Students interested in learning the ropes from practitioners in the field will find UC Hastings’ Alumni Mentor Program—and its enthusiastic director, Phil Marshall ’92—an invaluable resource. With nearly 1,000 alumni mentors available in the United States, Asia, and Europe, the program is one of the largest of its kind in the country.
The key, Marshall says, is finding the right mentor-mentee match. “For example, when a student is interested in immigration law, I can send them to Dana Leigh Marks ’77, who is a leading immigration judge.”
And students are not the only ones who benefit. “The students help me see things through new perspectives,” says Marks. “Because we can offer each other so much, these mentorships are very successful.”
One such success story was the pairing of Aaron Ghirardelli ’09 LLM with antitrust attorney Fran Scarpulla ’67. “We clicked immediately,” says Ghirardelli. “He’s a top lawyer with a busy schedule, but he always found time to give me advice.”
And that’s not all he did. In 2010, when Ghirardelli got married, Scarpulla offered to host the reception at his home. To this day, the two lawyers remain close friends.
“The Alumni Mentor Program was one of the best things I ever did,” Ghirardelli adds. “But students should keep an open mind. You can’t just think the program is about leading to a job, because it can be so much more than that.”
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