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CWSL Student Wins H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition Award Alongside Harvard and UNM Co-winners

Tyler Marquez

A California Western student has taken 3rd place in the 2018 H. Thomas Austern Writing Competition organized by the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI).

Winning  3rd place in this prestigious annual competition was CWSL 3L student
Tyler Marquez with a paper entitled: The Phenomenon of Financial Toxicity: Health Care’s Insatiable Disease.

Co-winners include first place winner Jenya Godina of Harvard Law School and second place winner Taylor Mayhall of the University of Minnesota Law School.

Marquez credits California Western’s Prof. Robert Bohrer for urging her to submit her paper to the competition. “It was Prof. Bohrer’s FDA Law Seminar this past spring that encouraged my idea of exploring and expounding on issues of concern in our country’s pharmaceutical industry,” recalls Marquez. “With his feedback, and after much editing, I gave the competition a shot.”

The writing competition is intended to encourage law students interested in the areas of law affecting FDA-regulated industries: food, drugs, cosmetics, dietary supplements, medical devices, and tobacco.

Marquez’s interest in health law began during her undergraduate studies and grew during her time at California Western through available coursework which influenced her choice of electives, externships, scholarly writings, and extra-circulars, such as the Health Law Society. “I am thankful that Cal Western has provided the environment for my interest in health law to evolve,” says Marquez.

Choosing to write about the ever-increasing pharmaceutical cost crisis arose from the unfortunate reality that too many people are growing increasingly unable to afford even the most-simple of care, says Marquez.

“Through my paper, perhaps more health care professionals will consider the significant financial constraints placed upon patients because of the cost associated with treatment,” she says. “Policymakers and health care industry leaders need to shift their mindset to recognize that affordability of treatment should be a consideration in the standard of care.”

Not surprisingly, Marquez intends to pursue a career in the health law field where she hopes to contribute and expand the discussion about the intersection of medicine and the law.

“From the youngest to the oldest of us, health law and health policy pervade nearly every aspect of our ability to pursue a reasonable quality of life,” adds Marquez.

Thomas Austern, a practitioner of food and drug law with Covington & Burling for more than 50 years, was known in the field as the “Dean of the Food and Drug Bar.” He played a critical role in the drafting and negotiation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act among many other contributions to the field. For more information on the FDLI visit

The Clinical Externship Program is an essential component of the curriculum at California Western School of Law. The 13-week program gives third year students the opportunity to earn academic credit for legal work in nonprofit agencies, private law offices, courts, corporations or government agencies. For more information on the Clinical Externship Program visit