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California Western is governed by a board of trustees which includes members of the judiciary, the practicing bar, and the business world. Trustees provide fiscal governance and oversight of all law school operations, and provide key insights gained through their years of practice and work in the private and public sector.


Patricia “Patty” Becker '76

Patricia 'Patty' Becker

Patricia “Patty” Becker '76 is president of Becker & Associates. With a 35-plus-year career in gaming, she has held numerous executive positions, all of which were firsts for women. Becker is recognized as a mentor, leader, and advocate for women and was a founding member of Global Gaming Women, where she now serves as vice chair and Education Committee co-chair.

Becker was the first woman to be inducted as a Counselor into the International Association of Gaming Advisors and holds the distinction of being the first and only woman to serve on the Nevada Gaming Control Board. She actively served in the American Bar Association; Nevada Gaming Foundation for Educational Excellence; the National Council on Problem Gambling; and the Board for SWAN (Service Women’s Action Network), which is the nationally recognized voice for women in the military. Becker is licensed to practice law in Nevada, California, and Colorado and has argued more Nevada Supreme Court gaming cases than any other attorney. She was recently honored for her career in gaming by induction to the Gaming Hall of Fame.

Roy M. Bell '74

Roy M. Bell '74

Roy M. Bell '74 is senior counsel at Troutman Sanders LLP, where he focuses his practice on complex business civil litigation and trial work. Bell serves as special outside counsel to Oxbow Carbon and Minerals and the Oxbow Group, overseeing major issues, litigation, and negotiations relating to their worldwide operations.

Bell served two tours in the Western Pacific during the Vietnam Conflict where he earned two Navy Commendations, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Vietnam Unit Medal of Gallantry, and six Vietnam Campaign Medals. He graduated from California Western with honors in 1974, and was valedictorian. Bell was as lead articles editor for the California Western International Law Review, and is chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees, having served for more than 25 years.

Gayle M. Blatt '85

Gayle M. Blatt '85

Gayle M. Blatt '85 is a partner at Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP where she heads the firm's pharmaceutical and class action practices. Blatt has played a prominent role in national pharmaceutical and medical device cases over the past decades. In addition to other experience in high profile national pharmaceutical litigation, she served as liaison counsel for the plaintiffs' steering committee in In re: Hydroxycut Marketing and Sales Practice Litigation, which recently settled in the Southern District of California, and currently serves as co-liaison counsel for In re: Incretin Mimetics Products Liability Litigation.

Blatt also has extensive class action litigation experience, including serving as co-liaison counsel in In re: Sony Gaming Networks and Customer Data Security Breach Litigation; as class counsel in Villa v. City of Chula Vista addressing the city’s tax collection on mobile telephone services; as class counsel In re: Apple and AT&T iPad Unlimited Data Plan Litigation in the Northern District of California; and with a class action filed against Chase Bank of violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for placing automated calls (robocalls) to consumer cell phones without their consent.

Blatt also is recognized by her peers for her work with serious personal injury cases. She has received the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego “Outstanding Trial Lawyer” award three times; has been recognized in Super Lawyers from 2007 through 2014; recognized three times on the Super Lawyers’ list of Top 25 Women Lawyers in San Diego; included in the San Diego Daily Transcript Top Attorney list; and listed annually in the Best Lawyers of America.

Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.)

Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.)

The first Mexican-American female federal judge, Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.) recently joined JAMS following a judicial career spanning nearly 30 years. Judge Gonzalez was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush, serving as Chief Judge from 2005 to 2012. Prior to her appointment to the federal bench, Judge Gonzalez worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Prosecution division in the District of Arizona and the Central District of California, and as an attorney in private practice. She later served as a U.S. magistrate judge and on the San Diego County Superior Court.

Judge Gonzalez has received numerous honors and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award from California Women Lawyers, and the Outstanding Jurist Award from the San Diego County Bar Association.

Charles R. Grebing '70

Charles R. Grebing ‘70

Charles Grebing is one of San Diego's leading legal malpractice attorneys. Not only does Grebing defend attorneys and law firms against malpractice claims, he has also represented officers, directors, brokers, agents, architects, and engineers accused of errors and omissions.

