Skip to main content.

GUCL Faculty

Practicing Professionals Informed by Real-World Legal Experience

The faculty at Glendale University College of Law represents a cross-section of accomplished legal practitioners including judges, corporate attorneys, Assistant United States Attorneys, city and district attorneys, and solo practitioners. Their law school alma maters are equally varied and noteworthy.

Most faculty members are 'adjunct' or part time law professors. Adjunct professors are accomplished legal professionals with a passion for teaching. A benefit students derive from studying with adjuncts is the opportunity to learn how the legal theory discussed in class is applied in current practice.

The faculty at Glendale University College of Law is accessible both during and outside of class. Senior faculty members maintain offices on campus and give generously of their time to students. Adjunct faculty members can be reached by phone or e-mail and will set appointments with students as requested.

Mae G. Alberto

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of Southern California, 1998
  • J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, 2003

After graduating from law school, Professor Alberto worked as an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps attorney, serving as a liaison between the Los Angeles Superior Court, City Attorney's Office, District Attorney's Office, Public Defenders Office, and local shelters implementing and operating the Los Angeles Homeless Court. She also created a training manual on the policies and procedures related to the Homeless Court program. In 2005, Professor Alberto was appointed as an associate counsel on a federal writ of habeas corpus. This started her interest in legal research and writing. Following the filing of the first writ she helped draft, she was soon appointed as co-counsel on two other federal writs of habeas corpus cases. Since then, Professor Alberto has worked on more than 75 appeals in the appellate divisions of the superior courts, California Court of Appeals and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also has extensive experience in drafting pre and post-trial motions in both state and federal court. Currently, she is a senior counsel in the Los Angeles office of Manning & Kass, where she is a member of the firm's Appellate Law / Strategy, Writs and Appeals Team. Professor Alberto joined the GUCL faculty in 2017. (Advanced Document Drafting)

The Honorable Amy Ashvanian

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • J.D., Glendale University College of Law, 2004

Appointed to the Superior Court of the State of California in February 2018 by Governor Brown, the Honorable Amy Ashvanian (GUCL '04) served as a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for 13 years during which she tried over 85 jury trials and 89 juvenile adjudications. While assigned to the DA's Hardcore Gang Division, she specialized in the prosecution of extremely violent criminal street gangs and received the following awards: The Michael Noyes Humanitarian Award; Most Valuable Prosecutor, Hardcore Gang Division; Challenge Coin Winner, Hardcore Gang Division; and Winner of the Los Angeles County Employee Testimonial. Additional honors include the Excellence in Leadership Award from the L.A. County DA's Investigator’s Association, the Outstanding Prosecutor Award for Specialized Prosecutions from the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, an "I AM WOMAN Visionaries and Agents of Change" award from SEIU Local 721 Women’s Caucus, and a Professional Leader of the Year award from the Western Diocese Armenian Church.

In 2008, she was selected to participate in the U.S. State Department's Overseas Prosecution Development Assistance and Training program and has since visited Indonesia and Armenia to assist with the judiciary reform of their criminal justice systems. She also worked with the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh on a similar mission. She has international commendations from the United States Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia; the Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Republic of Armenia; the United States Department of State, Ambassador to Armenia; and the Armenia State Counselor of Justice. Judge Ashvanian is a certified Police Officer's Standard Training instructor, teaches a Gang Awareness class at the LAPD Academy, and serves as coach for the AGBU Manoukian High School Mock Trial team. She joined the faculty of GUCL in 2014. (Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Criminal Prosecution, Professional Responsibility)

Michael M. Babikian

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University California, Irvine, 1993
  • J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1997
  • LL.M., University of San Diego, 1999
  • M.B.A., University of Southern California, 2004

An established innovator in the field of legacy planning, Professor Babikian co-founded LegacyShield, a cloud-based system that helps families track and store crucial financial records and family history for future generations. Prior to working at LegacyShield, he was President and CEO of Transamerica Insurance Brokerage from 2012 to 2015. He was responsible for the marketing and sales of life and long-term care products to independent general agents, brokers and direct marketers. Prior to his promotion to President, he served as Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President for Transamerica Brokerage. He joined Transamerica in 2003 as an advanced marketing consultant and was later promoted to Vice President, Strategic Marketing Services. His prior experience was as an attorney, working for KPMG, the California Franchise Tax Board, the IRS, and a tax law firm. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Glendale University College of Law. Professor Babikian joined the faculty in 2000. (Taxation)

