Before she went to law school, Chanelle worked in television…
In late 2010, Chanelle was working as a researcher for Judge Karen's Court, a nationally-syndicated courtroom TV show in which real-life judge Karen Mills-Francis presided over small-claims disputes. The Judge's motto: "She's tough, she's fair, and she cares." Chanelle's job was to watch the taping of the courtroom proceedings, giving feedback to the producers about the best shots and camera angles to use. She was also tasked with poring through local small-claims filings to find the juiciest cases for upcoming shows. The most memorable one she found involved a plaintiff with a vivid imagination but a poor sense of geometry; the list of items she claimed an airline had "lost" in her one suitcase would have easily filled three! As much fun as this job was, it made Chanelle realize that law school was where she wanted to be.
Chanelle discovered her passion at GGU, and participating in the Honors Lawyering Program helped her pursue it!
Chanelle initially planned to go into family law or intellectual property, but her career path took an unexpected turn. She discovered that she loved her Criminal Law class, even though she had never considered a career in criminal law. Through GGU's Honors Lawyering Program (HLP), she was able to work full time with the juvenile division of the San Francisco District Attorney's Office the following fall.
Chanelle says her HLP apprenticeship has been her best law school experience so far. At first she was a little wary of working to prosecute minors; however, her concerns were quickly allayed as she observed how the local prosecutors, public defenders, and judges all collaborated toward a common end—to help the juvenile offenders get back on track. One assault case stands out in particular. Everyone agreed that the defendant was a violent offender, but rather than seek the maximum prison sentence, Chanelle's supervising attorneys sat down with defense counsel and the judge to fashion a different course: treatment in a secure mental-health facility. During her apprenticeship, Chanelle was asked to research and draft motions, and even argued some matters in court. Now she is sure she wants to become a criminal prosecutor after she graduates.
Her life outside law school…
Outside of law school, Chanelle is an active runner. In October, she ran the Nike Half Marathon in under two-and-a-half hours! She has been training for the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon, where she hopes to shave ten minutes off her last time.
Chanelle's advice for other law students:
As the first person in her family to attend graduate school of any kind, Chanelle was a little intimidated by law school at first, but she has emerged as one of the top students in her class. When it comes to her academic success, she credits her friendships here at GGU. Hard work, she acknowledges, is an obvious part of the equation. As she puts it, "success is contagious; once you begin succeeding, you want to keep succeeding." But the bonds she has built with her classmates—the people who share the same interests and ambitions—have played an enormous role as well. Her advice to other law students: "Find your passion, even if it's not what you expected, but also find the people in this world who will have your back and support you the entire way."