to talk about his progress and
give suggestions on how to improve and he
would take them into account.
I asked what he was doing to prepare
for the following week and he would say
that he watches Tony Robbins videos and
other YouTube videos that preach of the
concept of “Visualization” of goals. To me,


You are not competing with
classmates anymore. It is just
you and the exam. If you can
tame your thoughts, then you
can succeed.


it was all a bunch of philosophical BS, but
I did not tell the student that. When the
results came out though I was surprised
to see this student overcame the odds and
passed despite having low practice scores
all throughout the summer. Every student
is an underdog here but with this mindset
and inspiration he or she can overcome
the odds.

Aim for a B
Law students are all Type A personalities. To pass the bar exam you need only
get a D. The exam is often referred to as
“An exam of minimum competence.” The
sooner you realize you do not have to be a
perfectionist the better and more flexible
you will be in your review. Take time to
practice questions and look at your results
as a means to improve.
I tell my students that each time you
miss a question in practice is an opportunity to not miss it on the exam. You develop a foresight into the issues in such a
way that merely reading the outline cannot accomplish. Take your bumps and
bruises throughout the summer so that
you can coast through the exam in July.
Do not, DO NOT, be afraid to do practice
questions early on because this is the best

way to determine where you need to improve.

Study like you are winning an election
My boss, Rick Duffy, a 40 year bar review veteran, has stated that studying for
the bar exam is like running for president.
You do not need the popular vote you just
need to win the states that matter. When
you are studying it is best to have a working knowledge of all topics tested but you
want to have a more solid understanding
of the highly tested areas. These highly
tested areas are your big states. You want
to spend a little more time in them because if you can get them then you have a
greater chance of passing comfortably.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners provides a “Subject Matter Outline”
for the MBE on its website (
In this Outline you can see the percentages of topics tested. The conference typically sticks closely to this breakdown, which
means you can essentially predict what
areas show up so that you can study more
heavily in those areas.
For example, it is a better use of your
time reviewing Mortgages and Foreclosures instead of the Rule Against Perpetuities on the MBE. Think of Mortgages
and Foreclosures as Ohio and the RAP as
Rhode Island. Ohio is a good state to win,
and if you do well there then you can ensure you will get enough points to pass
the MBE. No offense to Rhode Island (or
the RAP) but it isn’t a good use of your
time if you are reviewing hours on end to
try your luck on the possible two or three
questions that may appear.

Concluding points
Get yourself in the right mindset now
and know that you are your best ally in
preparation. You are not competing with
classmates anymore (as the exam isn’t
graded on a curve) and you are not trying
to get an A. It is just you and the exam. If
you can tame your thoughts, then you can
succeed. I promise you that.
Anthony Hugar is a Suffolk Law graduate
and Massachusetts Attorney. He currently
is the director for Massachusetts at Themis
Bar Review and is the legal adviser for
Get A Grip Golf, LLC. To reach him you
may email

civil rights

Continued from page 9
The fact that black transgender women have an average life expectancy of 35
years, with the highest murder rate in
the country, is something the legal community needs to address.
The legal community needs to discuss racial discrimination, police brutality, and the lives of Black, Queer and
Trans people in order to better create
access to justice. Our panel discussion
hopefully helped to promote opportunities to create dialogue and understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement
and the intersectionality of race, gender,
and sexual orientation.
QLA headed many momentous initiatives, such as establishing gender neutral restrooms in Sargent Hall 4th Floor,
as well as organizing and showcasing an
exhibit called, “LGBTQ Law: Existence
is Defiance” with Moakley Library and
Archives Department to celebrate LGBTQ History Month.
Other notable programs that QLA
hosted this year included Gay, Lesbian
& Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Trainings, World AIDS Awareness Day
movie screening of Paris is Burning and
The Normal Heart, and QLAunch and
study breaks for dialogue and friendship.
QLA officer include president Annette Macaluso, vice president Michael
O’Brien, secretary Alex Samaei, treasurer Cherie Ching and 1L representative/community relations liaison Skailer

