COSTA MESA, California, December 12, 2011 – A large conference room at the Orange County headquarters of Rutan & Tucker, LLP was temporarily transformed into a classroom for at-risk middle school students on a recent field trip to Orange County’s largest full-service law firm.
Rutan hosted more than two dozen students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades from William Jefferson Clinton, Hollenbeck and John H. Liechty middle schools, which was organized through the Communities in Schools program. The nonprofit group is devoted to helping kids stay in school and prepare for successful lives.
Following a guided tour of the firm, the students engaged in a lively discussion with a panel of Rutan attorneys and staffers from diverse backgrounds, who talked about their education and professional duties, along with sharing a few foibles and life lessons before enjoying pizza.
Serving on the panel were Rutan attorneys Alejandro Angulo, a partner in the Trial Section; Julian Milward, an associate in the Real Estate Section; and Ike Chidi, an associate in the Corporate & Securities Section. Joining the attorneys were staff members Recruiting Manager Jodi Brooks, Accounting Manager Veronica Glendinning, Secretary Susan Cook, Librarian Assistant Daniel Huizar, HR/Marketing Coordinator Dana Ross and Paralegal Francine Sanders. The firm’s Director of Marketing, Cynthia Kaiser, moderated the panel. Angulo, who invited the students to the firm, discussed growing up first speaking Spanish and then learning English, and putting himself through law school playing the upright bass.
“We have all worked hard to get here,” said Angulo. “Every job in a law firm is important, from the attorneys to the secretaries. Without working together like a family, we would not be as successful.”
When asked to describe the difference between litigation and transactional law, Chidi likened his practice to putting together a puzzle. Responding to one student who mentioned an appreciation of Judge Judy, Angulo agreed that he was also a fan of the syndicated TV series that tackles real-life small claims cases. As a sign of the times, many of the students’ questions had to do with how to handle bullies on the playground, anger management, detention and even getting arrested.
“We are pleased to set a good example for these students who face many challenges through no fault of their own,” said Ski Harrison, the firm’s managing partner.
About Communities In Schools, Los Angeles
The mission of Communities In Schools, Los Angeles is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. We believe that every student deserves every opportunity to remain in school and gain the tools they need not just to survive, but to thrive. More information is available at www.cislosangeles.org.
About Rutan & Tucker LLP
Rutan & Tucker is the largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County, California with offices in Costa Mesa and Palo Alto. Primary practice areas include corporate and securities law, business and real estate litigation, labor and employment law, intellectual property, real estate, government and regulatory law, land use law, bankruptcy, condemnation and property valuation, environmental law, and taxation and estate planning. Detailed information about the firm is available at www.rutan.com.