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Two Generations Share Their ‘Adventures in Law’

Nancy Bickford and Reggie

“We both enjoy sharing yet another Bickford adventure—law at Cal Western.”

Nancy Bickford ’96 describes her delight at her son Reggie’s decision to attend her alma mater. “It has been great fun listening to him discuss his classes with Professors Yeager and Gudel, both of whom taught me during my first year at Cal Western,” says Bickford.

Long before that, due to personal reasons, Nancy Bickford was at a career crossroads.

Having flown with Pan-Am as a stewardess out of college, then gaining her CPA and MBA and a job with Arthur Andersen and subsequently joining her family real estate business, Bickford faced the unexpected need for a career change head-on.

“At that time in my life I spent a full year examining my passions, and this led me into law,” recalls Bickford. “The warm and friendly welcome I received from Cal Western when I interviewed, along with the attractive option of finishing law school in two calendar years, left me with no doubt that Cal Western was the law school for me.”

Bickford left her son’s law school decision up to him but acknowledges her gratitude that all California Western did for her clearly rubbed off on him.

“In discussions with him, he reminded me that when he was young, he witnessed the opportunities and eventual success I encountered when I was at that crossroads in life—all thanks to my returning to school at Cal Western,” recounts Bickford. “He finds himself at a similar crossroad, and he too is excited to embark on a career in law.”

Reggie admits that he’s had an amazing first year at California Western. “I have learned from my peers and bonded with them. I remind myself each day how much fun I am having,” he says.

“Professor Daniel Yeager’s Criminal Law course, it’s considerations of accountability and corrective justice, was intellectually stimulating,” continues Reggie. “I appreciate that Professor Yeager wrote his own book, customized to the course, and that we read it from start to finish.”

Bickford’s background in business and accounting led her to family law, an area in which she feels California Western prepared her very well. Bickford gives a special shout-out to Professor Laura Padilla and considers her to be one of her most influential mentors.

“Professor Padilla inspired me when I was in her classes, and she was always there to encourage me, even when times were difficult,” says Bickford.

Reggie also cites Professor Laura Padilla as having a significant influence on him. “Professor Padilla, as a leading real estate authority at Cal Western, has provided valuable guidance to me in my pursuit of a career in real estate.”

Today, Bickford is the only attorney in San Diego County representing clients in divorces who is a Certified Family Law Specialist and also actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant.

“This background, along with interest in real estate and businesses, places me in a good position to understand the intricacies of dividing complex estates, and more importantly, to know when it is time to consult with other experts,” explains Bickford.

Not only is Reggie’s decision to attend California Western a great source of pride for Bickford, but it has also re-ignited her desire to get back involved with the law school.

“I have renewed my attitude of gratitude for all that Cal Western has done for me, for many of my friends and colleagues, and now for my son,” says Bickford. “With so much to be grateful for, I am motivated to become more active in alumni activities and other ways to support the school.”

The advice to her son, now in his second year, and aspiring California Western law students is rooted in her time at the law school.

“Work hard,” she says. “The study of law is very demanding, but you will get out of it what you put in. When you graduate from California Western you will have learned to think logically and critically and to articulate your thoughts—you will be thinking like a lawyer.”