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Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2013

a Dynamic duo “You always think you’re the best person to train your children,” says Christina Chen ’78. “That’s also true in the law.” Her daughter, Leah Price ’10, works as her associate, handling deportation defense and asylum cases from their office in Nob Hill. “But the flip side,” Chen jokes, “is you can’t fire her.” But Chen is more than just Price’s mom. “She’s my mentor,” says Price. “I still sit in on her more complicated cases to learn the tricks of the trade.” Chen has worked in immigration law for more than 30 years, but her personal experience dates back much further. Born in China, Chen was just a girl when the Communist Revolution forced her family to flee to Macau. They waited for American visas for 12 years before finally being admitted as refugees. After attending San Francisco State, she founded a women’s health clinic in Chinatown, before deciding to study law. “There were so few lawyers in the Chinese community back then; I thought it was necessary to add a voice,” she says. Chen remembers UC Hastings as dedicated to serving the community, not “producing lawyers for the sake of producing lawyers.” Three decades later, Price found that still rings true. She participated in the UC Hastings Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, helping win asylum for a Mongolian woman. The experience showed Price how much good she could do in immigration law. And what’s more, she gets to work with her beloved mother every day. { in brief } Mentor program a stell ar succ ess Students interested in learning the ropes from practitioners in the field will find UC Hastings’ Alumni Mentor Program—and its enthusiastic director, Phil Marshall ’92— an invaluable resource. With nearly 1,000 alumni mentors available in the United States, Asia, and Europe, the program is one of the largest of its kind in the country. The key, Marshall says, is finding the right mentor-mentee match. “For example, when a student is interested in immigration law, I can send them to Dana Leigh Marks ’77, who is a leading immigration judge.” And students are not the only ones who benefit. “The students help me see things through new perspectives,” says Marks. “Because we can offer each other so much, these mentorships are very successful.” One such success story was the pairing of Aaron Ghirardelli ’09 LLM with antitrust attorney Fran Scarpulla ’67. “We clicked immediately,” says Ghirardelli. “He’s a top lawyer with a busy schedule, but he always found time to give me advice.” And that’s not all he did. In 2010, when Ghirardelli got married, Scarpulla offered to host the reception at his home. To this day, the two lawyers remain close friends. “The Alumni Mentor Program was one of the best things I ever did,” Ghirardelli adds. “But students should keep an open mind. You can’t just think the program is about leading to a job, because it can be so much more than that.” From left: Aaron Ghirardelli ’09 LLM, Luca Pignata, Brenda Entzminger ’03, Fran Scarpulla ’67, and Simona Ghirardelli. The mother-daughter team of Christina Chen ’78 (right) and Leah Price ’10—both UC Hastings graduates—brings experience and enthusiasm to their immigration law practice. UC HASTIN GS 5


Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2013
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