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

A law degree without a career utilizing the knowledge you’ve gained is like an oil painting – it looks nice on your wall, but that’s about it. What was all the time and effort (and money) for if not to pursue your dream job, to have a career enacting change in your community, state, country, or the world? To achieve those goals, you’ll likely need some help along the way. While you may not have thought about it when initially weighing your law school options, you will see the importance of a functional and responsive Career Development Office as soon as you begin your law school journey. Our job is to help set you up for – and support you during – a long and successful career, so knowing what services are provided may influence your decision to attend one law school over another. Here are five ways that the McGeorge CDO works with students and alumni to accelerate their careers: Continue Reading Why is a Career Development Office So Important?

Have you ever wanted to create your dream job? Then apply to become an Equal Justice Works Fellow! Applications for the Design-Your-Own Fellowship Class of 2023 are now open and will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. ET on September 13, 2022. This unique opportunity allows you to design your own Fellowship project to address an unmet legal need in an underserved community in partnership with a legal services organization.

For those interested in either applying for the Class of 2023 or being a host site for a Class of 2023 Fellow, we encourage individuals to sign up for one of these upcoming informational webinars. Please see below for the registration links:

Questions? Visit the EJW website or email Prof. Leah Adams.

Jade Wolansky, Class of 2022

The past two years has taught each of us much about resilience – both in our personal and professional lives. As we transition to endemic COVID-19, the lessons we learned can be the source for resilience moving forward as well.

Ken Nourse, the most recent addition to the McGeorge Career Development Office, spoke recently to Jade Wolansky (3L) at a recent gathering of McGeorge Sacramento Bar Association Diversity Fellows where she shared her strategies to overcome the cancellation of her summer 2020 internship.

Ken Nourse (KN): Give us the background on what happened in May 2020 – what led to having to search suddenly for a summer position?

Jade Wolansky (JW): I was accepted into the Diversity Fellowship and very excited about starting a paying legal internship at a firm with a good reputation. Although other students were contacted by their host firms about starting, I hadn’t heard anything  and decided to reach out to mine. I learned that they were still deciding if they would participate that year. Then, the Friday before my start date, the firm dropped out of the program and my offer was rescinded.

KN: The sudden loss of the internship must have made you feel anxious and uncertain. How did you respond? Continue Reading Lessons from COVID: Job Search Resilience

As you prepare for your role as a summer associate or intern, you may be wondering how to navigate the nuances of office culture and expected work product. It’s a daunting prospect for many law students, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation, you can make a strong first impression and immediately demonstrate your value to the firm.

LexisNexis’ Summer Associate Resources page provides a great starting point for students preparing to enter the legal field, and their interactive Summer Associate Survival Guide – a collection of practice notes from current associates, partners, and executives – will help you hit the ground running and avoid common mistakes made by new associates.

Note: You will need to log in to your LexisNexis account to view the Survival Guide articles.

It is with pride, excitement, and sadness, that we announce that Molly Stafford, Asst. Dean of Career Development & External Relations, is embarking on a new adventure and leaving her position at McGeorge to work with the Prison and Reentry Education Program (PREP) at Folsom Lake College, working with students who are incarcerated or have recently been released from prison.

“After 12 amazing years in the McGeorge CDO, I am ready to follow the advice I have often given students, and take a career leap that I know will grow and challenge me to become the best version of myself.  

I cannot begin to describe my gratitude to all of you: Students, you continually inspire me. I have learned so much from you. Colleagues, you have made it a true joy to come to work for the last twelve years.  We have shared so many moments together—and so much laughter and some tears too—that I will never forget.  Dean Schwartz, thank you for supporting me on this journey; you have lead our team with deep care, humor, and positivity. Professors, it has been a pleasure getting to know you. Thank you for everything you do to promote our students’ career successes. Alumni community, including our stellar Board Members, you regularly astound me with your commitment to supporting our students and McGeorge. I am lucky to know you.”

We are putting something together to celebrate Molly/Dean Stafford/Prof. S. If you would like to include a message of congratulations or share a memory of Molly, please email them directly to ladams@pacific.edu.