Take a hike through Griffith Park in Los Angeles or check out a lively bar near the beach and you’re likely to run into some UC Law SF alumni.
The two Los Angeles alumni chapters – the Westside Chapter and the Downtown LA Chapter (DTLA) – are among the most vibrant and busy of the 20 alumni and affinity groups that crisscross the nation.
Westside Chapter co-chair Jon Davidi ’18 said, “The best thing about LA is its vibrancy, which makes it easy for alumni chapter leaders to get creative with our events.”
Through alumni get-togethers, UC Law SF graduates from diverse practice areas expand their networks, help each other succeed, and make a positive impact on the profession.
Rodolfo Estrada ’05, who has practiced special education law in New York and California and today serves as senior counsel with Olivarez Madruga Law Organization LLP, leads the Downtown LA (DTLA) UC Law SF alumni chapter with a roster of events with a definite outdoor flare. “SoCal’s natural beauty makes it easy to coordinate events like hikes in Eaton Canyon or Griffith Park, and meet for drinks a few blocks from the beach,” says Estrada.
Westside Co-chair Natalie Alameddine ’13, who also serves on the UC Law SF Alumni Association Board of Governors, said chapter leadership is a meaningful way to give back to her alma mater. Alumni chapters are also a source of critical career support throughout one’s legal career, she said.
A newly-appointed partner at Blank Rome focusing on labor and employment law, Alameddine said, “There will always be ups and downs in the legal market. UC Law SF alumni chapters are full of alumni willing to help students get their start, provide mock interviews, and make introductions that could help lead to that first job.” She adds that they are also a hub for valuable mentorships and firm and job leads for seasoned attorneys.
Davidi, a trial attorney handling complex personal injury cases with Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi LLP, said he finds his UC Law SF ties more valuable than ever, “I loved Hastings for the people I met there. I formed some of my closest friendships and found my most important mentors and closest friendships while I was in law school. We share a bond through our time in San Francisco, our professors, and the many challenges of law school. Our alumni events help us stay connected so we can support each other’s success.”
The DTLA Chapter has hosted many events, keeping a focus on welcoming Hastings 1L students, including a hike for newly admitted students, and an in-person and virtual panel for students home on spring break. The two chapters also collaborated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to host a popular series of virtual events that connected alumni from across the miles and decades.
The three attorneys, who also serve on the UC Law SF Alumni Board of Governors, had candid advice for today’s law students. Alameddine encouraged students to look beyond class rank and connect with alumni chapters to grow their careers. Estrada reminded that UC Law SF leaders are there to help students succeed long after graduation. While law school demands epic commitment, Davidi said students should set aside time to explore “fun, eccentric” San Francisco.
UC Law SF students or graduates who want to get more involved in the LA Chapters or any of the other 18 chapters can visit the UC Law SF Alumni Association web page. Estrada said, “The legal world can feel very overwhelming, especially for new lawyers starting their careers. When you join a chapter, you’re building valuable relationships with colleagues who truly understand your world, and they’re ready to share their knowledge and opportunities.”