“I chose to go to law school because I thought that someday, somehow I’d make a difference.” These words by American lawyer Christopher Darden, assigned as the prosecution of O.J. Simpson, is true of many lawyers.
Many go into law to make a difference, to fight for justice or in the case of Mitch McDeere from The Firm, because their powerlessness scared them. While this might make them idealists, they do and can achieve their goals. Consider for example the noteworthy achievements of law students like George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Amal Clooney and John Grisham who became statesmen and women, human rights advocates and representatives, nation builders, founding fathers, and famous authors.
Alumni at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific have also been making a difference in their chosen fields with notable graduates going on to work for the Saudi Royal Court, international corporations like Microsoft, cable and satellite television networks such as Nickelodeon, the U.S. District Court, and as judges, law firm founders, attorneys and more.
McGeorge is often chosen by international students for its national reputation among international law programs, affordability, strategic location and the student experience and support it provides.
U.S. News & World Report ranks McGeorge’s International Law program among the top 25 nationwide in 2016. It was also ranked 12th in Trial Advocacy, 39th in part-time law programs, 60th in a list of the top 100 most diverse schools and 144th for best graduate school.
Location and programs
McGeorge is a full-time ABA-accredited law school located on a beautiful 13 acre campus in Sacramento, California in one of America’s most important state capitals. There are approximately 600 LL.M. and J.D. students with about 200 students graduating annually.
The school focuses on adjusting to the rapidly changing legal profession and giving students a strong experiential component. The J.D. program is a three or four- year program and the advanced legal degrees are a flexible one to two-year program in the following areas: LL.M in Transnational Business Practice; LL.M. in U.S. Law & Policy; LL.M. in Water Resources Law; and J.S.D in International Water Resources Law.
Many students are attracted to McGeorge because of its reasonable costs.
Whether for the LLM or for JD program, McGeorge offers a number of tuition scholarships to help reduce the cost. Also, there is no application fee for either program.
The student experience at McGeorge is enhanced by a student to faculty ratio of 12:1, which means professors know you by name and the study experience is more personable, with some professors also living on campus.
Licia Liguori, ’15 LLM was accepted to 10 U.S. universities, but chose McGeorge because she had heard of its international law program. However it was the professors and support system for international students that also impressed her.
“The faculty members here were fantastic, they helped me a lot,” she said. “They were always available to talk with me during office hours, to give me all the explanations I needed. The professors here make the difference. They called you by name and they make you feel [like a] member of the University and not just an ‘international visitor’.”
McGeorge encourages and welcomes diversity with plenty of student organizations, activities, on-campus recreation center and places to meet friends.
More than 13,000 McGeorge alumni are practicing today in all 50 American states and 58 countries around the world, while 350 have been elevated to the judicial bench.
Licia Liguori is among the school’s notable alumni, legal counsel for Avanade Italy S.r.l. Licia originally came to McGeorge to improve her understanding of U.S. intellectual property law. She graduated in 2015 with an LL.M. in U.S. Public Law and Policy, with the idea of improving her confidence with American negotiations.
“Avanade is an international company and there are plenty of opportunities in global teams, but if you want to advance you have to know American law. After all, we are a joint venture of American companies. I took all the intellectual property classes and now I have a strong background in this area, which is very important to have.”
Hussam Alhabardi, ’12 LLM ’15 JD, is a legal advisor for the Saudi Royal Court and received an LL.M degree in Transactional Business Practice from McGeorge School of Law. In 2012 and 2013, he was an associate attorney for Baker & Mckenzie law firm in Riyadh and responsible for contracts, IPO’s, due diligence, negotiations and research with respect to local laws and amendments. He was later an associate attorney for Alhabardi Law Office in Riyadh before taking his current role as advisor for the Saudi Royal Court.
James Bjorkman (pictured right), graduated with his JD degree from McGeorge in 2008 and is the Political and Economic Section Chief for the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana. Since graduating he has represented the U.S. to the governments and people of Guyana, Nicaragua- and Mexico. One of his key jobs was the successful design and execution of an election monitoring plan during the 2015 Guyanese national elections to avoid interethnic violence that had often featured in past elections.
Bjorkman said, “The analytical, persuasive, and strategic thinking skills I learned studying law at McGeorge were not only instrumental in securing my job in the Foreign Service, but also in executing this monitoring plan, in bolstering the fight against trafficking in persons, in arguing for the human rights of all.”
McGeorge alumni also remain committed and involved with the school with some serving on boards and even becoming professors of the next generation of law students.
McGeorge’s success is built on factors such as its distinguished faculty, beautiful campus, excellent facilities, and student involvement, but also because it is constantly seeking to meet global needs by educating lawyers who will become tomorrow’s leaders in all sorts of fields and locations. But above all, McGeorge seeks to help its students make that difference that many of them have dreamt about.