UC Law SF Celebrates Graduates Who Passed the July 2023 California Bar Exam

UC Law SF Graduates who passed the bar exam stand up to take the oath and are sworn in by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Julia Alloggiamento ’94

Years of hard work, persistence, and determination paid off for an auditorium filled to capacity with recent UC Law SF graduates and their families and friends. The graduates gathered on Dec. 1 at their now alma mater to celebrate passing the July 2023 California bar exam and to be sworn in as licensed attorneys.

The swearing-in ceremony represented dreams fulfilled after three years of law school, including during a once-in-a-century pandemic, and countless hours of studying for what is widely considered the nation’s most difficult bar exam to pass.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Julia Alloggiamento ’94 speaks to students before the swearing-in

Before leading bar passers in reciting the attorney’s oath, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Julia Alloggiamento ’94 offered advice on what it means to conduct oneself with “dignity, courtesy, and integrity,” as stated in the oath.

“In the beginning of your career, the number of things you cannot control may feel overwhelming, but the thing that you can control is your reputation,” she said. “The thing that you can hold on to is your integrity.”

Alloggiamento, who previously served as a deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County and associate attorney at Morrison Foerster LLP, urged bar passers to always treat others with courtesy and respect, practice law in an ethical manner, take time for self-care, and find a part of their practice that feeds their soul.

Among the  attending graduates sworn in was Raja Handa ’23, a Sacramento area native and son of Indian immigrants, who said he became a lawyer to help protect vulnerable people from exploitation. Handa will work as an associate attorney for a Sacramento-based law firm that represents senior clients and victims of elder abuse.

“For me, passing the bar exam is a symbol of me overcoming my inner struggle to gain the tools and skills to fight against injustice and stick up for my community and future clients,” Handa said.

While studying at UC Law SF, Handa gained experience working with elderly clients through the law school’s Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic, where he helped seniors secure public benefits, create wills, and fight threats of eviction.

Another recent grad sworn in at the ceremony was Meron Wendwesen, who plans to use her skills and knowledge to support emerging companies and underrepresented business owners. Through her previous work in the financial sector and her upbringing in a family of entrepreneurs, Wendwesen said she saw how entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds tend face barriers to securing financing and legal services.

“To me, being able to practice law represents creating access for those in my community,” she said. “I want to bridge the gap by using my advocacy skills to support and empower early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Chancellor & Dean David Faigman with closing remarks after students are sworn-in

At UC Law SF, Wendwesen served as editor-in-chief of the Constitutional Law Quarterly, vice president of alumni relations for the Black Law Students Association, and co-president of the Intellectual Property Association. She also participated in the Social Enterprise and Economic Empowerment Clinic and the Startup Legal Garage.

After bar passers raised their right hands and recited the attorney’s oath, Chancellor & Dean David Faigman offered congratulations and a few words of advice.

“You are filled with great knowledge of legal doctrine, but that great knowledge is there to help shape and frame your advice to solve a problem–to get your client through a difficult time in their lives. Never forget that,” Faigman said. “We are incredibly proud of all that you’ve done and all that you’re going to do.”