In this video, hear from student Jakob Regenfelder as he discusses EducationUSA’s LLM Fairs. Clémence Kucera, Assistant Dean of Graduate, Online, and International Programs at McGeorge School of Law, will be traveling to Frankfurt, Germany on November 4, 2023 and Cologne, Germany on November 6, 2023 to recruit prospective students at EducationUSA.

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Contact Clémence Kucera.

In diesem Video berichtet der Student Jakob von den LLM Messen der EducationUSA. Clémence Kucera, Assistant Dean of Graduate, Online, and International Programs an der McGeorge School of Law wird im November 2023 nach Frankfurt und Köln (Deutschland) reisen, um bei EducationUSA potentielle Studierende zu werben.

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Third-year law student Malaya Siy gained legal experience through McGeorge’s Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic. Photo by Victoria Ambriz.

When I was researching law schools to apply to, I found the web page for McGeorge School of Law’s legal clinics and in particular was drawn to the Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic. As I put together my law school application and waited impatiently to hear back from schools, this Clinic stayed in my mind. It spoke to the kind of lawyer I wanted to be; able to build a relationship with their client and provide equitable justice. Fast forward to my 2L year, I am finally sitting in the clinic taught by Professor Ederlina Co. We start by reading “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander among other authors to dissect and understand California’s prison industry and the political, racial, and emotional dynamics we were about to walk into. This class really emphasized students reflecting on their readings, their cases, and their part to play in these civil rights matters. Professor Co often asked our class, “Does this facilitate justice?” That would be a theme often turned to to better internalize what we were doing at the time.  

After much practice, students pair off and begin their plaintiff interviews, mediation brief writing, mediation, and finally self-reflection. I learned vital interviewing skills, like how to effectively and mindfully balance asking a plaintiff emotionally-deep questions and keeping to a strict timetable. I learned how to be more astute to the biases in the room (the plaintiff, defendant, judge, and students) and how they may conflict. A mediation is anything but passive.  

I also learned how to better check-in with myself and ask myself if I feel comfortable doing what I am and what I can do about it. Over the course of the Clinic, my personal beliefs were tested. I was sure with every part of my being that Bryan Stevenson’s famous quote, “Everyone is worth more than the worst thing they have ever done,” was the ultimate truth. Eventually, I had to ask myself if there was a limit to what the worst thing someone has ever done. Is there a certain point where someone becomes unforgivable? I concluded that there is no such point. A person is still a person, and they deserve the fairness and justice owed to them merely by their humanity.  

Finally, did my experience in this Clinic facilitate justice? My experience in this Clinic has changed my definition of justice and how it is achieved. A settlement will not change what happened to the plaintiff, but justice may be what will allow the injured party to move on. It is individual and flexible. It can be achieved in many ways, from $5,000 or no settlement. As individual as I believe justice to be, it must also be informed. $5,000 is not justice if the plaintiff doesn’t understand the situation they are in now or the situation they will be in if they settle. Plaintiffs must be able to rely on the judge-mediator’s evaluations of their claims and any offers the defendant’s party provided because of the resources and power imbalance that exists in that mediation room. 

In conclusion, I have total admiration for Professor Co and the values she brings to the classroom. I am so grateful to have had this experience. It was a vital step in my path to find what legal field best fit me. I am additionally unquestionably grateful for my clinic partner, Fara Rodriguez. She is a fierce advocate, brilliant, kind, and a very supportive friend. Thank you for this opportunity to share my experience at the Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic.  

By Malaya Siy, a third-year student at McGeorge School of Law.  

Joseph Murphy (left) is pictured with his supervisor for the summer, Senior Partner Christoph Jeannée. Photo courtesy of Joseph Murphy.

Over the summer, I interned in Vienna, Austria as part of McGeorge School of Law’s Salzburg Graduate Study Abroad Program. It was the first time I traveled alone and the furthest I have ever been away from home. I went in feeling unsure about the benefits I’d be taking away from the experience. Although I was intrigued by international law, I was nervous the experience would not meet my expectations. By the time I left Austria, I found that international law was both professionally and personally satisfying.

