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JULY 2017 - Girl Scouts
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WLALA Board Member Hosted Local Girl Scout During a Visit to the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

By Kimiko Elguea and Amit Liran

Externs to Judge Sandra R. Klein


On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, WLALA Board Member, Judge Sandra R. Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, hosted a Girl Scout to the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles, California.

LaNiya Dawson, wearing a uniform covered in colorful pins and badges, sat in the courtroom well with her mother, Judge Klein, and Judge Klein’s externs. Judge Klein began by welcoming LaNiya and her mother.  She then asked LaNiya about her career aspirations.  LaNiya, who is involved in numerous sports (gymnastics, soccer, and volleyball) told Judge Klein that she was interested in pursuing sports medicine one day.  Judge Klein them mentioned that Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, is one of the reasons why today’s girls have opportunities to play the same sports as boys.  Judge Klein also provided a brief overview of bankruptcy law, financial literacy, and the difference between federal and state courts.

LaNiya told Judge Klein that she would like to pursue a Girl Scouts Gold Award, which represents the highest achievement in scouting for girls.  LaNiya mentioned she was interested in working with the homeless for her Gold Award, but she was unsure exactly how she wanted to help. Upon hearing this, Judge Klein suggested that LaNiya contact the Downtown Women’s Center, in Los Angeles, whose mission is to “provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community, fostering dignity, respect and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women.”  Downtown Women’s Center 2016 Annual Report., available at

Judge Klein then invited LaNiya to put on a judge’s robe and have her picture taken while seated on the bench.  After LaNiya had her picture taken with her mother and Judge Klein, LaNiya had the chance to hold and bang Judge Klein’s gavel (making Judge Klein’s externs rather envious of such an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity)!

At the end of LaNiya’s visit, Judge Klein invited her and her mother for a tour of Judge Klein’s chambers.  As LaNiya and her mother were leaving Judge Klein’s chambers,  LaNiya’s eyes grew wide when she caught sight of colorful hula-hoops resting against the wall.  She turned to Judge Klein and asked, “Do you hula-hoop here?”  Hearing the excitement in LaNiya’s voice, Judge Klein and her externs hula-hooped with LaNiya for about ten minutes.

Before LaNiya left, Judge Klein gave her a goodie bag that included a Bankruptcy Court badge, a Bankruptcy Court gavel pencil, a CARE (financial literacy) keychain, and Supreme Court baseball cards. Judge Klein also reminded LaNiya to keep in contact and to let her know about her Gold Award project.  LaNiya and her mother thanked Judge Klein for taking the time to meet with them.  As LaNiya walked out of Judge Klein’s courtroom wearing a smile from ear-to-ear, it was impossible to forget the importance and value of mentorship, and the impact our mentors have on our lives.