“This is phenomenal - so well put together,” said Justin Hall 1L at the business mixer held Friday evening February 1 at TJSL. “A lot of hard work and dedication was put into this and it is so beneficial for the students.”
The event was designed to give the more than 80 law students who attended an opportunity to network with the owners of more than 30 downtown businesses and forge relationships. But it turned out to be much more than that and included a visit from San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.
The highly successful mixer was also a celebration of the involvement the law students already have with so many of the businesses surrounding the law school and, just as important, a chance for those businesses to support the students.
“I want to get more involved with the community and, in turn, foster the students – be a mentor,” said Scott Lutwak, who owns FIT Athletic and Brooklyn Bagels, both heavily patronized buy TJSL students.
“These students are a great source of business for me,” said Mark James, owner of 7th Avenue Cleaners. “I love the students - they are the heart of this community,” he added commenting on why he came to support them.
“These are very important relationships for law students to have,” Amy Buchanan 2L said. “Not just to support their businesses as customers, but to be possible attorneys for them after law school.”
That was the very purpose of the event – to show the businesses owners that TJSL students can be valuable to them as attorneys and even employees because of the skills their law degrees provide.
“I love talking about the alternatives and options you have with a JD degree,” said Brittany Harvey, a law school graduate herself, and the Director of Student Facilitation and Mediation at Bridgepoint Education. “A JD allows you to work in a diverse set of industries with a skill set a lot of people don’t have.”
It was also a night to be inspired, as special guest Stampp Corbin addressed those who attended with a very powerful message about “thinking beyond the horizon and not setting limits for yourself.” The entrepreneur told the audience, “Where ever your horizon lies – think beyond it. Break through the limits you set for yourself.”
Corbin, who once worked on the presidential campaign of then-candidate Barack Obama, thinks the president is an apt role model for his audience. “Mr. Obama was once a young law student just like you – and he was thinking beyond the horizon and not setting limits on himself.”
“Corbin was inspirational,” said Samantha Morales 2L. “He inspired us to be creative with our law degree.”
“It was really inspiring,” said Stuart Melman 2L. “I want to own my own business someday and his talk reenergized me.”
“It’s nice to see so many of the businesses we support come to support us,” said Dan Schmeichel 2L.
“This is fabulous! This is a great turnout!,” said Jared Clark 2L, one of the event’s four organizers. “This opens the lines of communication between the law students and business. We’re all neighbors.”
“Ever since we moved to the East Village, we have tried to be good neighbors and good citizens,” TJSL Dean Rudy Hasl told the group. “And by being here, you all recognize the importance of networking and building relationships.”
Though he wasn’t at the event in person due to a brief hospitalization, Lance Henry 3L’s presence and spirit were strongly felt at the event that was his brainchild.
“The event is all I’ve been focusing on for the past several months,” said Henry, who got out of the hospital the next morning. “It’s like not being there for the birth of your child – it’s devastating. But I feel great how successful it was.”
The other organizers, in addition to Henry and Clark, included Ryan Davis and Rexy Rolle, both 2Ls.
“I met my boss at an event like this,” said Brett Goda ‘11,” one of four panelists who met with the students and alumni who attended. Now,
Goda is a financial advisor at AXA and manages assets for the many attorneys he has as clients.
Goda was one of many TJSL alumni who were at the event.
“It’s exciting to see so many alumni working here locally,” said Kelly Hayes 3L. “And it’s such a great idea to have these local businesses get acquainted with TJSL students.”
“These students will be the vitality of the neighborhood,” said Mark James.
“Now that I’m graduating, it’s great to meet with the owners and find out how they view law students,” said Molly Fashola 3L. “We bring a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. We are the new generation.”
And according to Lance Henry, it’s a new generation that brings a lot to the table.
“The main reason for this whole event was to bring the business and the legal community together,” Henry said. “There are economic problems, but together we can solve any economic problem. We have all these resources between us and we can solve these problems together.”