TJSL's Lobby was all abustle with students dressed in their best at the Public Interest Career Fair coordinated by the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) on Thursday, February 16 . Several organizations that serve the public sector were present at the PILF event, conducting interviews with current students who are looking for jobs and internships. Thuy Pham, 1L, was present at the event, meeting with representatives from the various organizations. Pham says that the fair "is a great way to meet potential employers and obtain a summer or fall internship. An internship in public interest is an opportunity to gain valuable legal skills as well as to serve your community." Notably, students from TJSL were sitting on both sides of the interviewing table in some interviews. Alumna Danaly Barajas '11 was present at the event holding interviews on behalf of the San Diego Public Defenders Office. Barajas dreamed of becoming a Public Defender and now that her dream has come true, she finds joy in helping current law students succeed as well.
She says: "It felt amazing to be on the other side of the table and to be able to give pointers and advise to those law students who are interested in gaining experience at our office. It was also an honor to be able to share my story with the students and answer their questions in order to make their experience a little less intimidating. I remember exactly how it felt to be a law student and I hope seeing a recent Thomas Jefferson grad on the other side of the table encouraged them to approach us to get the information they were looking for." Another TJSL Alumna, Lorena Slomanson ’03, also came to the Career Fair on behalf of The Legal Aid Society of San Diego. Like Barajas, she strives to help students while in the early years of their legal careers, and she understands the important roles which mentors have in the lives of students. Slomanson says, “I do career fairs at various law schools, but my favorite ones are at TJSL, where I, as an alumna who loves our law school, can give back to the TJSL community by supporting the current students who are our future lawyers . . . I had awesome mentors in law school and continue to benefit from my mentors as a lawyer." In addition to the organizations for which Slomanson and Barajas work, students participating in the Career Fair had the opportunity to meet with representatives from The San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, The Immigration Justice Project, The Casa Cornelia Law Center, The Employee Rights Center, Housing Opportunities Collaborative, New Media Rights, The San Diego Office of Public Defenders and the American Bar Association, among others.