My internship provided several benefits in furthering my legal education. For one, working in an international legal setting exposed me to a different legal system with sometimes contrasting perspectives from the U.S. This broadened my understanding of how law operates on a global scale and gave me a more comprehensive view of legal issues. I was fortunate enough to attend a few court appearances, both in criminal and civil court. Although I could not understand what was being said in court, observing the procedural aspects of Austrian courts was very beneficial, as I could compare them to U.S. courts.

Probably the most practical benefit was my improvement in legal research. Much of my time at the firm involved conducting extensive legal research and drafting documents. This forced me to become more adept with Westlaw and LexisNexis. It also forced me to be more adaptable with my research when the information or case law I found in those databases was insufficient.

A view of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. Photo courtesy of Joseph Murphy.

This program also allows students to connect with McGeorge School of Law alumni and make outside connections. Both the senior partner at my firm and my landlord were McGeorge School of Law alumni, and great people. The senior partner at my firm, Christoph Jeannée, was courteous enough to introduce me to new contacts outside the legal profession. As a senior member of the Beethoven chapter of Business Networking International (BNI), Jeannée introduced me to new contacts involved in all types of professions. Forming international connections with non-legal professionals can be beneficial in the long run because you have your hand in more professional spheres you typically would not be in.

Probably the most challenging aspect of this experience was the language barrier. While the associates at my firm were certainly accommodating and spoke to me in English all the time, it could be frustrating not being able to understand them in mail meetings or at lunch. Of course, that is a natural consequence of an international legal setting. Ironically, my illiteracy in German forced me to become more literate in legal databases. Considering Austrians tend to keep more to themselves, the fact the people at my firm went out of their way to acknowledge me reassured me that it is possible to connect with people (especially clients) in an international legal setting.

A view of a walkway at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. Photo courtesy of Joseph Murphy.

I do think it is important to be proficient in multiple languages for an international law career, so I decided to (slowly) learn German after the summer ended. Proficiency in multiple languages can be a significant asset in the legal field, especially for international transactions and negotiations. Additionally, understanding cultural norms and communication styles of a country’s population can be crucial when dealing with international clients or working on cross-border cases.

Perhaps the most important aspect of my internship though was my chance for personal growth. Because I had never traveled alone in my life, living 6,000 miles away from my family for 2+ months was anxiety-inducing to say the least. Undeniably though, it enhanced my problem-solving skills, independence, and self-confidence. I also learned to navigate unfamiliar situations and overcome cultural barriers.

This is a great program for any McGeorge School of Law student even mildly interested in an international legal career. Because international law encompasses many topics, this experience was only a first step towards an international law career.

By Joseph Murphy, a second-year student at McGeorge School of Law.  

Jaime Bowker, ’23, gained legal experience through McGeorge’s Legislative and Public Policy Clinic during law school.

I was set on starting my legal career at McGeorge School of Law because of the Water and Environmental Law Concentration and the Capital Lawyering Concentration. In my undergraduate studies, I took a class that was similar to the Legislative and Public Policy Clinic at McGeorge. After this class, I knew that I wanted to continue learning about, and gain hands-on experience in, the California legislative process.

When I applied to law school, I was unsure whether I wanted to work around the Legislature in public policy or pursue a legal career in litigation. I knew I would be remiss for not taking the opportunity to give the policymaking space the good ole’ “college try.”

The Legislative and Public Policy Clinic gave me the opportunity to explore my fixed interests in water policy. My team, Emma Syftestad, and Erika Cabrera combined our interests of environmental policy and social justice to craft an environmental justice bill. We teamed up with an amazing sponsor, the Community Water Center, to craft Assembly Bill 805 (2023): Drinking water consolidation: sewer service, to further address the issues concerning rural Californians that lack access to safe, drinking water. Currently, nearly one million Californians do not have access to safe drinking water, a problem that not many people, or classmates, are aware of or understand.

