The LEAP fellowship program employs a unique dual mentoring approach. Each Fellow is paired with both a current law student and a practicing attorney. Below, get to know three of our dedicated mentors who are also committed public servants. They share their career journeys, diverse experiences, and firsthand insights into public service careers.
We’re honored to pair our Fellows with such impressive mentors who are invaluable resources to the Fellows as they learn about practicing law, networking, and preparing for a career in law.
Robin Allen, Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County
I began my career as a prosecutor for the LA County District Attorney’s Office straight out of law school in 1991. I knew that I wanted a career in public service, and I appreciated that my office was one the largest women and minority employers in the country. As a progressive member of the LGBTQIA community, I was concerned about finding my place in what I perceived as a conservative institution. I came to realize that I was not a unicorn and that we had lawyers with viewpoints across the political spectrum.
Government service is unique. You hold a great deal of power and with that comes a great responsibility. Unlike many attorneys, you are not representing an individual who has retained your services. You represent the people of the state of California and have a duty to seek the truth and do justice. I have spent most of my career in specialized units such as sex crimes and elder abuse and was able to channel my passion as an advocate into helping some of the most vulnerable members of our society. When I began working as a prosecutor, I expected to stay a few years, gain trial experience and move on to a career in private practice. Instead I found a career in which I could have many unique professional challenges, from trial work to lecturing to working on multidisciplinary teams with professional partners in legal aid, medicine, and social services. I was also encouraged by my office to volunteer in my community through Project Lead, serve on the board of several charities, act as mentor to high school and college students, and serve as a commissioner for the Pasadena Senior Commission. I am proud of my service and believe that I have been able to make a positive difference in my hometown, Los Angeles.
Matthew King Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
I have served as a deputy attorney general in the Licensing Section, Civil Division of the California Office of the Attorney General for nearly ten years. I was inspired to apply for the job because I come from a family of public servants and believe that public service is a high calling. My position allows me to use my legal education and experience to promote justice and equality, and protect consumers in California. I represent over 30 consumer protection agencies that regulate many of California’s licensed professionals, such as building contractors, nurses, dentists, and teachers. I appear in administrative hearings to deny credentials to unworthy applicants and remove dangerous professionals from practice. I also handle appeals in the trial courts and Second District Court of Appeal. My work is challenging and meaningful. I enjoy a work-life balance that may be difficult to achieve in private practice, and I could not ask for better colleagues.
Trina Saunders, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
I have been a deputy attorney general for almost 15 years. Prior to that I worked at a number of private firms. Even then, I had a number of public entity clients. One of the satisfying things about my work, then and now, is that I can see the direct impact my work has on the public. Whether I am defending a city, or bringing an action on behalf of the State of California, I do work that meaningfully touches the lives of my community and issues that are important to the public.
In my current position, one of the things I do is bring disciplinary actions against health care professionals. As a government attorney, I provide services that protect the public. I am entrusted with fairly bringing and prosecuting actions. Ultimately, the outcome of those actions has a direct and immediate impact on the lives and health of the people of the State of California. I take pride in the fact that my responsibility is to seek justice for all parties involved in the cases I handle. It feels good for fairness and justice to be the cornerstone of my work and the decisions I’m tasked with.