Outstanding Law Student of the Month Award
The VLP is pleased to announce that Jessica Berger has been selected as our Outstanding Law Student Volunteer for the month of August 2014. Jessica is a 3L who currently participates in the VLP’s Domestic Relations project. Her advanced understanding of family law plus her willingness to jump in and provide extra assistance to clients and staff makes her a valued member of the VLP.
Jessica is originally from Seoul, Korea, where she was adopted at three months old. She and her family lived in Ft. Myers, FL until she was seven, after which, they moved to Glendale, AZ. Jessica resided in Glendale until she moved to Tucson in order to attend the University of Arizona for undergrad. As a Wildcat, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Jessica also kept busy by being a Tucson Youth Mentor, a U of A Resident Assistant, and a member of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. She was also the University Activities Board President and Events coordinator at U of A’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. In this role, Jessica planned and executed large-scale events for students and staff, including the Think Pink Fashion Show – a collaboration among campus organizations and Tucson non-profits.
During her senior year, Jessica participated in the LEAD program. Through this program, she was able to sit in on a legal writing course with a current law student, enabling Jessica to get a small taste of law school. And it was this interaction that helped Jessica decide to stay at U of A’s James E. Rogers College of Law when considering law schools. What appealed to her most were the school’s small class sizes, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and close proximity to her family in Glendale.
As a law student, Jessica is active in many groups. She’s a participant in Teen Court, the Vice President of the Family and Juvenile Law Association, a member of the Academic Affairs Faculty Committee, a member of the Law Women’s Association, a member of Phi Alpha Delta, and a volunteer at the Primavera Legal Aid Clinic.
Since starting law school, Jessica has also gained ample experience working in the family law arena. Jessica was a law clerk for the Pima County Office of Children’s Counsel, a law clerk for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office - Child Support Enforcement Division, a legal assistant at Stolar & Pollins – a Tucson family law firm, and a legal assistant at MyersStrickland – a Tucson adoption and surrogacy law firm. To supplement her family law work, Jessica also decided to volunteer at the VLP’s Domestic Relation’s project.
When asked why she chose to volunteer with the VLP, Jessica said, “I decided to volunteer with VLP because I liked the idea of being able to help those in need of legal services. So many individuals are in need of support through the complex legal system, [but] are unable to afford an attorney.” Jessica was drawn to the VLP because, she said, “a lack of financial resources should not prohibit somebody from being able to understand the legal system.”
Although law school takes up most of her time, Jessica enjoys traveling and tries to make time to watch The Voice, Suits, and Once Upon a Time on TV. Jessica is a self-proclaimed “big country music fan.” She recently visited Nashville, TN, where she was able to go backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and watch the broadcasted concert. Jessica also played the flute for 10 years as a child, and hopes to continue playing it – as well as learn to play the violin – after graduation.
When asked about her dream job, Jessica told us that, because of her personal and professional experiences with adoption, her dream job would be to work as an adoption and surrogacy attorney. Jessica “loves the idea of bringing ‘forever families’ together.”
Thank you, Jessica, for volunteering with the VLP!