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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2013

mentorships Neil FoREster + Jenn y Bain As Jenny Bain, ’12, has learned, the Network can provide a meaningful entree into the legal world. Although the program is not designed as a job- finding resource, its emphasis on networking helped her to build new professional relationships that ultimately led to her first job. Bain graduated with distinction from Pacific McGeorge, where she earned a Capital Certificate in Public Law & Policy. During her last semester, she joined the Alumni Mentor Network, which was being ramped up with an online database of volunteer mentors. She knew she wanted to go into family law. Through the program, she met Neil Forester, ’04, who heads the Family Law Division at the Sacramento firm Goyette & Associates, Inc. “Neil was a great help,” she says. “We got along really well.” Through subsequent connections that arose through the mentoring relationship, Bain was hired in November as an associate with the Law Office of Cecil and Cianci, PC, a family law firm in Roseville composed of Pacific McGeorge alumni. Networking was the key, she says. “It’s all about timing and making sure a lot of people know you are looking for a job,” she says. Forester, who is a certified family law specialist through the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, recalls that as a law student, he did not personally know any lawyers and had no professional mentors. He left a career in the restaurant business, finished law school at 35 and worked for eight years at Downey Brand LLP before joining Goyette & Associates last year. When he learned about the Pacific McGeorge Alumni Mentor Network, he knew he wanted to sign up. “I thought mentoring would be a great way to give back,” says Forester, who received a full-tuition scholarship for all three years of law school as a member of the first Anthony M. Kennedy Fellowship Class. “I wanted to help other young lawyers interested in family law,” he says. Over the past two years, the mentoring program has grown into a robust network, says Lisa Wilkins, director of career development at Pacific McGeorge. The online system enables students to reach out to as many as five alumni mentors, and the process gives students firsthand experience in developing their professional correspondence and communication skills. “The students are dealing with working lawyers in many cases,” Wilkins says. “It’s very good practice.” Currently, the Network has 526 alumni mentors from 29 states and five other countries, says Brent Bynum, a CDO career adviser. They represent 71 fields and practice areas. Currently, 157 students from Pacific McGeorge’s day and evening programs participate. “It’s all about helping students get exposure to the practice of law,” Bynum says. “In these tricky job-seeking times, it all comes back to the basics of networking and who you know.” Bynum adds that Bain and Forester’s experience highlights the friendly and supportive environment at Pacific McGeorge. “It’s indicative of the Pacific McGeorge spirit,” he said. “It’s very apropos.” paci f i c l aw 29 s t e v e y e at e r


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2013
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