On Wednesday, March 6, 2019 members of the legal community came together to celebrate the success of the 2019 1L Open Doors Job Shadowing Program. Hosted by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, the reception marked the conclusion of yet another successful year of opening doors of opportunity for diverse law students. This year, 34 students had the opportunity to job shadow legal professionals and jump-start their professional development through early immersion in the day-to-day operations inside dynamic legal organizations.
This year’s program took place from March 4-6 and participating 1L law students were hosted by a variety of employers from the private, public, corporate and nonprofit sectors, including Airbnb, the Golden State Warriors and six different appellate and superior court rooms.
Mehrnaz Boroumand Smith, partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, provided opening remarks and spoke to the firm’s commitment to supporting the Justice & Diversity Center’s (JDC) programs. Amy Kimmel, Director for Employer Relations, UC Hastings School of Law, and Neva Tassan, Associate Dean of Career Services, Golden Gate University School of Law, also shared their appreciation to all host employers. Tassan highlighted the impact three days can make in the life of a law student who has never been in any legal environment. Golden Gate University School of Law Dean Anthony Niedwiecki also attended the reception and expressed that this program is a gift to his students.
JDC Board Member A. Marisa Chun, partner at McDermott Will & Emery and founder of the 1L Open Doors Job Shadow program, shared the program’s origin with the attendees: “The program was created because law students and young lawyers were facing a difficult time finding jobs during the recession. The hope was to ‘scale’ the mentoring and networking that helps aspiring lawyers and new lawyers—especially diverse attorneys and folks who have not had exposure to legal workplaces—to figure out what they want to do in the law and to succeed in the law. As a result, our program has been able to expand to the East and South Bay and 2019 makes our fifth anniversary class.” Chun started planning in 2014 and launched the first Open Doors class in March 2015.
JDC President Doris Cheng, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, was also present and acknowledged the need to provide opportunities for diverse law students that give them a chance to explore which fields resonate with their interest.
It is our hope that students will leverage the relationships they have built as they move into their careers and give back by sharing what they learned with other students. Special thanks again to all 28 hosts who took time to sponsor a student and to Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton for hosting the celebration.
“I am a first-year law student, a first-generation professional, and this program allowed me to see the legal profession outside of law school. Conversing with practicing attorneys that are not my professors bolstered my confidence in the classroom. I am tremendously grateful to the program because it gave life and context to the material that I’m learning in class.”
– Jennifer Richardson, JD Candidate 2021, Golden Gate University School of Law
“The 1L Open Door Shadowing program is a valuable opportunity for students to get a taste of what it really feels like to work in a legal environment of their interest. Opening the door to first-year students can provide them with the type of clarity needed to make that important decision about where law students should focus their efforts during the critical summer between 2nd and 3rd year. I congratulate JDC in helping law students balance the adages of ‘fools rush in’ and ‘don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.’”
Hon. Daniel A. Flores, Superior Court Judge, County of San Francisco
Thank you to all of our sponsoring organizations:
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Jennifer Madden
Aids Legal Referral Panel
Bank of the West
Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office
Department of Police Accountability
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Davis Wright Tremaine
Golden State Warriors
Open Door Legal (was Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal)
Rogers Joseph O’Donnell
Sanford Heisler Sharp
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office
San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Torpoco
San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Flores
San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Hite
Santa Clara Superior Court, Judge Kulkarni
The Veen Firm
United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Armstrong
United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Westmore