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From Active-duty to IP Attorney

Maresa M Talbert

Joining the military was Maresa M. Talbert’s ’17 stepping stone to pay for law school and become a lawyer.

However, as a Surface Warfare Officer, Talbert discovered the Navy became more than just a job, and since leaving active-duty, she has continued her service in the Navy Reserves.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my active-duty time in the Navy, and I still enjoy being a part,” says Talbert.

Stationed in San Diego, Talbert applied to all three local law schools and was accepted by California Western to start in fall 2013.

“When I visited the Cal Western campus, I was greeted with so much warmth, and my interactions with staff and faculty were extremely friendly,” says Talbert. “I did not experience that same warmth at the other schools.”

But, Talbert still had one year left of active-duty service, and in that same year was unexpectedly stationed to Norfolk, Virginia. “Cal Western allowed me to defer my enrollment for a year. I was very grateful, and after my last year of service, I started at Cal Western in fall 2014.”

Her experience at California Western underlined the wisdom of her choice of law school as Talbert cited faculty, programs, and clinics as being especially influential in the selection of her preferred area of practice.

Talbert states that the STEPPS Program gave her a great foundation on which to become a skilled researcher, and greatly prepared her to be practice-ready.

“In California, almost 80 percent of disciplinary cases are prosecuted against solo practitioners,” says Talbert. “As a solo, I must be well versed on ethical rules and my professional responsibilities. STEPPS introduced me to those rules, which have stayed with me as I work with clients and build my practice.”

Interning with New Media Rights (NMR) greatly influenced Talbert’s current practice areas, and she is grateful to NMR Founder and Executive Director Art Neill for the experience.

“Before interning with NMR, I knew that I enjoyed working with intellectual property matters, but my knowledge was quite limited. Working at NMR solidified my interest, provided practical experience, and exposed me to an expansive range of exciting IP matters and their intersection with other areas of law.”

Talbert credits in particular former staff member Marion Cloete, California Western Professors Leslie Culver, Nancy Kim, and Eric Morton as well as Vice President of Institutional Advancement Ret. Vice Adm. Bruce E. MacDonald ‘87, JAGC, USN as being especially influential in preparing her to be practice-ready.

In addition to being a U.S. Navy Reservist, Talbert’s ongoing commitment to the military is exemplified by her support of the Foundation for Women Warriors (F4WW) whose mission is to empower and develop the women veteran community. Talbert spoke at a recent F4WW Connect with Community workshop in San Diego.

“As a women veteran, it has been my pleasure to support F4WW as it serves the critical needs of women veterans by providing peer support, professional development, financial, educational, employment, housing, and childcare resources,” says Talbert.

Talbert, who also sits on the California Western Alumni Association Board of Directors, takes a page out of her own book in advising aspiring California Western students today.

“My advice is to have a plan, but learn to be flexible because sometimes plans go awry.”