McGeorge prepares alumna for courtroom, board room
Hayley Graves ’20, the Outstanding Graduating Senior for day law students and the most recent editor-in-chief of The University of the Pacific Law Review, is graduating from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law with juris doctor and Master of Public Administration degrees and will clerk for Judge Jerome Tao of the Nevada Court of the Appeals in Las Vegas once she has completed the bar exam.
The experience was dreamlike for Hayley Graves ’20 — practicing for law school mock trial competitions in the same courtroom where she had prepared years before with her high school team.
“In high school, we would come to the Courtroom of the Future at McGeorge for our scrimmages,” said Graves, who is graduating from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law with juris doctor and Master of Public Administration degrees. “Ever since high school, I wanted to be in a courtroom. I was fortunate to make the mock trial team at McGeorge and scrimmaged again in the same courtroom.”
The two programs on Pacific’s Sacramento Campus are setting her up for a long, successful career.
“The JD program prepared me to be a lawyer and the MPA program prepared me to be a professional,” Graves said. “In the JD program I learned how to present to a jury and in the MPA program I learned how to present to a board room.”
Besides being on a McGeorge mock trial team and being named the Outstanding Graduating Senior for day law students, Graves was the editor-in-chief of The University of the Pacific Law Review, working with students, faculty and staff by shepherding each edition of the publication from start to finish.
“I think my biggest accomplishment was being the editor-in-chief of The University of the Pacific Law Review,” she said. “I have grown exponentially as the editor-in-chief over the past 15 months. Having the opportunity to lead such a talented and dedicated staff and work with the McGeorge faculty and administration to produce a great volume of the law review has been the best part of my time at McGeorge.”
She plans a breather after commencement, but then it will be right back at learning something new.
“I’ve been in school for quite a while and I am looking forward to my next steps,” Graves said. “After the bar, I am clerking for Judge Jerome Tao of the Nevada Court of the Appeals in Las Vegas.”
The clerkship will last a year and begin after she has taken the California bar exam in September. She plans to return to the Sacramento area to pursue a career in litigation, most likely employment litigation.
Telling her professors about the clerkship stands out among her favorite memories at McGeorge. She said several of them — Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Experiential Learning Mary-Beth Moylan and Professors Mike Vitiello, Michael Malloy and Daniel Croxall — encouraged her to apply for the clerkship and supported her through the process.
She will be taking the bar exam, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online instead of in-person.
“I’m disappointed, but I understand,” Graves said of the delay and format change. “At McGeorge, we have practiced for the past three years taking exams the same way they would be on the bar. You arrive at the designated testing location, you take your seat and a proctor hands you the exam materials. But now I’m going to be using a system I’ve never used before. Talk about scary: I’m going to take the most important test of my life at my kitchen table.”
Missing a chance to thank her professors one more time for their guidance and support is the thing she will miss most about the postponed in-person commencement ceremony, although she hopes to return and walk in the postponed commencement ceremony.
And as for advice Graves would give to her younger self arriving at McGeorge: “Use your professors for help. Do more practice exams. Trust yourself.”