Four WLS students land post-grad offers in government sector

Armed with a Whittier Law School education they consider a driving force in their success, four of the school’s third-year students have accepted post-graduate offers in the government sectors of southern, central, and northern California.

WLS 3L Student Jonathan Troast

Jonathan Troast

Jonathan Troast will join the Orange County District Attorney’s Office as part of its fellowship program. Kellen Davis will serve as a post-bar clerk for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Sharise Grote has accepted a post-graduate clerkship with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. And Talia Gallo has secured a post-bar fellowship with Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Because Whittier instills in its students a commitment to social justice and a desire to use the law to benefit society, these students are looking forward to their post-graduate opportunities as a way to render meaningful service.

“I am excited to give back to my community, while achieving justice and helping victims get closure,” Grote says. Troast echoes that sentiment: “I will be using my legal education to contribute to society in a positive way by prosecuting criminals and working to keep the public safe,” he says.

WLS 3L Student Kellen Davis

Kellen Davis

“My efforts have the potential to have an immediate, and often drastic, impact on an individual’s life,” Davis says. “The best moments in the job are those when your advocacy results in even marginally improving your client’s chances to improve their life.”

“The courtroom is the place I can make a difference,” Gallo says. “Providing relief and closure for those who are wronged is a privilege and one that I feel blessed to call my career.”

Each of the students says his or her experience at Whittier played a significant preparatory role in securing these post-graduate positions. That includes the school’s signature emphasis on experiential learning.

“I firmly believe my experience at Whittier Law School has, in many ways, prepared me for this position to a much greater extent than my experience at another law school could have,” Troast says. “Whittier has separated itself from the traditional legal education model, and has moved towards a much more experiential model of legal education.”

WLS 3L Student Sharise Grote

Sharise Grote

“The experiential classes I took, such as Criminal Trial Advocacy and Jury Selection, along with my externships, really gave me the hands-on experience I needed to not only be prepared for the job, but to also give me the confidence to know I can do the job,” Grote says.

The Trial Advocacy Honors Board is another real world learning experience to which the students give credit for their success. Davis recalls many hours spent studying rules of evidence, courtroom etiquette, litanies, and other areas of trial practice—all skills, he notes, that “many attorneys do not have even after years of practice.” He believes his membership and participation on that team has given him a significant advantage as he interviews for criminal defense positions.

Davis and Gallo also point to the services of the law school’s Office of Career and Professional Development as an invaluable resource. “The office kept me updated about opportunities for jobs and networking that would be key in establishing my name in the field,” Davis says.

WLS 3L Student Talia Gallo

Talia Gallo

Gallo was able to land a judicial clerkship after her first year of law school, followed by a three-semester internship at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and a position as a post-bar fellow—all thanks to Whittier’s Career and Professional Development.

As these students consider life after law school, they have some words of advice for their fellow students still looking for employment. Troast notes the importance of completing internships.

“Not only was the experience vital to my future success as a criminal trial attorney, but interning for all these offices helped reaffirm in my mind that being a criminal trial attorney was absolutely the career path that I wanted to pursue,” he says.

Gallo stresses the need to get courtroom experience. “This field is extremely competitive, so any chance you have to appear on the record will set you apart from others,” she says. Similarly, Grote urges students to be proactive in their job search. “In my experience,” she says, “you have to take matters into your own hands when it comes to government positions.”

Davis says it’s critical to begin thinking about a career path early. “I recommend first year students start forming an idea of the areas in which they may want to work, and actively search for opportunities to get practical experience in those areas before graduation,” he says.

The experiences of these four students exemplify the overall goal of a Whittier Law education: to prepare future lawyers to excel in the practice of law. Like his fellow students who have found post-graduation success, Troast says that goal has been met in ways he never expected.

“I truly believe my experience at Whittier has done more to prepare me for this position than I could have ever imagined when I began my legal education.”

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