Archive - Alumni Spotlight
Susie Lorden ’08
In late 2010, Susie Lorden ’08 moved to Washington, D.C., to work on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since then she been involved in drafting regulations and guidance, implementing new programs, ensuring compliance with the ACA by states and health insurance issuers, and responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Prior to moving to D.C., Lorden was a Deputy Attorney General in the Consumer Law Section of the California Attorney General’s Office.
Of becoming a lawyer, Lorden says, "I became a lawyer to make a difference in people’s lives, so it was an honor for me to work in our nation’s capitol on that historic law that is already helping millions of people get the care they need. I was outside the Supreme Court when it heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law. Inside that same courtroomI was sworn in by the U.S. Supreme Court Justices as a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. Somebody pinch me!"
Lorden also says, "I will always be grateful to Thomas Jefferson School of Law for its generous LSAT scholarship and excellent part-time program, which allowed me to continue working full-time at the California Attorney General’s Office while attending law school at night. I am extremely proud of TJSL for maintaining its strong part-time program that gives working adults like me the ability to attend law school. I think TJSL’s commitment to working students is part of its overall philosophy of providing dedicated, caring professors who teach practical law to students who are eager to learn and want to pass the bar. Students at TJSL tend to have a real camaraderie, and I hope to continue those relationships by acting as the leader of the TJSL D.C. alumni group."
The Fenelli Family - Katie Fenelli ’05, Karianne Fenelli Welch ’03, Amy Fenelli Ciftcikara ’01
The Law Offices of Rick J. Fenelli, LLP, started by Rick J. Fenelli—father of Amy Fenelli Ciftcikara ’01, Karianne Fenelli Welch ’03, Katie Fenelli ’05—is an Orange County law firm that has been around for 34 years. The family-owned firm prides itself on taking care of clients as they would their own Family - it’s the Italian tradition.
Amy Fenelli Ciftcikara ‘01 has been with the firm since 2001 and focuses on Estate Planning, Trust Administration and Probate. “TJSL gave me the foundation and confidence to take the knowledge I learned while in Law School, and transition to practicing in the real world. I am very thankful for the close knit community and family-like atmosphere of TJSL.”
Amy is married to Oz C. Ciftcikara ’02, who also worked at the firm from 2004-2011 and is now a research attorney with the San Bernardino Court. They have four children – Matthew, Cole, Anna, and Drew.
Karianne Fenelli Welch ’03 has been working at the firm since 2006 and focuses on Estate Planning. “TJSL provided a great environment to learn and helped me in establishing the fundamental background to practice law. I look back at my time at TJSL with fond memories.”
Kari is married to Thomas J. Welch ‘02 who also works at the firm handling litigation issues. They have three daughters – Katelynn, Carson, and Leah.
Katie Fenelli ‘05 has been working at the Firm since 2005 and focuses on Trust Administration and Estate Planning. Katie is currently obtaining her Masters in Taxation, LL.M from Chapman University and expects to graduate at the end of this year. “The education and experience I received from TJSL was the cornerstone in establishing my legal career. The professors at TJSL prepared me to pass the bar and provided me with the knowledge to practice law. I am very thankful for my time and experiences at TJSL.”
“I am impressed by TJSL and how well TJSL prepared my daughters for private practice.”says Rick Fenelli of his three daughters.
Robin Sommers '03
"The legal education I received at TJSL provided me with a solid foundation in cutting-edge legal issues that I've drawn from in counseling my clients and upon which I also rely for my own entrepreneurial pursuits."
Robin Sommers '03 is a business attorney with a primary focus on Intellectual Property. In his eclectic solo practice, he works with all kinds of entertainers, including those in music, fashion, art, and literature, and also with inventors and business people. Sommers is licensed to practice law in all state courts of Florida and also the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. He has handled matters for clients in Florida, California, Texas, Michigan, Maryland, Canada, Jamaica and Dubai.
Michele M. Castillo '99
Deputy Public Defender
County of Ventura
"I can honestly say that I had the time of my life in law school! Not only did I receive a solid legal education, but I had the opportunity to hone my leadership skills and form lasting friendships with many of my classmates. I look upon my time at TJSL with great fondness."
Castillo grew up in Ventura, CA. She is licensed in California and Arizona. She has been a Deputy Public Defender since 2002, rotating amongst felony, misdemeanor, juvenile (dependency and delinquency), probate, and mental health units.
While at TJSL, Castillo was named Outstanding Woman Law Graduate by the National Association of Women Lawyers and SBA President of the Year by the American Bar Association, among many honors.
She continues to serve her community. She has been a Mock Trial Attorney Coach at Channel Islands High School since 2005. In 2010, the high school received the 1st Place Prosecutor Award, 3rd Place Prosecution Witness Award, 6th Place Team, and Team Finalists in Ventura County.
G. Cole Casey '96
G. Cole Casey '96 is a highly respected San Diego DUI lawyer whose practice is limited to the defense of persons accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Southern California. He graduated from TJSL, having decided early on that he wanted to spend his career as a trial attorney.
Accordingly, in law school, Casey was captain of both the Moot Court Team and the Mock Trial Team. After graduation and admission to the bar, he took an associate position with a large insurance defense firm in San Diego. However, frustrated with the lack of courtroom time and the prospect of rarely ever getting to actually try cases, Casey went into private practice as a San Diego DUI Attorney after just one year of being admitted to the State Bar and immediately launched his career. He's now a well-known and accomplished San Diego DUI trial lawyer.
His first three cases as a trial lawyer were a 0.19 percent San Diego DUI case (hung jury), a breaking and entering/sexual assault (not guilty) and first-degree murder (not guilty). Thereafter, Casey dedicated his practice exclusively to defending San Diego DUI charges and endeavored to learn ever as much as possible about defending these very difficult and specialized cases.
When asked to share a favorite memory from his years at TJSL, Casey said, "I was fortunate enough to be in my second year, taking Evidence from Marjorie Cohn, during the OJ Simpson trial. Professor Cohn was a commentator on the news for that trial and it was in the news every single day, so we really got to see the evidence code played out in real time while we were learning it."