Clare R. Ceplecha

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of St. Thomas, 1986
  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, 1993

Currently a Senior Fiduciary Advisory Specialist with Wells Fargo Private Bank, Professor Ceplecha has had a 30-year career in accounting, trusts and estates, probate and banking. Before joining Wells Fargo in 2016, she spent five years as a Senior Trust Officer for US Trust where she managed large and complex trusts including the ongoing fiduciary oversight of the investments, transactions and tax aspects of her accounts. Between 2003 and 2011, Professor Ceplecha was a solo practitioner and built a boutique law firm that focused on estate planning and probate. She became an expert in the technical and practical aspects of the preparation of estate plans and the implementation and administration of the governing documents. She served on the LA Superior Court Probate Volunteer Panel and was also volunteer counsel for the Pasadena Guardianship Clinic. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Glendale YWCA and Membership Chair of the Fiduciary Roundtable of the San Gabriel Valley. Professor Ceplecha joined the GUCL faculty in 2017. (Trusts and Estates)

The Honorable Michael D. Carter

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., Morehouse College, 1986
  • J.D., Tulane Law School, 1990

Judge Carter began his legal career in the L.A. County District Attorney's Office. During his 13-year tenure there, he tried some 68 felony jury trials. In 1991, he and two other Deputy District Attorneys prosecuted four LAPD officers for their conduct during the beating of Rodney King. Later, he was assigned to Central Trials, Juvenile, Special Prosecution and the prestigious Hardcore Gang Divisions. He spent six years in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Division, bringing dozens of rapists and child molesters to justice. Outside of the courtroom, Judge Carter is on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. He also participated in the Legal Enrichment and Development program, serving as a crime-prevention instructor to fifth graders for seven years. In November 2003, former Governor Gray Davis appointed Judge Carter to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He currently presides in the Criminal Division of the Burbank Superior Court. Judge Carter joined the faculty in 2006. (Trial Advocacy)

David H. Friedman

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of Michigan, 1995
  • J.D., Loyola Law School, 1999

Since graduating from Loyola Law School in 1999, Professor Friedman has developed a specialized practice in Family Law Dissolution; Custody/Visitation; Premarital & Post Marital Agreements; Community Property/Separate Property; Spousal and Child Support Orders; Paternity; Enforcement of Interstate Orders; Post Judgement Collections; and Professional Collections. He drafts and argues Orders to Show Cause for Custody, Visitation, Child and Spousal Support, and attorney's fees. He handles discovery for all phases of civil and family law matters, defends and takes depositions and appears at trials and hearings. Professor Friedman continues to support his clients in the collections process after a judgment has been awarded and takes appropriate steps on his client's behalf to levy personal property, bank accounts, and stock brokerage accounts. He is a State Bar Certified Family Law Specialist, a member of the Family Law Section of the L.A. County Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Los Angeles County Family Inn of Court. Professor Friedman joined the GUCL faculty in 2010. (Community Property, Family Law, Torts)

Stephen Gunson

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., Brigham Young University, 2000
  • J.D., Pepperdine School of Law, 2004

As a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the last 14 years, Professor Gunson is known as an expert in criminal law and a formidable trial attorney. Since becoming a DA, he has conducted hundreds of preliminary hearings, felony trials, and juvenile gang member adjudications. Additionally, between 2012-2019, he served as a member of the DA’s elite Hardcore Gang Division and prosecuted 24 murder, attempted murder, and other serious jury trials involving criminal street gangs. In 2016, he was recognized as the Hardcore Gang Division’s Most Valuable Prosecutor. Professor Gunson has a passion for teaching; when his schedule permits, he volunteers in the DA’s Training Division and helps new DA’s hone their expertise in criminal law and trial practice. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2019 (Criminal Law).

