McGeorge School of Law

Profile: Kelli Tong

Kelli Tong
Kelli Tong

Class of 2018

Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
Undergraduate: California State University Sacramento
Major: Criminal Justice

As a California native, Kelli has lived the majority of her life in Sacramento. "When I was in third grade, we moved here from Suisun City, CA; I have been here ever since! I love being in Sacramento, because it is very easy to live the suburb life and city life at the same time. I know a lot about Sacramento and enjoy all it has to offer."

Kelli has taken a unique path to get to law school. "I did my first two years of high school at a performing arts school, but I never found the talent that I was really good at. Most kids at that school did art, dancing, and singing, [yet] I never was good at any of that. My junior year of high school, I decided to go to another charter school that was pre-law. We took criminal law, constitutional law, and civil law. Right away, I knew that this was something I loved to learn about. The topics were interesting to me, and I understood it very well. The pre-law charter school I went to was called Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep, connected to the University of Pacific, so coming to McGeorge seemed destined."

She went to college at California State University Sacramento studying Criminal Justice. She currently lives in Sacramento with my parents and older brother. Attending McGeorge has allowed her to remain in her beloved city and close to her family. "When deciding to go to law school, being in the capital of California seemed to be the best choice for me. I felt there is a lot of opportunity in Sacramento, and room to really find a good practice of law." Since staying close to her family was a priority, McGeorge was a natural option.

Kelli is the first person in her immediate family to go to college, and the first person in her extended family to go to law school. "Deciding to take out loans to go to college and law school was a big obstacle, however my family is always supportive and have told me many times to pursue my dreams."

Not only has she had tremendous support from her family in attending Pacific McGeorge, she also loves the atmosphere the school provides for new students: "McGeorge has a comforting atmosphere like no other. Even through the chaotic times of midterms and finals, everyone I have met has been so helpful and caring."

While she admits there can be competitive times among students, she and her colleagues always come together and help each other in whatever ways they can. "The staff and professors always have their doors open to listen and help with whatever they can. Coming to law school I thought that it was going to be a lonely, long, tough road, however McGeorge has proved otherwise. Law school is tough, but the best thing about McGeorge is they make that tough experience excited, and worth all the pain."

To maintain a balanced lifestyle, Kelli practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. "My cousin owns a Jiu Jitsu gym associated with Ralph Gracie, and I use to train with him there before starting law school. A lot of people think it is Mixed Martial Arts, but it is only a piece of MMA. Jiu Jitsu is only ground grappling, no striking, which makes it safer in my mind."

Though Kelli remains open-minded to different fields of law, her main goal is to become a trial lawyer. "I hope to be able to help others, whatever that may be in my job. I want to be a trial lawyer, where I get to be in court and fight for what's right. I hope to develop good relationships with clients so that I can help them and make their situations better, whatever they may be. Whether it be civilly or criminally, I hope to help people and provide justice."