Principal, Law Office of Kellan Patterson
Year Graduated: 2015
Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Bachelor of Arts, political science with a minor in African American studies
Kellan Patterson, '14 graduated from McGeorge in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a minor in African American studies from the University of California, Berkeley (2010). He chose McGeorge for its accessible and skilled professors and enjoyed he opportunities he had to gain real-world experience there. He is currently following the calling that originally brought him to law school by practicing civil rights litigation and labor and employment law as a solo practitioner. He hopes to grow his work into a civil rights litigation firm someday.
Kellan Patterson's, '14, inspiration to become an attorney stemmed from his experiences growing up in Oakland. "I grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of crime and not a lot of opportunity. If something happened, people really had no idea what to do for legal services. I wanted to make things better."
Knowing law school was his dream, he started preparing for it at a young age. In high school, he did community service work focused on advocacy and research to ensure that high school students in poor neighborhoods had adequate educational opportunities to pass the graduation exam before it was implemented. He then went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a minor in African American studies (2010).
When Patterson applied to law school, McGeorge seemed like a natural choice because he was already living in Sacramento and starting a family with his wife there. He also noticed the quality of professors. "I noticed right away that the professors seemed extremely accomplished and experienced. I felt like the quality of education I would get at McGeorge matched that of an east coast school." When Patterson arrived at McGeorge, it exceeded his expectations. "The professors were open and available whenever students needed them. It quickly became clear to me that students were their first priority. During our first week I'll never forget Professor Garcia Uhrig's mock class. I felt so welcomed."
Additionally, he appreciated the opportunities for experiential learning. "McGeorge's moot court and mock trial programs are outstanding. I felt prepared to practice law in the courtroom right away." This experience greatly assisted Patterson in his post bar internship at the Sacramento County Public Defender's Office, and after that as he stated his own practice focused on civil rights litigation and labor and employment law. "Civil rights litigation is very complex. It's deeply gratifying have the skills and experience to help someone through a hard time in their lives, especially when they feel like there is no one out there for them."
Patterson also appreciates the opportunities he had at McGeorge to be next door to California's capitol, where much of the law he practices each day was formed. "Policy directly affects civil rights litigation. At McGeorge we had many opportunities to learn about policymaking and how it affects the legal profession. Many McGeorge alumni work in politics as lobbyists. It's a great resource to draw upon when I have a question or a concern.
To current students, Patterson has a special message, "Stay true to your passions and what brought you to law school in the first place. Clients can sense when you relate to them and are excited about what you do versus if you are simply going through the motions. Work will come if you follow your heart."
As for the future, Patterson is taking his own advice. "I would like to grow my practice into a civil rights litigation law firm in Oak Park. I want to be accessible to the people who need it most, and to as many of them as possible."