I think the Legislative and Public Policy Clinic is an unparalleled, foot-in-the-door experience for law students who are eager to or unsure whether to work in the Capitol space. The Clinic allowed me to further my oral and written advocacy skills. One of the benefits of the Clinic is the personal experience. Students have the opportunity to draft and advocate for legislation on policy issues they are passionate about or have personal experiences with and can address through a real legislative solution.

McGeorge is a unique legal institution because the school embraces the experiential learning experience and tries to nurture this in its students through courses like this Clinic. The Legislative and Public Policy Clinic is one of the few niche experiences I am grateful that I had the opportunity to cap off my legal degree.

The Capital Lawyering Concentration at McGeorge School of Law ensures that law students understand the legislative process and how each of the three branches of government interconnect. After completing my degree and working in litigation, I have found this knowledge of the legislative process to be essential in all forms of legal practice.

For applicants interested in applying to McGeorge School of Law, or first-year students who have an interest in public policy, I encourage you to explore participating in this Clinic.

By Jaime Bowker, ’23.

In this video, hear from Cristina Perez Caballero, ‘25, as she discusses EducationUSA’s South American LLM tour. Adriana Aguena, Assistant Director of Graduate and International Programs at McGeorge School of Law, will be traveling to Santiago, Chile in October 23, 2023 to recruit prospective students at EducationUSA.

Register for upcoming events.

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Contact Adriana Aguena.

En este video, escucharas a Cristina Pérez Caballero de la Clase 2024 que hablara sobre la gira de EducationUSA LLM Tour. Adriana Aguena, Directora de los programas de posgrado, y programas internacionales de la Facultad de Derecho McGeorge, estara presente en EducationUSA el 23 de Octobre, 2023 en Santiago, Chile, para reclutar futuros estudiantes!

Regístrese para los próximos eventos en este enlace.

Obtenga más información sobre los programas de LLM.

Contactar Adriana Aguena.

(From left to right) Sunny Gorba, Professor Michael Vitiello, Yanin Ortega, and Claudia Ricci are pictured in Sarnico, Italy. Photo courtesy of Sunny Gorba.

Two years ago, I would never have imagined that I would spend my first summer of law school galivanting across Europe as part of my legal education, but when a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself, you got to take it.

My road to Salzburg, Austria began the day I received my acceptance letter to McGeorge School of Law. I was fortunate enough to receive the Anthony M. Kennedy Endowed Fellow Scholarship, which covered the cost of the Salzburg Study Abroad Program. I was thrilled, especially since my undergraduate study abroad opportunity in Mexico City had been cancelled due to the pandemic. In deciding to attend McGeorge, going to Salzburg seemed to be as much of a given as any of the required curriculum.

McGeorge student Sunny Gorba studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria. Photo courtesy of Sunny Gorba.

The internship component came as another surprise. While I had already begun to make plans for Salzburg, I was struggling to figure out what to do with my summer for the first five weeks. That all changed when Professor Michael Vitiello made a quick announcement before class that his friend, a professor in Italy, was seeking research assistants. After another relatively short conversation in office hours, I made my decision to go.

My internship in Parma, Italy taught me how to exist outside my comfort zone. The first challenge was getting there. I was overwhelmed by the connecting international flights, to a train, to desperately trying to get a taxi at 10 p.m. without being able to speak the language, to a hotel, to another taxi, to a train, and to another taxi. Somehow, I made it, but there were tears along the way and I began to question why I was there. Those fears faded when I met up with Yanin Ortega, my fellow research assistant. Lucky for both of us, Yanin and I got along really well. We basically spent every waking moment together from walking to work at the university, to finding lunch, and planning little excursions for the weekend.

The view from Monte Isola on Lake Iseo. Photo courtesy of Sunny Gorba.

