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Gould Commencement 2022 Information

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 five students, Fia Maline, Chief Coleman, Kayla Matthews, 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.

Chief Coleman

Tomi-Johnson

I am an L.A. County native, growing up in Long Beach. Before deciding to move back to California, I briefly left home to attend undergrad at Bucknell University, study abroad in South Africa, and intern on Capitol Hill. While in college, I played on the varsity water polo team and completed my bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and political science. During my summers, I interned for various elected officials and found myself fascinated by the legal ramifications of the work.

My internships helped me understand the fundamental importance of law in shaping our society. While I loved working for elected officials, I found myself increasingly drawn to the legal ramifications of their actions and knew law school was the next logical step for my career.

When deciding where to attend law school, I did what many aspiring attorneys do and made a checklist. Location was paramount; Los Angeles is a bustling city with diverse practice areas, the weather is hard to beat, and I have a younger cousin who I wanted to be near as she grew. As I toured campus and spoke with alums, I found myself falling in love with USC. The Gould alums were passionate about their legal education and equally complimentary of their peers. This spoke to me as I wanted a school where I could have a collaborative environment during school and a strong network afterwards. Gould excels at both.

Professionally and academically, I have been supported. As someone who knew only one lawyer before entering law school, the Career Services Office (CSO) has been essential in building my professional network. The professors have taken a keen interest in my development, connecting me with their peers in industries I have expressed interest in. The law school also allowed me to extern full-time in Washington, D.C. for a semester, where I worked with the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, for class credit.

However, my peers are my favorite part of Gould. Law students at USC are intelligent, collaborative, and good-humored enough to maintain an on-going debate over whether NBA hall-of-famer Shaquille O’Neal could touch the law school ceiling - I say he can't.

This community has encouraged me to engage with our on-campus organizations. This year I am a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow. I am also the former President of the Barbara F. Bice Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), served on the executive board of the C. David Molina First Generation Professionals (FGP), and am a member of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA). I served as a research assistance to Professor Sam Erman and Professor Susan Estrich. I was also a Teaching Assistant to Professor Daniel Klerman’s Civil Procedure I course. I am most proud of the work I did as a certified law student with the Post-Conviction Justice Project Clinic.

This past summer, I was able to explore my interest in corporate litigation through summer associate positions at both the Los Angeles office of WilmerHale and the Palo Alto office of Cooley LLP. Working with the two firms’ top-tier client base gave me the opportunity to explore the practice areas of securities litigation, data privacy, intellectual property, congressional hearings, and white-collar investigations.

I could not be more enthusiastic in my choice to attend Gould. I made the final decision to commit at an Admitted Students Event in Washington, D.C. at which alums gathered to share their experiences at Gould. I was impressed. Though we were 2,672.9 miles away from campus, the alums were able to make me feel that Gould could be an academic home. I welcome the opportunity to give you all that same feeling. Please contact me at ambassador2@law.usc.edu. Fight on!

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews

Hi everyone! My name is Kayla Matthews, and I am a 2L at USC Gould. I grew up in a small town near Seattle, before leaving to go to the east coast for undergrad. I attended Boston University, where I studied international management and marketing. During college, I interned in a variety of different businesses, mostly in consulting or finance. After I took a required business law class, I was hooked and convinced that I wanted to attend law school. I loved going to school in Boston, but I knew that I wanted to be closer to my family, so I made the hard decision to leave.

After graduation, I moved back home to Washington and worked at a law firm to decide if law was right for me. This was the best decision I could have made. My firm was very supportive and working there confirmed that I wanted to be an attorney. That experience helped me stay motivated through a tough 1L year.

Since I knew that I wanted to stay on the west coast for law school, I applied to schools in Seattle and Los Angeles almost exclusively. Previous trips, internships, and visiting friends who live here, showed me that I really liked Los Angeles and would be happy to live here for at least three years. Los Angeles has fantastic weather, relatively easy access to beaches, and so many fun things to do and places to eat. I was also completely blown away during my visit to Gould. The students at USC seemed happier and more engaged than at the other schools I visited, and the campus is beautiful. After that visit, I knew that if I got into Gould, it was the school I wanted to attend.

At Gould, I have been able to find what truly interests me as well as get involved in other ways on campus. I currently am on the board of two student organizations. I serve as co-President of the Women’s Law Association and Academics Chair for the First-Generation Professionals Program. Through classes and interactions with alumni, I realized my interests lie in intellectual property, and specifically transactional IP law. Because of this, I have also worked as a Teaching Assistant for a few different IP classes. I also am currently a staff member and articles editor for the Southern California Law Review. All of these experiences have helped me to find my community at Gould and enjoy my time here as a student.

During the summer after 1L, I returned home to Washington and worked as an extern for a United States District Court Judge in the Western District of Washington. So many of my peers at Gould were helpful throughout the process, whether it was giving tips about interviewing or how to write a cover letter. Even though I was pretty sure that I wanted to pursue a career in transactional law, I wanted to try to work in something different before committing to it. I had a wonderful summer and highly recommend externing for a judge, but I realized quickly into the experience that transactional law was the path for me.

My 2L summer, I will be working at Latham & Watkins LLP in their Los Angeles and Century City offices. I am so excited about this opportunity. Again, the Trojan network assisted my process, as alumni and student who have worked there provided insight before and throughout the interview process.

I am so glad that I made the decision to attend Gould, I truly think it is the best place for me! Everyone in the community, whether they are a student, alum, or professor, is so welcoming and genuinely always willing to help if you ask for it. I have been able to make some wonderful friends who have pushed me academically, supported me personally, and helped make life in LA a lot more fun! I could not recommend USC Gould any higher. If you have any questions about Gould or anything I’ve mentioned, please reach out to me at ambassador3@law.usc.edu. I hope to hear from you soon! 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!