The Gig Economy: What is it? What’s It Mean, and What’s Ahead? Q&A with Tom Cushing, Senior Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University


Tom Cushing, JD, MBA has operated within the evolving structural environment of work throughout his careers as an attorney, corporate executive, legal recruiter, and freelancer (As he says: “an Adjunct Professor, after all!”). Cushing is a Senior Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University teaching employment law, negotiation, and Corporate Social Responsibility-related courses.

What is the Gig Economy?

It’s an environment in which work is temporary, done primarily by so-called independent contractors and moderated by the internet in several ways.

What can people expect to hear at your seminar on the Gig Economy?

The seminar will start with some big picture context about the evolving economy and then define terms. There’s a lot of overlap among non-traditional work types. We’ll look at the slippery numbers associated with the obvious growth of the Gig Economy, and the two primary types of gig workers. Then we’ll talk about the messy ways the law currently sorts workers, and why that’s so important to all concerned. Folks will get a chance to be the judge and try their hand at applying the current rules to an actual case. Then we’ll conclude with some reform proposals and takeaways for workers or next year’s budding (or is it “bro”-ing?) “Kalanicks.”


What has changed socially and economically that has birthed a Gig Economy?

In the very big picture, there has been a “war on overhead” (fixed costs) since roughly the 1980s. If major expense items like labor are made “variable” with the amount of business activity, then companies can be agile enough to stay competitive across the business cycle. US workers may be hired or shed “at-will“ — meaning that those individuals, rather than their companies, bear most of the risk in that business cycle.

Technology has also tended to replace human labor, and the jobs it does create are often lower skilled and lower paid. That, combined with a relatively abundant, inclusive workforce (as well as global outsourcing competition) has reduced workers’ relative bargaining power. They’re settling for fewer benefits and less security at work, making it possible to convert large numbers to contractor status (albeit with some legal risk). Contractors are “purely“ variable, as they are only engaged – and paid – when they’re specifically needed.

Connectivity via the web has certainly accelerated these changes. It has also created whole new approaches to businesses like urban transportation, as just one obvious example.

It’s now good to be an investor or an owner, rather than a worker, as U.S. wealth-disparity problems demonstrate. As an aside, I’ve noticed that how various commentators weigh the relative importance of these factors, and whether they consider these trends to be problematic, seems to depend on whether the writer expects to profit from them.


Gig Economy: What is it? What’s It Mean to Me, and What’s Ahead?

Tom Cushing will be presenting a seminar on the Gig Economy on Tuesday, April 24 from 6:30-8:30 pm at GGU (Room 3201). You can attend the seminar either in-person or online (via ZOOM).

Register now >>

The seminar is open to GGU undergraduates and alumni. Graduate students have priority for registrations, but space is limited.

What about this phenomenon in California and the Bay Area?

The Bay Area tech industries are at the epicenter of these trends, as demonstrated by the likes of Uber, Task Rabbit, Upwork, Craigslist, and others. Tech firms are busily creating the future, and flexibility is an important element in their thriving. At the same time, it’s instructive to note that most of the California legal rules were established in the context of the ebbs and flows of agricultural work during the last century. There are similarities to today’s circumstances, but it’s not clear that those rules well-serve this fast-changing economy.

Can you give an example of career paths that are relevant to the Gig Economy?

“Path” is an interesting term, as it implies proceeding and building in some career direction. There is much to be resolved, as above, but “staying current” and “seeking growth sectors” (e.g., health care?) are relatively timeless good advice, if not comfort.

I think the term “career” is being redefined. “Thirty-years-and-out” is an artifact of a much more stable time and worker heyday. I think that today’s worker has to be ever-vigilant for the next new opportunity and accept the dislocations and turmoil that come with job-hopping. They also need to retain their own “agility” – meaning low, fixed personal costs, and high investment in retraining.

Does surviving in the Gig Economy have to do with transferable skills or building new skills?

“Yes.” We’ll see that there are those who dabble for some extra dough on the side, and many others who are treading water – only staying afloat by hustling among several ‘gigs,’ all of them insecure. Those latter are usually lower skill and lower paid.

/Rant on: As is typically American (and implied in the question), we tend to look at this as everybody’s individual responsibility –  to accept the system as it is, and to protect your own personal interests as best you can. But there’s a dawning, systemic public policy issue here – that nobody wants to address. What kind of society do we want to be – and what kind of social contract will there be among us? Is the Gilded Age really something we want to repeat? You know we’re a lo-o-o-ng way from constructively dealing with these issues when even Social Security, which we’ve paid into for decades, is labeled an “entitlement” for political purposes. /Rant off.

