Two sides of the same coin — CPDO civil and criminal law panels

Panelists at the Nov. 6 criminal law panel

By James A. Gilmore

The Career and Professional Development Office (CPDO) hosted a civil law panel Oct. 30 and a criminal law panel Nov. 6.

Civil law panel

The Business Law Society co-sponsored this panel, which featured several civil-law attorneys from a diverse array of practice areas.

The civil attorneys were Steven Coopersmith (business litigation), Christine Dixon (medical malpractice, business litigation, and employment litigation defense), Sam Mazzeo (business transactions and intellectual property), Brianna Davis (family law), and Kyle Yaege (real estate law).

The attorneys discussed what is typical in the work of civil litigation and the path each of them took to get to where they are now. Students were invited to ask the panelists questions about working in civil law.

Davis described her job as a daily juggling act: “Cases can vary, from calm and civil to violent . . . I was just in court this morning.” However, Mazzeo pointed out that being a transactional lawyer can be a bit calmer.

When asked what they enjoyed most about their profession:

“Fact finding and strategy,” replied Coppersmith.

“Finding stuff on opposing parties,” said Dixon.

“Winning,” answered Davis.

All the attorneys agreed that sometimes as a civil attorney you are acting as a counselor to your client and you may end up with clients who like to rant and ramble. The attorneys all agreed that internships and experience are important, and students should take them seriously.

Criminal law panel

The Business Law Society co-sponsored this panel, which featured four criminal law attorneys in the San Diego area.

The panelists were: Christina Arrollado (Deputy District Attorney), Lindsey Willard (Deputy Public Defender), Christina Howden (San Diego City Attorney), and Adam Hepburn (criminal defense attorney at Hepburn, Hernandez & Jung).

The panelists discussed what is typical in the work of a criminal attorney.

“Criminal law is great for not being behind a desk all day,” Willard said.

The attorneys all agreed that public speaking is an important skill to have for a criminal attorney

“Practice, fail, and do it again,” Arrollado advised. Hepburn added that jitters and nerves are part of the job.

All attorneys on the panel agreed that dedication and hard work are essential to success as a criminal attorney, and that activities like trial competitions are also a great way to boost your skills.

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