USC Gould Search

That Family Feeling
USC Gould School of Law

Friday, April 8, 2016

Five sets of siblings have one thing in common: They’re all students at Gould

-By Anne Bergman

From top to bottom: Ani and Anoush Davtian; Andrew and Mike Gorini; Sarin and Talin Haroutounian; Bryan and Daniel Oberle; Roxanna and Krista Topete (Photos by Teri Weber)

USC Gould’s then-Dean of Admissions Chloe Reid noticed something unusual as she reviewed the names of incoming students just before the start of the fall 2015 semester. Oberle, Topete, Davtian…these names seemed oddly familiar. 

When she began investigating, Reid realized that they seemed familiar because these admits had older siblings already enrolled at Gould. She dug a little deeper and realized the school actually had five sets of siblings — including one pair of identical twin 3Ls — simultaneously enrolled. Unusual indeed.

“It’s amazing because it just happened by chance. I don’t think any of the 1Ls with older siblings at Gould had indicated they had a sibling in the program in their applications,” she says. “So there were no special allowances to admit them just because they had a brother or sister already here.”

Perhaps no special allowances, but it’s probably not surprising that the older siblings influenced their younger brother or sister to join them at Gould. Some had been accepted to the law schools at UC Berkeley, Columbia, the University of Chicago and crosstown rival UCLA, but chose Gould instead, based on their sibling’s experience.

That was the case with Ani and Anoush Davtian. Since they both attended UCLA as undergrads, the Davtians now identify as “Brojans” (Bruins who are now USC Trojans). Older sister Anoush, now a 3L and editor-in-chief of the Southern California Law Review, was so enthusiastic about Gould, recalls Ani, that “I thought it was too good to be true.” 

“I feel like I got a sneak peek at the school through Anoush’s experience here,” says Ani. “It’s different than what you expect from law school. There’s an ability to connect with people, and the classes are smaller. I was ecstatic when I found out I got in.”

That’s how it worked for 1L Krista Topete. USC Gould became her dream school after hearing older sister Roxanna (Roxy), now a 3L, rave about the classroom environment and collegial atmosphere. “I even had a USC pen I used when I was studying for the LSATs,” says Krista.

The talisman must have worked its magic, as Krista, an ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship winner, was accepted by both USC and Columbia law schools, ultimately choosing USC. “That’s where my heart was telling me to go,” she says. 

For Roxy, the fact that Krista chose Gould “says a lot about the school.” Both Roxy and Krista grew up in Northern California’s Vacaville and are the first in their family to attend college. 

Perhaps the biggest benefit for Krista is that, thanks to Roxy blazing the law school trail ahead of her, now their parents understand the demands of earning a J.D. In other words: “My parents know why I’m not calling them all the time,” Krista says with a laugh.

1L Daniel Oberle benefited from having an older sibling in law school before he applied. Elder brother Bryan, a 3L, guided him through the law school application process, and he strongly recommended that Daniel choose USC Gould School of Law over UCLA Law, Berkeley Law and Cornell Law. Daniel earned his B.A. in political science with a minor in philosophy in three years at UCLA, but he ultimately chose USC, crediting Bryan — a Double Trojan and a USC Trustee Scholar — for influencing his decision to join the Trojan Family. The two Orange County natives now live together in Los Angeles and plan careers in corporate law.

Bryan, who completed his B.A. in political science and B.A. in philosophy, politics and law — a special interdisciplinary major at USC Dornsife — in three years, now counsels his brother on how to effectively spend his study time.  

For identical twins Sarin and Talin Haroutounian, who live together at their family’s home near Los Angeles, the biggest advantage to experiencing law school simultaneously is the built-in moral support. 

“You have someone who’s going through the same difficulties with you; someone to confide in, who understands how tough it is when the first year takes up your life,” says Talin. 

The Haroutounians are so similar that they earned identical SAT and LSAT scores, attended UC San Diego together and even co-ran a business before applying to law schools. They completed their first year at Gould before deciding to sell their business. Now they’re planning their commute together as they both landed associate positions at Proskauer Rose LLP, which they’ll begin once they complete their J.D.s.

There’s a sense of friendly competition between the Gorini brothers, who did not receive identical LSAT scores. “I’m happy that my younger brother Mike got a slightly higher LSAT score,” Andrew says. “It was by one point, but who’s keeping score? Seriously, there’s no animosity.” 

While they’re not twins, the Gorini brothers are both 1Ls, as Andrew took some time to work for the International Rescue Committee in hometown San Jose after graduating from Gonzaga University and before applying to law schools. 

In this case, Mike influenced his older brother’s decision to study at USC Gould. “I knew I wanted to stay in California and that USC has a great alumni program,” says Mike. Ultimately, Mike’s decision “tipped the scales” for Andrew, who reports that their parents are happy to have them both on the West Coast and close to their home in San Jose. 

Reid, who is currently director of special projects for Development and Graduate Relations, attributes Gould’s popularity among siblings to the school’s “family feel.” “Fierce competition and rivalry aren’t the norm here. People here want to take care of each other,” she says. 

Talin agrees. “I can’t imagine being treated better than we are here,” she says. “I walk down the hall and everyone knows me. I love my law school, and I don’t think many other students at other law schools would say that.”

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