USC News

Menu Search


The USC Gould School of Law’s “Conversations With the Dean” series continues March 2 with Mark Wapnick ’72, the founder of CourtCall and pioneer of the telephonic court appearance system.

Wapnick, who launched CourtCall in 1996, will sit down with USC Law dean Robert K. Rasmussen from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. in Room 7 of the Musick Law Building. The event is open to the greater USC community, and lunch will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Because most court appearances last just a few minutes – and attorneys spend several hours traveling to court, waiting for the judge and getting back to the office – Wapnick devised a teleconferencing system that serves more than 1,500 state and federal courtrooms in 42 states.

Using CourtCall, attorneys phone into court from their offices and participate in hearings and other court matters just as they would in person. CourtCall has handled nearly 2 million appearances, saving attorneys an average of two hours of travel time each time they use the system.

Ferguson Awarded Stimulus Grant

USC School of Social Work associate professor Kristin Ferguson has received a $742,033 federal stimulus grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to engage homeless youth in a vocational intervention integrated with clinical services designed to improve their employment opportunities and mental health.

Homeless youth with mental illness face employment barriers and challenges inherent in living on the streets, including limited education and job skills. Moving these youth off the streets requires more than finding them low-wage jobs.

This study aims to help homeless youth achieve economic self-sufficiency by replacing their high-risk, street-survival strategies with marketable job skills and providing comparable income that substitutes their street earnings. The homeless youth agency will operate a small business run by the youth who complete the training program.

Funds to Help in the Fight Against Cancer

Oscar Aparicio, associate professor of biological sciences at USC College, has received a $316,417 federal stimulus grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

The award will enable him to hire a postdoctoral researcher and support an additional graduate student, as well as upgrade his equipment to the highest-quality technologies for micro-array data analyses.

Aparicio studies yeast cells for insights in the battle against human cancer — a disease caused by mistakes in the genetic programming of cells.

Series Connects With USC Annenberg on Web

The award-winning KCET series SoCal Connected announced an online partnership with the News21 team at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism on Feb. 11.

News21 journalists working in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, Ventura County and the Antelope Valley will report on the economy, education, transportation, housing and government for the Web-based project “Dream Interrupted: California in Crisis.”

Ten USC fellows will produce multimedia reports for the SoCal Connected Web site ( They also will work as part of the SoCal Connected team, contributing story ideas, collaborating with producers and keeping pace with the demands of a weekly news program.

Law and Business Students Create New Group

Students at the USC Gould School of Law and the USC Marshall School of Business have joined forces to create the Gould/Marshall Alliance, a club geared toward enhancing interaction between the two student bodies.

“There is a lot of desire from law students and business students to work together and get to know each other,” said Philip Castro ’11, president and founder of the group.

In its first year, the alliance has sponsored events ranging from professional to philanthropic. One highlight was a panel, co-sponsored with USC Law’s Federalist Society, on current issues in intellectual property and copyright law.

The group also sponsored an interschool competitive blood drive (won by USC Law) and a tailgate for a USC football game.

A panel discussion on entrepreneurship is in the works for this spring, as well as a second blood drive.

More stories about:

Top stories on USC News