Chapman’s law school celebrates 2018 graduating class and alumni accomplishments

Attorney Maryalice Khan was a pioneer.

Khan enrolled in Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law when it opened in 1995, believing the first law school on a university campus in Orange County would one day blossom into a well-respected one.

Khan, now a compliance auditor at WellPoint Health Networks, went on to be one of the 64 members of Fowler’s first graduating class in 1998.

Khan’s prediction proved accurate with this year’s commencement ceremony for the 135 Fowler graduates.

Every year since 2005, the Princeton Review has ranked Fowler among the top 10 law schools in the nation for “Best Quality of Life.”

Fowler also recently received an A grade from PreLaw Magazine for practical training.

“Those of us who started school and continued on to graduate were all visionaries and trailblazers who believed in the vision that Chapman held which that they would develop a top-notch law school,” said Khan, who is also a member of the Fowler Alumni Board. “I made many positive connections during my tenure as a student at Fowler.”

A group of 101 Fowler alumni passed last year’s California bar exam.

The group included 87 first-time test-takers, 13 repeat-takers and one first-time California applicant who previously had passed in Minnesota.

Sixty-five percent of Fowler graduates taking the California bar exam for the first time passed, exceeding the 49.6% pass rate for all state bar applicants for the 11th consecutive year.

In 2018, Fowler students also captured first place in the Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition and the Show Me Challenge, a competition in which students are scored on jury selection and opening-statement skills.

“Given our history of training practice-ready attorneys, we have continued to add to and adapt our curriculum to ensure that our students and graduates meet the needs the legal marketplace,” said Fowler Dean Matthew Parlow. “Our alumni have achieved great success as partners in international law firms, in-house counsel, founders of nonprofit organizations, leaders in government service, and in so many other areas of the legal profession. We are incredibly proud of their achievements.”

In recent years, Fowler has developed courses focusing on practical skills including negotiation, mediation, client counseling, writing and trial advocacy.

The college also added specialties, with the latest being a certificate in criminal law, and increased the number of student internships in the legal community by more than 50%.

Among notable Fowler graduates is Antoinette Balta, co-founder of the Veterans Legal Institute, a public interest law firm in Santa Ana for low-income veterans. She received her J.D. from Fowler in 2006.

Bradley Schoenleben (J.D. 2007) is a deputy D.A. with the Orange County district attorney’s office. He works in the agency’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage children.

In June, Forbes named Diana Day (J.D. 2007) No. 30 on its list of World’s Most Powerful Sports Agents.

“By providing a top-quality legal education, we have been able to prepare practice-ready attorneys who make a significant impact in their communities,” Parlow said.

Lou Ponsi is a contributor to Times Community News.