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A Sense of Personal Fulfillment

Priscilla Gutierrez
Class of 2017

Personally, the last three years have been filled with so much growth and so many challenges. I came to law school excited for a fresh start and excited to pursue my dream of becoming an attorney. My first year of law school was especially arduous because of the newness of it all. Outlining, case briefs, oral arguments, and legal writing were all a part of the law school boot camp. Although life experiences had equipped me with a high tolerance for stress and uncertainty, I found it almost impossible to achieve a work-life balance.

Fast forward a few years, I am able to reflect on my law school career and feel a sense of accomplishment for surviving the most academically challenging experience of my life. Outside of the classroom, I have developed into a better version of myself and have a renewed sense of urgency to put my law degree to use. My sincere advice for every student is to pursue their passion and to welcome adversity in their pursuits. My journey and the journeys of many of our peers are full of hardships and difficult circumstances. As Malcolm X once said: “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” My life and my legal education have prepared me for a future of “next times.”  I can only hope that each one of my peers leaves law school with a sense of achievement, pride, and enthusiasm for a future of great service and personal fulfillment.



Hello to the always talented, compassionate, and hard-working community of UCI Law! I’m so glad to be able to welcome you to the seventh volume of the Voice. The Voice is your newspaper, and serves as a forum for individuals or groups to express themselves creatively, comment on issues of personal or public concern, and generally make themselves heard.

I am honored to continue the tradition of publishing the Voice for UCI Law and want to thank If/When/How (formerly Law Students for Reproductive Justice) for partnering with the Voice and submitting articles for this issue. If/When/How believes that individuals enjoy reproductive justice when they can decide if, when, and how to create and sustain a family. I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more to attend If/When/How’s “Sex Ed Trivia Night” at the Anteater Pub on Saturday, December 3rd at 7:30 pm. 

This issue contains reflections and insights on the future of reproductive justice after the election of Donald Trump, as well as an interview with our Career Development Office to help students handle delicate questions about family and parental leave in job interviews.

I cannot wait to see what other treasures and gifted writers will be revealed throughout the rest of Volume VII. As always, stay curious, stay attentive, and keep writing. 

Jenaun Aboud 

This election season was unlike any other, and many of us had no idea how it would actually turn out. As the Electoral College numbers came in Tuesday night, I began growing more and more fearful for the ultimate result: Not only were Donald Trump and Mike Pence our nation’s leaders, but the House and the Senate went Republican too.

I am addressing this letter to you because the Pew Research Center tells me that you are the American demographic that is the most reliable, most steadfast, and most unwavering in their tendency to vote Republican. However, many of you did not in fact vote for Donald Trump.

I know that parental leave and a flexible work schedule matter to me; how should I approach my job search?

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, we have been advocating for the UCI Student Health Center to adopt a law called the “Pharmacist Protocol” ever since we found out about its passage in California.

Dear White Mormon Voter

Julia Jones
Class of 2019

Dear White Mormon Voter,

I am addressing this letter to you because the Pew Research Center tells me that you are the American demographic that is the most reliable, most steadfast, and most unwavering in their tendency to vote Republican. However, many of you did not in fact vote for Donald Trump. Apparently you were too outraged by his unadulterated misogyny (though I recognize that you, like me, also have a complicated relationship with gender) to get behind the party candidate. I admire your party loyalty, and the courage to deviate from it. I’m hoping that you’ll be willing to do me a small favor.

Join me in taking positive action to defend abortion rights.

I recently learned that 6 out of 10 moderate Republicans, along with 58 percent of the general population, support abortion rights. This appeal is intended for you, White Mormon Voter, if you are among the 4 out of 10 moderate Republicans who do not. I’m aware that you may question the morality of abortion. I’m not writing to convince you that the decision to have an abortion is, as I believe, one that is not only morally sound, but admirable. I’m writing to enlist you to help me protect the legality of abortion rights.

