Networking Helps Rising 2L Secure Position Advocating for Others
Karla Ballesteros ’20 secured her summer clerkship at the highly respected Cochran Firm by networking with Loyola Law School, Los Angeles alumni. This position has given her the opportunity to explore opportunities in private practice while helping her give back to the community – something she previously thought impossible.
Q: How did you land your summer job?
A: With the help and support of Loyola’s extensive network. I reached out to Professor Gary Craig for guidance and advice during my job search. I struggled to balance wanting to get experience working in a private firm and wanting to help vulnerable members of society. I used to think those two things were mutually exclusive until Professor Craig suggested I look at positions in The Cochran Firm. With the help of Professor Craig, my mentor Denisse Gastélum ‘11 and Loyola alumni practicing at The Cochran Firm, I was able to secure an interview and ultimately land my position.
Q:What is the most interesting part of your job?
A: Everything! Every day is a new learning experience. The Cochran Firm often takes cases that send a message to the community that it will fight relentlessly on its clients’ behalf. That message resonates with me. I deeply value the work the firm does and the commitment and conviction with which it advocates for its clients.
Personally, the most interesting part thus far has been watching the attorneys in action. Each attorney is different and approaches a case with a different strategy. Learning from each of them has been my favorite experience.
Q: What new legal skill have you acquired during your summer job?
A: Thinking like a lawyer. I appreciate how often the firm and my supervising attorney push me to think critically. The intention behind every task assigned is that I not only understand what I am doing, but that I understand how it fits in the bigger picture.
Q: What bit of legal knowledge have you been able to display?
A: The Cochran Firm handles personal injury cases, many of which deal with negligence and premises liability issues. Thanks to Professors Adam Zimmerman and Lauren Willis, I felt well-prepared for my assignments. Torts was one of my favorite first-year classes. Professor Zimmerman once made waffles in class to ensure we would understand and enjoy the topic of premises liability!
Q: How has Loyola helped you map your career path?
A: Everyone I met has been supportive, understanding and encouraging. I was fortunate to be a part of the Summer Institute program with Professor Craig. The program and the monthly check-ins were extremely helpful to my success as a first-year student. I also would not have been able to survive 1L year without the support of La Raza de Loyola and its connection to the Mexican American Bar Association. I’ve made lifelong friends and met mentors who have helped guide me through this journey.