Through the internship, I began developing my professional identity. After researching for Professor Stefano Maffei for four weeks, the internship culminated in assisting him conducting two seminars in Sarnico. One of the highlights of my experience in Europe was the first seminar focusing on Extradition. Yanin and I had the opportunity to listen to leading attorneys and scholars across the world discuss the state of extradition in their respective countries during the day. At night, we all took a private boat to an island and swam in the lake before having a private dinner on the island. In both seminars, I engaged with a wide variety of lawyers from across the globe and discussed aspects of our legal system.

The classes in Salzburg also informed my cross-cultural comparison. In both experiences, we discussed that while the Common Law and Civil Law systems seem diametrically opposed, we generally reach similar results. Still, the Freedom of Expression course explained how different systems that protect the same rights can be formed. Co-taught by Professor Bernhard Zagel, a local law professor, and Ninth Circuit Judge Consuelo M. Callahan, we were able to explore the different frameworks by experts in each system.

(From left to right) Yanin Ortega, Sunny Gorba, and Leon Schrofner, LLM ’23, at the Schonbrunn Palace Garden in Vienna, Austria. Photo courtesy of Sunny Gorba.

Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity I received this past summer. Not only was I able to gain my first legal experience as an intern and take classes from incredible teachers, but I was able to experience living on the other side of the world. As someone who has never lived outside of the Sacramento area and hopes to remain here, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see a new part of the world. McGeorge School of Law is full of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and I am grateful to have experienced one of my own.

By Sunny Gorba, a second-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.

Jenny Salgado, ’23, gained legal experience through McGeorge’s Federal Defender Clinic during law school.

Being heard is invaluable. Being understood is invaluable. Being seen is invaluable. The Federal Defender Clinic at McGeorge School of Law allowed me to gain real-life experience with clients who wanted to be heard, understood, and seen. The Federal Defender Clinic is a year-long clinic where students get real-life trial advocacy skills by representing clients. Criminal defense work is valuable and necessary to ensure individual rights are protected. The Federal Defender Clinic allows students to take part in that advocacy. I knew that this was the work I wanted to do, and I was proud to pursue it. I wanted to be a part of the Federal Defender Clinic, so that I could continue the valuable work of raising the voices of individuals who go through the criminal justice system. Every individual has the right to have their rights protected.

While in the Federal Defender Clinic, students get certified to become Certified Student Attorneys. The Clinic allows students to work on misdemeanor cases within the federal system. Students have the opportunity to work-up a case from the very beginning to the very end, and this includes the potential of going to trial. Students participate in both the Veterans and Central Violations Bureau (CVB) Courts to represent clients. This provides students an opportunity to speak in court and an opportunity to get on the record, which is an invaluable experience. This court experience allows students to get comfortable speaking in front of judges in a court setting. Most importantly, students gain communication skills by speaking and interacting with clients that are assigned to them. Not only do students learn to communicate with clients, but they also gain negotiating skills when speaking to U.S. Attorneys who are handling client cases.

During my time with the Clinic, I worked on various cases and spoke directly to the clients regarding their cases. As previously mentioned, the Clinic gives students the opportunity to work on a case that may go to trial. One of the cases I worked on during my time at the Clinic did go to trial. I conducted the direct examination of our client, the cross-examinations of some of the witnesses, and the closing of the case, while one of my partners did the opening, a direct examination, and the other witnesses’ cross-examinations.

I continue to use the skills I gained in the Federal Defender Clinic, in my post-bar position. I know I will continue to use those skills moving forward in my career. The Clinic helped me grow as a professional in order to become a better attorney in the future and a better advocate for my future clients. The Federal Defender Clinic is unique and invaluable for students who not only want to pursue trial advocacy, but for those who want to go into criminal defense, especially those students who want to advocate for individuals who need it the most.

