Archive - Alumni Spotlight
"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.
"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 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."
In November 2011, Julie Garland '95 was selected as the Senior Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Appeals, Writs & Trials section of the California Attorney General’s Office in San Diego. In this capacity, she manages approximately 70 attorneys who handle felony appeals, state and federal habeas corpus writs, capital litigation, and felony trials. Garland joined the Attorney General’s Office as a Deputy Attorney General in 1996, soon after graduating summa cum laude from TJSL. She has gained extensive experience in correctional and criminal law, and has argued several times in the state courts of appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the California Supreme Court.
Garland’s career path to the Attorney General’s Office began in her first year at TJSL. “I was fortunate enough to have Justice Patricia Benke and judicial attorney Jack Carney from the Fourth Appellate District as my professors for first year legal writing. At the end of the year, they encouraged me to extern at the Court of Appeal during my second year, which of course I was thrilled to do. And, because both were former attorneys at the Attorney General's office, I became very interested in criminal law and the AG's office in particular. I clerked at the AG’s Office full-time the following summer and half-time for my entire third year. It was a fabulous experience and I just knew that this was where I wanted to have a career.”
She decided to attend law school somewhat on a whim. She had been working as a YMCA Director for several years after obtaining a graduate degree in education. But something more was calling her and she decided to give law school a try. She found TJSL a perfect fit. Garland was awarded a Director's Scholarship, which paid for two-thirds of her tuition, and was able to study alongside other students who were transitioning into law as a second career. Plus, she met her partner Holly during her second year at TJSL. Two children and more than18 years later, they have TJSL to thank for bringing them together!
“I am profoundly grateful to the TJSL community for providing me with a well-rounded and comprehensive legal education which not only gave me the necessary foundation and tools to become a respected and capable lawyer but also gave me the knowledge and ability to view matters from a holistic perspective and to understand and accept other views. This education and also the relationships that I have forged as a result of attending and being a part of TJSL have allowed me to grow personally and professionally in a way that I am proud of and deeply appreciate. My giving back to TJSL through financial contributions and time is yet a small token of my tremendous appreciation for TJSL’s significant contributions to my life.” says Kendall.
Kendall DeMatteo Berkey '94 has been practicing specifically in the areas of municipal, public and redevelopment law for over fifteen years and has represented a variety of public agencies such as municipalities, community service districts, redevelopment agencies, and public cemetery districts. During this time, Berkey has advised on all pertinent areas of public law and acquired a wide range of skills through her unique experiences of advising public agencies on transactional matters and governmental processes and representing public agencies in court on various criminal and civil litigation matters. Berkey is senior counsel at the law firm of Kane, Ballmer & Berkman based in San Diego and Los Angeles, and serves as Special Counsel to several of the firm's public agency clients, with a focus of advising on governmental processes and real estate development projects. In addition, Berkey is frequently a program speaker on public law related topics.
Prior to joining Kane, Ballmer & Berkman in 2010, Berkey served as Senior Deputy City Attorney/Senior Deputy General Counsel with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, where she was the primary legal advisor to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego and supervised and managed the Redevelopment Unit of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. In addition, from the beginning of her legal career practicing public law and for a decade thereafter, Berkey was a senior associate attorney with the law firm of Green, de Bortnowsky & Quintanilla, LLP, where she served as Assistant City Attorney, Assistant General Counsel, and City Prosecutor for several of the firm’s public agency clients.
Berkey currently serves as a Board of Trustee of TJSL and a Board of Director of the TJSL Alumni Association. Kendall is a past recipient of the Athena Award in recognition for contributions to the business community and community service and has served as pro bono counsel for CASA for Riverside County, Inc. (which assists children who are dependents of the juvenile court), a past president of the Cathedral City Rotary Club, and a member of the Inns of Court.
Berkey is licensed to practice law in the States of California, Florida and Connecticut, and before the United States District Court, Southern District, and the United States Supreme Court.