There’s a checklist of value statements on the GOP website, such as “health decisions should be made by us and our doctors,” that “families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion,” “Government should be smaller, smarter, and more efficient,” and that “the Constitution should be honored, valued, and upheld.” I encourage you to support these values by supporting abortion rights.

Abortion is inherently a “health decision (that) should be made by us and our doctors.” However, abortion restrictions, such as the mandatory waiting periods required by 27 states and the counseling required by 35 states—including 29 states which write the counselor’s script, creating a bonus restriction on free speech—unnecessarily impose government action within that private decision-making sphere. Supporting these regulations or otherwise restrictive abortion legislation contradicts the statement that “families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion.” I encourage you to help liberate women, families, and communities from government intrusion by opposing mandatory waiting periods and anti-First Amendment counseling scripts for those receiving abortion services.

Restrictions on public funding for abortion services results in costlier and less efficient governance. Within the 17 states that allocate Medicaid funding for abortion services, the cost of each publicly-funded birth is four to five times the cost of a Medicaid-sponsored abortion. Allowing federal funding for abortion services would decrease birth-related expenses for those receiving public benefits, thus decreasing overall expenditures while demanding greater fiscal efficiency. I encourage you to demand smarter allocation of government resources by supporting the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and permitting federal funding for abortion services.

Threatening abortion access threatens a profound Constitutional right—the freedom to exercise personal choice and autonomy in regard to one’s own medical decisions. Honoring, valuing, and upholding the Constitution requires honoring, valuing, and upholding the right to have an abortion. I encourage you to defend all Constitutional rights equally, including abortion rights; and I will promise to do the same—even the Constitutional rights that have been interpreted in ways I don’t like.

A few years ago, I met a teenager carrying a Book of Mormon on Malcom X Blvd and 125th Street in Manhattan. He offered to carry my groceries home for me on the handlebars of his bike. I declined, so he just walked up the street with me and told me about his faith. I think he was the only real-life White Mormon Voter I’d ever encountered.

That kid probably knew he wasn’t going to convert me, but he was a young man of faith—including, apparently, faith in the possible success of extremely long shots. And I think he appreciated that I listened to him without dismissing him. I know I’m exercising a similar long-shot faith in writing this letter to you, imaginary White Mormon Voter. And I truly appreciate you listening, without dismissing me.


A Reflection on the Election

Alison Chabot
Class of 2017

This election season was unlike any other, and many of us had no idea how it would actually turn out. As the Electoral College numbers came in Tuesday night, I began growing more and more fearful for the ultimate result: Not only were Donald Trump and Mike Pence our nation’s leaders, but the House and the Senate went Republican too. I personally have many family members and friends who identify as Republican, and I don’t want to characterize the entire Republic party as “bad,” but I feel very comfortable characterizing the current Republican platform as “bad.” In fact, “bad” doesn’t even begin to cover it. It is very hateful, very intrusive, and very scary, especially in terms of reproductive justice.

For example, the platform advocates for overturning landmark Supreme Court decisions Roe and Obergefell. However, the ever-changing President-elect Trump has already scaled back from one of these assertions, calling Obergefell “settled law.” Interestingly, Obergefell, a decision I fully support because #lovetrumpshate, was decided in just 2015. Yet Roe v. Wade, apparently not “settled law,” was decided in 1973. Why one is “settled” and the other is not is beyond me.

The platform also defines “traditional marriage” as “between one man and one woman” and as “the foundation for a free society . . . entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values,” as if gay and lesbian couples cannot rear children or instill their children with values.

Last (actually not at all last—go read the platform; it’s terrifying), the platform wants to strip women of all agency and choice when it comes to our own bodies. It calls for overturning Whole Women’s Health and for defunding Planned Parenthood if it “refer[s] elective abortions . . . rather than provide healthcare.” Because abortions are apparently not health care. Provided by a doctor. In a health center. It also greatly misleads the public about the “simple abortion clinic safety procedures” overturned in Whole Women’s Health. These “safety procedures” were wildly intrusive for abortion providers and only proved to be a hindrance on access to abortion; they did nothing to make it safer.

