Archive - Alumni Spotlight
"One of the best aspects of TJSL is the supportive environment for student involvement and participation. The staff and faculty are open to student input, whether it’s about the course curriculum, networking opportunities or employment prospects. In my tenure as a student, I had the privilege of serving as the Public Interest Law Foundation president for two years and also representing TJSL on the ABA level as a Lieutenant Governor and an ABA Representative of the SBA. My student leadership involvement gave me a chance to know the staff and faculty on a personal level and build lasting relationship, which continue this day.
I left TJSL with not just the skill of “thinking like a lawyer” and understanding how to decipher a case, but with a sense of confidence in myself as a member of the legal community, with a strong voice and support system behind me. I stay involved really to give back and to encourage the current students the way I was encouraged during my tenure to become involved, make connections and not get discouraged. I am proud to be an alumnus of TJSL and take part in the school’s continuing growth. I believe TJSL grads are a powerful force to be reckoned with and it is because we continue supporting each other, during school and in the profession."
Anna Romanskaya '07 is an Associate with Stark & D’Ambrosio, LLP where she manages the firm’s family law department. Her practice consists of representation of clients in all aspects of family law, including dissolution, child custody, child and spousal support, property division and post judgment issues. She counsels and represents clients in civil matters, drafts motions and appears in court. Romanskaya is an activist and avid public speaker on victim advocacy, domestic violence and youth issues. She uses her background in crisis intervention and negotiation to offer her clients passionate and empathetic representation as they work through the emotional challenges of their family law matters. Even though she is only five years in practice, she is regarded as one of the leading family law practitioners in San Diego by both her clients and her peers. In fact, Romanskaya has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in San Diego in 2012 by the San Diego Metro Magazine as well as one of the Top Young Attorneys of 2008 by the San Diego Daily Transcript.
While the practice of law is certainly engaging for her, Romanskaya's true passion is public service. Her professional affiliations include membership in the American Bar Association, San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Lawyers Club and serving as a mentor and alumni adviser to several student organizations at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She is the past President of the San Diego County Bar Association’s New Lawyer Division as well as a past board member of the San Diego County Bar Association. During her tenure with the New Lawyer Division, she instituted the “NLD Section Reps” program and the “NLD Project Outreach,” a year-long public service initiative. She also expanded the Mentoring Circles to law students.
Romanskaya was recognized for her efforts by the San Diego County Bar Association in 2010 by being awarded the distinguished Service Award for her contribution to continuing legal education for the legal community, being the youngest attorney to receive a Service Award. Currently, she is a Board Member and Secretary of the Lawyers Club of San Diego.
In addition to her local contributions, Romanskaya is also extensively involved in both the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association. She was a TIPS NOW! Fellow of the TIPS Section in 2010-2011. For the 2011-2012 ABA year, she is a part of the leadership team of the YLD and serves as Vice Chair of the Affiliates Team and the Senior Judge of the YLD Awards and Subgrants. Romanskaya's dedication to the practice of law and her community is unparalleled. She is extremely responsive to the needs of her clients, colleagues, co-workers and friends. For a young attorney, she has certainly made a mark on both the San Diego and national legal community.
“I am so grateful to TJSL for taking a chance on me. TJ gave me the foundation, skills and support I needed to pass the bar. Without TJ, I would not be able to do what I love every single day. With my law degree, I’m unstoppable.”
Renee Galente '08 is a local San Diegan, who worked for nearly a decade at Camp Pendleton prior to attending TJSL. She received her undergraduate degree, a B.S. in Management and Marketing online, while working on base through Park University. While at TJSL, Galente discovered her passion for the courtroom while in Judge Mac Amos (Ret.)’s Trial Advocacy class. In her last year of law school, Galente clerked for local premiere plaintiffs litigation firm Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire and was hired there upon passing the Bar. While with TBM, she focused on catastrophic personal injury, business and real property litigation and helped to bring in millions of dollars for deserving clients. In 2011, Galente left TBM to join with TJSL alum Eric Ganci to form Galente Ganci, APC, where she continues to maintain the same areas of practice and has added DUI Defense to the litany. She is working to become certified in all aspects of the science of defending DUI cases. Galente Ganci, APC is already making a reputation for itself as a firm on the rise in San Diego.
During 2012, Galente attended and graduated from the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming, whose President, Jude Basile '81 is also a TJSL alum. “It was a life changing experience and one I will always treasure,” says Galente of the experience. Galente is an active member of the San Diego legal community, serving as the TJSL 2012-2013 Alumni Association President, La Raza Lawyers Association’s Vice President and Lawyers Club of San Diego’s Treasure and co-chair of the 2013 Annual Dinner. Galente very much enjoys the opportunity to mentor law students and new attorneys and she welcomes emails at Renee@GandGTrialLawyers.com.
