Angela Jenkins ’10 is passionate about her profession and the legal field in which she practices.
“I love being a trusts and estates attorney,” says Jenkins. “This area of law is truly special because it affects every single person.”
Jenkins did not start her legal career in trusts and estates but in civil litigation and criminal defense. A life-defining experience would ultimately influence her change of course.
During her first year at California Western, Jenkins’ father was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, which subsequently went into remission. During this challenging time, Jenkins felt the strong sense of community the law school engenders. “I never felt alone,” she recalls. “My professors, the staff, and the Dean were so caring, concerned, and supportive during that time.”
Years later, when she was a practicing attorney, her father’s cancer returned as stage 4. As she spent time with him, she told him that he needed to have his affairs in order and that he should retain an attorney to draft his estate plan.
He followed her advice and was relieved when his plan was complete, allowing him to concentrate on fighting his illness.
“The peace of mind was apparent on his face,” recalls Jenkins. “It was at that moment that I knew I had found my true calling.”
Graduating from San Diego State with a BA in Political Science, Jenkins had applied to 12 law schools around the country—and got accepted into all of them.
With typical attention to detail, she narrowed her list to three, visiting and putting down deposits on each before settling on California Western.
“The best decision I made was choosing to attend Cal Western,” says Jenkins. “I made lifelong friendships, received a stellar education, earned a prestigious degree, learned life lessons, made wonderful connections, and received a thorough preparation for the bar exam.”
Jenkins feels her experience at California Western encouraged her to choose a field of law which was rewarding and enabled her to give back to the community.
“As a practicing trusts and estates attorney, I give free talks to various groups so that people can learn the basics of estate planning and the process of probate and trust administration,” says Jenkins. “I’m able to assist people in planning for their future, which starts now.”
California Western’s faculty have a special place in Jenkins’ heart, and she gives a special shout-out to two in particular—Professor Emerita Ruth Hargrove and Associate Professor Michael Yu.
“Professor Hargrove will always be someone for whom I am eternally grateful,” says Jenkins. “Her passion, intelligence, patience, and teaching skills truly made me a better student, helped me pass the bar and become the attorney I am today.”
Jenkins says Professor Yu’s teachings will stay with her forever, his teaching methods enhanced by his vibrant personality. “I co-chair the Trusts & Estates Section of the North County Bar Association. Last year, I was honored to have him present an MCLE on the new California Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act,” says Jenkins.
Today, Jenkins is an associate attorney practicing with the law firm of Greenman, Lacy, Klein, Hinds, Weiser at their offices in Oceanside, Calif. She cites some stand-out administration cases that make her feel proud of her chosen profession.
“In a recent probate case, my client was tasked with finding the child of a deceased Polish ambassador stationed in Bulgaria during WWII,” says Jenkins. “We got creative, found the Ambassador’s tomb in Poland, and had her Polish cousin put a note on the Ambassador’s tomb. Sure enough, we were contacted by the Ambassador’s daughter!”
Nine years after graduating, Jenkins remains firmly connected to California Western attending alumni events and supporting current CWSL students. “I love sharing my law school experiences with prospective students because choosing a law school is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.”
Jenkins’ advice to California Western students is that they are on a very special and unique journey and to utilize every single resource the school has to offer.
“The best achievements in life are those that require hard work and dedication,” says Jenkins. “Graduating with a law degree from California Western is a major accomplishment, and you will forever be a part of a very supportive alumni network.”