The versatility of a J.D. degree has opened the door to a wide spectrum of interesting and satisfying employment opportunities for our more than 6,000 alumni. They live and work both internationally and nationally, using the quality education they received at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in both the public and private sectors. They are at leading law firms, corporations and non-profits. They are judges, elected officials, sole practitioners and business owners. We are proud to shine a spotlight on some of TJSL’s alumni whose career paths are representative of the many exciting employment options to which a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law can lead!
Eric Bernsen '12 is currently Patent Counsel at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP in their San Diego office, where he specializes in patent prosecution. Bernsen is a current alumni board member and Assistant District Justice for the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International District XXX. He is also a former Justice for the Franklin Chapter of P.A.D. at TJSL. Bernsen also continues his military service as a Lieutenant Commander and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve. When not in the office, you can likely find Eric on (or in) the water or pedaling down the coast.
When asked why he gives back to TJSL, he replied, “It was day one when Dean Kransberger told my class that if you want to be anonymous, this isn’t your school. Law school is tough enough as it is – it’s even harder when you are forced to struggle and figure it out on your own. Thomas Jefferson students don’t have to blindly walk that line; I sure didn’t. The faculty is accessible and the students and alumni have always been willing to help me when I needed it. I figured doing my part for the school and students is my way of saying thanks.“
“I enjoy staying connected to TJSL through various events and organizations. During the two years I was on the alumni board, my favorite events involved helping to put together and volunteering for clothing drives, Rady Children’s Celebration of Champions, and a Halloween party for children at St. Vincent de Paul’s. Giving back to TJSL involves participating in these amazing events! Through TJSL I met people who have impacted my life in such positive ways that I feel compelled to do my best to give back. The professors, administrators and staff are proud of the school and make every effort to see that the students succeed. Professor Slomanson, in particular, made it possible for me to study in Kosovo during the summer of 2003. This opportunity has led to meeting life long friends who I’ve visited a couple times since studying in the Balkans. For reasons like this, I stay connected and give back to TJSL! Additionally, giving back to the school means working with some incredible grads and alumni staff that motivate you to do more!”
During law school P. Camille Guerra '04 had the opportunity to study in Budapest, Hungary and Kosovo, in the Former Yugoslavia. Upon graduating, she went through the hiring process with various federal agencies involved with intelligence work. While going through the multiple phases of the hiring process she began working at Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield with their in-house investigative department. Ultimately, Camille turned down the offer with the federal government to stay with CaseyGerry. Camille is an avid traveler and has spent time in places like the Balkans, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Central and South America, as well as other countries and continents. Additionally, she has studied Arabic, Farsi/Dari, Russian, French, Italian, and speaks Spanish.
“TJSL provided me not only with the foundation and tools necessary to succeed in today's challenging legal world, but also gave me the opportunity to develop and build relationships with leaders outside the classroom. The faculty and staff at TJSL couldn't have been more supportive of my many endeavours during law school and I will forever be indebted to them. Each day, I draw on my experiences at TJSL and the knowledge I gained while completing the program. The depth and breath of courses allowed me to learn areas of the law that I never would have considered. Most importantly the dedication of the faculty to teach went beyond what one would expect.”
In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Reza Torkzadeh '05, was selected by his peers as a "Super Lawyers Rising Star", a recognition only given to 2.5% of the attorneys in the state. Los Angeles Magazine named him as one of the "Top Young Lawyers" as selected by his peers and The National Trial Lawyers selected him to be on the "Top 40-Under-40" list, a recognition for which only 40 lawyers are selected in California.
In 2012, as a result of a $12,000,000 judgment in a wrongful death action, Torkzadeh was invited for membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum; one of the most prestigious trial lawyers organizations in the country. Less than 1% of all attorneys in the U.S. are members.
He is the Co-Author of the book, Accidents Happen But Who’s Going to Pay the Bills: A Consumers’ Guide to the California Personal Injury & Wrongful Death System.
Torkzadeh's practice is focused on representing those who have been seriously injured as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing. He has successfully represented those who have lost loved ones in wrongful death actions, auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, brain and spinal cord injuries, premises liability cases and dog bite cases in both state and federal courts.
He prosecutes criminal cases for the City of Los Angeles through the Fellowship Program of the prestigious Trial Advocacy Project (TAP), of which he is a graduate.
“The education I received from TJSL prepared me for my career in litigation. Professor Golden’s Contracts and Remedies classes as well as Professor Cohen’s evidence were invaluable in helping me to succeed in my field.”
W. Scott Noel '01 started his career in Jacksonville, Florida with the insurance defense firm of Schutt Humphries (now Schutt, Schmidt & Noey) in the spring of 2002, where he learned how to handle auto-accident cases, premises and school board liability, as well as construction defect. In 2005, Noel and his wife moved to Seattle, Washington where he took a position with The Hartford defending their insureds in construction defect cases. He has been with Liberty Mutual for the past 5 years, serving as the main construction defect litigator in the office. In addition to defending clients in suits ranging from the low thousands to multi-million dollar claims, he also provides training to paralegals, attorneys and claims adjusters in construction matters nationwide for Liberty Mutual. Noel is in the process of creating a nationwide program on “construction basics for the non-construction professional involved in construction litigation” which will be a quarterly CLE for Liberty attorneys, paralegals and claims adjusters.
Noel and his wife Lacey have 2 daughters, Alexandra, age 5, and Madelynn, age 2.
“TJSL has prepared me for my second career as well!” added Noel, who was a founding member of the TJSL indoor soccer team “The Ambulance Chasers”. At age 41, he has been invited to a try-out with the MLS Soccer team the Seattle Sounders in late March!