That said, in the short-run, micro sense, you are captain of your skillset. A significant trend in education is gaining specific vocational skills via certificate, rather than degree. You want to be among those higher-paid “giggers,” so tending that skill set by adding new capabilities in the programming arena, for instance, will be important.

How does one discover one’s secondary talents?

Learning to juggle?

You can register for the Gig Economy seminar or any seminar in the Innovation in Practice series on Eventbrite.

Diversity & Inclusion at Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco

By Justin McNealy
Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Student Affairs
Golden Gate University School of Law

At GGU School of Law, we want to make sure we continue to forge a path as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation. As Director of Diversity, Inclusion (D&I) and Student Affairs, as part of the Office of D&I, my role from one day to the next can be wildly varied. Ultimately, my role is to provide a framework for how each department can do more to foster D&I. This can mean Law Student Support providing more learning and development opportunities for students or Career Development providing more networking and mentoring opportunities for first-generation law school students who can be frustrated by a lack of guidance and resources. It is my job to identify the D&I need for each department in the law school and facilitate conversation about those needs, provide solutions about how those needs can be addressed, and move toward solutions.

The biggest impact that all of our departments hope to have is to ensure students from diverse backgrounds feel included in the law school environment. We also want to make sure they leave the GGU School of Law with a network of diverse attorneys who can help guide them through their first years in the legal profession and ultimately become lifelong mentors. Additionally, we want to identify and improve student retention, create programming geared toward student inclusivity and belonging, identify mentorship and job opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds, and work with admissions on student recruitment and matriculation efforts.

Fact: 62% of GGU School of Law students identify
as a racial minority, 64% are women,
and 11% identify as LGBTQ.

Why I became a Diversity and Inclusion Professional

As a gay man of color, I often see the inequity that exists for my community and other communities of historically underrepresented people. My own experiences in law school and the legal field helped build a basis for empathy for students who do not feel included or feel as though their concerns will not be taken seriously. Inclusion, especially in an environment as challenging as law school, is the essence of surviving those challenges. People naturally build communities as a means of support, and I always want to connect people to those inherent support systems. Also, I want to see the legal profession become as diverse as the communities in which they serve.

During my first year of law school, I was surprised that two of the professors teaching 1L courses were black. While it did not seem like much of a big deal to many of the students, which is in itself a mark of progress, it was a big deal to the other black students in the course. Those professors became de facto mentors to many of us — not just because they were black, but because they understood what it was like to be “the only one.”

We also want to make sure [students] leave the GGU School of Law with a network of diverse attorneys who can help guide them through their first years in the legal profession and ultimately become lifelong mentors.

Diversity and Law Schools

Law is one of the least diverse professions in the country. If we talk about barriers to access of legal education, whether it is the LSAT, or cost (or even self-confidence), those who have been historically underrepresented have the hardest time breaking through institutional obstacles. From the perspective of many law schools, D&I bridges the gaps and the destroys some of those barriers. A diverse legal education environment creates an opportunity for dialogue among people who may not understand one another. In the end, this dialogue and exchange of ideas foster not only tolerance but also a deeper level of understanding that makes for a more empathetic attorney.

There are many reasons D&I is important at law schools. It creates a classroom environment feels more welcoming because people see a representation of their group. Diverse faculty members are also more likely to approach a student of a similar background and can offer nuanced advice, from having gone through similar experiences as the student that they are trying to reach. For instance, Dean Niedwiecki of GGU School of Law is a first-generation law school graduate (and a gay man) so he can speak to many of our students who are also first-generation in a way that someone else could not. Similar background and experience makes finding common ground and creating relationships much easier, whether it is financial stress or the discomfort many students feel when they enter a room full of attorneys.

The ability of a faculty member from a diverse background to connect with students on a granular level cannot be understated. Having faculty from diverse backgrounds creates a sense of belonging in the law school environment. Even among students who may not be of that same background, it is powerful when faculty members understand what it is like to be in a field where they are historically underrepresented. The feeling of belonging is valuable because it goes a long way toward students graduating and becoming successful professionals.

The ability of a faculty member from a diverse background to connect with students on a granular level cannot be understated.

