2011 Updates from Past Diversity Scholarship Recipients - Logo by linzhengnd


									                 Updates from Some Past Diversity Scholarship Recipients

“I am in my second year at UC Hastings and enjoying every stimulating moment. A majority of
my time is spent externing at the City Attorney's Office in the City of Hayward. I really enjoy
municipal law and hope to become a city attorney after graduation. To supplement my
externship experience, I am also working as a research assistant for the local government law
department. I am writing a paper about language access laws in the local government context,
which I hope to get published. I am also serving as the Co-Chair of the La Raza Law Students
Association and am helping spearhead the establishment of a coalition of La Raza Law
Students throughout northern California. My other leadership duties include being a student
government representative for my 2L class and serving on Hastings Strategic Planning
Committee. I am also collaborating with other student leaders and Hastings administrators to
plan the second annual Hastings Leadership Conference and working as a Staff Editor of the
Constitutional Law Quarterly. This summer I will be working at the Santa Clara County
Counsel's Office in San Jose.”
Noemi Gallardo, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2010 scholarship recipient.

“I received this scholarship nearly one year ago as a first-year student. Since then I became a
recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a national fellowship
awarded to immigrants or children of immigrants in graduate school. I have continued to pursue
my interest in the labor and employment law field while developing my litigation skills. This past
summer, I worked with the Honorable Judge John T. Noonan on the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco, where I worked on immigration and asylum cases. I have continued
to hone my legal research and writing skills as a research assistant with Professor Gillian
Lester, one of the top scholars in the employment law field. I recently completed a 30 page
research paper on labor unions and the role they should play in expanding and preserving the
social safety net, which I hope to get published. This Spring 2011, I am working as a part-time
associate with the labor law firm Altshuler Berzon and will be working this summer at Leonard
Cardner, another plaintiff-side labor and employment law firm. My wife is currently getting her
masters degree at Princeton and we are essentially paying for two households. The FBM
scholarship has helped alleviate some of that financial pressure. I hope to stay in touch with the
FBM community as I go further in my legal career.”
Jonah Lalas, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2010 scholarship recipient.

The Farella, Braun + Martel scholarship has alleviated much of my financial hardship. I come
from a low-income family; thus, I had spent many summers interning during the day and working
at night. This scholarship allowed me to solely focus on my internship at the US Attorney’s
Office in San Francisco during Summer 2010. During my internship, I participated in intense
research, writing and editing as I embarked upon writing memoranda for complex legal cases. I
was constantly challenged and learned new concepts daily! My summer job was invaluable
because it has given me tremendous confidence in my research and writing abilities—two skills
that are vital to becoming a good lawyer.

As a 2L this year, I founded the UC Hastings Afghan-American Law Student Association, where
I am working on exposing more people to the Afghan population in the US, which is often
misrepresented and misunderstood. I have also continued my outreach work with helping socio-
economic disadvantaged students by showing them that despite facing obstacles and adversity,
they too may realize their dream of becoming attorneys one day. I am also super excited to be
the Teaching Assistant for a Criminal Law 1L class this Spring Semester. The Farella, Braun +
Martel scholarship has made an immense impact in my life and I will be forever grateful: upon
graduation next year, I will be the first attorney in my immediate and extended family!
Sodaba Samad, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2010 scholarship recipient.

“The Farella Braun + Martel scholarship has been much more than a monetary award. It has
provided access to a very valuable network and various resources. Since receiving the
scholarship as a first year, I have also worked as a legal intern at Ford Walker Haggerty and
Behar (FWHB), a defense law firm in Long Beach, primarily dealing with insurance cases.
Through my employment at FWHB, I gained experience and a first-hand understanding of the
general litigation process while working on construction defect and personal injury cases. I
became secretary for UC Hastings La Raza Law Students Association for 2010-2011 and have
participated in the activities that reach out to the surrounding community. Finally, as part of the
Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal I am currently writing a note on constitutional
guaranteed education rights and how they are balanced against teachers' constitutional rights. I
am excited for what law school continues to bring and grateful for this scholarship that has
contributed to my experience.”
Yarenia Valladares, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2010 scholarship recipient.

