2023 Peggy Browning Fund  header

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a radical shift in the expectations held by workers regarding the offerings from their employers. Where employees were once resigned to following orders blindly and accepting that what the employer wants is set in stone, there is now a sense that workers can enact change to create a workplace that serves the needs of both the employee and the employer. This shift has not always ended amenably, however – look no further than the current situation at Twitter.

Despite the growing empowerment of the working class, there is still a dire need for others who can stand up for them when an employer refuses to consider change.

If you’re a 1L or 2L and are interested in being an advocate for workers’ rights and workplace justice, we strongly encourage you to apply for the 2023 Peggy Browning Fund Summer Fellowship Program. This is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of workers’ rights under the mentorship of practicing labor law attorneys.

Applications are due no later than Friday, January 13, 2023 and offers will start to be made on a rolling basis on Saturday, December 10, so be sure to get your application submitted ASAP! You can read more about the specific fellowship opportunities and application requirements on PBF’s website.

The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and former Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19.  Today, the program provides students with a means of fine-tuning their research and writing skills while discussing a subject they are passionate about. This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Matt Carlson (3L, 2024) under the mentorship of Bianca Samuel (’11), Deputy Attorney General III, Employment & Administrative Mandate Section, Investigations Group.

“In an attempt to screen police candidates and prevent unfit candidates from service, Assemblymembers Jacqui Irwin and Luz Rivas co-sponsored California Assembly Bill 2229, which reenacts the bias requirement training in Government Code Section 1031 related to peace officer minimum standards. The following article provides a background to essential peace officer minimum standards, the history of targeted racial bias reform, failed attempts at overhauling minimum standards, and an overhaul of bias evaluation requirements.”

Read the full paper here.

In an effort to address the need for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, the Sacramento Legal Employers Diversity Collective and McGeorge School of Law have partnered to build a more inclusive pathway to law school. This partnership utilizes a four-pronged approach to tackle the lack of diversity in legal employment:

  • Pathways Program – bringing middle and high school students to McGeorge’s campus and sending attorneys to local schools to talk about the legal profession.
  • Mentoring – pairing diverse attorneys with mentors at a different employer and from similar backgrounds.
  • Recruitment & Retention – giving employers constructive space to share information on what is and is not working to recruit and retain diverse employees. Ongoing events and trainings will be held with employers, as well.
  • DEI Skills Identification – surveying employers for DEI skills they want to see in new hires. Using the results, McGeorge will retool its curriculum to ensure students graduate with the desired skills.

To further the impact of these efforts, the Diversity Collective has researched various DEI resources and compiled them for employers to reference as they review their own policies and procedures.

In the first of a series of summaries and recommendations drafted by the Diversity Collective and scheduled for release over the next several months, legal employers are encouraged to conduct an in-depth review of the National Association for Law Placement’s (NALP) Diversity Best Practices Guide.

For future summary recommendations and news from the Diversity Collective and McGeorge’s partnership, keep an eye on McGeorge @ Work.

Robert Rodriguez, class of 2024

The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and former Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19.  Today, the program provides students with a means of fine-tuning their research and writing skills while discussing a subject they are passionate about. This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Robert Rodriguez (2L, 2024) under the mentorship of Carmen-Nicole Cox (’11), Chief Counsel of Public Policy and Advocacy at United Way California Capital Region and an adjunct professor of Race, Mass Incarceration, & Criminal Justice Reform at McGeorge.

“Likely frustrated with a lack of accountability in criminal court, 66% of Americans believe that citizens need to have the power to sue police officers for using excessive force. Contrary to this sentiment, instances of police brutality have not increased significantly. However, the availability of phones with recording capability has increased significantly, exposing the misconduct by law enforcement to a world audience with the tap of a screen. With confidence in law enforcement to act in the public’s best interest on the decline among American citizens, civil suits are a citizen’s last line of defense. Under federal law, a person has the power to bring a civil suit against the law enforcement officer that deprived that citizen’s constitutional rights with a section 1983 civil action. In California, residents have the choice of a Tom Bane Act civil action, as well as the § 1983 civil action. Both actions can be used to compensate a victim in the form of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and/or an injunction to attempt to ensure similar future incidents of constitutional deprivations do not occur.”

Read the full article here.

Robert Bell, class of 2024

The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and former Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19.  Today, the program provides students with a means of fine-tuning their research and writing skills while discussing a subject they are passionate about. This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Robert Bell (2L, 2024) under the mentorship of Colin Hendricks (’12), Senior Attorney at California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

“California is in dire need of an upheaval of the water management systems that have been in use since the 1800’s. However, is building a new reservoir something that the state should be putting forward at this moment? With record low water levels, what is the point in having another site of dry lakebed with no water in it? How do we handle the drought right now and future droughts that will affect California for year to come? The answer is not quite so simple and of course comes with many projects working in tandem, one of which could be the Sites Reservoir.”

Read the full article here.

Danielle Koontz, class of 2024

The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and former Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19.  Today, the program provides students with a means of fine-tuning their research and writing skills while discussing a subject they are passionate about. This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Danielle Koontz (2L, 2024) under the mentorship of Richard E. Williamson (’85), founder at Ezer Williamson Law.

The purpose of this research is to examine possible issues that need to be addressed in the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (the “NCAA”) new name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) legislation. This research will examine the Fair Pay to Play Act (the “FPPA”) that has been enacted by several states by discussing what aspects of the FPPA should be included in the NCAA’s new legislation and elaborating on contractual issues that have yet to be addressed.”