D&I in the Business & Legal Professions

The legal profession is built on relationships and is customer driven. Similarly, the business world has taken D&I very seriously ever since the argument for the practice moved from one about moral failings to one that was about “what is good for business.” Law firms have taken note of this shift and are now being pressured by their corporate clients to follow suit. In the past year, HP has threatened to withhold legal fees from firms who do not match or exceed their business expectations for D&I. Facebook has begun instituting a hard quota requiring 33% of an outside counsel’s legal team to be composed of gender and ethnic minorities. Even for a smaller firm, which is typically serving clients who do not have the economic power of HP or Facebook, it still makes business sense to put D&I initiatives in the forefront — both from a human resources standpoint and from a marketplace-viability standpoint.

A number of D&I studies have proven that more diverse and inclusive work environments reduce turnover, increase retention of employees, foster better decision-making among senior leadership, improve client relationships, and foster better talent.

From a law firm’s perspective, D&I programs boast many benefits to their bottom lines. Aside from the economic incentive, D&I build a stronger, more resilient, and happier workforce. This impacts everything from turnover to productivity. Moreover, areas as sensitive as client management are positively impacted when a more diverse workforce is recruited.

How to Get Involved in Diversity and Inclusion in the San Francisco Bay Area

There are so many organizations in the bay area that promote inclusion. Whether we are talking about La Raza, the Charles Houston Bar Association, Queen’s Bench, or BALIF, the organizations are numerous and represent many diverse communities. Many students are connecting to these organizations through the GGU Law Student Bar Association’s organizations. We are also actively reaching out to each of these organizations to provide mentorship opportunities for our students.

You can read Dean Niedwiecki’s related article in the Advocate, A Gay College Dean Takes on Betsy DeVos’s Transphobia, or check out Diversity Managers: 10 Key Job Skills, Salary, and Required Education on this blog.

More about the GGU School of Law >>

President’s Report: Dr. David J. Fike Outlines GGU’s Present and Future

President David J. Fike joined Golden Gate University two years ago and has ushered in changes to keep what it offers to students fresh and responsive to rapidly changing times. He says: “Through economic booms and busts, GGU has remained impressively committed to providing a high-quality, pragmatic and professional education to working adults. That historic and ongoing commitment is our mission and our promise.”

During Dr. Fike’s tenure, new educational routes and degrees have come online that are specifically designed for career advancement for working adults:

Here are some facts gleaned from the report:

About GGU

  • For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.
  • EMBA faculty—more than 80% of them—are scholar-practitioners, active professionals in the real world of business.
  • The incoming Board President, Randall W. Merk,  is a GGU graduate (MBA ’85) who is retired Executive Vice President of The Charles Schwab Corporation and past President of Schwab Financial Products.

About our Students

  • 89% are over 25.
  • 44% of undergraduates are people of color and 62% of first-year law students identify as a minority.
  • 48% of undergraduates are online students.

About our Graduates

  • 68,000+ graduates and climbing
  • GGU had the highest mean earnings of adult students 10 years after graduation among four-year colleges for adult learners.

What’s Next?

Dr. Fike reports that the Framing Our Future initiative will introduce new degrees and programs, integrate degree and credentialing programs for greater student flexibility, expand its partnerships with the business community, and implement strategic priorities and capacity building for continued leadership in the future.

Read the President’s Report >>

GGU’s Women in Leadership Series and Why It Matters

By Marianne Koch, PhD
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business

We believe that GGU’s annual Women in Leadership event is valuable for women in the San Francisco Bay area at the start of careers in business, law, or entrepreneurship. Open both to the GGU community and the public, this event gives attendees the chance to learn directly from real-world experiences of highly successful and entrepreneurial women.

Marianne Koch

Held in the evening, the Women in Leadership event includes Q&A with panelists, networking with old friends and new acquaintances, and food and drink.  Since its launch five years ago, panelists and moderators – most of whom are GGU alumnae – have included executive-level women from Franklin Templeton Investments, Sequoia Capital, Salesforce, and Yahoo!; entrepreneurs from Lamano Law and Strategy Squad Insurance Services; and public servants from the SF Employees’ Retirement System, SF Child Support Services, and the State Board of Equalization.

This Year’s Event: Sharing Life and Career Experience

Last month, I moderated the fifth iteration of this event, which featured (pictured, left to right) Helen Fanucci, Global Windows Sales Leader, Microsoft Corporation; Nicole Middleton (MS, Financial Planning ’17), CEO of Strategy Squad Insurance Services, and Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), Group Product Manager, Hematology at Genentech.