“I had a great summer at Farella! The summer associate program was very practical and hands-
on, and I loved being able to work with such amazing and experienced attorneys.

During this past fall semester, I was busy organizing and planning the biggest event of the year
for the Hastings Law Journal as one of the journal's senior symposium editors. The symposium
was entitled, "Navigating Prosecutorial Ethics: A Roundtable Discussion of the ABA's Standards
for Criminal Litigation." We had federal and state court judges, esteemed faculty from across the
country, and storied practitioners in the law and media attend. It was a success, and sparked a
lot of great discussion, both on and off campus.

This semester, I'll be working at the Marin County Public Defender's office as part of the
Hastings Criminal Practice Clinic. There, I'll get to write and argue pretrial motions, conduct
preliminary hearings, and even go to trial on misdemeanor cases. I'm very excited, and can't
wait to hit the ground running.”
Unnati Gandhi, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2009 scholarship recipient.

“I was fortunate to receive the FBM Diversity Scholarship during my 1L year and it has proven
crucial to my development as a public interest lawyer. I spent my first summer as a legal intern
for Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice organization based in
Oakland and Wilmington, California. FBM's scholarship allowed me to "bank" my funding to
pursue a second summer in public interest with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
(CRPE), a national environmental justice organization headquartered in Delano and San
Francisco, California. I am thrilled to join CRPE's next fall as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in
their Delano office, where I will work to develop and launch rural, community-led, community-
owned green economic development initiatives.

My summers were critical to my own training and evolution as a public interest lawyer at the
intersection of environmental inequality and racial justice. Further, these experiences enabled
me to work with an amazing team of classmates to design environmental justice "clinical"
opportunities for (law) students through Students for Economic and Environmental Justice
(SEEJ), an organization I co-founded during my first year of law school. Perhaps cautiously, I
am excited to leave Boalt with greater institutional support and initiatives for young lawyers
interested in democratic and community-organizing based strategies for using law to affect
social change.“
Camille Pannu, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2009 scholarship recipient.
“I received the Farella Braun Diversity Scholarship in the spring of my 1L year (2008). During
my 1L summer I worked as an intern in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the International Labor
Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. This position was unpaid, and the Farella Braun Diversity
Scholarship helped me to pursue the opportunity. During my 2L summer I worked as a summer
associate for Skadden Arps and accepted their offer to join the firm after graduation. I have now
graduated from Boalt, and since last May have transitioned to my job at Skadden in the firm's
London office. I am in the U.S. Corporate group here and am starting out with a focus on
securities work.”
Michelle Mersey, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2008 scholarship recipient.

“I am currently clerking at the District Court in Los Angeles and I am very much enjoying the
intellectual challenge offered by my work. I also found out recently that I have passed the
California State Bar so I am now proud to be able to finally call myself an attorney! Having
passed the Bar, I cannot wait to use my clerkship and externship experiences to finally begin
practicing law.”
Sahar Nayeri, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2008 scholarship recipient.

I am currently clerking for Judge Schroeder of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. My clerkship
experience has been amazing thus far. I am learning quite a bit, from how to write an effective
appellate brief to what to focus on in oral arguments. Additionally, I have the opportunity to
explore many areas of the law, from employment and civil litigation to criminal and immigration
law. My clerkship ends in August 2011 and from there, I will be taking about three months off to
travel and finally go on my honeymoon. I got married this past November, and will be moving
back to northern California once I finish my clerkship. I will start working again in January 2012
as an associate at a law firm in Menlo Park. In this economic time, I feel very blessed that I
have a job waiting for me, and can't wait to give back to my school and the community once I
become financially stable.

I am always deeply grateful for the support Farella Braun + Martel has afforded me. My first
year of law school was definitely my hardest. I was also insecure about my potential as a
lawyer, but getting that scholarship and recognition from FBM boosted my confidence and
helped me to shoot for bigger things. Again, thanks Farella for the generous scholarship I
received during my first year of law school.”
Cam Phan, Stanford Law School, 2008 scholarship recipient.