Grebing has tried more than 100 cases in federal and state courts. His practice areas include complex civil and business litigation, and professional liability litigation. Grebing has received an AV Preeminent© rating (highest legal competence) from Martindale-Hubbell and has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America© for nearly 20 years. He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an association of lawyers and judges experienced in the trial of cases who are dedicated to the improvement of the standards of trial practice. Grebing is a past president of CAL-ABOTA, the California regional chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is recognized as a Certified Legal Malpractice Specialist by the California State Bar, and was one of the original 14 certified legal malpractice specialists in San Diego.

Kenneth L. Greenman ‘71

Kenneth L. (Ken) Greenman ‘71

Kenneth L. Greenman ’71 is a founding partner of Greenman, Lacy, Klein, O’Harra and Heffron. Greenman has practiced estate planning, trust, wills, and probate law exclusively for more than 25 years—with special focus on complex trusts and estates—and has held Martindale-Hubble’s AV Preeminent rating for more than 20 years. He is a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar, the California State Bar, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth, Seventh, and Fifth Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California.

Currently chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees, Greenman served as editor-in-chief of the California Western Law Review and received American Jurisprudence Awards in wills and trusts, corporations, and conflicts of law while in law school. He also received the Dean’s Award - Outstanding Law Student, and graduated with honors. Upon graduation, Greenman was selected as a United States Attorney General Honor Law Graduate Fellow, serving in the Department of Justice’s U.S. Supreme Court appellate section.

D. Russell Hymas '04

D. Russell Hymas

D. Russell Hymas'04 is the managing partner and attorney at Christensen & Hymas where he specializes in representing seriously injured persons involved in automobile, bicycle and motorcycle accidents as well as premise liability claims. An experienced negotiator and litigator, Hymas assists clients with settlements, arbitration awards, and judgments. Prior to joining Christensen & Hymas, he worked for an international law firm in San Diego, where he worked on complex litigation and transactional matters. Hymas co-authored The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook and has received numerous industry awards and recognitions.

Jeffrey S. Isaacs ‘68

Jeffrey S. Isaacs ‘68

Jeffrey S. Isaacs is a 1968 graduate of California Western where he was Editor-in-Chief of the school's Law Review. Currently, Isaacs provides mediation services as part of the West Coast Resolution Group—a division of the National Conflict Resolution Center. Previously, Isaacs served as of counsel with Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, where he was a member of the firm's bankruptcy and commercial litigation practice, before retiring in January 2015 after 46 years with the firm. Isaacs has been recognized as Bankruptcy Court Mediation Panel Mediator of the Year as well as among the top lawyers in San Diego for bankruptcy and debtor/creditor rights.

He is a past president of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program and the San Diego Bankruptcy Forum, and served as treasurer and vice president of the San Diego County Bar Association and its foundation. Prior to his election to the Board of Trustees, Isaacs served as a member of the law school's Council of Visitors for many years.

Duane Layton '82

Duane Layton

Duane W. Layton is a Senior Partner with Mayer Brown LLP in Washington, D.C. and the Global Head of its International Trade Law Group. His practice concentrates on international dispute settlement, including disputes before the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland; international trade and investment law; and international trade negotiations and policy.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 2006, Layton headed the International Trade Litigation Group at another prominent law firm in Washington, DC. From 1994 to 1999 he was Senior Counsel at the US Department of Commerce, where he received numerous honors and awards, including “Attorney of the Year” in 1998, and similar awards in the Office of the Chief Counsel for Import Administration in 1988 and 1996.

Layton is a 1982 graduate of California Western (cum laude) and a 1983 graduate (LL.M), with high honors, of Cambridge University in England. He is ranked as one of the Top 30 International Trade Practitioners in the US by Best of the Best USA and recognized in the Guide to the World’s Leading International Lawyers, Legal 500, Super Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Trade & Customs Lawyers. In 2013, Layton’s lead role on a successful challenge on behalf of the Government of Indonesia before the WTO involving clove cigarettes was named the “Global Dispute of the Year: International Litigation” by American Lawyer. His published works on international trade law and international dispute settlement appear in numerous books and journals, including the Stanford Journal of International Law, the Journal of World Trade, and Business Law International.