To get us started, I asked the panelists to tell us about some decisions they had made – both good and bad in terms of results – and what they learned from them. Their candid responses addressed the fallout from poorly timed decisions, finding the courage to take on assignments that they believed they weren’t quite ready for, and finding a trustworthy mentor who lit the path for them. From my place at the podium, I observed smiles, heads nodding in approval, and outbursts of applause of support from all.

Audience members took turns asking questions and sharing their perspectives on a host of topics related to women at work. Many questions were personal (“I’ve just been promoted to management and I have no role models; what do I do?”), or bold (“How do you deal with men coming on to you inappropriately at work?”). Audience comments were tremendously helpful and resources were shared as well. As in earlier years, the support and interest made for a useful and warm experience.

Women in Leadership organizers (left to right): Amina Kasumov (Enrollment Manager, GGU), Kendra Calvert (Director, Admissions, and Recruitment, GGU) and Marianne Koch.

Although growth in the number of women in leadership positions in the U.S. is extremely slow, events like these serve as a catalyst for that to change – and we are proud to be part of it.

Photo Credit: Jenny LeMaster

About Dr. Marianne Koch

Dr. Marianne Koch is an educator, human resources manager and consultant with experience in designing and delivering educational programs, and managing and consulting in the fields of human resource management and labor relations. She has worked in a variety of venues to help managers improve how they manage people at work, help organizations understand, clarify and improve practices for the management of people at work, and research and write about such issues as collaboration, work / family practices, and the relationship of human resource management practices to productivity. Dr. Koch is the Associate Dean of the Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director and also a Professor of Management.

Women in Leadership’s Tradition of Excellence Continues

Now entering its 5th year, GGU’s Women in Leadership event has attracted successful panelists who have launched businesses or are prominent at corporations, nonprofits, and law firms. The 2016 event was no different and featured alumnae (pictured below, left to right) Givelle Lamano (JD ’10), Attorney at Lamano Law Offices; Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96), Senior Director Global Business Planning & Strategy at Salesforce; and Susan Lovegren (MS, Human Resource Management ’86), Chief People Officer at AppDynamics.

2016 Alumnae Panelists

The 2016 event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director, and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumnae: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today? The answers touched on themes such as their career paths and accomplishments; challenges and solutions specific to women; networking; and the link between personal and professional development.

Last year’s event drew 175 attendees from the GGU community and beyond. If you want to see more of what you can expect at this year’s Women in Leadership Event, we invite you to watch the video of the 2016 event.

The 5th Annual Women in Leadership Event Is on October 25th!

Attendees of this year’s event can expect another group of accomplished women who will share real-world advice based on their personal and professional journeys. The event is open to the GGU community and the public. Admission to this event is free and refreshments will be provided. We also invite you to take advantage of networking before and after the panel.

2017 Women in Leadership Panelists

Helen Fanucci, Global Windows Sales Leader, Microsoft Corporation

Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), Group Product Manager, Hematology Franchise Communications, Operations and Alliance Strategy, Genentech, Inc.

Nicole Middleton (MS FIPL ’17), Chief Executive Officer
Strategy Squad Insurance Services

Event Details & Free Registration

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

For more information about this event, please visit

Get updates and share with friends: #GGUWomen.

Related GGU Blog Post: My Advice for Women in Business: Know What You Want and Ask for It! by Helen Fanucci, ‎Global Windows Sales and Digital Transformation Leader at ‎Microsoft.

All photos above by Jenny LeMaster.

Women in Leadership Event Includes Accomplished Genentech Professional

Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), a GGU alumnae and Product Manager at Genentech, will be a panelist at the 5th Annual Women in Leadership event in October at GGU.

A biotechnology professional for over 14 years, Blackhart’s experience includes strategic partnerships, operations, patient advocacy, communications and people engagement. Her strengths are in the areas of teamwork & collaboration, leading & influencing, and drive for results.

Blackhart has held various legal positions at Genentech including Head of Global Product Strategy and Global Medical Affairs, Contracts. She was also a member of the company’s Intellectual Property law group.

In anticipation of the Women in Leadership event, we asked her what single piece of advice she would give to women in business. She says:

My one piece of advice to a woman entering a new career or extending her career would be to consider your areas of strength—balanced by the areas you want a challenge in. The right role for me has always been one in which I could leverage my areas of strength as a solid foundation with the opportunity to stretch, grow, and learn. Finding this right balance can be tricky and can take time, but it will set you up for success in the long run!