This false and condescending rhetoric about “women’s safety” can be shown for what it really is in anti-choice states’ new attempt at controlling women: fetal funerary services. Some states (Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia all have either tried or actually have fetal funerary services laws in place) are trying to require women to pay for funeral services for their aborted or miscarried fetuses. Funeral services. For fetuses. Whether aborted or miscarried. How is this possibly about women’s safety or women’s health? Put simply, it’s not. In fact, proponents of these laws admit it’s about forcing women to think about—and pay for—the gravity of their abortions . . . and miscarriages? It’s unclear how this law will apply to miscarriages, especially given that women often don’t know when they have one. And it should be noted that the Indiana law was pushed by none other than our fiercely anti-choice Vice President-elect, Mike Pence.

Given Donald Trump’s admittedly impressive ability to somehow reverse his stance on literally anything he has said in the past without batting an eye or raising questions, it is very unclear what his presidency will actually mean for reproductive freedom. That being said, given he has fiercely conservative, anti-choice, and even alt-right people on his team, I don’t think it matters what Trump actually wants to do. I truly don’t think Donald Trump wants to strip women of all of their rights (although maybe all of their clothes), but I don’t think that matters. He’ll have misogynistic people like Mike Pence and Steven Bannon (who, at a minimum, tacitly approved of an article titled “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” on his charming Breitbart website) whispering sweet nothings about how women can’t be trusted in Trump’s ear.

If/When/How believes that individuals enjoy reproductive justice when they can decide if, when, and how to create and sustain a family. We will undoubtedly have to fight to make sure that our brothers and sisters can still control their bodies and make decisions for themselves about who to marry, how they want to have children (if at all), and how to support their families. We must work together because, as we all know, we are #strongertogether.

Ali Chabot, President of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice

Increased Access to Birth Control at UCI

Ali Chabot, Class of 2017
Olivia Weber, Class of 2017
Laura Lively, Class of 2017

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, we have been advocating for the UCI Student Health Center to adopt a law called the “Pharmacist Protocol” ever since we found out about its passage in California. This law, which was unanimously passed in the California Legislature, permits pharmacists to prescribe certain forms of birth control to women without an appointment with a primary care physician. Initially, we drafted a petition (which many of you signed) calling on the Student Health Center Clinical Staff Committee to implement this protocol. We then met with the Student Health Center Clinical Staff Committee to present our petition, and we had numerous phone calls and emails with representatives from this Committee in the months that followed.

We initially achieved some progress in regard to the Health Center’s policies regarding dispensing birth control: the Committee agreed to remove a requirement that women make a three month “check in” appointment after receiving a new birth control prescription in order to receive the remaining nine months of their prescription. The Committee also agreed to do away with their policy of requiring women to undergo pelvic exams in order to obtain a birth control prescription. In all honestly, the fact that those hurdles were in place at the Health Center to begin with was pretty shocking to us–neither one is reasonably related to a woman’s health regarding birth control’s effects on the body.

When the Committee agreed to remove these hurdles, we were glad that women no longer have to deal with these unnecessary and frustrating barriers to gaining reproductive health services. However, we remained concerned about the Health Center continuing to force women to make an appointment with a physician in order to obtain birth control — especially in light of the medical community’s consensus that appointments are not necessary and in light of the wait times associated with primary care appointments. We decided to go public with our arguments for a number of reasons, including that we wanted to raise awareness about this issue across campuses and up to the office of President Napolitano. We wrote an Op-Ed that was published in the L.A. Times outlining our arguments and advocating for UC campuses to adopt the Pharmacist Protocol. Our article placed great emphasis on the fact that the UC system–under President Napolitano’s leadership–supported the passage of the Pharmacist Protocol in front of the California legislature. Shortly after our Op-Ed went live, the Clinical Staff Committee emailed us announcing a new online system for obtaining birth control that they promised to implement shortly.

