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Congratulations to TJSL’s Newest Attorneys

December 4, 2012

Kevin Bergt and Kelly Caputo being sworn in
Elizabeth Knowles being sworn in
Eric Bernsen being sworn in
Nancy Astifo being sworn in
David Gibbs being sworn in
Jaime Moss being sworn in
Linda Lam being sworn in
Sarah Stewart-Bussey being sworn in
Carlos Martinez and Family
Jeremy Evans Krishiv Mukherji and Professor Randy Grossman
Jamie Moss (white suit) and Family
New Attorney Breakfast
Eric Bernsen, Abrina Wheatfall, David Gibbs and Sarah Stewart-Bussey
Todd Bryerton (Knowles Boyfriend) Professor Bill Slomanson and Elizabeth Knowles
(Left Standing) Leticia Hernandez with her family and Nancy Astifo (center)
New Attorney Breakfast
Kimberly Swierenga and Jaime Moss
Kevin Bergt and Krishiv Mukherji
Noah Wald, Cory Lacy and Melissa Lewis
(Left) Pineda's Mom, Justine Pineda, Linda Lam and Lay Vatana
Professor Joy Delman and Debbye Rosenthal
Swearing In Ceremony

This is it.  This is the day so many TJSL alumni have been looking forward to for so long.

This is the day they became licensed attorneys.

In the case of Abrina Wheatfall ’12, she has been looking forward to this day longer than many others.

“I’ve wanted this since the fifth grade,” said Wheatfall, who is now an assistant athletic director at UC San Diego, where she is putting her dream of practicing sports law to work in the compliance area.

“It’s a relief, but it’s exciting,” said Katelyn Quaresma ’12 as she summed up what her fellow new attorneys were feeling just before they took the oath of office to become members of the state and federal bar associations.

“A HUGE relief,” echoed Sarah Stewart-Bussey ’12, “because now I can begin the career I’ve wanted.” Stewart-Bussey is getting married in January and she leaves in February for five months of training as a JAG officer.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law honored the law school’s latest group of freshly minted lawyers at the New Attorneys Breakfast on December 4 – all of whom passed the July 2012 California Bar Exam.

“You have passed the most challenging bar exam, and now you are about to be sworn-in as members of the California bar,” said a proud Associate Dean Eric Mitnick as he congratulated and welcomed the new attorneys, their families and friends to the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina for the ceremony.

“Hello counselor,” one alumnus said to another as they greeted each other with a handshake and a hug.

“It’s so great to see friends and families get together for such a happy occasion,” said David Gibbs ‘12, who is starting a solo practice.  “And, we don’t have to sit through the bar exam again. It feels great.”

Eric Bernsen ’12, who is working for an intellectual property firm in downtown San Diego, said this day means he can look forward from now on.  “I’m not worried about tests anymore, but making a living.”

“Now, I get to practice what I Iove to do,” said Jamie Moss ’12, who is with a Manhattan Beach firm and handling pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. Moss’ sister and parents were there to stand at her side as she became a lawyer, and she says they have done a “stellar job” of supporting her through the challenge of law school. “We’re getting sworn-in, too,” joked her dad Byron.

“You were once our students; You are now our colleagues,” said Dean Mitnick. “Today, you join your fellow TJSL alums who’ve embarked upon successful legal careers:  the District Attorney and Public Defender of SD County  and now the newly appointed chief of staff for the Mayor of  San Diego; countless others serving as law firm partners and associates;  politicians and public servants from San Diego to Washington, D.C. and many places in between, including a former member of congress and presidential candidate;  in-house counsel to some of the largest corporations in San Diego and around the country; TJ alums devoted to public interest causes; and literally dozens of TJSL alumni currently serving as judges at both the state and federal level around the country.”

“Congratulations,” said TJSL Trustee and Adjunct Professor Randy Grossman to the new attorneys. “Stand up proud, stand up tall,”

“This is a magical moment for me,” said TJSL Alumni Association President Renee Galente ’08. “I am so incredibly honored to share this moment. I am thankful every day to this school, because I love what I do and I wouldn’t be where I am today without TJSL.”

It was also a magical moment for the new attorneys as they all raised their right hands together at the ceremony to take the oath that makes it official.

“This is the best day of the year,” said TJSL Professor Thom Golden of the new lawyers.  “It’s better than graduation day. This is the time!”

“This is the single best thing we do,” said Dean Mitnick.  “This is a very special moment. Remember it well.”