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[caption id="attachment_35224" align="alignright" width="432" caption="2011 graduates from Empire Law School with Dean William Robertson and former Dean and Superior Court Judge Pat Broderick, center front."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA – Empire College School of Law graduated 31 students in its 35th graduating class in a ceremony June 5.

The graduates are:

Barrick Arnold is the fourth child to Marji and Max Arnold, a local attorney. He spent most of his youth in Redding, attending Enterprise High School. He was on the Santa Rosa Junior College nationally-ranked parliamentary debate team. Mr. Arnold is currently employed as a law clerk for his father.

Jarin Beck has worked for the Council on Aging as a Lawyer Referral Coordinator and assisted in the Disability Law Clinic, Self-Help Access Center, and Elder Law Clinic at Empire. He was the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship in 2010 and the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Constitutional Law.

Beki Berrey began working with Walter Rubenstein, in the criminal defense field during her second year of law school. In January 2010, she was hired on with the Sonoma County Public Defender’s office as a certified law clerk. Ms. Berrey intends to pursue a career in criminal defense.

Jennifer Ann Capuano worked full time as the Senior Legal Clerk at ThermaSource, a geothermal drilling firm, during law school. She also worked with the Disability Services & Legal Center for which she earned Empire Law School’s Community Service Award.

James Carroll is a U.S. Army veteran and paratrooper. While attending Empire, Mr. Carroll has been a Certified Law Student, representing victims of domestic violence in court for Legal Aid of Sonoma County, as well as clerking for several local attorneys. He participated in the Small Claims and Family Law Clinics and received a Dean’s Scholarship in 2010.

Lisa Cortina worked as an RN in maternity health services, pediatrics, and pediatric oncology. When Ms. Cortina started law school she was working full time managing a medical office and working part time as a surgical RN. Ms. Cortina intends to pursue a career in law relating to the health care field.

Joseph Curren wrote ethical standards adopted by 55 hospitals in the United States, Great Britain, and Puerto Rico during seven years as Director of Psychiatric Assessment Services for a private hospital corporation. While in law school Mr. Curren served in the Elder Law and Small Claims Advisory Clinics.

Costandi Dada grew up in the city of Sonoma and graduated from Sonoma Valley High School. He attained his degree with a concentration in Global Economics from Sacramento State University.

Yuvanna Diaz worked in the Elder Law, Self-Help Access Center, Immigration Law, and Disability Services & Legal Center Clinics. During her participation in the Immigration Clinic, Ms. Diaz helped prepare U-Visa applications, one of which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently approved and the applicant gained legal residency status.

Jeffrey Finkel, prior to beginning his legal education, Mr. Finkel enjoyed a successful tenure as Chief Administrative Officer and co-owner of a start-up surgical services company, negotiating contracts and learning the basics of employment law in the process. He now works at Smith Dollar PC, where he provides litigation support in complex civil matters before Federal District Courts throughout the United States.

Akaisha Gardner achieved two model answers in Contracts in her first year at Empire. In her second year of law school, she and her husband welcomed their first child. Overcoming her son’s traumatic stroke at birth, she returned to law school determined to achieve her lifetime goal of becoming an attorney. Shortly after returning to school, Mrs. Gardner was privileged to begin working for the Law Office of Adams and Rafferty and the Law Office of Lauren Gardner gaining hands-on experience in dissolutions, child custody proceedings, trust litigation, conservatorships and estate planning.

James Michael (Mike) Gordon, while completing the four-year JD program in three year, has worked in real estate, done contract work for attorneys in the area, worked with a start-up winery and wine tasting room, worked with contractors and construction consultants, as well as becoming the Supervisor of the Sonoma Small Claims Clinic.

Carla Alejandra Hernandez, upon transferring to Empire College, participated in the Self-Help Access Center, Elder Law Clinic, and the Small Claims Clinic. Since beginning law school, she has worked for several family law attorneys and is currently working at the Law Offices of Carla Boyd Terre as a Legal Assistant. She intends to pursue a career in family law.

