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USC Gould Search

JD Student Ambassadors - Juris Doctor (JD)
USC Gould School of Law

USC Gould School of Law is proud to have some of the nation's brightest and most promising future lawyers studying law here. We are privileged to have four students, Fia Maline, Sophia Dominguez, Brooke Kopel, and Lauren Au working in the Admissions Office as Student Ambassadors. All lead very busy lives inside and outside the classroom as you can see from their profiles, but love sharing their law school experiences with prospects and admitted students.

If you are interested in learning more about their decision to attend USC Gould or if you would like to email one of the ambassadors, please click on their names to access their bios and contact information.

Fia Maline

Maline-Fia

Hi! My name is Fia Maline, and I am a 3L at USC Gould School of Law. I was born and raised in Southern California and so after going up north for undergrad, I was thrilled to return here for law school. I attended Berkeley for my undergraduate degree, where I studied biology and classics. I originally intended to go into medicine but eventually decided that law school was the best way to accomplish my life's goals. I mostly applied to law schools in Southern California, and USC was an easy choice for me. After touring both USC and another law school in the same week, I was blown away by the unique opportunities and supportive community USC offered. I decided to attend USC right after the tour, and I encourage all prospective students to tour the law school if they have the opportunity to do so.

During undergrad, I was very involved in my community, and I am grateful that I can continue to volunteer my time in law school. I am so thankful for all the wonderful organizations at USC, especially Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), that facilitate student-community interactions. I help people represent themselves pro-se as they expunge their convictions, challenge their evictions, and apply for work authorization permits. The clinics I participate in the most are the LAFLA Expungement and Skid Row Clinics as well as the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project. Los Angeles is a diverse city, and its residents need different types of legal assistance. As a law student, it is incredibly rewarding to provide help to those who need it.

During my 2L year, I served as president of both the Environmental and Energy Law Society and the American Constitution Society. Both organizations allowed me to explore my interests more and connect with attorneys, judges, and even podcast hosts that I admired and respected. I encourage all students to be on a board of a student organization; it is a great opportunity to develop leadership skills and network with prominent attorneys and organizations in your desired field of practice.

After my first year of law school, I was able to explore a potential career in environmental law. My peers at USC helped prepare me for the interview at the California Department of Justice. While at the Attorney General's Office, I worked on legal issues involving the California Coastal Act and toxic waste sites. I gained a new appreciation for how our beaches and coastlines are regulated and protected to ensure that public access is affordable and accessible to all. After my summer there, I later helped prepare other USC students for that same opportunity. And that's just one example of how your law school peers are your best network!

This past summer, I worked at the L.A. County Public Defender's Office. While at the office, I drafted motions and interviewed clients for various hearings including arraignments. I also assisted with trial preparation and jury selection. The trial advocacy course I took in the spring really helped me during my internship. USC professors and courses really do prepare you for your future as an attorney.

Gould was definitely the right place for me. The network of peers, professors, administration, and alumni allow each student to thrive in any field they wish to pursue. I am so happy and thankful that I joined the Trojan Family. If you have any questions about USC Gould, feel free to contact me at ambassador1@law.usc.edu.

Tomi Johnson

Tomi-Johnson

Hi there! My name is Tomi Johnson, and I'm at 3L at USC Gould School of Law. I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Princeton in 2016 with a degree in public and international affairs, I spent three years as a project assistant in the business and tort litigation practice of a large multinational law firm. I then had the amazing opportunity to participate in the SEO Law Fellowship, spending 10 weeks as a summer associate in another large law firm before I started at Gould.

I won't pretend choosing a law school is easy—I certainly struggled with it. But I remember visiting Gould for the first time in April 2019 (for Law Day!) and instantly feeling at home here. Everyone I met was so genuine and welcoming, it was hard to believe I had ever considered not applying to Gould. By the end of my first week of classes a few months later, I couldn't picture myself attending law school anywhere else.

Gould has so much to offer, and since arriving here, I've tried to experience as much of it as I can. More than anything, I've prioritized contributing to the culture and sense of community that led me to choose Gould in the first place. My first year, I served as a 1L representative for the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Womxn of Color Collective (WOCC), the International Law and Relations Organization, and the Student Bar Association Diversity Committee. I also logged a truly impressive number of hours laughing with my peers on the famous Ackerman couches. As a 2L, I was a peer mentor, president of BLSA, 2L class vice president, social chair of the Stanley & Ilene Gold Honors Scholars Program, outreach chair of WOCC, and a staffer on the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal (ILJ). I was also a teaching assistant for two courses taught by Prof. Daniel Klerman, with whom I'd taken 1L Property Law. This year, I'm 3L class president, a senior content editor on ILJ, and a student attorney in the International Human Rights Clinic.

