Janice Mulligan '78, '81 JD
1: What have you been up to since graduation?
Time has flown by! I have been practicing law in San Diego ever since I graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in international relations from USD. in 1978 and a law degree from USD in 1981. I represent individuals and families whose lives have been torn apart by catastrophic injuries caused by medical errors, understaffed nursing homes and other avoidable disasters. I am also a clinical instructor at UCSD. School of Medicine where I teach medical ethics, risk management and other health law related topics to medical students and physicians. I have a deep gratitude and a tremendous respect for excellence in health care.
I married a USD law grad, Harvey Berger in 1986, and we have one daughter, Vanessa, now age 27 and two dogs. For fun, Harvey and I travel to Eastern and Western Europe and teach lawyers and law students various U.S. legal principles. For example, this past May we taught a mediation course in Salzburg, Austria, and in November, I won an award for the top paper submitted to the Union Internationale des Avocats in Valencia, Spain. The topic was, “How Would You Like Your Pacemaker to be Hacked?” The paper addressed the question of cybersecurity flaws in healthcare and potential legal solutions
2: What is your fondest memory of USD?
Meeting my husband! I met my husband, Harvey Berger, in the law library. I was a second year law student and he was a first year student. He asked me to watch his books and we have been together ever since. I didn’t know that while I was watching his books he was talking to another female law student! It’s just as well I didn’t know it at the time or this would not have been my fondest memory! Indeed, my life could have turned out much different.
3: What is your favorite place on campus, why?
While I was a student at USD, my favorite place was the rose garden across from Founders Hall. The garden has been replaced with buildings (including the nursing school). Now my favorite place is the Garden of the Sea, with the reflecting pool and gardens on the west side of the Center for Peace and Justice. Both my former and existing favorite sites share much in common: natural beauty, a spectacular view and an oasis for reflection.
4: Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
As a USD undergraduate, my favorite professor was Dr. Joseph Ghougassian. My freshman year, I took a philosophy course from him and it was illuminating. He opened my mind to a way of thinking I never consciously knew existed. I wound up taking every philosophy course he taught. While I was always a reader, he helped me to become a critical thinker.
In law school, my favorite professor was Dr. Hugh Friedman. Smart and incisive, he not only taught me how to think like a lawyer, he also instilled in me the confirmation that to be an excellent lawyer, it takes much more than knowing how to practice law. While I have had the privilege of knowing many fine lawyers, he was one of the best, because he was not only an accomplished lawyer, he was a fine person. He was an excellent lawyer, professor, author, world traveller, accomplished musician, and a compassionate and fair human being. He and his brilliant wife, Hon. Lynn Schenk, set the bar for excellence in the San Diego legal community, and did much to advance the role of women in the legal community in particular, and society in general.
5: How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?
Many moons ago, I was on the Board of Directors for the USD Alumni Association, and then the Board of Directors for the USD Law Alumni Association. Since then, I have been a guest lecturer in various classes in the philosophy department, nursing school, law school and most recently to the health law society. I have also been a moot court judge for many competitions over the years. On occasion, I have had the privilege of having USD law students intern for me on some of the research and writing projects I do for UCSD and teaching abroad. I am always open to new ways to stay engaged if anyone reading this has any ideas as to how I can be of benefit to the USD community.
6: If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
Do what you love and stay flexible. I never dreamed I would find fulfillment in health law. After a judicial clerkship, I started a career in corporate litigation but I found it wholly unfulfilling. I have no science background and I am squeamish at the sight of blood. However, I like helping people and I enjoy learning new information. My area of expertise allows me to do both. Also, by teaching and publishing, I have had the opportunity to explore the world, which has been a goal of mine ever since I studied international relations as an undergraduate student.
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