5th Annual Women in Leadership Event

Join Hazel Blackhart and other distinguished panelists as they share stories, tips, and insights on how to navigate a successful career. The event is open to the GGU community and the public. Admission to this event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

For more information about this event, please visit

Get updates and share with friends: #GGUWomen.

Anthony Niedwiecki Named New Dean of Golden Gate University School of Law

Golden Gate University President David Fike is proud to announce the appointment of Anthony Niedwiecki as the new Dean of the Golden Gate University School of Law. Coming from his previous position as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Niedwiecki brings a portfolio of administrative accomplishments and a commitment to diversity, inclusion and student success. His appointment begins August 1, 2017.

“We are delighted to welcome Dean Niedwiecki to join us as our Law School Dean,” said President Fike. “Anthony is a natural leader who is uniquely qualified to lead GGU Law during this disruptive period in legal education. He is not only dedicated to a high standard of academic excellence and scholarship, but he is also an innovative thinker with a wonderfully positive outlook and deep dedication to a student-centered learning environment.”

Read the full press release >>

GGU Law Student Links Intellectual Property Law with Food Pics on Instagram

You know you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area when copyright protection and food obsession come together in an academic paper. The paper, by Venus Ho, a third-year law student in GGU School of Law’s Intellectual Property (IP) program, recently won a prize in a student writing competition at the University of New Hampshire.

Venus Ho (’17)

It begins with this scenario: It’s Friday night, and you’re out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. The food comes, looking “so delicious and well-plated that you take photos of the food and your friends with your cell phone.” You upload the photos to Instagram and a few days later, your pictures are everywhere, printed on flyers promoting the restaurant. But you haven’t given your permission—and you’re upset.

The paper criticizes the US Copyright Office’s 2015 proposal as an attempt resolving the problem of “copyright protection for orphaned works” — meaning works whose creator is either unknown or unfound. Ho explains that, in the digital age, this is an increasingly common problem. Her solution: the US Copyright Office should establish a database of orphaned photos and a clearinghouse to collect modest licensing fees from anyone who wants to use an orphaned photo. Then, if the creator steps forward, he or she will be able to earn some compensation for the use of their work.

Ho, who was born in Hong Kong and raised in Toronto, did photography as a hobby during her undergraduate studies and has always been interested in the arts. Studying IP law has been a great way to combine her two great interests: the law and the arts. For her, GGU Law’s small size and the connections her professors and students have with movers and shakers in the legal and creative communities has made her legal education rewarding.

Her next goal: Pass the California and Texas Bar Exams and work at a firm that specializes in IP law.

Learn more about GGU’s School of Law programs >>

Women Make High-Level Contributions at Golden Gate University

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we would like to acknowledge the accomplished women who make a large contribution at GGU. Women are represented at the VP and Dean level — and are well over half of the degree program chairs and directors.

Vice President and Deans

Barbara Karlin
Vice President, Academic Affairs & Professor, School of Taxation

Rachel Van Cleve
Dean of the School of Law Professor of Law

Kayla Krupnick Walsh, Dean Student Services

Associate & Assistant Deans

Benedetta Faedi Duramy
Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, School of Law

Corey Farris
Associate Dean for Law Career Development, School of Law

Marianne Koch
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business

Jamie Nye
Associate Dean, Law Student Support, School of Law

Ayana Richardson
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Program

Jelena Kelleher Ristic
Associate Dean and Director for Undergraduate Program

Kimberly Staley
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, School of Law

Chairs & Directors

Ageno School of Business

Andrea Anthony, Department Chair for the Financial & Economics Department 

Kendra Calvert, Director of Admissions and Recruitment

Cassandra Dilosa, Director of Administration, Graduate Programs

Judith Lee, Chair of Business Analytics, Operations, & IT Management

Marcia Ruben, Chair, Graduate Management Program Assistant Professor

Marie Spark, Director, Project Management Program

Blodwen Tarter, Chair and Professor of Marketing and Public Relations

PLUS Program

Karen McRobie, Director

School of Law

Rana Boujaoude, Director, Bar Services Program

Olivera Jovanovic, Director, Graduate Law Programs

Reichi Lee, Director, Academic Development Program Adjunct Professor

School of Taxation

Kathleen Wright, Director of State and Local Tax, Braden School of Taxation

Undergraduate Programs

Nabanita Talukdar, Director of Math Programs

Sarah Maslov, Director of Administration, Undergraduate Programs

Associate & Assistant Directors

Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Wellness Services

Jennifer Carri,  Director, Student Life and Wellness Services

Alliah Gilman-Bey, Associate Director, Advising Services

Lori Granger, Assistant Director, Wellness Services
Regina Guerrero, Associate Director for Academic Affairs

