Maureen C. Onyeagbako is a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice and a Staff Editor of Sacramento Lawyer. She can be reached at

by Maureen C. Onyeagbako

Stepping up its outreach to local law students, the Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association (WMBA) recently held events to facilitate job-search training and mentorship. As WMBA President Adrian Carpenter sees it, attorneys “sometimes forget how much support we needed when we were in law school. One of my goals . . . is to offer guidance to our future lawyers within the Sacramento community.”

WMBA President Adrian Carpenter speaks about scholarship opportunities at workshop

So, on January 20, 2018, WMBA hosted its first annual resumé and mock interview workshop at the Wilke Fleury law firm. Local attorneys and students met over a light breakfast to discuss a variety of topics related to legal careers. For example, Pacific McGeorge Adjunct Professor Wanda Hill Rouzan shared advice on navigating law school and the bar exam. Carpenter, who is Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary in the Governor’s Office, spoke of scholarship opportunities and encouraged students to take advantage of the mentors available within WMBA.

Next, students dressed in business-attire met individually with attorneys for mock interviews and resumé critiques. Carmen-Nicole Cox, Chief of the Office of Legislation at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, served as an advisor and found that students did not fully appreciate how their prior work history provided them with transferable skills. She focused her critiques on helping students understand what they have to offer and communicating that in resumés and interviews.

Law students seek advice from WMBA members at workshop

After the breakout sessions, the group reconvened to meet with Presiding Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal, Vance W. Raye. Justice Raye commended the students on investing in their careers by attending the workshop and reminded them that the job market is a buyer’s market. Thus, resumés should reflect the care and attention the students would put into the job they are applying for. Following up on the theme of care and attention, wardrobe stylist Chantera Gunn presented on dressing professionally and doing so on a budget. In all, the event helped alleviate some of the anxiety that comes with any job search.

WMBA board members welcome attendees at First Saturday Brunch

WMBA’s outreach efforts continued in February, with a First Saturday Brunch at a local attorney’s home. Law students were treated to beautiful weather, great food, and direct access to attorneys at all stages of their careers. WMBA understands that students may find it difficult to identify and reach out to potential mentors. This intimate and informal gathering brought potential mentors to the students and also facilitated interaction with students from different law schools. Students left the brunch energized and reassured that they have support and guidance throughout their legal journeys. WMBA plans to keep this momentum going and will hold additional events throughout the year. Join us.  

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