Jeffrey D. Lewin ‘75

Jeffrey D. Lewin ‘75

Jeffrey D. Lewin is Chair Emeritus and Member of the California Western Board of Trustees on which he has served since 1991. In 1975, he graduated from California Western with honors, served on the law review and was the national champion in the Giles Sutherland Rich Patent Moot Court Competition. After graduating from California Western, Lewin served as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice and founded the Sullivan Hill, Lewin, Rez & Engel law firm (and its predecessors). Until his retirement from the practice of law at the end of 2017 for 40 years, Lewin prepared and tried serious business lawsuits for sophisticated clients in state and federal courts throughout the United States, wrote and published several legal articles, and gave lectures and presentations about US law in the United States and abroad. In addition, for 20 years, he mentored and trained more than 40 foreign lawyers in US litigation.

Lewin was a member of a number of local and national professional legal organizations and the Steering Committee of the UCSD Economics Roundtable. Although Lewin no longer practices law, he consults with lawyers about effective dispute resolution.

Mark P. Mandell ‘77

Mark P. Mandell ‘77

Mark P. Mandell ‘77 is chief executive officer of Square One Development in San Diego, also serving as the company’s legal counsel and director of finance. Mandell began his practice in real estate transactional law in 1977, focusing on acquisition, development, finance, and entitlements.

Mandell served on the board of directors at San Diego National Bank from 1992 to 2009, and has founded and managed numerous businesses (not related to real estate) over the years.

Dr. Salvador Hector Ochoa

Dr. Salvador Hector Ochoa

Dr. Salvador Hector Ochoa is Provost and Senior Vice President of San Diego State University. Prior to serving in this capacity, he was professor and dean of the College of Education at The University of New Mexico (2014–19); Dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas Pan American (2007–2014); and an associate professor of educational psychology at Texas A&M University, where he was the program co-coordinator of the Educational Diagnostician Program and served as the Director of Training of the Doctoral School Psychology Program.

Ochoa’s scholarship has focused on bilingual psychoeducational assessment and educational programming issues pertaining to Latinx student, and he has had input on these issues at both the state and national levels. He has been on several Texas Education Agency’s committees and also served on a U. S. Department of Education Expert Advisory Panel for the Study of English language learners with special needs.

Over the span of his career, Ochoa has procured $3.7 million in grants, authored more than 30 publications, made more than 60 nationally refereed presentations, and been published in a number of journals. He has also published two books.

Ochoa served as an Associate Editor of the American Educational Research Journal: Teaching, Learning and Human Development (2004–06) and has been an editorial board member for several other journals. He has received several professional honors from Texas A&M University.

Robert K. Scott '75

Robert K. (Bob) Scott '75

Robert K. Scott '75 is a trial attorney who has practiced law in California for more than 45 years, specializing in all aspects of insurance "bad faith" litigation. Scott has obtained multi-million dollar judgments, favorable appellate decisions, and arbitration awards, as well as substantial out-of-court settlements on behalf of his clients. He is now mediating cases for the Superior Court and independently.

Scott is co-author—with colleague and former California Trial Lawyers Association President Douglas K. deVries—of “Establishing Insurance Bad Faith” in the Insurance Settlement Handbook. He previously served as chairman and member of the executive committee of the board of trustees of Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center and a member of the board of trustees of the Irvine Cancer Center. Additionally, Scott has served on the board of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice subcommittees on disability, health, and life insurance. He is a frequent author and speaker on insurance-related matters.

Rahil K. Swigart '03

Rahil K. Swigart '03

An attorney at Higgs Fletcher & Mack, Rahil K. Swigart '03 represents and advises businesses in disputes, including those concerning judicial foreclosure actions, misappropriation of trade secrets and proprietary information, covenants not to compete, breach of contract, copyright, and unfair business practices.

In addition to litigation disputes, Swigart has assisted individuals and businesses in transactional matters, such as assisting selling/buying real estate properties, forming business entities, and reviewing mortgage and deeds of trust documents for both commercial and residential real estate. She also assists clients in arbitration proceedings for refund of deposits in real estate development projects. She has a California Real Estate License, and is working on her LL.M. in taxation at the University of San Diego.

Michael J. Whitton

Michael J. Whitton

Michael J. Whitton is San Diego managing partner at Troutman Sanders, LLP, where he advises and counsels public and private companies, real estate investment trusts, and lending and financial institutions on a variety of complex real estate and business transactions throughout the country.

Whitton is considered one of the leading experts in transactions and other legal matters involving golf courses/country clubs, marinas, hotels, and other resort properties. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named one of 10 "Best Attorneys in the Golf Industry" by Golf, Inc. in 2011 and 2012.