Sandra Jimenez, Assistant Director, Student life

Neepa Parikh, Associate Director, Office of Career Services

Saba Sohail, Assistant Director, Advising Services

GGU also supports the success of its female students with its annual Women in Leadership event. You can watch the recent panel discussion, which was hosted by Ageno School of Business Associate Dean Marianne Koch.

Labor Laws, Diversity, and Giving 100%: Dean Rachel Van Cleave Interviews the President of GGU’s Student Bar Association

JATell me something special or interesting about your background before you went to law school?

Unsurprisingly, I have been involved in student government since middle school, through high school and college. I really enjoy being involved in advocating for students and in advancing policies that better support students.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I am a first generation American; my parents came to the US from Nicaragua and they instilled in me the value of working to improve myself and my community. I saw how my mom was treated by her employer when I learned that her employer was not complying with employment laws, I became frustrated by not being able to do anything about it. Enrolling in the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic (WERC) I have come to appreciate the power my law degree will give me to work for enforcement of the laws intended to protect workers.

The legal profession has not yet achieved enough diversity. It is important that our society has lawyers with different perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that those who seek access to the justice system have a lawyer who can empathize with their situation. I take very seriously my position as a role model and seek to encourage more to achieve greater diversity.

Tell me something special or interesting about your law school experience.

At first, moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco was a big adjustment for me, but I quickly fell in love with GGU. I have made many very good friends and have learned a lot from faculty, especially working with Professor Hina Shah in WERC. In particular, I have learned a lot about the practice of law, working with clients and how to provide effective representation. Professor Shah also helped me and other students start a new student group, Labor and Employment Law Association (LELA). Although I still root for LA sports teams, I love the Bay Area.

What is your greatest source of motivation/support as you work towards your JD?
My family. They have supported me and encouraged me to be a role model for the Latino/a community. The legal profession has not yet achieved enough diversity. It is important that our society has lawyers with different perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that those who seek access to the justice system have a lawyer who can empathize with their situation. I take very seriously my position as a role model and seek to encourage more to achieve greater diversity.

In sports, people often talk about “leaving it all on the field” and I encourage you to approach law school and your legal career in the same way — over prepare, focus on achieving your personal best, 100%, all the time.

What is your favorite thing you do when you are not at law school?
I like to play and watch sports, especially basketball. Playing basketball is a good stress reliever. It may even boost my career. I recently got an elbow jabbed near my eye. A partner at Hanson Bridgett, where I am working this summer, asked me how I got a black eye and when I told him it was from playing basketball, he invited me to join regular pick-up games with Bay Area lawyers at 7:00 am on Fridays!

What message/advice do you have for your fellow law students?
No matter what you are trying to — getting a job or preparing for an exam — give it your all and do your best. In sports, people often talk about “leaving it all on the field” and I encourage you to approach law school and your legal career in the same way — over prepare, focus on achieving your personal best, 100%, all the time. My advice for first-year students is to get involved but don’t over commit. Talk to other students about ways to get involved and select what aligns best with your strengths, passion and career goals.

If not in law school right now, what would you be doing?
Politics. Before law school, I was involved in fundraising for the Obama campaign and more recently, if I were not in law school I would have been working for the Sanders campaign. I might eventually get back into politics.

Josue Aparicio finishes his term as the Student Bar Association president this April and will be graduating with a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree in May. Currently, he is Judicial Extern for Presiding Justice Ruvolo at California Court of Appeal.

About the Interviewer

rachel-van-cleaveDean Rachel Van Cleave has devoted her career to legal education. She has taught at six law schools and has been at GGU Law since 2004. She has served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for four years and is in her fourth year serving as Dean. Dean Van Cleave loves GGU Law’s mission and history and enjoys getting to know students and learning how we can best support their success. In particular, Dean Van Cleave appreciates partnering with students, faculty and staff to enhance all that we do to cultivate lawyers who will be a part of building a better and more just society.

Dean Van Cleave is an avid SF Giants fan but enjoys attending games with Josue and other students who have different baseball loyalties!