“The scholarship has helped me financially, academically, and emotionally. Financially, it
mitigated the extra costs associated with pursuing my foreign internships - costs that are not
adequately covered by financial aid. Academically, I was able to expose myself to
environments that would have otherwise been unavailable to me due to lack of funding.
 Emotionally, the scholarship significantly reduced my financially-related stress, and prevented
the disappointment associated with not being able to pursue these opportunities. With regards
to the latter, this is especially significant when other students have the means to take advantage
of such opportunities because they have parental assistance - the scholarship helped close this
Jessica Brown, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2007 scholarship recipient.

“I am currently an associate with Milbank Tweed in New York. The scholarship helped me pay
for my law school expenses and for housing during my summer internships in New York.”
Vina Ha, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2007 scholarship recipient.
“I summered with Manatt my 2L year and am currently an associate in their San Francisco
office. After graduation and the bar, I traveled throughout Asia, Australia, and New Zealand and
volunteered with a development project in Laos.

The scholarship has truly helped me with my finances for tuition and books. Instead of working
three jobs like I did as an undergraduate, I was able to work just one job and focus on school
and extracurricular activities, which has really enriched my experience at Boalt. I think the
program is wonderful, and hope you continue the program or expand it. I think the program can
foster continuing relationships between past scholars, current scholars and attorneys, and it
would be great to have a network of students and practicing attorneys discuss current issues in
law and how we can continually work towards positive change in whatever we choose to do.”
Samorn Selim, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2007 scholarship recipient.

“I am currently practicing with Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Intellectual Property and Technology,
Media and Telecommunications practice group. I am very grateful and honored to have been a
recipient of FBM's 1L Diversity Scholarship. As a single parent and struggling law student, the
scholarship was a tremendous help in just making ends meet. At the time I was considering
several summer internships that paid very little if anything. While I ended up with a good paying
summer internship my first summer of law school, the scholarship from FBM allowed me to
consider employment opportunities regardless of the salary. FBM not only gave me money,
they gave me confidence and mentoring that I am sure helped me to be a successful law
student. Receiving the scholarship acknowledged my accomplishments and meeting and
spending time with the many amazing attorneys at FBM helped me to understand and embrace
the career I was embarking upon. I am very thankful to the firm for the many positive
encounters I have had with it.”
Desiree Almendral, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2006 scholarship recipient.

“I recently started my third year of practice and joined Morrison & Foerster's Proposition 65
practice. Receiving the FB&M scholarship remains one of my fondest memories from law
school, not only because it really helped me survive my summers, but because the dinner with
the attorneys was so fun. FB&M remains close to my heart for their continued outreach to
diverse students and their interest in following the success of scholarship recipients throughout
their development in the profession.”
 Sarah Asplin, U.C. Davis School of Law, 2006 scholarship recipient.

“The FBM scholarship had a big impact on my career path. By keeping my law school loans at
a manageable level, I have had much more control over my career decisions than many of my
peers. I graduated in Spring 2008 with a J.D. from Boalt and a Master's degree in Public Policy
from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and joined the Silicon Valley office of
Latham & Watkins. I transitioned from Latham to the County of Santa Clara's Office of the
County Counsel in May 2010. I am fortunate to have found such a rewarding position. Not only
do I get to serve the public interest but I get to work on a wide array of interesting and
challenging matters. These are the very reasons I went to law school, so I'm very grateful to be
where I am now.”
Jenny Lam, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2006 scholarship recipient.

“My law school experience allowed me to learn so much about myself and the world around
me. It is indescribable. Though law school has been incredibly rewarding, it has nonetheless
been a lonely journey. I was the only Hmong student among a student body of around 900.
Your scholarship has been particularly meaningful to me because it recognizes the lack of
diversity in the legal profession and the need to remedy this problem.
Rather than having to work to make a few extra dollars while going to school, the funds from
your generous scholarship have allowed me to forego work and to focus more on my
schoolwork as well as actively participate in extra curricular activities. This way, I have been
able to take full advantage of the law school experience. Your generous scholarship has gone a
long way for me. I hope that you continue to award this scholarship so that other
underrepresented minorities may have an opportunity to fully embrace the law school
Nou Lee, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2006 scholarship recipient.

