From left to right: Brenda Rosales (UC Hastings), Juliana Garcia 3L, and Maria Becerra 3L
“Our office knows firsthand the coordination needed to pull off an event like this. By all accounts, this event was a huge success, and the work of these students is admirable, to say the least,” Director of Career Planning Bryan Hinkle said. “Resourcefulness and determination are the defining characteristics of our students and that is something that we should all be proud of.”
The intention of the job fair was to address the lack of diversity in the legal profession and provide an opportunity for students to network with legal employers. Seven employers conducted formal interviews, including Sedgwick LLP, The Arns Law Firm, and the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office, and an additional nine employers participated in the fair.
The lack of diversity in law schools affects diversity in the legal profession, Garcia says.
“A recent study by Columbia Law School shows that among the 46,500 students entering law school in the fall of 2008, there were 3,932 African-Americans, or 7.3 percent, and 673 Mexican-Americans, or 1.4 percent,” she said. “The job fair is one of many projects that the coalition has in mind to target a larger socioeconomic problem.”
Garcia and Becerra served on the Northern California La Raza Law Students Coalition’s Job Fair Committee with UC Hastings student Brenda Rosales. They organized the event with assistance from other coalition members.
The coalition was created this year and is composed of two La Raza student representatives from nine Northern California law schools, including Golden Gate University, Lincoln Law School, Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, and University of San Francisco. The group aims to create a network of support for Latino law students in the Bay Area by providing resources for professional development, establishing a mentorship program, and organizing the annual job fair and other networking events.
Students from throughout Northern California attended the job fair—the first legal employment event of its kind—and many students obtained summer clerkships and internships. Perhaps more importantly, the event reaffirmed that the legal profession values diversity, particularly the experiences of Latino law students, Garcia said.
“Many of the Latino students who participated at this job fair are the first in their families to go to college or pursue a legal education, many have undocumented immigrant parents, many have graduated from heavily segregated high schools, many come from low income neighborhoods,” Garcia said. “Students were very grateful that we put our time and effort to organizing this event because it demonstrated that the legal profession is looking for students with diverse life experiences to enrich the quality of their firms and organizations.”