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Last updated: 10/20/2010 2:37:59 PM
California Western -- Deans and Faculty Emeriti
Deans and Faculty Emeriti

Robert K. Castetter, Dean Emeritus & Professor Emeritus
La Mesa, California     term of service 1960-1985

John R. DeBarr, Professor Emeritus
Riverside, California     term of service 1976-1986 

Michael H. Dessent, Dean Emeritus
La Jolla, California     term of service 1986-1996

George N. Gafford, Professor Emeritus
La Jolla, California     term of service 1969-1985 

Chin Kim, Professor Emeritus
La Jolla, California     term of service 1978-1995 

James E. Leahy, Professor Emeritus
Fargo, North Dakota     term of service 1964-1984

Michael D. O’Keefe, Professor Emeritus
Olympia, Washington     term of service 1978-1998

Katharine Rosenberry, Professor Emeritus
Mountain View, California    term of service 1977-2007


Robert K. Castetter was the founding Dean of California Western School of Law. He served as Dean from 1960 to 1980 until he was elected President of the Law School by the Board of Trustees, a position in which he served until his retirement in 1985. He was also a tenured professor. Although sports are his first love, education and law are close seconds. He earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from Washington and Jefferson University. He received his LL.B. and J.D. with honors, from Salmon P. Chase College of Law and his LL.M. from Indiana University, where his dissertation topic was "Economic and Political Implications of Middle East Oil." He also received his LL.D. from Washington and Jefferson University, as well as an honorary degree for outstanding educational service. He has always been very proud of the international scope of the education here at California Western School of Law. The courtyard at the 225 Cedar Street campus center is named for Dean Castetter, and includes a life-size bronze bust in his honor. The caption reads "Every day is a good day, but some days are better than others." The second floor of the Law Library is named in his honor and a generous alumni donation of $1.4 million established the Dean Emeritus and Professor Robert K. Castetter and Marjorie Castetter Endowment Fund.  back to top



John R. DeBarr, A.B., Bucknell University; J.D. George Washington University; BGen USMC Ret. Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania. Career officer USMC with 34 years of service, 26 in legal positions in the U.S. and abroad as a Military Judge, Legislative Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Appellate Council, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief Military Lawyer of the Marine Corps, and head of the Marine Corps Legal Staff. Professor DeBarr joined the faculty at California Western School of Law in 1976 and taught administrative law, conflicts, military law, and professional responsibility while concurrently serving on the council of the ABA General Practice Section, as a member of the board of editors for the Section’s publications, and as a director and council member of the Girl Scouts of America for Imperial and San Diego Counties.  back to top



Michael H. Dessent, B.S., J.D., cum laude Northwestern University; Order of the Coif, Law Review Editor. Admitted to practice in California. During his legal career Dessent fulfilled a variety of leadership roles and has represented some of the leading businesses in the United States. He has been general counsel with multi-billion dollar corporations, legal consultant for major law firms, author, professor and practitioner. From 1986 to 1996 Dean Dessent took California Western into the forefront of legal education as a major law center, discussing the important legal issues of the day. Despite his record of accomplishment in the law, he tends to view his legal career as an accident brought about by his "having failed to beat out Ozzie Smith for short stop on the Cardinals." A leading philanthropist in San Diego, Dessent has served on the boards of many charitable corporations. In 1996 he took dean emeritus status and turned to full-time teaching. Click here to view his faculty biography.  back to top



George N. Gafford, A.B. Yale College; J.D. Case Western Reserve University; Order of the Coif. Admitted to practice in Ohio. Professor Gafford spent more than 25 years in active practice, including work for future Justice William O. Douglas at the Securities and Exchange Commission, counter-espionage work for the U.S. Air Force, Office of the Ohio Attorney General, and in a private firm in Cleveland. He taught as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. At California Western School of Law Professor Gafford taught courses in business organization, client counseling, mediation, remedies, securities regulation, and trial and appellate practice. The moot courtroom in the 350 Cedar Street classroom building and the intramural trial competition both proudly bear his name, and honor his role in launching the school’s team competitions. Professor Gafford has been an active member of the law school Board of Trustees since 1986.  back to top



Chin Kim, M.C.L., George Washington University; M.S., Columbia University; LL.M., J.S.D., Yale University. After earning his degrees, Professor Kim returned to his native Korea to teach at Seoul National University for eight years. Recipient of the University of Paris French Foreign Minister’s Fellowship in private international law and one-year fellowship in the U.S. Congress, Professor Kim then served on the law faculty at the University of Illinois for ten years. During his tenure at California Western School of Law, Professor Kim was Director of the Law Library, directed the M.C.L. degree program, developed the curriculum in private international law, and trained law librarians from all over the world. As a leading authority on Asian law fluent in several languages, he has translated numerous legal documents into English, among them the Chinese Criminal Procedure Code and served as a consultant to a number of international corporations.  back to top



James E. Leahy, J.D. University of North Dakota, LL.M. New York University. Admitted to practice in North Dakota. Prior to coming to California Western School of Law, Professor Leahy practiced law in North Dakota for seven years. He was also managing officer of the trust department of the Merchants National Bank and Trust Company in Fargo, North Dakota, during which time he served a member of the North Dakota State House of Representatives. Professor Leahy taught constitutional law and a seminar on civil rights at California Western School of Law, and remained active by teaching courses part-time for several years after his retirement. He has written widely, especially on the First Amendment, and his scholarly work focuses on the concepts of liberty and justice. While at California Western School of Law, he was California Director of the Probate Research Study of the American Bar Foundation.  back to top



Michael D. O’Keefe, B.A., J.D., University of Washington; Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif. Admitted to practice in Washington State and District of Columbia. After seven years tax practice as a Certified Public Accountant with a major firm, he resigned to enroll in law school. Professor O’Keefe served on the law faculties of Williamette University, the University of Washington, and at The Catholic University of America where he served first as associate dean and later as acting dean. In Washington he was consultant to the Urban Institute on real estate tax law. Professor O’Keefe turned down teaching positions at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University to teach at California Western School of Law. He taught corporate taxation, estate and gift taxation, estate planning, individual income taxation, and trusts and wills in addition to his terms as Vice Dean (1978-1980), Associate Dean (1993-1995) and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (1998).  back to top



Katharine Rosenberry Professor Rosenberry, B.S., Northwestern University, M.Ed., University of Illinois, magna cum laude J.D. University of San Diego. Professor Rosenberry started her career at Gray, Cary, Ames and Frye (now known as Freidenbach and Ware.) She began teaching in 1977 and serving as co-director of the McGill Center for Creative Problem Solving in 2002. She specializes in real property law and various aspects of creative problem solving. She has been an invited member of numerous professional organizations such as the American Law Institute, American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and the College of Community Association Lawyers. She also has served as a board member and officer of organizations such as the State and County Bar Associations and was past President of the Community Association, an organization with 15,000 members. She resigned to work on an international humanitarian project and continues to research, write and teach techniques for facilitating problem solving in a multicultural setting. her resume
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