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September 25, 2017

Nine Southwestern Alumni Selected for ABOTA Fellowships

The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) has selected nine outstanding members of Southwestern's 2017 Class for its prestigious three-month Fellowship program. Graduates Stacey Bavafa, Erik Ceja, Yarden Fedida, Onik Ovanesian, Venessa Simpson, Laura Tagmazian, Darris Upton-Stuart, Lusine Vardanyan, and Davit Zargaryan will spend three months working for a defense firm, a plaintiffs firm, and a Superior Court Judge.

ABOTA Chairman, Steve Glickman, lauded this year’s group of Southwestern students selected for the Fellowship. “With the American Board of Trial Advocates Fellowship Program, we solicit applications from the major LA area law schools; we only accept the best and brightest graduating students who have shown through their law school activities and work experience a true desire to be trial lawyers.”

Glickman also praised the efforts of Southwestern’s Career Services Office, acknowledging their direct involvement and passionate advocacy in growing the ABOTA fellowship program and connecting exceptional students to ABOTA. “Our motto for the program is ‘training tomorrow's trial lawyers...today’. Over the 14 years I have been the chair of the Fellowship Program, I have consistently been impressed with applicants from Southwestern Law School -- especially those who have participated in the Trial Advocacy Honors Program. This year is no exception -- we have a great group of SWLAW Fellows.”

The ABOTA Fellowship is offered to the five major law schools in Los Angeles: Southwestern, UCLA, USC, Loyola, and Pepperdine. Eligible applicants must have finished law school in the top third of their graduating class, have a strong interest in civil jury trial practice and intend to practice law in Los Angeles County. Fellows were selected based on their resumes, statement of interest, and an interview.

Participating students take the bar exam in July and the Fellowship commences in September, whereupon each fellow spends the first month supporting a civil defense firm, the second in a civil plaintiff’s firm, and the final month shadowing a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge both in the courtroom and in chambers. Fellows often receive job offers from one of the host firm placements, according to Katrina Denny, Director of Career Services at Southwestern.

"The ABOTA Fellowship Program is an incredible opportunity for recent Southwestern graduates who want to pursue a career in civil trial work,” Denny said. “The level of experience the fellows receive in just three months is phenomenal. Plus, the benefits and connections within The ABOTA network extend far beyond the completion of the program.”