UOPL1506MZp044

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer2015

Noël M. Ferris, ’79, and R. Parker White, ’80, met at Pacific McGeorge, where they each discovered a passion and talent for trial advocacy. In the years since law school, Ferris and White have built successful litigation practices and top-notch reputations; both are fellows of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers (Ferris is currently vice president, the second woman to hold that post in the organization’s history) and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Ferris and White are also dedicated to Pacific McGeorge, which they support with time and funds, including a recently established scholarship for students who demonstrate outstanding trial advocacy skills. They credit Pacific McGeorge not only with helping them find their life’s work but also for introducing them to each other (they married while law students). Thirty-seven years, three children and countless trials later, they both say their happiest memory of law school was meeting each other. Why did you decide to become a trial lawyer? NOËL FERRIS: In my second year of law school, I took a class on evidence, and I loved it. I loved evidence, loved the courtroom—I realized this was what I wanted to do. PARKER WHITE: I went to law school because I wanted to go into politics. Then, at McGeorge, I discovered trial work. I thought, “That looks pretty interesting!” After I made the trial advocacy team, I realized that this was what I was born to do. I was hard-wired to try lawsuits. I love it. I love going to work every day. Did Pacific McGeorge adequately prepare you for life after law school? PW: McGeorge’s trial advocacy program gives you practical training—that isn’t true at many law schools, even many top-tier law schools. Two days after graduating, I was in court and prepared to go to battle. NF: The trial advocacy program gives you the chance to work on multiple cases, in state and federal venues— this prepared us for the courtroom. When I got my first job, I said, “I will try any case you have.” Two of your three daughters are pursuing careers in law. How do you feel about that? NF: We’re happy because both of us have loved being lawyers. We’ve had the opportunity to change lives and make a difference. Our youngest daughter is a psychotherapist, and I always say, with four lawyers in the family, we also need a shrink! PW: It’s a great profession, a great job. I’m at an age when people ask me, “When are you going to retire?” I always say, “When it stops being fun.” That hasn’t happened yet. What’s your advice for students to get the most out of law school? PW: It’s like the old bromide, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” My advice is: work hard. And get a good study group. Study groups are key. A SHARED PASSION After meeting and marrying at McGeorge, Noël M. Ferris, ’79, and R. Parker White, ’80, established careers as top trial attorneys 44 SUMMER / FAL L 20 1 5 S T E V E Y E AT E R The Last Word R. Parker White Noël Ferris


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer2015
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