Rio Hondo College hosting two-hour law panel

WHITTIER -- Five Los Angeles area attorneys whose practices range from criminal law and  immigration law, to employment law will headline a two-hour panel on law school and legal careers at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, at Rio Hondo College.  

The panel is being organized by Rio Hondo College's Pathway to Law School program in partnership with Ferias Legales, a non-profit organization focused on providing resources to the community and college students.  

The Pathway to Law School program is one of 28 such programs hosted across the state that guides students from community college, through four-year institutions and into law school.  

The program targets underrepresented, first year students and partners with six California law schools.  

The event, titled "Attorney Panel: Speaker Series", is part of a larger partnership between the Pathway to Law School program and Ferias Legales.  

Other areas of collaboration include a mentorship program that pairs judges and attorneys with students; an internship program that exposes students to various different areas of law; a Mock Trial team of volunteer attorneys who provide feedback to students; and a Court Visitation Program where students visit courtrooms and witness actual legal proceedings and speak with prosecutors, defense attorneys, court personnel, and judges who invite the students to speak privately in the judge's chambers.  

The Pathway program launched in 2014 and was recently awarded the third annual Diversity Champion Award from California LAW for excellence in guiding a steady stream of students as they pursue their dreams of becoming lawyers and judges.  

Speakers at the two-hour panel represent a diversity of practices and backgrounds: 

Jose Colon is a UCLA Law School Graduate and is Head Deputy at the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office in the Norwalk Courthouse.  Mr. Colon assigns misdemeanors and felony cases and assists defense attorneys on questions of law, trial strategies, and procedures, and provides training for new staff.  

Mr. Colon graduated from Princeton University where he majored in politics.  He attended Passaic High School in New Jersey and is of Puerto Rican heritage.  

James Sargent is an Air Force veteran and Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, where he currently serves the city of Compton. A graduate of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, Mr. Sargent was a member of the prestigious Byrne Trial Advocacy team and served as Assistant Coach of the Byrne team from 2010 -2014.

After gaining civil litigation and civil trial experience in the areas of product liability and toxic tort, Mr. Sargent joined the District Attorney’s office where he has tried over 40 criminal cases to verdict. He serves on boards and otherwise supports organizations that promote equal access to justice, the development of a more diverse legal landscape, community development and mentoring.

Sharon Abaud is an immigration attorney who operates her own law office, located in Gardena, California.  Ms. Abaud’s parents were born in Santiago, Chile and it is thanks to her parents that she is fluent in Spanish.  Ms. Abaud obtained a B.A. in the field of International Studies with a minor in French from California State University of Long Beach.

Ms. Abaud then obtained her J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California where she successfully completed a concentration in Immigrant Advocacy.

Monica Sanchez McQueen is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Burke Williams & Sorensen, LLP where she focuses on employment law.   Ms. McQueen has represented and advised private and public sector employers on matters involving numerous federal and state law claims, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, leaves of absence, whistleblower violations, freedom of speech, and association, privacy, and wage and hour, including collective and class action suits.

She has drafted and revised employee handbooks, personnel rules, personnel ordinances, updated specific policies and advised public agencies on the handling of a variety of employment matters.   While attending the University of California, Los Angeles, Ms. McQueen interned at the United States Department of Education, in the Office of the Secretary, in Washington D.C.  While in law school, she was a member of the San Diego Law Review.  Ms. McQueen studied at the University of San Diego Institute of International and Comparative Law in Barcelona, Spain and Oxford, England.

Briana M. Kim is the principal owner of Briana Kim, PC. Ms. Kim focuses her practice on labor and employment litigation, representing employees against employers in individual and class claims for workplace discrimination and wrongful termination, as well as wage and hour disputes. Ms. Kim has experience prosecuting cases in claims for workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, denial of protected leaves of absence, overtime pay, wages, commissions, tips, rest breaks, and meal periods.  

Ms. Kim received her J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2007 in Los Angeles. She received her B.A., with honors, in Human Development from the University of California, San Diego in 2003. Ms. Kim is fluent in English and Korean and is conversational in French. Ms. Kim is admitted to practice in both state and federal court in California. She is also admitted to practice in Illinois.