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Debra Kazanjian

Debra Kazanjian
Year Graduated: 1979
Title: Member, McGeorge Alumni Association Board of Directors
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Home > Jessica Schoendienst
Jessica Schoendienst

Jessica Schoendienst

Associate Legal Counsel, Sierra Nevada Corporation
Year Graduated: 2015

Undergraduate: California State University at Chico
Major: Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

After receiving her Bachelor's Degree in business administration and earning a certificate in paralegal studies from the California State University at Chico in 2007, Jessica Schoendienst '15 had a six-year career in labor relations and wage and hour compliance. "In my work before law school, I often needed to call an attorney to resolve an issue or answer a question. I decided to go to law school because I wanted to be the one called rather than the one calling."

She joined Sierra Nevada Corporation as Associate Legal Counsel in July 2017. Previously she was a labor and employment attorney at Weintraub Tobin in Sacramento. 

As an associate attorney focused on labor and employment law at Weintraub Tobin, Schoendienst was indeed the one called. "I enjoyed making a difference each day. I advised employers on complex laws and regulations so that they can resolve employee conflicts quickly."  Schoendienst also provides training and assists employers in drafting policies, handbooks, and agreements to help avoid employee conflicts before they arise.

Schoendienst credits the preparation she gained at McGeorge for the success in her current position. "McGeorge offers endless opportunities to gain practical experience, starting in the classroom. My legal writing courses and employment law course stand out as classes that really allowed me to hit the ground running professionally." In addition to the practical experience it offered, McGeorge stood out to Schoendienst when she was searching for a law school because of its great reputation and evening program. "I wanted to keep working as I went to law school and my work was based in California so McGeorge caught my eye. I also liked how well-respected it was as an institution in northern California."

While at McGeorge, Schoendienst took advantage of any opportunity she could to gain experience. Her summer internship at Weintraub Tobin led to her current position. "I can't stress enough to current students the importance of finding summer internships and taking advantage of on campus interviews. You really have to be on top of it because recruiting happens in the fall and you don't want to miss your chance."

In addition to the practical experience Schoendienst gained at McGeorge, she also gained great memories. One that stands out to her in particular is the study abroad program she did with US Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan. "We studied human rights in Salzburg, Austria with Supreme Court Justices Kennedy and Kagan. It was an incredible experience and I will always be grateful for it. It was one of my best law school memories."

As for the future, Schoendienst would like to stay on the west coast and continue to grow her career in labor and employment law, a calling that strikes a chord with Schoendienst who worked as a firefighter during the summers while in college. "I've experienced firsthand how labor and employment laws help people in dangerous jobs. I've also experienced how complex rules and regulations can be for employers to navigate. When I advise an employer, I know I am helping all parties achieve the best work environment possible. With the amount of time we spend at work, I believe a harmonious workplace is profoundly important."

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