This online system, which went live on October 6th, involves filling out a health questionnaire that is then reviewed by a physician. After review, the physician notifies the requesting patient that she wrote a prescription, or she will tell the patient that she needs to come in for a primary care appointment. Alternatively, if an annual blood pressure reading is not on file for the patient, the physician will notify the patient that she must come in at her convenience for a seated blood pressure exam before picking up her prescription.

While we were excited about this new system because it appeared to increase access to birth control, we were worried that there would be no accountability regarding how well the system was working and no way to track its progress. We also had a number of questions: How long does it take for a physician to review the questionnaire? How often is a woman told to make a primary care appointment? If a woman does make a primary care appointment, is she required to receive a pap exam?

We set up another meeting with the Clinical Staff Committee to discuss both our appreciation for their willingness to increase access to birth control, but also, we wanted to express our concerns. We were pleased to show up to this recent meeting and see actual data of how this online system is working:

  1. According to their records, 18 percent of women were required to see a primary care physician (but not required to receive a pap exam) after filling out the questionnaire.

  2. Of the 82 percent of women who were able to go straight to the pharmacy to pick up their prescription, 44 percent received their birth control pills within three days.

  3. 46 percent of women had to come in to have their blood pressure taken (a no-cost, walk-in consultation lasting 15 to 30 minutes).
  4. All questionnaires are reviewed within 48 hours.

We were happy to see these numbers, and even the Administrative Director of the Student Health Center, Chuck Adams, said that this system was clearly increasing access to birth control. Mr. Adams also said that the Health Center has not ruled out the Pharmacist Protocol.  The Health Center is beginning what will likely be a long process to expand the services it provides as well as the physical space of the Student Health Center.

We hope that the Health Center does eventually implement the Pharmacist Protocol, especially since UC Berkeley is seeking to implement it soon, but we are happy with the progress we have made so far. In the meantime, this online system seems relatively easy and accessible to women students.

Please let us know if you have any questions about our advocacy or if you experience any issues with obtaining a birth control prescription at the Student Health Center.

Interview with CDO: Best Practices for Parental and Family Leave Questions During the Job Search Process

David Penner
Class of 2018

I know that parental leave and a flexible work schedule matter to me; how should I approach my job search?

It is important to enter the job search process with an understanding of what factors are most important to you. For example, how important is an employer’s stance on the death penalty to you? Or the location of the office? What about the training and mentorship commitment of your employer? Or the pay, policies, and procedures that you would be subject to as a new attorney?

Knowing yourself and what is most important to you is the first step in any job search. From here, it is your job as an applicant to research the employers with whom you are considering applying to work. This is true for any of the factors that may be important to you, including parental leave and a flexible work schedule.

Where can I find information on parental leave policies and the ability to work a flexible schedule?

While you need to do your homework, this is not to say that you will find everything you need to know through a search of publicly available information. However, you can find an awful lot. Here are some helpful resources:

If you learn through your research that an employer of interest has a policy that is incompatible with your situation, then you should not apply for a position with that employer. If you find that the policy is either acceptable on its face, or there is not sufficient information available to assess the acceptability of the policy (which is very common with non-profit organizations and smaller firms), and you are otherwise interested in the employer, then you need to decide whether you are willing to apply and learn more at a later stage.

How and when should I ask questions about parental leave and family life during interviews?

During the interview stage, for any job, your goal is to impress the employer with your knowledge, skills, and experience. You must prove that you are valuable in a way that is unlike your competition, and your goal is to persuade the employer to offer you the position. Think of the interviewing stage as a first date, where the two of you are deciding if you like each other enough to spend more time together. “As with first dates, your conversation with potential employers should be pleasant and lighthearted,” according to Natalie Prescott and Oleg Cross in Nail your Law Job Interview (page 73).

