USC Gould Search

Making Connections That Last

Monday, March 11, 2019

More than 300 alumni and students attended this year’s Mentor Lunch

By: Jill Barone

Dean Guzman and John Iino (JD 1987), who chairs Gould's Board of Councilors shared their expert advice over lunch with first-year JD students.

On February 27, USC Gould alumni, first-year JD students and second-year transfers gathered on campus at Town and Gown for the annual Alumni Mentor Lunch. Always a popular networking event, this year’s Mentor Lunch boasted 339 attendees (147 alumni and 192 students), which filled the large ballroom.

The lunch began with a welcome from Dean Andrew Guzman, followed by remarks from keynote speaker Jenny Farrell JD 2011, the executive director for Mental Health Advocacy Services, a nonprofit organization that works to protect and advance the legal rights of people with mental disabilities.  Farrell encouraged students to find at least one class a semester that “sparks joy” in order to find the right path in a demanding career. She encouraged the future attorneys to help clients achieve their goals, particularly the most vulnerable members of society, and encouraged pro bono work, regardless of their eventual career path. 

Jenny Farrell (JD 2011) encouraged students to find at least one class that "sparks joy."

Students and alumni then had a chance to get to know each other over lunch. For most students, this event was their introduction to the Trojan family and its myriad benefits. "It was amazing to see how strong the alumni network is at USC, particularly Gould,” said Gabrielle Barkhordar JD 2021. “The alumni I spoke with were very approachable and interested in helping students navigate the legal profession at this early stage." 

Classmate Christopher Damon JD 2021, agreed. "The Mentor Lunch was a great opportunity to meet alumni from a wide variety of backgrounds and fields who seemed equally excited to meet  1Ls and be resources for our future careers," he added.

Many alumni enjoyed attending the event as a way of giving back, recalling how alumni helped them when they were students and the important and lasting connections that they made. "As a 1L student, I knew I'd made the right decision to attend USC Law School when my mentor, Steve Mindel JD 1985, showed me the strength of the Trojan network by putting me in touch with alumni at the firms I was considering,” said E. Carlos Dominguez JD 2005. “Now serving as a mentor, I enjoyed sharing my experiences in government service with the students I met, who blew me away with their level of preparation and maturity."

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