Alexander Lee '22
Alexander Lee ’22

When I graduated from UC San Diego, I had no plans of attending law school, let alone becoming a practicing attorney; instead, I was intent on working in politics and public policy. However, after several professional experiences, I felt called to enter the law and applied to the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law’s evening program, largely because of McGeorge’s Capital Center for Law & Policy. The Capital Center blended my passion for politics and public policy with what I realized I had been missing in my career: a legal education.

After graduation, I devoted myself entirely to my first job in politics, working on one of the country’s most well-funded and hotly contested congressional races. The race ended in a narrow loss for my candidate following a recount. During the recount, I observed in awe as lawyers for both campaigns and the government engaged in the recount and adjudicated ballots to ensure the voter’s intent was fulfilled in accordance with the law. At times, this process seemed to be a different language. Despite my confusion, I recall the comfort of having a capable attorney present to advocate on our behalf to ensure the county election office counted every legal ballot.

Following the campaign’s narrow loss, a federal prosecution found that one of the most devastating attacks used by our opponent and outside groups during the campaign was materially false. As the Federal Judge in the case said, “There is no way of knowing how much [the criminal’s conduct] affected voters’ minds … The victim is the [candidate], [candidate’s] campaign, or the democratic process.” While disillusioned that a bad actor had subverted the voters, I was thankful that the legal process and U.S. Attorneys sought justice and provided a small amount of vindication to the campaign and democratic process.

After the campaign, I moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue my dreams of working in public policy, and I found a job working for a member of Congress who served on the Judiciary Committee. I was able to serve as a legislative assistant under a lawyer who led the Congresswoman’s Judiciary Committee portfolio. Whenever someone sought his advice on the policy issue of the day, they could always count on him to provide a critical yet objective analysis, and you also knew that he had thoroughly considered the legal and constitutional principles underlying the policy issue. Moreover, his counsel was straightforward. He could deconstruct complex issues for non-lawyers like me. I realized that if I ever wanted to be half as effective as he was, I would need to be trained by similarly talented lawyers and become an attorney.

Given my specific interests in political law and public policy, the question became, where could I go to be trained as an attorney who could both counsel and comfort while seeking justice? After researching different political and policy law school programs, I discovered McGeorge and its Capital Center. The school’s Capital Lawyering Concentration offered every class I could dream of taking to hone my skills and become a political lawyer, such as Election Law, Statutes and Regulations, and the Initiative Seminar.

Additionally, the Capital Center’s stellar job placement numbers demonstrated that McGeorge provided their students with practical legal skills that were valued by the market. I found other comparable programs to lack such post-graduation employment success, or the school’s curriculum was more theoretical than practical. Further, these job placement numbers showed that there was a tight-knit and supportive community that would foster my development and assist me during my law school and throughout my legal career.

I am privileged to have graduated from McGeorge School of Law with a Capital Lawyering Concentration in 2022. The exceptional training and tangible legal skills that McGeorge and the Capital Center provided me allowed me to start practicing law with confidence. As I continue to hone the skills I learned at McGeorge, I will try to emulate the attorneys who inspired me to become an attorney by providing cogent and just counsel to my clients. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, I will come across another young politico and encourage them to go to McGeorge so they can grow as much as I did during my four years at McGeorge.

By Alexander Lee, ’22.