Unlike dating, however, one party has more power than the other in the interviewing phase. In this judgment stage, the employer holds the power. For this reason, questions asked during the interview stage should be about the job itself and should further serve to demonstrate how capable you are to do the job. Prescott and Cross further advise to “assume that the firm’s paid parental leave policy is in the neighborhood of 12 weeks.” (page 75).

After the employer decides that they are interested in spending more time with you, i.e. they make an offer, then the tables turn and you get to decide if the terms are acceptable to you. This is your opportunity to ask about the benefits and policies that matter most to you: pay, vacation, medical, family leave, sick leave, flex schedule, etc. It is your right to seek out the answers to your questions before committing to an employer.

“What’s important for you to remember here is that your goal is to get the potential employer to be interested enough in you and your legal skills first and foremost—interested enough that you receive an offer of employment. Then, and only then, are you in a position to ask all the questions you want about benefits and hours and perks without looking as if that is all you are interested in with this particular employer.” Advise for the Lawlorn, Ann M. Israel (page 121).

Be warned: an offer can always be revoked! It’s important that you convey sincerity and respect even in the phrasing of your questions. After you receive an offer you may also ask to speak with a more junior associate. This person may be in an ideal position to discuss implementation of the employer’s policies.

Is this advice different depending on the employer?

No. Whether you are seeking a position in biglaw, public interest, a small firm, or the government—your focus during the interview needs to be on demonstrating how well you could do the job and the appropriate time to make your inquiries is following the offer.

Government and biglaw policies tend to be less flexible than public interest and small firm policies.   

Should you disclose during an interview that you are a parent or expecting?

The interview stage should be about your qualifications to do the job, not your parental status. This is the opportunity to pitch your knowledge, skills, experience, and abilities. To that end, your parental status is irrelevant to your qualifications for the job. If it is relevant to a particular line of inquiry or comes up in casual conversation, you should be open and honest, and proud to be a parent!

Do some employers have a face-time requirement?

Some employers require as a part of the job description that your work occur at the office. Some employers may allow working from home as a policy, but discourage it in practice. There are no universal rules here. If flexible hours and location are important to you, you can inquire about this after you receive the offer. However, Matthew Pascocello advises in Staying at Home, Staying in the Law that “unless your skillset is in particular demand, opt to negotiate these terms after you have worked for a while and demonstrated that you are of value to the organization and that you possess a strong work ethic. An employer will be much more comfortable working with an employee they know will not slack off if given the opportunity to work from home and/or on a reduced schedule.” (page 131).

Volume VI/Issue IV

Welcome to this year’s last issue of the Voice! The period between the end of academic instruction and finals is typically filled with equal parts stress and procrastination, so we wanted to provide you with some reading material during the downtime. Many thanks to the class of 2016 for submitting thoughtful, funny, and sometimes challenging reflections. The UCI Law community can benefit greatly from the wisdom and heart of its graduating students. It has been a pleasure serving as your editors this year, and we look forward to seeing the surprises and treasures that will be revealed in Volume VII. Stay curious, stay attentive, and keep writing!

Jenaun Aboud and Priscilla Guiterrez

As of October 2015, Latina/os make up 15.3 percent of the student body—a number that reflects the national Latina/o population. This figure, however, is in stark contrast to the number of Latina/os who make up the current full-time faculty.

As a member of the fifth graduating class, I hope you’ll indulge me for a minute as I reflect on how well I think that mission is going eight years after our school’s inception, and where I want to see us go in the future.

FRCP 12(f)
Before law school, I had unfulfilled dreams of both being an athlete and being part of a team environment. Thanks to UCI Law, I was finally able to accomplish these dreams.

I sincerely hope that as we enter the workforce and as the years take us further and further away from our time in law school, that we not lose the part of ourselves that compelled us to choose an unaccredited, unranked school in the first place.

A collection of parting words from UCI Law’s Class of 2016