Henry Huang is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in California and Illinois. Prior to law school, Mr. Huang spent 15 years working as an international tax accountant for Big Four accounting firms. At Empire, Mr. Huang participated in the Self-Help Access Center, Elder Law Clinic, Small Claims Clinic, Disability Law Clinic, and volunteered as a clerk at both the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office and Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

Joshua Paul, prior to enrolling at Empire Law School, worked as a litigation paralegal at the law firm of Keker & Van Nest, LLP in San Francisco. During school Mr. Keller participated in the Elder Law Clinic and volunteered at Sonoma County Legal Aid’s annual golf tournament fundraiser.

Michael Lawson Knapp was born and raised in Santa Rosa. He’s a Dean’s Scholarship winner, a three-time Witkin Award winner, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Empire College Law Review (Volume 6). He’s clerked for both the Sonoma and Yolo County offices of the Public Defender. He would like to practice appellate law.

Na Li was born in Yan Zhou, China and moved to the United States when she was 15. As a student at Empire College, Ms. Li participated in the Self-Help Access Center, Elder Law Clinic and Immigration Clinic. After graduation, Ms. Li intends to join the family business in China.

Emily May Malfatti interned for one summer at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. While there, she was paired with a homicide unit attorney, and Ms. Malfatti spent that summer assisting in a murder trial. This past year, Ms. Malfatti authored a note for the Empire College Law Review.

Zephan McMinn completed the J.D. program at Empire College in an accelerated three years instead of four. In his second year of law school, Mr. McMinn worked at the Elder Law Clinic and went on to work in the Disability Law Clinic during his third year. He also worked as a law clerk for multiple firms in Santa Rosa in the Clinical Education program at Empire College.

Lori Molden graduated with an associate degree in Administration of Justice at Santa Rosa Junior College and a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Administration at Sonoma State University prior to attending Empire.

Macci Rayann Morse worked for defense attorney Katharine L. Elliott during law school. Recently, she joined the Law Office of Duncan M. James as a law clerk. While at Empire, Ms. Morse participated in the Small Claims Clinic, the Elder Law Clinic and was awarded the Olga Gracey Scholarship.

Richard Edward Nelson participated in the Family Law Self-Help Access Center, the Elder Law Clinic, the Disability Law Clinic, and acting as student supervisor of the Small Claims Clinic.

Renee Paladini worked in the Small Claims Advisory Clinic and assisted clients at the Elder Law Clinic. She earned the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Torts, Criminal Procedure, Community Property, Real Property, and Professional Responsibility. Ms. Paladini also authored a Case Note for the Empire College Law Review (Volume 6).

Brian Pratt, despite the program’s demand that students take third- and fourth-year law school at the same time, Brian has sought the best of real-world experience by clerking at the personal injury Law Office of Max G. Arnold.

Michael Angelo Teply is the Senior Law Clerk at the Law Office of the Public Defender of Sonoma County. He worked at the Elder Law Clinic and the Immigration Clinic where he was able to use his Spanish to assist the clients. Mr. Teply was the Managing Editor of the Empire College Law Review (Volume 6).

Sheriden Ashton Vince has worked in non-profit management. Starting with her first year of law school she has worked for an attorney specializing in non-profit law.

Steven Waite was born in Petaluma and is a second generation native of Sonoma County.  During his time at Empire, Mr. Waite has been a member of Law Review.

Karen Webb received the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Law, Evidence, and Community Property as well as the Olga Gracey Scholarship in 2009.

Angelle Wertz worked full time for the first year in her current position as office manager/paralegal for a local law firm and reduced her hours for the last two years so she could accelerate her studies and graduate early. Also, throughout her studies, she participated in the Small Claims, Self-Help Access and Elder Law Clinics.

Gregory Wilson assisted in the Self-Help Access Center and also received the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Evidence and Real Property.

Heather Wintermeyer participated in Self-Help Access and Disability Law Clinics. She received the Award for Community Service for Dedication and Contribution to the Disability Law Clinic in 2010 and the Dean’s Scholarship in 2009 and 2010.