Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Alumni Q&A with Heidi Yoshioka '89

Heide YoshiokaHeidi Yoshioka '89, Partner, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and President of Southwestern's Alumni Association (2011-2013)

Q: When (and why) did you first become involved with Southwestern's Alumni Association?

A: I first became involved in the Southwestern Alumni Association in 2003. I was invited by a colleague at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith to join the Alumni Association. My primary purpose and focus at that time was to assist students of Southwestern by advising them about what I had learned throughout my years in practice and to provide some advice about what they could do to enhance their legal career once they graduated from Southwestern.

Q: What are some of the Alumni Board's overall priorities for the coming year?

A: We would like to continue to grow our alumni base and have them participate in the various events that assist prospective and current Southwestern students.

Q: How will the soon-to-be launched Alumni Online Directory (called SWLAW Connect) improve the Alumni Resource Network?

A: SWLAW Connect will hopefully improve the ability of alums to connect with one another, and will allow students to connect with alums in their respective fields of interest. We hope to bring the Southwestern legal community, both students and alums, closer.

Q: What are some of your goals as an active member of the Alumni Admissions Committee?

A: My primary goal and objective as a member of the Alumni Admissions Committee is to assist in continuing to bring in top quality students into Southwestern by interviewing prospective applicants and providing feedback to the Admissions Committee about those prospective students that are interviewed.

Q: What is the Inn of St. Ives Program, and how can students participate?

A: In 1992, the Southwestern Alumni Association implemented the "Inn of St. Ives" dinners. When a dinner is planned, a topic is identified and six practitioners and six students are invited to dine at the law school and engage in a discussion about the topic. "Inn of St. Ives" gives the students the opportunity to exchange ideas with practicing attorneys and judges in an intimate collegial setting. It is a great program because the students engage in topics that are not necessarily part of their academic curriculum and the experience requires no prepared reading, etc. It is a great forum for the students to practice their communication skills and, at the same time, it provides alumni the opportunity to get involved with the law school. Alumni enjoy the dinners as much as the students. Students interested in participating may contact Institutional Advancement (specifically Alumni Coordinator, Debra Snyder).

Q: How are funds raised for the Alumni Scholarship Fund?

A: Funds are raised for the Alumni Scholarship Fund through donations by alums and also the yearly Silent Auction event that is typically held in April. This year, because it is the Centennial Celebration of Southwestern, the Silent Auction event will not be held until October 2012.

Q: What is the Nickel Club and what are some activities you are planning for this group?

A: The Nickel Club is made up of Southwestern alums that have been in practice for up to five years. This Club has been a great addition to Alumni Association. The Nickel Club plans many social events and learning events for recent grads, including the Nickel Club Downtown LA Happy Hour and the Nickel CLE: "View from the Bench and from a Juror: How to be more effective in the courtroom." It has been a great way for young alums to remain in touch with one another and assist one another in the early stages of their career.

Q: How is the Alumni Association helping to increase the law school's visibility within the legal profession and the community?

A: Our alumni base stretches across every area of practice in the legal field. We have preeminent attorneys in every area of practice and a vast number of Judges that are Southwestern alums that participate in events and programs throughout the legal community.