“It feels like the completion of a very long journey,” said Jessica Bedford on the day that she and several fellow TJSL alumni were getting sworn-in to practice law in California after passing the bar.
“It was a long road to get to this point,” said Elisabeth Donovan. “And I’m so happy to be back among the alumni and my friends from TJSL. It’s starting to feel real.”
“This is a most joyful thing we do two times a year,” said Associate Dean for Student Affairs Beth Kransberger, welcoming the alumni to TJSL’s New Attorney Breakfast, held at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina on Harbor Island. “You worked so hard to get here and, according to a Rand Corporation study, California’s bar exam is twice as hard as in any other state. And the faculty has an unending commitment to our students.”
Several of the new attorneys had praise for their professors.
“The TJSL professors are amazing,” said Tristan Younghaus, who is planning to take the Texas bar in February.
“The professors are awesome," said Eduardo Garcia, who is working with Ordaz Law in Chula Vista and is hoping to practice corporate and international law.
“The professors are so willing to take questions outside of the classroom," said Elizabeth Walker, who is now assisting with the Criminal Justice Act.
“TJSL taught me everything I needed to know to pass the bar,” said Parker Smith. Smith is now working with the consulting firm of Booz Allen, doing contracts.
Vanessa Peña is a study in determination. She has two small children and, with the help of her husband Dan, not only passed the bar, but lined up a position with Winet, Patrick, Gayer, Creighton & Hanes in Vista, as a litigator. "I am very excited to be done with studying," said Peña.
“Now I can call you a colleague,” said TJSL Trustee Randy Grossman at the breakfast celebration. “You are attorneys.” Assistant Dean of Academic Success and Bar Preparation Leah Christensen congratulated the new attorneys and shared something they all could relate to: she’s studying to take the California bar exam as well.
“A lot of people helped you along the way,” said Dean Christensen. She singled out several people on the bar prep team, including Blair Matsumoto, Mike Neal, Jennifer Cooper and Adjunct Professors Dennis Saccuzzo and Nancy Johnson of the Bar Secrets® Program.
"There is a strong community of people who want to help you,” said TJSL Alumni Association President Eric Ganci '08. He urged the new lawyers to reach out to alumni with questions and to stay connected.
Dean Kransberger also urged the alumni cum new lawyers to stay in touch. “We are family. We share everything,” she said.
After the breakfast, attended by family and friends who were the major supporters of the bar passers, it was time to raise their right hands and be sworn-in to the state and federal bar by a panel of judges.
It is one of the most proud and unforgettable moments of any lawyer’s career.
After the new attorneys had taken the oath, Chief U.S District Court Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz put everything into perspective as he reminded them of the true significance of what it means to become a lawyer: “You are entering the profession of John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Sandra Day O’Connor…and now you.”