McGeorge School of Law has been home to the California Victims Legal Resource Center since 1984. Mariam El-menshawi, ’11, serves as the director of the California Victims Legal Resource Center.

McGeorge law students, under attorney supervision, provide assistance to victims, their families, service providers, and victim advocates. Primarily through the hotline and chat, Center staff and law students provide legal information and tailored resource referrals to victims and their families, victim service providers, and other victim advocates.

Learn more about the VCRC.

Visit the VCRC website.

Listen to VCRC podcast episodes.

A man wearing a suit
Spencer Street is a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

During a summer internship in the State Senate, I caught the political bug and haven’t looked back. When I first joined the Legislature, I briefly worked with a McGeorge School of Law alumnus that connected me with the McGeorge Rugby Team. Full of other alumni and current students, the team really got the ball rolling for my consideration of attending McGeorge. Sacramento is my hometown, so I was eager to come back to work in the Capitol and play rugby. Without question, McGeorge fit the bill as my next step.

It came as no surprise to me that many professionals in the Capitol community attended McGeorge, and I was pleased to learn about the Capital Lawyering Concentration. Through the Concentration, I’ve had great access to career advice, course scheduling assistance, job postings, and the curriculum has been more than I could have hoped for.

Despite working in the Senate and Assembly, I chose McGeorge and the Capital Lawyering Concentration to become a better advocate and legislative staffer. One of the first things that hooked me on working in public policy was the opportunity to learn about countless issues and challenges, and also getting to craft solutions that help countless people. So, I jumped at the chance to learn how to become a more effective policy staffer. Courses centered around policy analysis, negotiations, and the legislative process are front and center in the Concentration to develop the next generation of policymakers coming into the Capitol.

The Concentration is a great complement to the JD program in general. The courses offer insight into how the laws we study in other courses are made, and the Legislative & Public Policy Clinic puts students into the Capitol as they develop, draft, and staff legislation. Early experience with the legislative process is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring policy staffers, lobbyists, and advocates. A legal education is a huge asset in policy development, and the Concentration offers a distinct blend of the two fields. Advocacy, conflict resolution, and the interest in learning about a diversity of issues drive many of us in the Capitol community, and are important tenets of working in policy that are stressed in the Concentration.

McGeorge is also tremendously well-positioned in the political community with a strong alumni network that is excited to help recent and soon-to-be graduates. Relationships are critical in politics and policy. When it comes to career development or working a bill through the Legislature, it goes a long way to know the right people. There is always a need for smart and passionate people in public policy.

The JD program and rugby team have been central parts of my life for the last few years keeping me busy and preparing me for what’s next. With another year to go until graduation, I feel very prepared and excited to continue my career in public policy.

By Spencer Street, a third-year evening law student at McGeorge School of Law.

Selena Farnesi, ’15, was practice ready on day one of her professional career after graduating from McGeorge School of Law. Farnesi credits the school’s Trial Advocacy Program; the skills and knowledge she learned from Professors Cary Bricker and Jay Leach; and externships she completed during law school for her ability to be a polished and confident trial attorney. Farnesi is currently the Director of Academic & Student Affairs and an adjunct professor at McGeorge School of Law.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law.

A woman in a black jacket smiling.
Julienne Correa is a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law. Photo by Ashley Golledge.

When I first heard of the Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic, I knew that I wanted to join the Clinic. My interest in joining the Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic stemmed from my research and work on the criminal justice system prior to law school. I had heard of prison conditions and knew plenty about collateral consequence, but the Clinic provided a different experience.

Firstly, the Clinic provided practical legal experience in interviewing, mediation work, and legal writing. As students, we had the opportunity to work with magistrate judges in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California and observe mediations between prisoners and the Attorney General.

Secondly, we were connected to pro se prisoner litigants and assisted them in understanding the mediation process. We also learned about prison conditions and legal resources available to prisoners in cases of abuse. Although we worked closely with the magistrate judges and were neutral to the proceeding, I felt that we made an impact on the prisoner. We were there to hear and understand their side to the proceeding and relay it to the mediator. As such, it was important to recognize the power dynamics between the pro se prisoner litigant and the Attorney General. We were not advocates, but we facilitated and contributed to a fair proceeding on both sides.

I appreciate working on the cases I was assigned to in the Clinic because I felt that I supported the entire process while gaining significant experience. I learned the importance of creating rapport with the interviewee to gain important information and help with mediation.  The criminal justice system can be a means of injustice, especially to communities of color.  However, education about criminal justice issues and creating safeguards to people impacted by the system may combat some of these injustices.

The Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic is a unique experience to legal studies that I am glad had been a part of my law school experience.

By Julienne Correa, a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

Jenny Rodriquez, ’19, came to McGeorge School of Law to pursue an MPA degree in order to further her career. In this video, she talks about her time at McGeorge and the relationships she’s made along the way.

Learn more about McGeorge’s MPA and MPP degrees.

I first became involved with the Elder and Health Law Clinic at McGeorge School of Law after taking a class on Elder and Health Law by Professor Melissa Brown. I wanted to get real-world experience assisting clients with estate planning, accessing health care, and any other legal matters that they sought out the clinic for help with.

