Alumni News

  • June Monroe, JD '12

    June Monroe grew up in Downey, California. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton and worked her way through college. June soon took a job in 1997 as a receptionist at a small law firm. She married and had two children.

    It was a nice start to her career. The law firm trained her as a legal secretary and then as a paralegal. “I was doing the work of an attorney – legal research and drafting pleadings. The only thing I couldn’t do was represent the clients and argue on their behalf,” says June.

    After nine years of administrative legal support, June decided that she wanted more for herself and, importantly, her young children. “I am a mom who drives a minivan and my goal was to provide a better life for my children.”

    “I did research on accredited and non-accredited schools and there was just no way raising two kids, having a full-time job that I could enroll in a traditional school and afford it,” says June.

    She chose Concord Law School. “Concord by far had the convenience, technology, and affordability that would make it feasible for me to get a law degree. Law School is extremely challenging. It is not for everybody but Concord gives you the opportunity to achieve your potential.”

    According to June, she relied most on her mother, father and sisters to help with her young boys, who were 7 and 2 when she started at Concord. Her employer was also very supportive, as well.

    “Going to law school is not a one person journey. You take your whole family and friends with you.”

    Today, June is a newlywed, who remarried this past Valentine’s Day, and her two boys are now 14 and 10. She graduated from Concord Law School with a Juris Doctor degree in 2012 and went on to pass the California State Bar Exam.

    Currently, June is a senior associate with Rynn and Janowsky—the same law firm she started at as a receptionist. Her practice areas include employment, business, commercial and agricultural law.

    Michelle Becker, JD '11

    Michelle Becker is a self-described Southern California gal. After graduating in 1991 from the University of California Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in economics, she worked for many years in corporate America including at Phillip Morris USA and as the director of sales for Nature’s Made Vitamins. While working, Michelle went back to school to earn her MBA from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate School in 1997.

    Michelle also adopted twin girls from an orphanage in Romania. “They had development delays and the school districts were not eager to help.” Michelle decided to put the brakes on her career and focus on being an advocate for her daughters.

    To fight on their behalf effectively, she decided that she needed a legal education. She looked at a number of traditional law schools in the greater Los Angeles area.

    “I compared the coursework of the brick and mortars (to Concord) and all of the basic coursework was the same. Then I looked at the faculty and compared that. I kept coming back to Concord. From the online presence to the people I spoke with to the curriculum offered to the faculty, it was kind of a no brainer for me,” says Michelle.

    She enrolled at Concord in 2006. According to Michelle, going to Concord Law School is a “passion project” for students. “It is not something we are doing because we are pressured by parents or pressured by the need to earn money.”

    Michelle graduated from Concord Law School in 2011 and passed the California State Bar Exam.

    Today, she is special education attorney practicing in southern California fighting for children in the community as well as providing her services pro bono as a court appointed special advocate for children in foster care. She also does pro bono work for the Alliance for Children’s Rights.

    “There are many parents out there with kids who are struggling in school. There could be a variety of reasons. However, the only way you know if your kid needs help and requires services from the school is to get kids assessed. Schools are reluctant to do that,” says Michelle.

    “All kids deserve a shot. All kids can learn. If the school systems are not going to give them that shot, I will.”

    Dennis Shogren, EJD '14

    Dennis Shogren grew up in and around Eugene Oregon. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA in Finance and became a Certified Public Accountant. He moved around the United States in various senior corporate finance roles before settling down in California in 1997.

    He became CEO of a modular building manufacturer in 2006. The recession soon hit and Dennis decided to make a career change, opening up his own accountancy practice focusing on trust and probate work.
    An attorney friend called on Dennis to serve as an expert witness. “I got a taste of the courtroom environment and going to law school would be a really good way to get a practical education to go with my accounting skills,” says Dennis.

    He decided to enroll in Concord Law School’s Executive Juris Doctoral program because it worked with his hectic schedule. “When you work for yourself, you work all the time.”

    Dennis has some advice for others considering going to an online law school like Concord. It is like any big decision so think before you enroll.

    “Don’t underestimate how much work it is. It is not easy because it is online. It is doable. It works. The flexibility is amazing. I had a blast.”

    Dennis earned his EJD in 2014. “My legal education comes in very handy. It’s been really good for me to have when I do work for attorneys. They actually like the idea that I can understand their language. I know about procedure and I am confortable in their world.”

    According to Dennis, the faculty and staff at Concord are “top of the line. There is no question when you get done with a Concord law degree you’ve got a great education.”

    Dwight Kealy, JD '12

    Dwight Kealy is one interesting individual. He graduated from high school in South America and then went on to earn his undergraduate degree at Westmont College in 1993. He did graduate work (archeology) at Harvard University while in Israel before enrolling at Yale University where he earned his master’s degree in Religion in 1996.

    “I was interested in the academic world—history, art, religion. I was at a period in my life where I was thinking ‘Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?’”

    Something was missing. “I was interested in serving my country in some way. I remember going to my guidance counselors at Yale. They gave me a list of senators and different people I could talk too.”
    Dwight had different ideas. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corp.

    After completing basic training at Paris Island, the Marine Corp sent Dwight to the Defense Language Institute to learn Arabic and then onto Officer’s Candidate School. Dwight served as an Intelligence Analysis Officer for the 1st USMC Division. He left the military in April 2002 and joined a large California-based insurance services company where he eventually became its Chief Operating Officer.

    Dwight considered going back to school to earn his MBA but the idea of taking on a lot of student debt and potentially having to quit work made it a non-starter. Instead, he switched his focus to law school. As the Chief Operating Officer at the insurance company, “I saw lawsuits every week.”

    Dwight decided to enroll at Concord Law School. He and his wife welcome their first child at the end of his first year at Concord.

    Dwight graduated from Concord with a JD degree in 2012 and became a proud parent again. He sat for and passed the California State Bar exam and decided to leave the insurance industry and open his own law practice in January 2014 specializing in civil law.

    Dwight continues to have a commitment to service. He volunteers at a local legal aid clinic in his community.

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