The McGeorge Legal Clinics have been on an impressive run over the last several years. In the last year alone, the Community Legal Services (the year-round clinic) closed over 200 cases for nearly 600 low-income clients in the Sacramento area. Over the last two years, CLS has recovered $2.75 million for financially exploited elders and $1.7 million in discharged consumer debt. The Student Attorneys, post-graduate fellows, and faculty of the Legal Clinics have been an invaluable resource to the Sacramento community, providing pro bono services to those who otherwise would have had no access to such services.

Keep up with the latest news and updates from the Legal Clinics with their new blog, McGeorge Legal Clinics.

This blog is the first post in a series that will examine diversity in the legal field. The blogs will highlight diversity issues and efforts within the legal communityClick here for a list of Asian American ally resources.

I want to start off this blog post by honoring victims of hate and violence. Victims that were attacked, only because of their identity.

I am writing this as a Filipino American immigrant woman and as a law student. I am writing this from my perspective as I am processing the attacks against my community.

The Asian American community is mourning. In the past few months, there has been a rampant increase in Asian American hate and violence. As I hear about these attacks, I think of my family members. I think of my great uncles, great aunts, and my grandmothers as I hear about attacks on the elderly. I think of my mom and my aunts as I hear about attacks on Asian American women.

The McGeorge School of Law Asian Pacific American Law Student Association wrote a statement in response to these attacks:

“We are not a virus. We are not a model minority. We are not a monolith. We are not your punchline or your scapegoat. We need to stop normalizing complacency. We need to amplify the narratives of our Asian storytellers, victims, survivors, and family members. And in the process, we need to look unto ourselves, in striving for anti-racism for ALL communities, for we do not tolerate selective support or solidarity. Anti-racism does not work unless we remain in total solidarity, together.”

As I try to process the hate and violence against the Asian American community, I think about my personal background. I think about my parents’ struggles to come to America with a hope for a better life for their children. I think about how I want to make them proud and show that their hard work paid off. I think about how my life is easier because of their sacrifices.

However, I also think about how this country has unfairly treated them, just like so many other communities of color. It is important to recognize how laws justified racism against communities of color, from the Exclusion Act to Immigration Detention Centers today. Though each community’s experience is unique, the hate and violence are all deeply rooted in racism.

Growing up in the Philippines, I always heard America’s promise of the American “dream.” But that dream only works for a select few groups. The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality is extremely damaging when institutional barriers continually prevent people from achieving upward mobility. Even if that “dream” is somewhat achieved, we are still haunted by racism through hate crimes. It is a reminder that maybe we do not belong here. We have become a scapegoat for America’s failures to their people.

It makes me angry. I am studying the laws that justified past discriminatory policies. Discriminatory policies that fuel and rationalize hate crimes that are currently happening against my community.

However, I want to be hopeful. I want to be hopeful that the legal field will be more accessible to underrepresented communities. I want to be hopeful that there will no longer be legal justifications for discriminatory policies. I want to be hopeful that my community’s differences will be recognized, not just as a monolithic identity. I want to be hopeful that media portrayals of these hate crimes will not be distorted to benefit the attacker, but instead recognizing the attacker’s hateful motivations against the victims. I want to be hopeful that my community will no longer be a scapegoat. And lastly, I want to be hopeful that my community, and other communities of color will no longer experience hate – and if hate ensues, there will be consequences and prosecution just like ones that disproportionately impact us.

The 2022 annual U.S. News and World Report rankings for law schools were recently released, and McGeorge made some significant strides forward among our academic peers, improving enough to move out of U.S. News’ “Ranking Not Published” category to be ranked #141 in the country. Two components that had the most significant impact on this were improvements in McGeorge’s bar passage rate and employment rate.

McGeorge’s bar pass rate went up 13.8 percentage points, and for the first time in 25 years, exceeded the state’s average pass rate for California ABA accredited law schools. One reason why the bar pass rate went up so much was because more and more students are participating in McGeorge’s Bar Exam Attack Track (BEAT) program and McGeorge’s bar incentive program. Student who complete these FREE programs pass the exam at significantly higher rates than those who do not. These programs aren’t a replacement for commercial bar prep programs, but rather additional resources.

Employment rates of McGeorge graduates for JD required or JD advantage jobs also improved significantly, up 12.6 percentage points from the prior year. When you find a job, either leading up to graduation or after you have graduated, please let us know. We want to celebrate your good news with you and knowing about your successes is vital to tracking and assessing our work with you.