Crossword answers
The answers to this month’s crossword
puzzle (on page 11) are as follows:
ACROSS: 1) bankruptcy 2) a fortiori
3) pecuniary 5) bail 9) force majeur
12) per se 15) underwrite 16) ultra vires
DOWN: 1) bona fide purchaser 3) per
curiam 4) ex post facto 6) parens patriae
7) res ipsa loquitor 8) Bill of Attainder
10) unconscionable 11) res judicata
12) parol 13) per capita 14) barratry


Suffolk on facebook

Page 11

Suffolk law crossword for march

Congratulations to AAJ National Student Trial Advocacy Competition regional
champions James Duffy JD’17 and Carolyn Kenniston JD’16 (seen flanked by
Kristen O’Keeffe and Ian Mackey). They defeated the team from Yale in the regional finals and were off to New Orleans for the nationals at month’s end.
Suffolk University Law School 3L Cherie Ching has been named “Law Student of the
Year” by National Jurist Magazine. As president of Suffolk Law’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (see item on
page 5), Ching, a native of Pearl City, Hawaii, has spearheaded the Harry H. Dow Annual Lecture Series on Immigration Law.
The series is named after Ching’s role model — a 1929 Suffolk Law School graduate
and the first Chinese-American admitted to
the Massachusetts Bar. After graduation,
Ching plans on practicing in real estate and
property law to open up investment opportunities for minority communities.

1. Federal system of statutes
and courts which permits persons and businesses which are
insolvent or who face insolvency, to place financial affairs under the control of the bankruptcy court.
2. (Latin) “with even stronger reason;” applies to a situation
in which if one thing is true then
it can be inferred that a second
thing is even more certainly true.
3. Relating to money
5. The money or bond put up
to secure the release of a person
who charged with a crime.
9. (Latin) “superior force”,
frees both parties from liability
or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties
prevents one or both parties from
fulfilling their obligations under
the contract.
12. (Latin) “by itself,” meaning inherently, but further explanation might be required.
15. To agree to pay an obligation, guarantee purchase, or
guarantee by investment.
16. (Latin) “beyond powers;”
refers to acts of a corporation
and/or its officers outside the
powers and/or authority allowed
a corporation by law.

1. Commonly called BFP in legal and banking circles; a person
who has purchased an asset (including a promissory note, bond
or other negotiable instrument)
for stated value, innocent of any
fact which would cast doubt on
the right of the seller to have sold
it in good faith.
3. (Latin) “by the court,” defining a decision of an appeals
court as a whole in which no
judge is identified as the specific author.
4. Latin for “after the fact,” refers to laws adopted after an act
is committed; such laws are specifically prohibited by the U.S.

Over 250 alumni and students attended the annual SuffolkConnect AlumniStudent Networking Reception, held recently at the Omni Parker House. An enthusiastic group of alumni turned out to spend with students sharing their experience and wisdom.

6. (Latin) “father of his country;” doctrine that the gov’t is
the ultimate guardian of all people under a disability, especially
children, whose care is only “entrusted” to their parents.
7. (Latin) “the thing speaks
for itself;” a doctrine of law that
one is presumed to be negligent
if he/she/it had exclusive control
of whatever caused the injury
even though there is no specific
evidence of an act of negligence,
and without negligence the accident would not have happened.
8. A legislative act which declares a named person guilty of a
crime, particularly treason. Such
bills are prohibited by Article I,
Section 9 of the Constitution. Con-

stitution, Article I, Section 9.
10. Referring to a contract or
bargain which is so unfair to a
party that no reasonable or informed person would agree to it.
11. (Latin) “the thing has
been judged,” meaning the issue
before the court has already been
decided by another court, between the same parties.
12. Oral
13. (Latin) “by head,” meaning to be determined by the
number of people.
14. Creating legal business by
stirring up disputes and quarrels,
generally to benefit the lawyer
who sees fees in the matter.
See page 10 for answers

Don’t miss Dicta for all the Suffolk Law School news that’s fit to print!
Shakesha Coleman, Editor-in-Chief

Page 12