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.

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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.

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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.

 

Brittney Barsotti, ’17, is general counsel for the California News Publishers Association. Barsotti came to McGeorge School of Law and was instantly attracted to McGeorge’s Public Policy Clinic. She said that McGeorge gave her a lot of exposure to the work that she wanted to do.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law.

Learn about the Legislative and Public Policy Clinic.

Arvi Kaur, ’21, said that McGeorge School of Law did a tremendous job preparing her for her current position as an associate attorney. Kaur uses skills she learned through the school’s legal research and writing program on the job daily. Kaur is an associate at Olson Remcho LLP, a political law firm in downtown Sacramento.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law.

When I began law school, I committed myself to using the skill set I would develop during my time at McGeorge School of Law to help people. My 1L summer internship at the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office solidified my passion for indigent defense work. At that point in my law school journey, I began to see how my desire to help people could manifest into a career. Once I knew that I wanted to be a public defender, I started making plans to participate in the McGeorge Federal Defender Clinic.

A woman smiling at the camera.
Kendra Hall is a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

I chose the Federal Defender Clinic because this year-long program provides law students the unique opportunity to get comprehensive real-life litigation experience under the supervision of two highly qualified federal defenders. The Clinic is only open to eight students per year. The small group setting allows for a lot of face time with our supervising attorneys.

Additionally, because the students are divided into teams of two, this Clinic creates a highly collaborative learning environment where we are able to pool knowledge and support each other. What drew me most to this Clinic was that fact that it would allow me to represent real clients in the courtroom from arraignment through appeal.

During my first semester in the Clinic, I was accepting appointments and working up cases right away. I was also able to negotiate dismissals. By the end of the fall semester, my partner and I represented one of our clients in a bench trial. This semester, in addition to routine misdemeanor intake work, my partner and I are currently working on an appeal and have a jury trial set for spring.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many significant and new challenges to all of us. For me, law school has been radically different than what I expected it to be at the start of my 1L year in 2019. Unfortunately, because of the courtroom, classroom, and office closures in 2020, many of us did not have the chance to be inside the courtroom or interact with our mentors and supervisors in the same way that our predecessors did. This is another reason why I feel so privileged to be a part of the Clinic this year. As a part of this cohort, I feel like I have had the chance to make up for some of that lost time. This Clinic has not only allowed me to learn firsthand about federal defense work, but it has also allowed me to continue to develop the real-life litigation skills that I need in order to be successful in the future.

By Kendra Hall, a third-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

Molly Alcorn, ’20, discusses her journey to law school, being involved in student organizations, forming lasting friendships with classmates, and campus resources available to students. Alcorn said that Professors Michael Mireles and Larry Levine made a significant impact on her during law school.

Alcorn is now an attorney at Alcorn Law Corporation. She counsels clients in creating and managing non-profit associations, contract negotiations, and applying for and maintaining intellectual property rights.

Learn more about McGeorge School of Law.