“I am a third year associate at Farella Braun + Martel LLP and I’m glad to hear that the Diversity
Scholarship Program is continuing in full force. It’s such a special program because it gives
students, who might have financial pressures, the opportunity to explore public interest work
after their first year of law school. Before law school, I was a social worker at an emergency
domestic violence shelter for Asian women and children, and I came to law school because I
wanted to learn about the legal side of DV work. FBM’s scholarship allowed me to do just that. I
worked at a direct legal services organization dealing with domestic violence and immigration in
the Asian Pacific Islander community during my 1L summer. At the same time, I was still free to
explore other interests, such as environmental and intellectual property law. Although my focus
has shifted away from direct legal public interest work as a career, I am thankful that I had the
opportunity to try it out, and I think it would have been much harder to do public interest work
that summer if it hadn’t been for the FBM scholarship. Not only did the experience help me
figure out what and where I wanted to be career-wise, I also learned how I wanted to effect
change for the Asian American community: through legal scholarship. I wrote a paper on
constitutional law curriculum reform and immigration, and my experience doing public interest
work that summer (made possible by the FBM scholarship) greatly contributed to the work.”
Janel Thamkul, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2006 scholarship recipient.

“Since graduating from law school, I worked at a big firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, in New York
City as a litigator. There I spent about half of my time on pro bono work, because my passion
really lies in civil rights work. I’ve since left DPW and am now at Sanford, Wittels & Heisler, a
civil rights firm that represents plaintiffs in a variety of civil rights cases. I love it! I’m getting
great experience and working on cases I really believe in. I’m still in New York and am having a
great time. I’m also on the Young Professionals Committee of the Board to the Asian American
Legal Defense and Education Fund.”
Deepika Bains, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2005 scholarship recipient.

“I first off would like to thank Farella for the continued support I received throughout my law
school career. Thank you for helping me achieve my goals of pursuing a legal education by
selecting me as a recipient for the diversity scholarship.

I commend Farella for its continued support in diversity efforts. Part of my drive to increase
diversity in law firms is due to the scholarships I have received. This scholarship meant so
much more than the financial assistance it provided, it allowed me to get to know others and
network with other attorneys who believe in diversity. In fact, I still keep in touch with the
attorneys and the recruiter at Farella. Their support has not stopped after I received my check;
in fact it continues today.

I want to thank Farella again with sincere appreciation, not only for the financial assistance the
scholarship provided, but for recognizing my personal attributes and struggles and by giving me
hope to make the difference I seek to achieve as an attorney.”
Tina Naicker, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, 2005 diversity scholarship recipient.

“I graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law and was admitted to practice law in California at the
end of 2007. I joined Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster, LLP and recently left to
clerk for The Honorable S. James Otero, District Court Judge for the Central District of
California. Next year, I will be clerking for The Honorable Barry Silverman of the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals.

It warms my heart to know that Farella Braun + Martel LLP continues to provide their Annual
Diversity Scholarship. I, along with so many countless others, have benefited tremendously
from the scholarship, not only to pay for staggering law school tuition but also to pursue career
paths we may not have had the privilege to take.”
Bryant Yang, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, 2005 scholarship recipient.

“I am working as in-house counsel for Liberty Mutual (formerly Safeco) Insurance Company in
Sacramento. I clerked with Safeco during the summer of my first year and summer of my
second year. I also worked for Safeco part-time during my second year of law school. I was
hired as a full-time attorney after passing the Bar Exam in May 2007. The scholarship from
FBM was a tremendous help. As mentioned above, I worked full-time during my first and
second summer, and I also worked during my second year of law school. I just couldn't get by if
I wasn't working. My parents weren't able to support me, and the financial aid was not enough
considering the increasing law school fees and costs. The FBM scholarship really helped in that
I was able to use that money to pay a lot of my bills. Every time I hear about FBM in the news
or in the papers, I always think about what FBM did for me to help me get through law school.”
Kuo Lor, U.C. Davis School of Law, 2004 scholarship recipient.