In more good news, McGeorge’s Trial Advocacy program improved to 8th in the nation, our legal writing program improved to 21st nationally, and our Dispute Resolution and International Law programs are both ranked in the top 50 in the country. Our environmental law, intellectual property law, and constitutional law programs also showed significant improvement in this year’s U.S. News rankings.

Thank you to all who helped make this achievement possible – faculty, staff, administration, and leadership; and congratulations to our McGeorge students!

Do you miss having a quiet place to study free from pets, kids, and noisy roommates? Are you preparing to take the bar and keep getting interrupted in the middle of a cram session? Normally, the McGeorge library would be the first place students turn to. However, with COVID-19 likely keeping much of the campus shuttered for the next few months (at least), students must now look to outside services. In Sacramento, there are many co-working spaces outside McGeorge that offer a quiet place for students to work alone or with small study groups.

One location that’s popular with current students is the aptly named co-working office, The Spot. Located on 12th Street and under a mile from Capitol Park, The Spot provides a quiet space for students and working professionals alike. Be sure to ask about the student rate for a monthly desk ($60/month), which isn’t advertised online.

In Midtown you can find The Trade Coffee & Coworking. Although it’s a bit pricier than the other co-working spaces we list here, the office does provide a slew of amenities and is even pet-friendly for anyone who just can’t leave their furry friend behind. It’s an appealing option for anyone who wants to spend some time in Midtown.

Looking for something closer to campus? Just a few blocks east of McGeorge and overlooking Broadway is Capsity Coworking. With free WiFi and printing, snacks and drinks, and a discount at Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream, Capsity provides a great space to buckle down and hit the books. They are also a pet-friendly office, like The Trade Coffee & Coworking. Perhaps best of all, the student rate for this office is only $48/month. Plus, there are some great eateries in the area when it’s time to refuel.

If none of the above spaces pique your interest but you’re still interested in finding a rental study space, check out sites like LiquidSpace or Davinci to find something that fits your needs. Most offices will provide commitment-free tours for interested individuals, so you don’t have to worry about getting locked into anything before seeing your future work area in-person.

For many, the first months of being in the part-time program at McGeorge can feel overwhelming. You may have thought that “part-time” meant “half-time” (and that you would be doing half the work of the full-time students), but this isn’t the case.  Virtually the whole of the part-time cohort had spinning heads during the fall semester, as we pushed and clawed to keep up the pace. We hope the future incoming part-time 1L’s can learn from our struggles. The following are some tidbits of wisdom that my cohort wanted to share:

  • Stick to your schedule to make sure everything gets done. This includes work, school, personal time (if you can fit it in), and office hours (office hours are crucial: you will learn things that you cannot get during regular class time because students often have insightful questions they are too shy to ask in class). You must be self-disciplined, and be prepared to be exhausted.
  • One of the biggest challenges is accepting that your social life will be the biggest area in which you are going to have to make cutbacks. While this is also true for full-time students, it seems especially true for part-timers because what little free time we had after work has been consumed to make room for school.
  • Build in time to decompress, even if it is only 30 minutes. It shows in your work if you don’t. While it doesn’t have to be exercise, remember endorphins are great for battling depression, and some days you are going to feel depressed.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow cohort members. If you are feeling lost or alone, either they can help you or they are lost too; and you can support each other as you both make your way to office hours to get more help.
  • When you plan, be specific. Don’t just clear a slot for GLS work on Saturday. Know when your due dates are and schedule backwards with exactly what you will do to reach your goals. If your midterm is on Sept. 9th, plan to have your outline done by a specific date and schedule time for practice exams. You will be shocked by how fast time moves with everything on your plate.
  • Practice exams are incredibly helpful and you should review them with your professors. They cannot help you during your midterm or final, so get help when it is available; the scored assessments will look eerily similar to the practice question.
  • Keep a running list of what did and didn’t get done, and learn to prioritize assignments – e.g. is it worth spending a few hours on a reading assignment or would it be better spent perfecting that GLS memo? The brutal reality is that there will always be more work than time, so prioritize and make peace with your choices.
  • Even though you are tired after working a full day and having classes in the evening, make use of the nights after classes to help spread out the workload so your weekends are not completely packed. If you happen to be a morning person, study before work.
  • Be yourself: one member of my cohort spent a lot of time trying to craft outlines and notes the way she had seen others doing it and it was not clicking with her learning style. She was so overwhelmed with being a 1L and not knowing how things worked that she forgot how to be a student and how her own learning style had gotten her this far. She finally stopped trying to copy everyone else’s style and crafted study aids her own way. It made such a dramatic difference.
  • Note that each class will require something different. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Your Criminal Law professor may be very particular about the format of the exam, while your Civil Procedure professor may not care. Attention to detail is key in law school.

