WLALA’s Criminal Justice Section Hosts “The Nuts & Bolts of a Career in Criminal Justice”
by Jessica Kronstadt
On April 25, 2017, Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Nicole C. Bershon (a WLALA Past President), Dorothy C. Kim, Lynne M. Hobbs and Upinder S. Kalra, along with Dr. Chad Lackey, a jury consultant with DOAR, spoke to law students and practicing lawyers about pursuing a career in criminal justice. Before the panel begun, the panelists and attendees networked and mingled on the patio outside of Loyola Law School’s moot court room. DOAR provided excellent and well-themed food and drink for the event.
During the panel, the panelists discussed their careers – which were fascinating – and what led them to decide to get involved in the field of criminal justice. Judge Kim knew early in her career that she wanted to be an Assistant United States Attorney; she did not know that she would have the privilege of spending 13 years in that role before becoming a judge. Judge Hobbs told the audience that she submitted applications to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office on the same day! She believed that being a prosecutor was a better fit for her, and spent 17 years as a Deputy District Attorney – as well as a brief stint as a probate attorney – before becoming a judge. Dr. Lackey spent many years in academia before working at DOAR. He discussed the many and varied aspects of criminal justice that had always interested him, and that led him to become a jury consultant. Judge Kalra always knew he wanted to be a defense attorney, and spent over 20 years as a public defender both in the offices of the Los Angeles County Public Defender and of the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender before becoming a judge. Judge Bershon worked as a litigator in private practice, as a Deputy City Attorney, as a Deputy Inspector General, as the Inspector General for Los Angeles and as a Court Commissioner before becoming a judge.
Each panelist discussed how his and her race, gender, physical appearance and background played a role throughout his and her career. Each panelist provided the audience with advice regarding how to be successful as a lawyer inside and outside of the courtroom. Each stressed the importance of being prepared, being professional and courteous with colleagues and court staff and being active in bar associations. Attendees learned so much from each panelist about how best to present himself and herself both in order to stand out during the application process for a criminal justice career, and in the courtroom during a trial.
WLALA’s Criminal Justice Section thanks DOAR for generously sponsoring the event, and especially Rebecca Hunt for procuring the food and themed beverage. WLALA’s Criminal Justice Section also thanks Loyola Law School – and the efforts of so many of Loyola’s faculty and staff – for hosting the event.
Jessica Kronstadt is WLALA's Communication Officer. Ms. Kronstadt is a Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.