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JULY 2016 - Girl Scouts
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WLALA Board Member Hosted Local Girl Scout Troops During a Visit to the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

by Frances Choi, Alma Pinan, and Esther Shin

Externs to the Hon. Sandra R. Klein


On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, WLALA Board member Judge Sandra R. Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California and her staff welcomed a group of about 20 local Girl Scouts to the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles, CA.  The Girls Scouts ranged in age from six to 14.   

The Girl Scouts—most of whom were wearing their Girl Scout uniforms with lots of colorful patches and badges—sat in the jury box and at the tables where litigants sit during hearings.  The Girl Scouts were given cookies and goodie bags, which included a Bankruptcy Court badge, a Bankruptcy Court gavel pencil, a CARE (financial literacy) keychain, and Supreme Court baseball cards.

Judge Klein began by welcoming the Girl Scouts, their troop leaders, and the mothers who accompanied the troops to the Courthouse.  Judge Klein mentioned how laws are important because they keep everyone safe.  She spoke about the difference between federal and state laws.  She asked how many of the girls liked to play soccer and basketball and a number of the girls raised their hands.  Judge Klein told the girls that it is because of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, that they are able to play the same sports as boys.  Judge Klein then provided a brief overview of bankruptcy law.  The Girl Scouts asked Judge Klein a number of insightful questions, such as how she became a judge and why she would hold someone in contempt.    

The Girl Scouts got to hear from Judge Klein’s courtroom deputy, Thais May, who has worked for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for over 30 years, and us (her externs).  The Girl Scouts were interested in learning about law school and externing for Judge Klein.  One of the mothers asked how Judge Klein would respond to a comment that girls cannot do the same things as boys.  Judge Klein noted that if the girls work hard enough, they can achieve anything that they want to achieve.  Judge Klein encouraged the girls to believe in themselves and she urged them to never let others discourage them from pursuing their dreams because of their gender.  

Judge Klein then invited each of the Girl Scouts to put on a robe and to take pictures while seated on the bench.  The Girl Scouts were excited because they not only had the opportunity to wear a judge’s robe, but also had the chance to hold and bang the gavel! 

At the conclusion of the visit, Judge Klein invited the Girl Scouts to take a tour of her chambers where they were introduced to her law clerk, Razmig Izakelian, who was working diligently in his office.  The Girl Scouts were in awe of the large volume of books in Judge Klein’s library and the wonderful view from her chambers, which allowed the girls to see the Hollywood sign and Dodger Stadium.  Judge Klein wrapped up the tour by thanking the girls for visiting.  She told the girls that if they wanted to chat with her about pursuing a legal career or if they had any questions, they were welcome to contact her.