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Recent Graduates Honored at New Lawyers Ceremony

Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.) administers the Oath of Professional Conduct to California Western graduates Carrie L. Petersen, Sean M. Jones, and Sam Yang

Nearly 40 recent California Western School of Law graduates became members of the California and federal bars in a ceremony held on June 4.

California Western graduates surpassed the statewide average for first-time bar exam takers from ABA-accredited law schools with more than 72 percent passing. The law school has a strong record of success on the California bar exam, meeting or surpassing the statewide average for 11 of the past 13 exams.

The new lawyers were honored at a breakfast given by the law school, where they also took the Oath of Professional Conduct with family and friends there to cheer them on.

"We are pleased to have so many of you here today," said California Western President and Dean Niels B. Schaumann. "We the faculty and staff of the law school, share in the joy of your accomplishment and we look forward to celebrating many future successes with you."

For California's newest lawyers, it was a day when their longtime or even lifelong dream of being an attorney came true.

"This is something I've been looking forward to for years," said Kristina A. Fretwell, who begins Monday as an associate at San Diego's Mazzarella & Mazzarella working in civil litigation. "I feel like California Western prepared us well and I'm ready to walk in the office and hit the ground running."

"It was a long road and I'm very happy to be here today to celebrate," said Kimberly D. Rice, who plans to practice employment litigation. "I enjoyed my time at California Western and it prepared me well."

"I'm very proud of all of our accomplishments. It feels good to celebrate," said Morgan Wazlaw. "I feel incredibly well prepared to practice."

"I felt more than prepared to be able to take the bar," said Tamara L. Martin, who is grateful for her law school experience. "I felt nothing but supported during the entire process, and the Career and Professional Development office helped me find my current job." Martin is practicing civil litigation in her new position.

"I'm completely indebted to the Clinical Internship Program because they helped me get my foot in the door at the firm," said Christine Y. Dixon, who turned her internship into a clerkship at Balestreri Potocki & Holmes, working in construction litigation.

Some new lawyers, like Ardalan Hosseinpour, are anxious to give back. "I finally accomplished my goal," he says. "It was a hard road, but I'm here now. I'm ready to give back to my community and to the legal profession."