Galente has been recognized in 2012 as a “Top 40 Under 40” by San Diego Metro Magazine and a Top Young Attorney in 2012 and 2010 by the San Diego Daily Transcript.
"In 2002, I moved from Athens, Ohio to San Diego to attend TJSL. Ten years later, I am still happily living in San Diego, married to a TJSL grad and recently gave birth to my first child. I consider many from the TJSL community as close friends. TJSL has provided me with the foundation to meet the challenges faced daily in the legal world. I often look back at my days at TJSL, surrounded by such brilliant professors, and eager students, and I am thankful that I was able to have such a positive law school experience. Now that I am a participant in the solo practitioner (incubator) program, TJSL is further helping me pave my way into solo practice. I feel fortunate to have graduated from a school that cares so much for its students."
Jill Cremeans '05 has worked as a Deputy Public Defender in Imperial County for six years, where she became an effective trial attorney. In May, Cremeans secured a "Not Guilty" verdict for a young man who was facing 25 years to life in prison after being wrongfully accused of a crime. She recently opened the Law Offices of Jill Cremeans, with the help of TJSL's incubator program. She is concentrating her practice on criminal defense including, white collar crime, as well as personal injury, and professional responsibility. Jill received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Ohio University.
"In 1977, I took a chance with a relatively new law school then known as 'Western State University.' It was located in a small building downtown which we affectionately called 'The Harvard of the harbor.' Of course it has grown into a significant legal educational institution now known as Thomas Jefferson School of Law. This school also took a chance with me not knowing if I was going to be a serious student and pursue a career that both the school and I could be proud of. We both won that gamble and for that I am grateful. TJSL promised me nothing but a solid education and it delivered. The school also taught me that the measure of your accomplishments comes not only from receiving the diploma, but by what you do with that quality legal education. Starting my legal career in private practice allowed me to prove my worth assisting clients seeking justice, affecting the course of the law and volunteering for community groups who could benefit from my experience and guidance. I have worked very hard in furtherance of these goals through the years and I am proud of the assistance I have provided to my clients and to the community. I hope other graduates of TJSL will follow the mission to advance just causes and endeavors with their education and make a real difference to those whose lives they have touched."
Steven R. Kellman '80 was admitted to practice in 1981 and started in private practice in 1982. He has handled various civil cases over the years, including plaintiff personal injury and general civil litigation. His practice evolved to focusing solely on tenant and other occupant representation in rental and foreclosure matters. In 1993, he founded the Tenants Legal Center, which is currently relied upon by countless public and private agencies as an important legal information and assistance resource. Kellman has volunteered to train and give seminars to many organizations, governmental and other agencies. Kellman has written many legal articles and feature columns, published both locally and nationally. He has appeared in many TV news features and interviews, as well as training, consumer and documentary videos on landlord tenant matters. He also has written Expert Commentaries for LexisNexis and wrote the "Practice Tips" for the official California Jury Instructions for Unlawful Detainer (eviction) cases. He was instrumental in enacting the San Diego City “Right to Know” eviction protection ordinance and currently serves on the San Diego City multifamily smoke-free task force. He has been designated and accepted as an expert including trial testimony. He has received the highest peer review rating of excellence in legal ability and ethics each year since 2001 from Martindale-Hubbell. He holds the position of Honorary Lieutenant (San Diego Deputy Sheriff’s Association). Kellman, while not now accepting new cases, remains active in volunteer educational seminars, consulting with attorneys and organizations, and holds the title of “Founder” of the Tenants Legal Center.
"I feel very fortunate to be a graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law. I learned from some of the brightest professors, and several of my former classmates have become life-long friends. Also, I met my husband at TJSL!"
In early August of 2011, Tremaine found herself at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba to participate in a mock trial – but it was very different from the mock trials in which she participated here at TJSL. This mock trial was a run through for the upcoming military commission trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, and four others - all being held at the Guantanamo prison.
Hallie Tremaine works in the Contracts Department at Washington Headquarters Services, which is a part of the Department of Defense. She attained her J.D., from TJSL in 2010, and a B.A., in Political Science and Anthropology from San Diego State University in 2006. Hallie lives in Arlington, Virgina with her husband, Alexander Balkin '11. Hallie and Alexander married in San Diego on September 9, 2011.