Alumni Gather to Support Student Scholarships

Posted Fri, 04/13/2018 - 09:41

Many of the USF School of Law’s most dedicated supporters gathered at Waterbar restaurant in San Francisco March 28 for a first-of-its-kind USF fundraising event to support the next generation of law students. More than $200,000 has already been raised from the event, with additional funding expected to be brought in to endow new student scholarships.

The event was hosted by Burlingame attorney Joseph Cotchett, who underwrote the cost of the dinner, Cotchett’s law firm partners Frank Pitre ’81 and Mark Molumphy ’93, along with Doris Cheng ’98 and Molly Lane ’90.

“A night like this is so important because it really makes us focus on what tomorrow is all about,” which is the next generation of law students and lawyers, said Cotchett. “That’s why I’m here tonight, to help in any way I can and to do everything we can do to give back.”

The evening included a keynote address by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who spoke to the importance of law schools and lawyers in California.

“The integrity and the heart of our California legal system is no accident — it is by design,” she said. “We don’t ask questions about immigration status or income. We care that you are injured and you are seeking relief and you are seeking your rights and protection under the law. We have people who fight and work for justice for all Californians. USF continues to set the example for educating students who have heart, who are fierce, and who speak on behalf of others.”

Former USF School of Law Alum of the Year Molly Moriarty Lane ’90 recounted how she landed her first job out of law school thanks to the support of Max Gutierrez ’59, who also attended the dinner and hired Lane at his firm 30 years ago.

“Having alumni support is really important. USF is now the most represented law school at my firm,” said Lane, a partner at Morgan Lewis who has hired Lauren Nikkah ’18 for a post-bar position this year. “So it’s really important that as alumni we go out and provide opportunities for law students, and that we support and give back to the school in every way we can.”

Doris Cheng ’98, a partner with Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger who also directs the USF School of Law’s Intensive Advocacy Program, said she “wouldn’t have had the opportunities I have had if I didn’t go to USF,” emphasizing the importance of USF’s mission.

“We have a mission that takes care of people, and now I’m proud to say I’m making a difference in my legal career,” she said. “The money that you spend on scholarships is such a worthwhile investment. The availability of scholarships is so important, you can give someone an opportunity to do better things, which is what I’ve had the opportunity to do.”