“I am a litigation associate at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP. Of course, especially with
these trying financial times and increased tuition for some of the UC schools, financial
assistance is crucial and the only option for people that want to have alternatives in their career
path. My scholarship permitted me to go to the crimes tribunal in the Hague and do a civil rights
clinic, successfully representing a prison inmate in the Ninth Circuit. While I ultimately chose a
private firm as my place of employment, the option of doing public interest work was strongly
considered and only a possibility since my loans were marginal (at least compared to what they
could have been), partially due to the Diversity Scholarship.”
Anagha Dandekar Clifford, U.C. Davis School of Law, 2002 scholarship recipient.

“I’m currently a Deputy Public Defender for San Joaquin County. I’ve been doing this since April
2007. I’m currently trying misdemeanor jury trials and handling felony cases up to the
preliminary hearing. I spend about 6 hours of every day in court, talking to clients or mostly
cross-examining witnesses. I love what I’m doing and I definitely could not have gotten to
where I am today without the help of the FB+M Diversity Scholarship that I received. In a
nutshell, your scholarship allowed me to attain my dream of being a trial attorney. This
scholarship was a godsend! I really commend FB+M for doing this.”
Anna Teruel, Golden Gate University School of Law, 2002 scholarship recipient.

“So much has happened in the past 10 years since being awarded the FBM Diversity
Scholarship Award. Since receiving the award, I graduated from law school and was licensed to
practice law in California. I also completed my PhD in clinical psychology (I was in a joint
JD/PhD program in psychology and the law). I practiced in California for a year as an
employment law attorney, representing people who claimed to have been fired on the basis of a
psychiatric disability. I left California in 2007 to complete my clinical psychology training. I
completed a rigorous internship at Baylor College of Medicine in 2008, where I worked with
children and families suffering from issues of abuse, neglect, and psychiatric illness. I then went
on to a prestigious NIH research fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at
Galveston, where I published articles on the connection between psychiatric illness and illegal
behavior in adolescents.

Currently, I am an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Iowa State University with dual appointments
in the Psychology Department and the Criminal Justice Studies Program in the Sociology
Department. Here I teach on mentally disordered offenders and the legal system, the American
system of corrections and constitutional law. I also advise students interested in seeking a
career in the law or the criminal justice field more broadly. I recently passed the Iowa state bar
and am licensed to practice here, but choose to teach because it allows me to stay home with
my little ones for now. Personally, I have enjoyed the birth of three children and the celebration
of 15 happy years of marriage to my husband.

I believe the scholarship has helped my career in many ways. First, it was a sign that others
believed in me, which helped me stay true to the course when I doubted myself in law school.
Second, many employers have commented on my receipt of the award during interviews, so it
clearly is a sign to employers that the potential candidate has at least some quality they
seek. Third, being able to meet with other recipients and talk to others interested in applying for
the award helps create networking opportunities with other students.

I still clearly recall learning that I had been awarded the scholarship and the joy I felt
surrounding it. I thank you for the wonderful opportunity you afforded me and will gladly help
you continue this wonderful program in any way that I can.”
Monic Behnken, Golden Gate University School of Law, 2001 scholarship recipient.

“I am an attorney with The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).
After I graduated from Stanford Law School, I clerked for two years in the Eastern District of CA
with Judge Lawrence Karlton. I was then granted the Fried Frank/MALDEF fellowship, which is
a four-year program. The first two years of the program were with Fried Frank as a litigation
associate in their New York office, and I’m now completing the second term of the fellowship at
MALDEF. I plan on staying with MALDEF for a third year and am able to continue working as a
public interest attorney because I was able to keep my student loans relatively low, thanks to
the financial assistance and support I received from programs such as Farella Braun + Martel's
diversity scholarship.”
Gladys Limon, Stanford Law School, 2001 scholarship recipient.

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