By Jeremy M. Evans, 3L, Student Bar Association, President
The conference hosted at Thomas Jefferson School of Law American Bar Association – Law Student Division Friday, February 25, 2011 – Saturday, February 26 was a great success and it again proved that the American Bar Association (ABA) is the pinnacle of leadership for students, while providing legal knowledge, networking, and skill building opportunities. At this conference, a new 9th Circuit Governor was elected, marking the second consecutive year that a Thomas Jefferson student will serve in this position. Dean Rudy Hasl opened the conference with a few remarks about his long history of ABA involvement and leadership positions he has held, and how those experiences and people he met led him to where he is today. He stated, “This profession is a small club” and the people you meet today will come back around later.
On Friday night, a social mixer was held at The Tilted Kilt near the law school and provided a great introduction to the weekend.
On Saturday, there were three panel discussions. The first panel, titled “Establishing Yourself as an Effective Leader in the Community,” was moderated by TJSL student Ben Aguilar, 3L, 9th Circuit Lt. Governor and International Law Society President. Panelists included: Colin Parent, Private Practice; Ben Cramer, Mulligan & Banham (Personal Injury, TJSL Alumnus, and Alumni Board member); Anna Romanskaya, Stark & D’Ambrosio, LLP (TJSL Alumna and President of the New Lawyers Division for the San Diego County Bar Association); Jon Baumunk, Assistant Dean for Bar and Academic Services, Whittier Law School; and Lea Fields-Bernard (Private Practice, Legislative Staffer/Committee Consultant, TJSL Adjunct Faculty member/trial practice).
The second panel was moderated by TJSL student and current 9th Circuit Governor, Jessica Williams, 3L. The panel included some wonderful panelists and provided additionally great information. The “Public Interest or Private Practice” panelists included: Robert Brewer, Jr., Managing Partner for the San Diego office of Jones Day, LLP (the third largest law firm in the world); Juan Ordaz of Ordaz Law; Wil Rumble and Ricardo Garcia, Public Defenders, Multiple Conflicts Office-Major Cases; Alex Simpson, Chief Counsel, California Innocence Project; and Garrett Smee, Private Practice.
Jessica offered the following comments about the conference and panel: “I was presented with an awesome opportunity to host our 9th Circuit Spring Meeting at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Students from our southern California circuit were in attendance, as well as attorneys from all areas of law who participated as panelists on one of our three panels. All of the panelists were extremely inspiring and shared incredible advice. I have attended many conferences and sat in on many panels, but I have never heard a panel more informative and influential than the “Public vs. Private Interest” panel. In addition to networking with the attorneys, we elected next year’s 9th Circuit Governor, Josh Goodrich, a 1L from Thomas Jefferson! It was a great day - not only did the students in attendance walk away with new attorney contacts, but a Thomas Jefferson School of Law student will hold the governor position for a second consecutive year!”
The third and final panel was moderated by Sterling Williams, 3L, 9th Circuit Lt. Governor and Student Bar Association Community and Athletic Events Committees. Sterling had this to say about the panel: “This was a great opportunity to create dialogue with attorneys who know first-hand what employers are looking for and how to make ourselves the best candidate for the job. Their advice was helpful for competing against other law students and even experienced attorneys.” Panelists included: Jennifer Creighton, Hiring Partner with Winet, Patrick, & Weaver, LLP, and Vice President of the North San Diego County Bar Association; Jon Baumunk, Assistant Dean for Bar and Academic Services, Whittier Law School; and Hass Sadeghi, General Counsel and Mediator, Sadeghi Resolutions, and Board Member (MCLE Coordinator), Iranian American Bar Association.
Jennifer Poplin, 3L, American Bar Association-Student Bar Association Representative offered the following comments about the final panel and conference as a whole: “The panelists at the ABA-Spring Meeting conference presented an immense amount of priceless guidance for law students in search of career opportunities, including the dos and don’ts of interviews, resumes, and cover letters. The panelists provided insight on finding jobs that are well suited for each individual’s personality and capabilities. The speakers emphasized that success is not limited to words on paper, but rather success is established by our ability to zealously perform our duties. And that employers seek students capable of being self-reliant and self-motivated. The conference presented great speakers that were kind enough to share their knowledge and expertise. It is an event that every student who seeks to gain practical knowledge should definitely attend.”
We cannot say enough about holding the Governor's seat for two straight years and having a direct link to the American Bar Association - the organization that is the pinnacle of leadership and access for law students. We hope this will be the beginning of more ABA leadership roles for Thomas Jefferson School of Law students and SBA officers. Those in attendance were able to network and see what the ABA is all about, and gain insight into some of these positions.
Rachel Lebron, Student Bar Association 1L Class Representative, commented: “As a 1L, I felt the ABA Conference was a great opportunity for me to get some insight into the student side of the ABA, as well as seeing what the ABA and SBA representatives do at other law schools. I was able to make some great contacts and am looking forward to working with my colleagues from the other schools.”
The Student Bar Association of Thomas Jefferson School of Law was awarded and recognized as one of the best SBA's in the circuit with an appreciation award! We were also provided some additional accolades on display in the SBA office. A special thank you goes to the following Student Bar Association officers and ABA Lt. Governors not mentioned above for assisting the ABA team led by Jessica Williams in planning and volunteering at the conference: Dan Klett, Joshua Tallman, and Vaughn Greenwalt.