Judges share personal life experiences with students

WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College recently hosted a panel of judges from the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. Judges included the Honorable Lillian Vega-Jacobs of the Downey Courthouse; the Honorable Enrique Monguia of the East Los Angeles Courthouse; and the Honorable George Genesta of the Pomona Courthouse.

Downey attorney Ricardo Perez moderated the panel as each panelist spoke to a room full of students about their individual journeys to becoming a Judge.

Judge Vega-Jacobs spoke of her experiences as a woman and an immigrant, highlighting the importance of completing one’s education while being mindful that doing so takes longer for some than others.

Judge Monguia stressed the importance of never giving up and never forgetting one’s roots as he shared the story of his father: a man who was born in the United States, deported (or “repatriated”) during the Great Depression even though he was an American Citizen, returned to the United States during the Second World War, and was sent to fight the Nazis in France.

Judge Genesta pointed out that he was once a private practice attorney in the 1970s and 1980s with a law office that started in Bell Gardens but later moved to Downey.

Each judge, through their own perspective, echoed the theme of the evening: there is no single formula to becoming an attorney or a judge.

The panel was organized by Rio Hondo College’s Pathway to Law School Initiative, which is designed to enhance opportunities in the legal profession for diverse populations, particularly those who will become the first attorneys in their families.

The program is sanctioned by the California State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness and offers students early exposure to the law school experience; individual advisement and mentoring from law school advisors; financial aid counseling; LSAT preparation; and waived application fees for the participating law schools (USC Gould School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, UC Irvine School of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law, and Loyola Law School).

For more information on the program, please contact Vicenta Arrizon Maffris at vamaffris@riohondo.edu.



Published: May 7, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 04