King Hall Welcomes Class of 2013
From the Class of 2013 (L to R): Paloma Velez, Benjamin Herzberger, Dimple Patel, Natalie James, Tom Morris
King Hall faculty, staff, students, and alumni welcomed the UC Davis School of Law Class of 2013 at a barbeque hosted by the Law School on August 15 at Putah Creek Lodge. In what has been an annual Law School event, the Welcome Barbeque offered the new class a chance to meet one another and the King Hall community in an informal setting on the eve of Introduction Week, five days of academic activities for first-year students before their regular courses commence.
This year's barbecue featured remarks from Dean Kevin R. Johnson, President of the King Hall Alumni Association John Schick '72, and Law Students Association President Scott Vignos '11.
"You have chosen the perfect place to study law," Dean Johnson told the incoming class. "Our law faculty is dedicated to teaching and they are also internationally recognized scholars. We have some of the best clinical programs around. The King Hall community makes it so that there is no better place to be a law student. Just ask our students. Talk to King Hall alumni, and compare what they say to what students and alums from other law schools say."
The students in the Class of 2013 are a remarkably accomplished and diverse group. The 196 students in the class boast a median undergraduate GPA of 3.69 and a median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score of 163 (in the 90th percentile of all LSAT takers). About 45 percent are women, and 40 percent are people of color. Seventy-nine percent are California residents, and just over half are University of California graduates. They range in age from 19-37. Their legal interests are varied, with 19 percent planning to study Public Interest law, 15 percent interested in International Law, 10 percent interested in Public Law & Policy, and Business/Corporate, Civil Rights and Criminal Law drawing 8-9 percent each.
A substantial number of incoming students have experience in the legal profession, often as a legal assistant, paralegal, or law firm intern. Their life experiences have been rich and varied, and the class includes a jazz pianist, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a stand-up comedian, and a volunteer with the Neighborhood Legal Services Workers' Rights Clinic who also played guitar in a touring rock band. The class also includes four students who went through the King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP) and two who completed the Pre-Law Boot Camp, bringing the total number of KHOP and Boot Camp students at the Law School to 11.
A few highlights from the narrative profiles the students submitted to the Law School include (pictured above):
- Benjamin Herzberger: A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has taught Philosophy and English at community colleges in the Chicago area. He has also backpacked through Asia, served as coordinator of the Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Lifestyle Program in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and written a novel about his experiences.
- Natalie James: A UC Davis Regent Scholar from 2006-2010, she was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society in Spring 2009 and was also Community Service Chair for the UC Davis Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta, a co-ed pre-law fraternity. A King Hall Pre-Law Boot Camp participant in 2009, she has taught middle school science to underprivileged youth in Sacramento and currently volunteers with Dogs4Diabetics, a non-profit located in Concord, CA. She is also a beginning cellist.
- Tom Morris: A UC Davis Political Science/History major, Morris served as an editor and reporter with the California Aggie and Laney Tower newspapers as an undergraduate. A member of the Davis College Democrats and Pi Sigma Alpha, he served as a Chair for the University's Model U.N. Conference. He has also interned in Washington, D.C., with the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration and volunteered with the Yolo County Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California.
- Dimple Patel: A UC Berkeley graduate with a degree in Political Science, she has worked as a Communications & Development Associate for Survivors International in San Francisco and as a Legislative Intern for the Capital Alliance lobbying firm in Sacramento. She has also performed with Project Pulse Dance Company and Ishaara Hindi Film Dance Team.
- Paloma Velez: A Council on Legal Education Opportunity Thurgood Marshall Fellow, she has launched and currently administers a small software business. She has passed the U.S. Patent Bar and has experience in cellular physiology research, medical microbiology testing, and hospital administration. In addition, she lived and worked in Guadalajara and tutored K-12 Math and English in Sacramento.