I assumed that I would be handling things like the drafting of estate planning documents or assisting people with accessing their healthcare. However, there has been a greater variety of legal matters than I had anticipated, especially those involving litigation. At the Clinic, I have assisted seniors in asserting their own autonomy in situations where their right to manage their own affairs was being challenged by representing clients at hearings, taking and defending depositions, and preparing a probate case for trial.

A headshot of a woman smiling at the camera.
Marianne Sanchez is a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

My experiences at the Elder and Health Law Clinic made me passionate about estate planning as a way to avoid terrible family disputes over the property in probate court. My exposure to these issues at the Clinic led me to reflect on my own family history.

My paternal grandparents had four children that they raised in a four-bedroom house in Rosemead, California. One of them, my aunt, is developmentally disabled. Eventually, all of the children grew up and moved out of the house except, for my aunt.

Just as my grandparents were beginning to enjoy retirement, my grandmother died in an accident. My grandfather remarried and added onto the back of the house to make a new living space for him and his new wife with a separate entrance. My aunt occupied the original part of the house. Later, my grandpa and step-grandma decided to move into a smaller place of their own.

Out of concern for his adult daughter, my grandpa asked his oldest son to move into the addition that he was vacating and to look after the property as well as his developmentally-delayed sister. To facilitate having his oldest son look after the property for his sister, my grandpa transferred ownership of the house to his oldest son.

The son – my uncle – moved into the house with his new wife. They soon began having conflicts with my aunt over the shared parts of the property, such as the yard and driveway. Sometime after that, my uncle acquired second and third mortgages on the house that he eventually stopped paying. He moved out of the family’s house and into a new one with his wife, leaving behind his developmentally-delayed sister to face eviction. These events occurred more than a decade ago and caused in a big rift in the family, as well as the loss of the family home. However, none of his siblings, including my dad, took any action against my uncle.

Through my experience at the Elder and Health Law Clinic, I realized that a special needs trust would have been a better mechanism for my grandpa to use to preserve the family home for his disabled daughter’s benefit. Also, my father or one of his siblings could have challenged the transfer of the family home to my uncle before the statute of limitations ran out.

Recently, I received word that my uncle passed away. He leaves behind his second wife and his two adult daughters from his first marriage. In the months before his death, one of his two daughters drove across the country to visit him only to be turned away by his wife. I intend to write to my two cousins informing them of their right to discover any wills or trusts that their father may have, as well as provide information regarding the law on intestate succession in regards to their father’s separate property – separate property that might be traceable back to my grandfather’s ill-advised transfer of the family home to my uncle.

My volunteer work at the Elder and Health Law Clinic has taught me the value of competent estate planning and how to access justice and equity in probate court when a lack of estate planning causes harm.

By Marianne Sanchez, a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

The Hon. Jack Duran Jr., ’02, talks about his experience coming to law school and what led him to pursue a law degree. In this video, he talks about his different career paths and how that eventually led to him being a judge. Duran was recently named Chief Justice of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Supreme Court in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Duran, who frequently lectures on topics related to federal Indian law and policy, is recognized nationwide for his expertise in federal Indian law.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law.

Inspired by the show, “How I Met Your Mother,” Michael Ung, ’23, came to McGeorge School of Law to study Family Law. He was drawn to the McGeorge community because it reminded him of his hometown. Michael is also part of many student organizations on campus.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law here.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law student organizations here.

In this episode of the McGeorge Faculty-Scholar Series, McGeorge School of Law Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz interviews Professor Dan Croxall, ’08, about his newest paper that will be coming out with the Florida State University Law Review. In the paper, he examines Commercial Speech, the First Amendment, and a circuit split that has a direct impact on craft breweries.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law.

Learn more about Professor Croxall.

A woman outside smiling at the camera.
Kelli Sanshey is a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law. Photo by Ashley Golledge.

One reason McGeorge School of Law was of great interest to me was its many legal clinics where students operate as certified law students under the supervision of assigned attorneys. The clinics are primarily “student-run,” which means students handle cases from intake to close, allowing them to gain a depth and variety of experience you can’t get in the classroom. McGeorge School of Law offers various clinics ranging from Elder and Health Law to Immigration Law and Bankruptcy.

During my first year of law school, an older student shared her clinical experience with me and strongly recommended I get involved. She felt her clinical experience prepared her for future employment in ways the classroom didn’t. Since then, I made it a priority to get involved in a clinic. I have been involved in the Elder and Health Law Clinic since the fall semester of my 3L year, and I will continue to work in the Clinic until graduation.

Staying in the Clinic for more than one semester has allowed me to further build upon the skills I’ve learned. Throughout my time in the Elder and Health Law Clinic, I have acquired various skills that I will carry with me into my first post-Bar job. Being in the Clinic has taught me interpersonal skills, what it means to carry and direct a meeting, the importance of organized note-taking and recording, and continued to strengthen my legal research and writing skills. Throughout my time in the clinic, I have handled various cases ranging from estate planning to financial elder abuse.

Serving the community is of great importance to me, and I am passionate about serving vulnerable populations. Prior to attending law school, I was a mentor for children of prisoners and worked with homeless veterans. Upon entering law school, I sought to continue serving vulnerable populations, and the Elder and Health Law Clinic seemed like a great way to assist the elderly with various legal challenges.

Elder abuse is prevalent in our society and it is important we continue to breed passionate advocates to assist vulnerable populations. It has been an honor advocating for my clients throughout my time and involvement in the Elder Law and Health Clinic.

By Kelli Sanshey, a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.