I would like to thank Adjunct Professors Linda Carter and Rachelle Barbour for allowing me to learn from them and giving me the opportunity to be part of this Clinic while I was in law school.

By Jenny Salgado, ’23.

In this video, hear from Camila Moreira, ‘25, and Taiane Magalhaes, ‘25, as they discuss EducationUSA’s South American LLM tour. Adriana Aguena, Assistant Director of Graduate and International Programs at McGeorge School of Law, will be traveling to Brazil from October 16-21, 2023 to recruit prospective students at EducationUSA. She will visit São Paulo, Brazil on October 16 and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 21.

Register for upcoming events.

Learn more about LLM programs.

Contact Adriana Aguena.

Nesse video, Camila Moreira e Taiane Oliveira, compartilham novidades sobre a turnê sul-americana da feira de programas de mestrado (LLM) da EducationUSA. Adriana Aguena, Diretora de Pós-Graduação e Programas Internacionais da McGeorge School of Law, estará no Brasil nos dias 16 e 21 Outubro de 2023 para recrutar futuros alunos na feira da EducationUSA.

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The late Salvatore C. Gugino, ’81, and his granddaughter, Ashley Gugino, ’20, are both McGeorge School of Law alumni.

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Salvatore C. Gugino, ’81, a remarkable attorney, cherished member of the legal community, proud McGeorge School of Law alumni, and dear friend to many. Sal’s passing leaves a void that cannot be easily filled, as he was not only a highly esteemed attorney but also a person who brightened the lives of those around him with his wit and humor.

Sal’s journey in the legal profession spanned over four decades, during which he made significant contributions to the legal community. Admitted to the Nevada State Bar in 1981, he dedicated his career to practicing law in Clark County, Nevada. His expertise encompassed a wide range of legal matters, including complex litigation, personal injury claims, insurance coverage, both public and private sector labor law, contract disputes, interest and grievance arbitration, and employment law matters, including discrimination based on age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, or disability.

Before embarking on his legal career, Sal was a high school government teacher in the Clark County School District, where he also served on the negotiating team for the Clark County Teachers Association in the 1970s. This experience shaped his understanding of the intricate dynamics involved in labor law, which later became one of his areas of expertise.

During his time at McGeorge School of Law, Sal was dedicated not only to his studies but also to his leadership position on the Student Bar Association. Most fond of his time spent studying Constitutional Law under former United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Sal often boasted about the lessons Justice Kennedy taught and the stories Justice Kennedy shared. Moreover, Sal cherished the unique experience of delivering the commencement speech alongside Justice Kennedy during his graduation from McGeorge in 1981.

Sal’s dedication to public service extended beyond his time in law school and remained evident throughout his entire career. Shortly after graduating from McGeorge, Sal was appointed to the State of Nevada Local Government Employee Relations Board (EMRB) by Governor Richard Bryan. He went on to serve as a Member and Chairman of the Board for over 12 years, presiding over decisions on public sector labor law disputes between governmental entities and their employees.

In addition to his work on the EMRB, Sal served as an arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program in Clark County since 1992. His commitment to alternative dispute resolution continued as he became a mediator for the Nevada Mediation Program and the State of Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program. These roles allowed him to guide parties towards mutually agreeable settlements, showcasing his talent for bringing people together and finding common ground.

Sal’s expertise and reputation extended beyond his legal practice. Serving as the editor and author of Chapter 2 of the Nevada Civil Practice Manual, titled “Judges and Attorneys,” for nearly three decades, he provided a valuable resource cherished by legal professionals. This notable contribution exemplified Sal’s commitment to sharing knowledge and promoting excellence within the legal community. In addition, Sal assumed the role of President at the Clark County Bar Association in 1996, further demonstrating his exceptional leadership skills. Sal was also a long-time member of the McGeorge Alumni Board as well as a proud donor to the school.

