SANTA ROSA – Empire College School of Law honored 23 graduates on June 6, ranging from a former CHP officer to an insurance company executive.
It was the school's the 34th annual commencement. A total of 25 graduated in this class.
The school of law was founded in 1973. Roughly 25 percent of the members of the Sonoma County Bar Association are graduates of the program.
The following received their juris doctor degrees.
Andrzej Bednarski – Mr. Bednarski has worked in insurance, sales, publishing and business consulting. While at Empire he provided bilingual assistance to clients at the Immigration Clinic.
Lynnette Brown – In her second year of law school, Ms. Brown began working as a certified law clerk at the Law Office of the Public Defender of Sonoma County.
David Derczo – Mr. Derczo is an eight-year veteran of the United States Navy and has served as a CHP officer for 18 years in both Los Angeles and Sonoma County.
Kayla Ann Egnew – Ms. Egnew volunteered as a paralegal intern and then as a director of the Housing Law Project at the Community Legal Information Center.
Faailoilo Fuimaono – While attending Empire, Ms. Fuimaono participated in the Small Claims, Disability Law and the Elder Law clinics.
Jane Gaskell (Valedictorian) – Ms. Gaskell worked both as a law clerk at the Sonoma County Public Defender’s Office and as a project manager for a local environmental consulting firm.
Shirley Gordon – Ms. Gordon is vice president of operations for State Farm Insurance in Rohnert Park. She has been with the company for 36 years and has been active in the community including the advisory board of the Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics and is a former board chair for United Way.
Kristina Guth – In her senior year at Pacific Union College, Ms. Guth decided to change her studies from medical to legal because she felt she could impact large groups of people through the law.
Jenica Leah Hepler – Ms. Hepler worked for the Sonoma County Superior Court and eventually the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. While attending Empire, she volunteered at the Elder Law Clinic.
Thomas Hoeft – Mr. Hoeft is interested in combining his law degree with his previous degree in engineering to pursue becoming a patent attorney. While attending Empire College he participated in the Elder Law Clinic.
Katherine Kingsley – Ms. Kingsley is a licensed Realtor in California and Texas and is a certified property manager. During law school, she worked in the area of bankruptcy with a private firm.
Victoria Lancaster – While in school, Ms. Lancaster volunteered with the Sonoma County Small Claims Advisory Clinic, co-authored a case note for the Empire Law Review and is currently serving as editor-in-chief of Volume 5.
Sarah Marie Lewers – During her time at Empire Law School, Ms. Lewers twice competed in the Environmental Negotiations Competition and is co-authoring a case note for Empire Law Review.