Lawrence Hafetz

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., Wesleyan University, 1984
  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1989

Professor Hafetz has practiced with Los Angeles County Counsel since 1994 where he manages their Property Division as Assistant County Counsel. With a focus on zoning, land use, environmental law, contract law, real estate transactions, and property-related litigation, his division advises the County Department of Regional Planning, the Regional Planning Commission, and the County Board of Supervisors in planning and zoning matters. Professor Hafetz also has significant litigation experience in government tort liability, regulatory takings, eminent domain, contract disputes, tax assessment/collection, licensing, code enforcement, gun control and constitutional claims. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2015. (Evidence, Remedies, Real Estate Acquisition & Finance)

Paul D. Hesse

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.S., University of Nevada, 1980
  • J.D., University of Santa Clara School of Law, 1983

With a legal career spanning 35 years, Professor Hesse brings expertise in the fields of insurance and property law to the classrooms at GUCL. For the past 17 years, he has served as in-house national legal counsel to Farmers Insurance, one of the largest insurance companies in the country. As Director of all major litigation nationwide and Property Counsel, he has managed an inventory of thousands of lawsuits and other legal assignments. He is considered an expert in the legal aspects of the insurance business, including coverage, litigation, and regulatory compliance. He is also immersed in property law and regularly addresses real estate-related matters concerning property titles, transactions, mortgages, and deeds of trust. Prior to Farmers, Professor Hesse spent 18 years as a litigator and trial attorney representing an array of large businesses, insurers, real estate professionals, attorneys, accountants, financial and estate planners, and securities brokers. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2019 (Real Estate Acquisition and Finance, Real Property).

Daniel E. Kenney

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., Pitzer College, 1989
  • J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, 1993

Professor Kenney is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Harrington, Foxx, Dubrow & Canter. His practice includes admiralty and maritime claims, products liability, general tort litigation, commercial disputes, bankruptcy, intellectual property, ADA, ERISA, medical malpractice, premises liability and professional liability defense. He is a member of the Trial Attorneys of America and has presented seminars for insurance company employees on the topics of proper claims handling practices and compliance with California insurance law. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1994 and is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court, (Central, Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of California) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. While at Southwestern, he was a Note & Comment editor on the Law Review and was a member of the Honors Moot Court Team. Prior to practicing law, he worked with the sport fishing industry in Southern California. He joined the GUCL faculty in 2013. (Evidence, Torts)

Fernando M. Luna

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., American InterContinental University
  • J.D., University of West Los Angeles School of Law, 2008

A State Bar-Certified Family Law Specialist, Professor Luna has over ten years of litigation experience. He focuses on incorporating this expertise with a comprehensive understanding of a client’s goals in order to reach an effective resolution of family law matters ranging from complex property division to high-conflict child custody proceedings. Since becoming an attorney, he has presented at numerous Continuing Education of the Bar courses about Family Law and has been a guest speaker at the State Bar of California, Beverly Hills and Pasadena Bar Associations, and the Southern California Family Law in of Court. Each year from 2012-2018 he was recognized as a Southern California Rising Star in the legal profession and in 2019 was selected as a Southern California Super Lawyer. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2019. (Community Property, Family Law).

The Honorable Michael A. Knish

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., Wake Forest University, 1982
  • M.A., Cal State University Los Angeles, 2000
  • J.D., Whittier College School of Law, 1991

Currently, Judge Knish presides in the criminal trials department of the San Bernardino Superior Court. Appointed by the judges as a commissioner in 2003, he was elevated by Governor Jerry Brown to a judgeship in August 2012. In his 14 years as a judicial officer, he has worked in almost every type of calendar, including criminal trials, civil trials, family law, juvenile court, mental health court, and drug court. He has also served as Presiding Judge of the superior court’s appellate division.

A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Whittier College School of Law, he served as Notes and Comments Editor of the law review, chairman of the moot court honors board, and secretary of the Student Bar Association. After admission to the Bar, he worked first in private practice, specializing in criminal law, family law, and personal injury. Subsequently, he was hired by the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s office, where he worked from 1995-2000 in the felony trials unit and then, from 2000-2003, on the capital defense team, where he represented persons facing the death penalty. He was honored by the office as Trial Attorney of the Year in 1998 and by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors as Public Defender of the Year in 2000.