Sal’s remarkable achievements are evidenced by his numerous accolades, including being honored with multiple awards, receiving an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbel, and being recognized in prestigious publications such as Strathmore’s Who’s Who, Vegas, Inc.’s Top Lawyers, America’s Most Honored Professionals, and America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators (Nevada). Additionally, in December 2021, Sal was proudly inducted into the Clark County Bar Association’s esteemed 40-Year Club.

Sal’s dedication to the legal profession served as an inspiration to many, including his granddaughter, Ashley Gugino. Following in his footsteps, Ashley graduated from McGeorge in 2020 and embarked on her legal career as an associate attorney at Eglet Adams. There, she works under McGeorge alumnus Robert Eglet (’88) and his wife Tracy Eglet, specializing in catastrophic injury matters.

While Sal’s professional achievements were undeniably impressive, it is his warm personality, humor, and quick wit that endeared him to those who knew him. He had a remarkable ability to lighten the mood and bring smiles to the faces of colleagues and friends. Sal’s humor was perhaps best captured in his famous humor article, “Ask Mr. Lawyer,” which brought laughter and entertainment to readers far and wide.

Sal Gugino’s passing leaves an irreplaceable void in the legal community and the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him. He will be remembered as an exceptional attorney, a dedicated public servant, and a true friend. Sal’s legacy serves as an inspiration to us all, reminding us to approach life and our work with compassion, integrity, and a healthy dose of humor. Sal’s contributions to McGeorge, the legal profession, and the lives he touched will never be forgotten.

By Ashley Gugino, ’20.

Madison Sykes is a third-year student at McGeorge School of Law.

During my undergraduate studies at Santa Clara University, I worked with formerly incarcerated individuals at the Northern California Innocence Project. When I came to law school, I was passionate about discovering solutions for this typically underserved population. Through the Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic at McGeorge School of Law, I had the opportunity to work as a co-mediator — alongside federal judges — facilitating mediations between incarcerated individuals and the Attorney General, which represented the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Most cases related to harassment, inadequate medical care, or other circumstances constituting cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Through classroom simulations and facilitating mediation of our cases, we learned negotiation skills and the importance of a neutral, facilitative mediator. We also learned to filter through large case files and understand the civil negotiation process — invaluable skills I will carry into my career.

We interviewed the incarcerated plaintiffs in order to better understand their goals for mediation and to draft summary memoranda for the judge. These interviews were incredibly powerful; we got to hear the stories and goals of incarcerated individuals in their own words. For example, at the end of our first interview, our elderly plaintiff told us about her family and her life in prison. She shared how much she missed simple things, like seeing her niece grow or watching the sunset on her hometown beach.

Additionally, during our tour of Folsom Prison, we spent almost an hour in the prison law library, talking with men who were excited to talk about their online college classes or ask about legal research. I found myself wishing more members of the public had similar encounters. These experiences could help destigmatize and humanize this population, preventing the image of incarcerated people as one generalized group, all undeserving of basic human rights because of a mistake in their past.

The Clinic also afforded us the essential opportunity to reflect on access to justice, as well as what justice means to us. Professor Ederlina Co led seminar discussions challenging us to see both sides of these complex issues. We were reminded how subjective and personal justice can be, and that, as attorneys our job is to listen to our clients’ needs and goals to obtain whatever justice looks like for them. For example, sometimes when we thought justice warranted a large monetary award, justice for the plaintiff was as simple as the return of pizza money or a wrongfully confiscated poster.

I came to law school because I wanted to help facilitate access to justice; the Clinic reminded me that doing so effectively requires humility, empathy, and active listening. I witnessed the plaintiffs’ desires to share their stories and learned the value of a sympathetic yet impartial mediator who gives parties the opportunity to be heard. I was reminded, as author Michelle Alexander wrote in The New Jim Crow (a book we read as a class) that, “rather than shaming and condemning an already deeply stigmatized group, we, collectively can embrace them — not necessarily their behavior, but them — their humanness.”

By Madison Sykes, a third-year student at McGeorge School of Law.