Read the full article here.

There’s no one-size-fits-all career path for lawyers, and the same goes for your law school experience. Your journey is your own, and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your legal education, the CSO strives to get to know each of our students on an individual level. That’s why every 1L has a mandatory one-on-one CSO orientation meeting with one of our career advisors during their first fall semester. This is also how you gain access to McGeorgeCareersOnline (MCO), our online job board.

This year, we will open appointments for CSO orientation meetings on Monday, September 12, 2022. This is our opportunity to get to know each student: your goals, your passions, your personal and professional background, and what kind of career you think you want to pursue – or the path you know you do not want to pursue. As the semesters proceed, we’ll work with you to create a personalized plan to help you achieve your goals.

These are no-pressure meetings, so the only thing you need to do is keep an eye on your email for the link to schedule your appointment!

Consider the following scenario:

Sam, a 2L trans woman who uses “they/them” pronouns, answers a question and the professor responds by asking the rest of the class, “Do you agree with his argument?” Sam quietly stares down at their desk, hoping not to draw attention to themself. It was an innocuous follow up question during a typical seminar, yet Sam felt “othered” because of their professor’s misgendering (using a pronoun that doesn’t align with a person’s identity).

The use of correct pronouns has grown to be a focal point of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies over the last several years. It’s a simple courtesy that fosters inclusion and acceptance, especially in the classroom and workplace where many of us spend the majority of our time, yet many people are still unaware of the impact it can have or downright resistant to making the change. Berkley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice recently published a great guide of best practices for trans inclusion, and we encourage everyone to take a look so that all classrooms, offices, and everywhere else are safe and welcoming for all people.

For better or worse, grades and class rankings are here. With fall recruiting and our Early OCI Program upon us, you’ll need to consider whether and how to make adjustments to your resume and other application materials to reflect your class rank and GPA. There are no hard and fast rules that fit every situation, so you may need to make some judgment calls. We’ve included some guidelines below, but if you have doubts, you can always talk with one of the Career Services Office career advisors to determine the best course of action.

Happy and you know it?

Good job and a pat on the back for you. If you are in the top third of your class or higher, you will definitely want to include your class rank on your resume.

Somewhere in the middle?

If your class rank falls between the top third and the top half, you’ll probably want to designate your class rank on your resume. It really depends on where you are applying. For example, some firms may assume you are in the bottom half of the class if you do not make a designation. For other employers, it may not be advisable to include a class rank unless you are above the top third. The key is to assess each job application individually and make the move that will both show you in the best light and be responsive to the job posting.

I didn’t make the top half. What now?

Fifty percent of all law students are in the bottom half of their class. You are in good company. If this describes your position, you will probably not want to include your class rank on your resume (unless an employer specifically requests it). Your job in this case is to focus your application materials on your strengths and show employers other ways in which you shine. In this difficult job market, employers are valuing experience more than ever and many do not put heavy emphasis on grades and class rank.

If you need to bolster your experience, consider doing one or more of the following:

• Participate in clinics and externships
• Tailor your resume to focus on prior work experience (including pre-law school work) and transferable skills you possess
• Join student organizations and/or look for other leadership roles on campus
• Be active in outside organizations, such as a bar section, trade group, or sports club

How should I designate my class rank on my resume?

When designating your class rank on your resume:
• Always round up. If your class rank is 20.8%, for the purposes of your resume designation, you are in the top 21%, not the top 20%.
• Designate your rank in increments of 5%. Typically, you would not state on your resume that you are in the top 21% of your class, but rather that you are in the top 25%.
• Unless it makes sense to not use 5% increments. For example, if a particular job application asks for top 15% only and you have a ranking of top 17%, it may make sense to list 17% instead of 20% for that application as it shows you are “this close” to meeting their requirements.

Should I include my GPA on my resume?

GPAs vary greatly from school to school so they are not as objective a measure for employers. Generally you do not need to include a GPA designation on your resume, and employers who are interested typically request transcripts instead. The unofficial rule is that you should include your GPA when it makes you look better than leaving it off. You will have to make a judgment call. Here are a few examples of when you might include your GPA:

• If your GPA is better than your class rank reflects
• For consistency, if you included your undergraduate GPA
• If an employer specifically requests your GPA

How can I use summer school or fall semester grades to my advantage?

Summer school and fall semester grades do not factor into your class rank until the end of the following year. If you received improved grades in either of these terms, there are ways to share this with an employer. For example, you can send the employer an updated transcript with a cover letter explaining your subsequent course success. Or you can designate on your resume (separately from your class rank) that you received improved grades during a specific semester (especially if it is in coursework that relates to the employer’s practice).

For more tips, visit the CSO and speak to one of our Career Advisors.

 

Claire Yazigi (’04). Second row, center.

You can learn a lot from attorneys that have come before you. Specifically, those that have sat in the very classrooms where you now learn can offer unique insights about the law school experience in Sacramento, finding a job, and advancing your career. McGeorge alumni know how to find success without the name of a top 3 law school to open doors. Alumni Board Member and Administrative Law Judge Claire Yazigi (’04), Office of Administrative Hearings, offered this piece of advice: Continue Reading Advice from Alumni | Claire Yazigi, ‘04