Judge Knish has been an educator since 1985. Prior to becoming an attorney, he taught AP Economics and AP English at Damien High School for seven years. He has taught law and English composition classes at Mt. San Antonio College, East Los Angeles College, Riverside Community College, and California State University, Los Angeles. Currently, he serves annually as a faculty member at the Witkin Judicial College, where he teaches a segment on drug addiction and mental illness to new judges. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2008. (Contracts, Wills, Legal Writing, Trial Practice)

Tamara M. Kurtzman

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of Chicago, 2004
  • J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 2007

Professor Kurtzman has a history of achievement. In law school, she was Editor-In-Chief of Law Review, authored multiple notes, and graduated cum laude. Shortly after law school, she opened the law offices of TMK, P.C., representing corporate clients ranging from small start-ups to large multi-national organizations. She has successfully represented clients in multimillion dollar civil litigation, personally worked on more than $85 million of business financing transactions, $22 million in grant and other strategic ventures, and represented clients in multimillion dollar international manufacturing, licensing, and distribution deals. Professor Kurtzman joined the faculty in 2015. (Pretrial Practice)

Robert K. Lu

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University California Los Angeles, 1995
  • J.D., University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, 1998

As the west coast managing member of the litigation department at Reid & Wise LLP in Los Angeles, Professor Lu's practice focuses on all facets of complex commercial litigation cases ranging from securities, contracts to immigration and cross-border disputes. He also serves as outside General Counsel for several companies, including MITAA Group, Stars Energy and Punch TV Studios, Inc. Previously, Professor Lu spent four years with the United States Attorney's Office in the District of Arizona (Phoenix) working in both the Civil and Criminal Divisions. His initial associate position was with Latham & Watkins, LLP in Los Angeles, where in over five years he gained valuable experience in bench and jury trials, white-collar criminal and pre-trial investigations and motion practice. A graduate of USC Gould School of Law, Professor Lu was in the top 10% of his class and a member of Order of the Coif. Following graduation, he had the distinction of clerking for two federal judges, Judge Harry L. Hupp in the Central District of California, and then Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez on the Ninth Circuit. Professor Lu has taught Civil Discovery at the UCLA Extension Paralegal Program and is currently and an Adjunct Professor at USC Gould School of Law where he teaches Legal Writing and Research. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2016. (Torts, Civil Procedure).

The Honorable Steven Marcus

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1998
  • J.D., Glendale University College of Law, 2004

The Honorable Steven Marcus was appointed as an Immigration Judge in June 2020 by Attorney General William P. Barr. An accomplished attorney with distinguished front-line and supervisory experience, Judge Marcus has prosecuted and defended client interests before immigration courts and agency tribunals for over two decades.

Judge Marcus' noteworthy career in immigration law has a proven track record of effective legal representation in both private practice and public service including 13 years with the nationally recognized immigration law firm Ivener & Fullmer and 14 years as an Assistant Chief Counsel, U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security. Judge Marcus joined the GUCL faculty in 2006. (Immigration Law)

Kevin J. Moore

  • B.A., San Diego State University, 1984
  • J.D., Western State University College of Law, 1987
  • L.L.M., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1989

In 1992, Professor Moore founded Kevin J. Moore & Associates as a way of investing in his hometown of Pasadena. Specializing in estate planning, trusts and probate services with additional expertise in both domestic and international business transactions, tax planning and tax controversy, the firm has a winning reputation among its individual and business clients.

Prior to founding the firm, Professor Moore served as an International Business Tax Attorney with the esteemed law firm Salpius and Partners in Salzburg, Austria. For four years, he helped the firm’s clients build and protect their wealth with international and domestic investments.