If this sounds like a lot for three years, it is! But each of these roles has contributed to my growth as both a professional and a person, and, through them, I've been fortunate to develop countless meaningful relationships with other members of the Gould community. The people make the place, and Gould has some of the best people I've ever known! I'm grateful every day that this is where I ended up.

As much as I've loved my time in Los Angeles, I'm a Chicago girl at heart and will be returning to my hometown to start my post-Gould legal career. (Yes, the Trojan Family extends beyond Southern California!) I'm excited to apply all that I've learned at Gould to my career as a litigator and to carry the friendships I've built here into the next stage of my life (and every stage after that). If you're looking for a law school experience that's both challenging and rewarding, Gould just might be your perfect fit, as it was for me.

I'm happy to answer any questions you have about life at Gould (or law school in general), so feel free to reach out to me at ambassador2@law.usc.edu. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff

Dominguez-Heithoff

Hey there! My name is Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, and I am a 2L at USC Gould. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from the University of Kansas in May 2020 with a degree in political science. I ventured out west to attend USC Gould because of its phenomenal alumni network and commitment to public interest/service opportunities. I am also so happy to have found a place where I feel respected and included in a collegial, non-competitive atmosphere.

Before law school, I interned at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations through the U.S. Department of State. I was fortunate to see lawyers working in diplomatic roles enacting international progress. This was a formative experience for me, and I am excited about continuing to work in an international setting as a lawyer. For my 2L year I am honored to be a part of the International Human Rights Clinic where I will attempt to solve some of the problems that I witnessed in UN Security Council meetings.

At USC Gould, I have immersed myself in our community. I am a Public Interest Scholar, a Gould Honors Scholar, and a part of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. I am also the president of the Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA), which is one of the most meaningful roles I have been fortunate to have. I am also involved with the American Constitution Society, in which I am the VP of external affairs. I have also enjoyed being a part of the Public Interest Law Foundation, First-Generation Professionals Program, Street Law and the Women of Color Collective.

I continued to pursue my passion for justice during my 1L summer, in which I served as an extern with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California in the Criminal Division. I had the opportunity to play a substantive role in public corruption, civil rights, and major frauds cases. I especially enjoyed serving on numerous trial teams. During my 2L summer, I will have the incredible opportunity to work for the law firm Latham & Watkins in our nation's capital — Washington, D.C. I am overjoyed to begin to work on a plethora of legal issues from regulations, national security, export controls/sanctions and complex commercial litigation.

Choosing to attend USC Gould has been one of the best decisions of my life. It has expanded my horizons and brought me some of my greatest friends. Although I am 2,000+ miles from my home, USC Gould has become my family, and I am forever grateful. I would love to share my experiences with anyone considering Gould, and I can't wait to hopefully see you all on campus. Please message me at ambassador3@law.usc.edu with any questions! Fight on!

Brooke Kopel

Kopel-Brooke

Hi! My name is Brooke Kopel, and I'm a 3L at USC Gould. I grew up on the outskirts of Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks before attending UC Santa Barbara as an undergrad to pursue degrees in political science and history. After graduating in 2019, I decided it was time to come back to the heart of the city, and I've been loving LA (and its exquisite selection of food) ever since then.

Throughout my undergraduate education, I joined several law-adjacent student organizations, including the Mock Trial team and the student government, where I served as president my senior year. In my experiences and studies, I learned at length about the flaws of the criminal justice system. I pledged to help create change in any way that I could, and that pledge is what drove me to pursue law school, and eventually USC Gould.

When I was deciding where to go to law school, the most important factor for me was the sense of community that schools had to offer. I feared the horror stories that we've all heard about law school: ultra-competitive students, inconsiderate professors, and the hazy feeling of loneliness. I wanted to find a school that defied those stereotypes. In my searches, USC Gould was the only school that seemed to do so. When I visited USC during Admitted Students Day, I was thrilled by the warm and welcoming environment that the students, faculty, and administration exuded. Every student I met described the USC Gould student community as a “family,” and I have felt that sentiment every moment I've been here, even through an entire year of remote learning. The Gould family goes out of their way to extend a helping hand whenever you may be struggling, and the small, tight-knit community allows students to truly connect with their professors and administrators.