 

It all comes down to advice that you will hear over and over again: keep a schedule, reach out when you are lost, and compromise when necessary. But this isn’t your professors talking at you, this is the part-time class of 2024 reaching back a supportive hand to help you along. We wish you the best, keep your head up, and remember that it has all been done before. We know you can do it too.

Julienne Correa, 2L (Class of 2022)

Growing up, I didn’t know anything about law school. I remember researching “how to become a lawyer” and immediately closed the tab because it looked too intimidating.

When I started undergrad at UC Davis, I decided to get involved with student government. I met a lot of students majoring in political science and international relations. They were pre-law, I was pre-med. After freshmen year, I realized that I just could not put myself through another science or math class; no matter how much I studied, I struggled with the concepts. I realized it was because I lacked the motivation to pursue a career in the medical field. It was my parent’s dream, not mine.

Coming from an immigrant family, I was terrified to fail. Failing meant disappointment to my parents. Disappointment to all their struggles to get me to a four-year university. The medical field was all I had ever known and what I told them I wanted to do, but I was not passionate about it.

As I continued getting more involved in student government, I realized I enjoyed advocacy. I liked helping people and advocating for important structural change. Many of my colleagues were pre-law and they gave me great advice on how to prepare for law school. I was also happy to find that, unlike being pre-med, I was not required to take specific courses. I chose two majors that I greatly enjoyed, Sociology and Psychology.

I am grateful for my opportunity to pursue a college degree and to go to law school. I am able to choose a career that I can truly be passionate in. However, it is not an easy path for someone who has no background in the legal field. The legal field is prestigious and sometimes lacks diversity. I wish to pursue this career to increase the diversity in the legal field because it impacts so many people, especially the most vulnerable populations.

There are so many different opportunities in law. I am still in the process of trying to figure out what type of lawyer I want to be. I know I want to help people. I know I am passionate about this career. I know that I have more to experience and every day I am learning something new. I am in no rush because I am just grateful to be in law school. I am excited to see where it will take me. As a law student, my current goals are to be successful in my classes, graduate, and pass the bar exam.

Are you ready to save some tuition money? All McGeorge students are currently eligible to apply for three scholarships for the upcoming school year. Click here to view a list of the available scholarships and their deadlines. These scholarships are open to everyone.  Even if a merit scholarship is lost, this is an opportunity for all students to supplement their financial aid package. (And it can be earned back for the 3rd and/or 4th year of law school, which is a unique McGeorge opportunity.)

The following forms are due on Monday, March 8, 2021 to the Financial Aid Office:

1)   Pre-filled FAFSA or FAFSA (2021-2022) | (Note: 2019 tax form.  We suggest you use the IRS data retrieval tool when completing your FAFSA)

2)  JD Scholarship application (2021-2022)

Please note that late applications will not be accepted, so be sure to get your forms in order ASAP!

The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19.  The program matched McGeorge students who lost summer opportunities due to the pandemic with local attorneys for guidance on a research project on the topic of the student’s choosing.  This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Mike Della Maggiore (2L, 2022) under the mentorship of Allison Cross, a defense attorney for the Placer County Public Defender’s Office, Koukol & Associates.

“In today’s political climate, police conduct has never been under such watchful eyes. The Black Lives Matter movement has directed the attention of every observant American to the systemic discrimination our country perpetuates. But what about the processes that lie beneath the surface, out of view of even the most vigilant? Entrapment is the result of undercover police conduct, but in California entrapment is defined as law enforcement conduct likely to induce a normally law-abiding person to commit the offense. This article serves not to argue the legality of affirmative police conduct or its justifications but seeks to explore California’s current entrapment defense standard and the discriminatory patterns therein. This article begins with the history of the entrapment defense and how different standards evolved. This article will then explain California’s current standard and its shortcomings, specifically, how it produces patterns of discrimination based on race, socio economic status, and gender. This article then posits California should enact a different test to avoid the discrimination currently perpetuated by this practice…”

Read the full article here.

