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2009-2010 Speakers

Spirit of the Law is a speaker series featuring legal professionals discussing how they find meaning and purpose in the law, how they use their law degrees in creative and innovative ways, and how they connect the personal and the professional in their lives.

Co-sponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the Office of Religous Life

Upcoming Speakers

2012-2013 Speakers

2011-2012 Speakers

2010-2011 Speakers

  • SpearIt

    Thursday April 15, 2010, 12:20pm - 1:20pm

    SpearIt is an Assistant Professor at the St. Louis University School of Law. A graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law in 2009, he earned an M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara. He has taught at Harvard University, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison. His work has been published in the Seton Hall Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, and the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy. Currently, SpearIt is adapting his Ph.D. dissertation into a manuscript entitled Raza Islamica: Prisons, Hip Hop & Converging Converts.

  • Steve Yamaguchi, University Counsel

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 12:20pm - 1:20pm

    Steve Yamaguchi joined USC’s Office of General Counsel in 1999.  Mr. Yamaguchi is a corporate transactional attorney who provides legal support, including contract drafting, review and negotiation, for various schools, institutes, and centers, as well as a number of administrative departments. Prior to joining USC, Mr. Yamaguchi was an associate with the Los Angeles and Tokyo offices of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP where he practiced in the firm’s Financial Services Department and Asia Pacific Practice Group and handled a wide variety of business and financial transactions.  Mr. Yamaguchi is also an adjunct professor at the USC Gould School of Law and teaches Contract Drafting and Negotiation.


  • Najeeba Syeed-Miller

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 12:20pm - 1:20pm

    Najeeba Syeed-Miller is Executive Director of the Center for Civil Engagement and Dialogue which is focused on promoting engagement of communities in decision making and improving inter-religious understanding.  Previously she ws Executive Director of the Western Justice Foundation Center and the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center.  She has received numerous awards, including the South Asian Bar Association's Public Interest Award, and she was named Peacemaker of the Year in 2007 by the Southern California Mediation Association.  She is a graduate of the International Institute for Meditation and Conflict Resolution held at The Hague and she received her law degree from Indiana University.

  • Ted Russell

    Thursday, November 19, 2009, 12:20pm - 1:20pm

    In the legal field, some ethical rules are crystal clear, and others leave room for interpretation ... sometimes too much room.  Nowhere do things get stickier than in the entertainment industry, where agents, managers and lawyers hash out business deals and disputes with one another every day.  

    What are the rules of the game?  Are lawyers at a disadvantage because they are constrained by the rules of ethics?  Or are lawyers the most dangerous ones in the room, given that they are legally obligated to "zealously" represent their clients' interests above all others?

    Ted Russell is Senior Vice President of Litigation for Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.  He has taught Ethics and Negotiation as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine and as a Lecturer in Law for the USC Gould School of Law. Russell is involved in a number of charitable organizations working to provide education and free legal services.

  • Kalyanee Mam

    Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:20pm -1:20pm
    Hear how a lawyer finds creative ways to apply her law degree to filmmaking and human rights issues around the world. As a lawyer and filmmaker, Kalyanee Mam has worked on human rights issues in various countries, including Cambodia, China, South Africa, Mozambique and Iraq. Mam's past work has included assisting refugees in South Africa, documenting the atrocities committed against women during the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia, and working as a lawyer in Mozambique and Iraq. Mam is currently directing and producing Between Earth & Sky, a feature-length documentary film that follows the hopes and struggles of four young Iraqis living in Jordan, Syria and Egypt. She also serves as civic affairs officer for the Documentation Center of Cambodia. Mam and her family fled war-torn Cambodia and resettled in the U.S. in 1981. Mam is a graduate of Yale University and UCLA Law School.