Class of 2015
Associate Attorney,Wilner & O’Reilly APLC
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Undergraduate: UC Davis
Major: Bachelor of Arts, International Relations with a minor in Spanish
Rebecca Caporale, '15 grew up in Fresno, California where she witnessed the plight of migrant workers and other underserved workers firsthand. She knew she wanted to make a difference in the field of immigration and obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from UC Davis in 2009.
After her time at UC Davis, she worked for several years at a nonprofit organization, The Foundation for Public Safety, which focused on keeping at-risk youth safe and in school. "I loved my work at the Foundation but I knew I wanted to do something on a larger scale to help the population that I grew up with."
Law school was the next step. Caporale focused on McGeorge when she was choosing a law school because of its excellent externship opportunities and legal clinics, particularly the immigration clinic supervised by Professor Blake Nordahl. "I knew that if I attended McGeorge I would get the experience I needed for my desired career path." She also felt that the McGeorge campus was a unique learning environment, with 12 acres devoted to graduate studies. "It's hard to explain but when you set foot on the campus you get a collegial sense of community that draws you in."
While at McGeorge, Caporale especially liked her Global Lawyering Skills classes, a two-year series focused on legal research and writing. Currently an associate attorney at Wilner & O'Reilly's Sacramento office, she has found these classes particularly important. "Immigration Law is paper heavy and the skills I learned in my Global Lawyering Skills classes are extremely useful in my day-to-day work."
Caporale also enjoyed the opportunity to do her post bar fellowship at her current firm, ultimately landing her in the area of law she has always wanted to practice. "Each day I get to keep families together or reunite them. Immigration law often lends itself to many years of working with one family. You form very special relationships as you help people form their lives in the United States."
Caporale stresses the importance of finding a mentor, especially to current law students. "There are a number of established programs and clubs on the McGeorge campus that lend themselves to finding an upperclassman to guide you through the ups and downs of law school." One of these groups is a highlight of Caporale's law school experience. "The McGeorge Women's Caucus hosts an annual philanthropic event each fall and I was heavily involved in it throughout law school. One year we worked with WEAVE, a nonprofit that provides shelter and resources to women escaping violent environments. It was a very special memory."
As for the future, Caporale would like to continue to do what she does best: Help her clients achieve their dreams of a better life. After gaining more experience at her current firm, she would eventually like to work for the Immigration Court. "I feel like I can really make an impact there. It's ultimately where I want to be."