While I've been at USC, I have had opportunities to join multiple student organizations, honors organizations, and clinics. I have served as the president of USC Street Law, a student organization that allows law students to go into local elementary and middle schools to teach students about the law. I also served as president of USC OUTLaw, our LGBTQIA+ student organization. I am the executive articles editor of the Southern California Law Review and a writing fellow for the Legal Writing and Advocacy Program. However, the most rewarding experience I've had at USC has been my time as a certified law student attorney with one of our clinics, the Post-Conviction Justice Project. As a certified law student attorney, I had the opportunity to represent one of our clients in his parole suitability hearing before the California Board of Parole Hearings. We were successful in obtaining our client his freedom after serving nearly 23 years in state prison. Working with incarcerated people has taught me the power of having empathy in the legal field. That experience solidified and strengthened my desire to spend my career helping incarcerated people and fighting to bring that sense of morality and compassion into the criminal justice system.

I continued to pursue my passion for public interest and social justice during my 1L summer when I worked as a law clerk for the Legal Aid Foundation. During my 2L summer, I worked as a law clerk for the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office where I got to learn more about the pre-conviction side of the criminal justice system. During that clerkship, I became increasingly interested in a career in litigation. That's why I am excited to be joining the San Francisco office of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, as a litigation associate after graduation.

I would not have been able to accomplish what I have today without the Gould community. I am so grateful for the friends I've made and the mentors I've gained along the way. I couldn't recommend joining our Trojan Family more strongly. If you have any questions about USC Gould, please never hesitate to reach out to me at ambassador4@law.usc.edu. Fight on!

Lauren Au

lauren-au

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Au, and I am a 2L who grew up in Pasadena, CA. I loved Southern California so much that I stayed for both undergrad and law school and hope to remain here once I graduate. I earned my bachelor's degree at UCLA where I majored in communications with a specialization in computing science and minored in entrepreneurship. Then, I jumped across town to USC for law school to see how the other half of the town lives!

During college, I worked for a variety of start-ups ranging from a fintech app that made finances simpler and more accessible for students, to a health and wellness studio that utilized cultural sound baths and energy healings, to a French/Chinese beauty brand. Working for these different companies got me interested in the various legal issues businesses face when trying to get incorporated, gain funding, or go public. This enticed me to go to law school where I wanted to learn the skills necessary to help innovative businesses and aid entrepreneurs do what they love.

Since I knew that I wanted to do transactional law, it was important for me to find a school that offered courses on business law. Gould fit the bill perfectly given the wide variety of skills-based transactional law classes, such as Counseling a Start Up and Contracts Drafting and Negotiation, as well as the Small Business Clinic which gives students hands-on work with real clients and local businesses. The school also provided numerous student organizations that I was able to join, which not only supplied an amazing community where I got to connect with other students who shared my interests, but it also gave me a chance to meet with corporate attorneys and learn about different corporate practice groups. Many of these organizations provided student mentors, who provided a support system that I leaned on throughout my whole 1L year — whether it was to ask questions about class or getting a summer job. This upcoming year I am excited to give back to these student organizations and serve as the secretary of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA), events chair of the Business Law Society (BLS), and president of the Legal Technology Society (LTA).

During my 1L summer, I was fortunate to work as a 1L corporate summer associate in the Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis. Working with the firm's corporate clients allowed me to expand my legal and professional knowledge as well as get substantive experience in capital markets, investment funds and M&A legal work. This reaffirmed my passion for corporate law and I am excited to return to Kirkland & Ellis next year as a 2L summer associate and diversity fellow in 2022. I definitely could not have gotten this summer job without the strong Trojan Family network, the guidance of the Career Services Office, and the support of my fellow students. Many USC alumni and other 2Ls and 3Ls were extremely helpful throughout my whole application process and acted as great confidants and cheerleaders! They were always readily available to answer any questions I had or even went the extra step to put me in contact with other attorneys or students who could better help me.

I feel very grateful for the professional, academic, and personal support I have received from the USC faculty and students. The family-like community and collaborative environment radiates throughout the whole school. I have interacted with knowledgeable professors who take extra time to answer questions about class concepts or connect you with attorneys they know who practice in the area you are interested in. I have met enthusiastic alumni who will advocate for you at their firm to help you get a job. And lastly, I have made great, genuine friends who have expanded my knowledge academically and personally as well as made the entire experience of law school so much fun and enjoyable.

I could not have asked for a better or more supportive community to guide me throughout law school. I feel so lucky to be part of a school where everyone genuinely wants to help you and see you succeed. It also doesn't hurt that living in Los Angeles, there is never a shortage of things to do, and it is always warm and sunny out! I hope I get the chance to welcome you to campus. If you have any questions at all or just want to chat, please feel free to reach out to me! My email is ambassador5@law.usc.edu. I look forward to hearing from you!