Barrister’s Ball – A Dream Come True


By Sara Gold, Editor-in-Chief

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Organizing Barrister’s Ball had been a dream for Student Bar Association (SBA) vice president Valerie Gurrola since her 1L year.

“I was on the Barrister’s Ball committee as a 1L and 2L, and I knew this was a big part of why I wanted to be Vice President of the SBA as a 3L,” she said. “I got to work right after Barrister’s Ball 2017, reaching out to venues, even without knowing whether I’d be elected as VP. After I won the election, I formed the Barrister’s Ball committee, open to all students.”

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SBA Vice President Valerie Gurrola

Gurrola and the committee started touring venues last summer and finalized a contract in the fall.

“I wanted an upscale venue, indoors, with one common area, in Downtown, and that fit our budget. From reaching out to 32 venues, we found the one.”

Barrister’s Ball 2018, themed “Enchanted Forest,” took place March 3 at Parq, an upscale venue on Broadway in Downtown. Tickets for the event initially sold out within two days during fall tabling. In response to the high popularity, Gurrola was able to adjust the contract with Parq to secure a few more tickets.

Ultimately 425 people attended the dance, including students, faculty, and guests. The night featured an open bar, photo booth, dinner and desserts, dancing, and live music by DJ Kyle Flesch.

“You know it’s a good time when you stay much later than you intended to,” said 2L Amanda Thom, who served on the Barrister’s Ball committee. “The restaurant had an outdoorsy feel with forest-like decorations and some twinkling lights.  The place was crowded, but the venue was spacious and everyone seemed to be having a good time no matter where I turned.”

1L Caitlin Van Voorst said that the event was a “really nice break from the grind of law school.”

“My favorite part was seeing everyone so glamorous and dressed up,” she said. “I also thought the venue was really neat. I had never been there before, so it was a totally new experience.”

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Professor of the Year Mark Weinstein and his wife at the Barrister’s Ball.

Later in the evening, the winners of the faculty and staff awards were announced: Mark Weinstein as Professor of the Year, Carly Sassi as Adjunct Professor of the Year, and Daniel Starnes as Staff Member of the Year.

“I am very fortunate to love what I do, and that is to teach at California Western School of Law,” said Weinstein, who has taught at the school since 1992 and currently serves as director of the clinical internship program. “My thanks go out to the students for this wonderful recognition.”


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