McGeorge School of Law

Profile: Jamal Hartenstein

Jamal Hartenstein
Jamal Hartenstein

Class of 2016

Data Security Project Manager, CalPERS

Hometown: Elk Grove, CA
Undergraduate: University of Phoenix
Major: BS Business Administration

Sacramento may not seem like such a foreign city, but to an individual who spent years in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Honduras, just to name a few, it can seem like a different world. Being fluent in Russian, Spanish, and possibly a little Arabic, and with training in Goju Ryu and Jiu Jitsu, someone might consider this was a biography about James Bond. Jamal Hartenstein is a real person, however, who has a vast background in supporting military and Department of Defense efforts worldwide.

Jamal decided to join the Army in his junior year in high school by accepting a deferred enlistment, and he shipped out for his new adventure upon graduation. Because of his exceptional score on his ASVAB, Jamal's recruiting sergeant offered him a position in the military intelligence field. Little did he know that the position included 12 months of stringent courses and the impending tragedy of 9/11 was drawing near.

Once he arrived in Kuwait to serve his country, Jamal found campus classes on base and was able to complete his associate's degree from Georgia Military College. After leaving the army in 2003, he was sent off again, this time to Kyrgyzstan to work for the Department of Defense. During this 15-month commitment, Jamal was able to get halfway through his Bachelor's Degree with the University of Phoenix, in spite of constant power outages on the military base.

With one last contract commitment to Kuwait, Jamal received a phone call from his fiancée that they were expecting a baby. After promising to be home in time, Jamal ended up being sent to Bagram, and then later to Kandahar. "It is to date the toughest three months of my life." While living in a tent, dodging rockets and running to bomb shelters, Jamal tried to distract himself by studying for the LSAT. It did not take long for him to decide to resign to get back home for his daughter's birth.

In between living in four different countries, serving the military, and starting a family, Jamal never lost sight of his true mission. Ever since the age of seven, he wanted to go into law. He was finally given the chance when he settled into Sacramento. It was Dean Naccarato who gave Jamal the final nudge into McGeorge School of Law. "Dean Naccarato values veterans and he called to tell me so. And I can feel the comradery among the veterans on campus."

The staff, along with the evening program, is what ultimately convinced Jamal to submit his application to McGeorge. "Faculty understand that many students like me are already working professionals with families who choose to get a legal education so we can make a career change."

Jamal considers the faculty at McGeorge to be some of the best, not only as professors, but as active members of the legal community. "They are actively contributing in the legal community today regarding topics that I care about." Additionally, the sense of appreciation and welcome that the McGeorge administration has provided him is something that he thinks other California law schools cannot replace. "It feels great to be part of a close knit community where practicing lawyers give students so much attention."

With extensive foreign language skills, familiarity with diverse cultures, and his current IT work, Jamal wants to go into a legal position that would capitalize on his abilities and allow him to continue traveling the world.