Nikki Kuklo (1E), May 2023

I am entering my second semester of law school in the part-time program… Who would have thought that would happen for me?! I am 30 years old and have been a horse trainer since I was 10 years old, or at least that was when my mom put a receipt book in my hand and taught me how to start charging my client. So, one might say that my experience so far has been a complete and utter culture shock. I was filled with so much doubt regarding my ability to integrate into this wholly new way of thinking and doing things.

One thing you learn early in training horses is that horses need constant care and diligence. There is never a day off because, at a minimum, horses need to be fed and watered. This holds true for law school as well. As Professor Telfeyan reminded my GLS I class frequently, daily diligence is key.

The law school experience has shown me that consistency and persistence in your studies is crucial. You have to tame your mind to be a little less wild each day. You have to have patience on the days when you feel like you have not retained a single thing, reward yourself on the days you have pushed – despite feeling like you do not belong –  and do a little dance when everything starts to click. Feeling my mind transformation has been a startling and liberating experience.

Unlike training horses though, I am not alone in my work. I get to be a part of the amazing part-time cohort. There is a real camaraderie in the part-time class. Everyone has schedules that often appear like blackout dates for the airlines. So, they come prepared; they know exactly why they came to law school, and they are here to get everything out of a class that they can. They challenge you to be at the top of your game and they expect you to meet them at their level in group work. So you do. And as you improve, they cheer for your correct answers in the face of the scary professors and they console you when you take a chance and it goes poorly.

At times, scheduling is the hardest part of law school for a part-time student, not the content. There were many Thursday evenings, after Criminal Law was over and we had completed our Skills Lab Study Group at 9:30 pm, that I would sit staring at the list of assignments I had compiled throughout the week. I keep that list in one notebook and I have a physical calendar that lays the week out by the hour. It starts at 7 am and ends at 8:45 pm.

Any law student will tell you, there are not enough hours in that day. I have to plan out each hour, including everything from work and free time to exercise and family obligations. You may not get to everything on your calendar, every time – I know I have failed occasionally. Note the missed material and evaluate your schedule accordingly. What you put into law school is what you get out of it. This applies to making connections with your cohort as well.

I have not had the opportunity to meet any of my cohort in person yet. Anyone who started law school in the fall of 2020 is experiencing something no other incoming 1L group has ever faced: Zoom classes. The professors find engaging ways to keep our attention and deliver the material, even though most of us are in the comfort of our own homes. As one of my fellow cohort members said, “the academic rigor has survived despite the less-than-ideal circumstances.”

Still, one cannot help but feel a sense of disconnect and isolation from time to time. Personally, I have noticed that I worry about jumping into a discussion without being able to read the room because I am concerned I will talk over a point being made by a fellow classmate. I also experience some insecurity when an answer is not received well and I cannot immediately see that the rest of the class is feeling my pain right alongside me.

Fortunately, we are adapting. The part-time cohort has set up group discussions so we can support one another and make sure everyone has as much information as possible. We have Slack channels, small group texts for assigned group work, a text chain with our entire cohort, and a Facebook page. None of this is a substitute for meeting up in person, but we are connecting as we can. It feels a lot less lonely when someone reaches out to remind you there is an assignment due, showing they care about their fellow classmates.

To sum it all up, the experience thus far has been terrifying and exhilarating, exhausting and fulfilling, painful and transformative. There is nowhere I would rather be than in the part-time programs with dedicated students at McGeorge School of Law. I cannot wait to meet them in person as we continue our journey.

Source: Equal Justice Works

Are you interested in a career in public interest law? Have you considered becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow? EJW is currently accepting applications for two summer fellowships:

  • Rural Summer Legal Corps (due February 8, 2021): Partnering with Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Equal Justice Works provides law students with an opportunity to serve rural communities by providing direct legal services such as affordable housing and farmworkers’ rights, engaging in community outreach and education, and supporting resource development and training sessions. The fellowship will take place over the course of eight to ten weeks.
  • Disaster Resilience Program (due February 16, 2021): As a Student Fellow, accepted applicants will provide free civil legal assistance to disaster-prone areas, such as Texas and Florida. Student Fellows will assist an Equal Justice Works Fellow in improving disaster preparedness and recovery from natural disasters, as well as things such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

All 1L and 2L students are encouraged to apply to these exciting opportunities, where you will gain invaluable experience and strengthen your legal network. Learn more about the available fellowships here, and be sure to have your resume reviewed by the CDO by emailing us at lawcareers@pacific.edu. For those interested in working with non-profit and government agencies, be sure to also attend the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair this October, the largest public interest career fair and interview program in the country. More information will be released later this year.