A frequent guest speaker for investment advisors and their clients, he shares his insights on topics relating to estate planning and business taxation. Actively involved in his community, he is known for his sponsorship of local youth, high school, and professional sports teams. Professor Moore joined the faculty in 2020. (Trusts and Estates)

The Honorable Jared D. Moses

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.F.A., New York University, 1983
  • J.D., UC Davis School of Law, 1993

Judge Moses graduated from NYU with Honors in Drama and worked as a professional actor earning credits in film and commercials. He later graduated from UC Davis School of Law in the top 5% of his class and was a member of Order of the Coif. Between 1994 and 2004, Judge Moses served as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney where he tried over 70 jury trials to verdict. For 5 1/2 years, he was a prosecutor in the Hardcore Gang Division where he tried over 24 jury trials, including 16 gang murders. He then brought his prosecutorial skills to the DA's Training Division between 2006 and 2008. He was elected to the bench in 2008 and currently presides in the Alhambra Superior Court. Judge Moses is an advocate for developmentally disabled children and provides counseling and support for parents of children diagnosed with autism. Judge Moses joined the faculty in 2007. (Criminal Law, Evidence)

David Ruiz Riera

  • Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., Universitat de Barcelona, 1998
  • M.A., Universitat de Barcelona, 2000
  • J.D., Glendale University College of Law, 2006

David R. Ruiz is a senior counsel in the Los Angeles office of Manning & Kass, where he practices on the Appellate Law and Complex Litigation Teams. He focuses his practice on assisting the Special Investigations Unit / Insurance Fraud Litigation Team combat fraud against insurance companies. Well-versed in all aspects of the evaluation and defense of first and third-party SIU claims, he is constantly working on developing new legal avenues to pursue those who attempt to defraud insurance companies.  This includes affirmative litigation matters such as qui tam, lien consolidations, declaratory relief and RICO matters. Professor Ruiz has a broad range of substantive experience as both plaintiff's and defense counsel. He has defended class actions, represented employers and employees in wage and hour cases; advised employers about employees’ rights, prosecuted automobile accident personal injury cases, and represented property owners in civil, appellate, and administrative proceedings pertaining to Fair Housing Law, real estate and landlord-tenant law. He has substantial experience in all aspects of civil litigation from case intake through final disposition at trial, and significant writing experience in drafting pleadings and motions, including summary judgment motions, motions to compel and for sanctions and motions to dismiss in Federal and State Courts. He has conducted more than five bench trials as lead counsel and second-chaired two jury trials. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2006. (Advanced Document Drafting, Legal Method and Examsmanship)

D. Jay Ritt

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1985
  • J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law, 1988

After practicing at one of downtown Los Angeles’ preeminent litigation law firms, Professor Ritt founded Besinger, Ritt & Tai (now Ritt, Tai, Thvedt, Hodges, LLP) in 1995. He has achieved the highest possible rating of AV Preeminent in litigation by the peer-reviewed Martindale Hubbell agency, as well as being designated a 2014 Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine and a Top Lawyer by Pasadena Magazine.  He represents business and individual clients in the areas of civil, business and criminal litigation including employment, unfair business practices, intellectual property, partnership and corporate dissolution, professional negligence, real estate, breach of contract, fraud/trade secret disputes, and criminal defense. Professor Ritt has extensive trial, mediation and arbitration experience in both state and federal court. He has appeared before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and obtained a landmark published opinion on behalf of his client in favor of public employee rights under the First Amendment. He has appeared before the Second District Court of Appeals for the State of California on many occasions. He has also successfully petitioned for review to the California Supreme Court and successfully defended matters before the Unites States Supreme Court. Additionally, Professor Ritt is active in the representation of death row inmates and others seeking federal habeas corpus relief. He joined the faculty at GUCL in 2006. (Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure)

The Honorable Sergio C. Tapia

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law
  • B.A., University of California Berkeley, 1991
  • J.D., University of Iowa, College of Law, 1995

Apointed to the bench in 2013, Judge Tapia currently presides over a felony arraignment calendar in the Los Angeles Superior Court (Downtown L.A.). He conducts preliminary hearings, jury trials, court trials, evidentiary, sentencing and various other hearings in criminal cases. He also reads, reviews and presides over the law and motion calendar, requests for search warrants, probable cause determinations, and a variety of other law enforcement requests. Prior to his appointment, he served as a Deputy Alternate Public defender for the County of Los Angeles for 12 years during which he represented the defense with an emphasis on more serious felony cases including special circumstance homicide. His career in defense work also included four years as a Deputy Public Defender and a year as an Americorps attorney serving the indigent through the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. He has tried over 120 jury trials and 50 court trials in his career as a defense attorney. Judge Tapia joined the faculty at GUCL in 2016. (Criminal Law)