Scavenger Hunt Stories

Stories from the Earl Warren American Inn of Court, Oakland, CA

Our Scavenger Hunt Experience

We both work in the field of family law and have known each other for some time, so it was a very natural pairing. Upon getting the news that we were paired as mentor and mentee, we pulled out our calendars and scheduled a plan to tackle tasks 2, 4, and 5.  Fortunately, Commissioner Oleon had an upcoming hearing on child custody and visitation issues that Alice could attend and observe. We met before and after the hearing to discuss the law and to answer Alice’s questions about the proceedings.  Over our plates of Mediterranean food, we explored a plethora of topics involving family law, the Inn, our career paths, the practice of law, and the different ways that attorneys can be effective in court. 

Commissioner Glenn P. Oleon (Ret.), Alameda County Superior Court/ADR Services, Inc. (mentor); Alice P. Cheng, family law associate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA (mentee)

Our Mentoring Month Story

Lauren learned that Alexis is a much more active Twitter user than she is, but that Lauren probably takes and post more selfies.  Alexis learned that Lauren is an engaging and inquisitive conversationalist with a great selfie technique.  Our legal paths cross tangentially; we couldn't easily see where the other worked but it was enlightening to chat anyway.  Part of joining the Earl Warren American Inn of Court is a way to meet fun and interesting legal practitioners. We both can't wait to connect to more new and interesting people beyond this month of mentorship. Being able to enjoy a presentation was quite fun as was drafting our Tweet! We both are looking forward continuing our mentorship pairing beyond January. 

Lauren Powe, Esq., Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General; Alexis E. Krieg, Law Offices of Stephan C. Volker

Telling Our Story

On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, Captain Acevedo visited Judge Smiley on his home turf at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center.  Judge Smiley invited Captain Acevedo into his chambers, where they discussed their backgrounds, choice of law school, practice areas, and shared details with one another about their families.  Captain Acevedo told Judge Smiley a little bit about Uniform Code of Military Justice – how it is the military’s penal code, and provides for total criminal jurisdiction of active duty military personnel without regard for geographic boundaries.  Judge Smiley shared interesting perspective on juvenile justice, and the difficulties involved with balancing parental rights with the best interests of children.  Judge Smiley also introduced Captain Acevedo to other judges and administrative staff at the courthouse, pointing out the effort to make the courthouse a welcoming place for children.  They had most fun when Judge Smiley pulled out a 1953 copy of the Alameda County Bench & Bar, complete with a biography of then-Governor Earl Warren.  

Judge Charles “Chad” Smiley is the presiding judge of the Alameda County juvenile courts, and former President of the Earl Warren American Inn of Court (mentor); Captain Christian Acevedo is a Judge Advocate stationed at Travis Air Force Base (mentee)


Our Mentoring Story

Once upon a time, there was an Inn near the bay known for putting on great programs; each year the members vied against one another for the Best Program award. Enter our mentor team: Vicky and Corrine. While Inn members for over a decade each, they found themselves on the same team for the first time. They both wanted to win Best Program, and had an idea that just might work. This would be their year. But developing a program didn’t give them the time to get to know each other they had hoped for; they were spending so much time mentoring newer members of the team and creating an amazing program, that personal interaction between Vicky and Corrine got lost. Enter the #AICMentoringChallenge.  Now they had an excuse to pick up the phone, to talk for over an hour, to discuss civility and how it applies to their work.  Corrine, used to being an Inn mentor, got to be a mentee for a change.  Vicky got to talk about her work, as Corrine pestered her about what it was really like to be a judge, how civility and judicial temperament are entwined, and the differences between being an attorney and being a judge. They even found time to leave the office and grab lunch together.
Will their team win Best Program this year? That remains to be seen. Will Corrine continue to pester Vicky? That’s a definite yes.

Hon. Victoria S. Kolakowski, judge, Alameda County Superior Court (mentor); Corrine C. Bielejeski, Esq., East Bay Bankrupcty Law (mentee)


Stories from the Milton L. Schwartz-David F. Levi American Inn of Court, Davis, CA

Our Scavenger Hunt Journey

What new things did you learn about each other? 
Ian:  I learned how Jim began his legal career.  He told me that after law school in San Francisco he looked to return to the Woodland, Sacramento area and came to work for a civil litigation firm in Woodland where his is a partner.  I learned that he likes to go camping with his family at such places as Bodega Bay on the Pacific Coast.  
Jim:  I knew Ian when he was a youngster, since his family and mine are friends in the community of Woodland.  I now know Ian as a grown man on the eve of becoming a lawyer.  It inspires me to see Ian as a member of the new generation of Lawyers.  To see Ian’s dedication and passion gives me faith in the survival of our system of laws.  I learned that Ian is a vegetarian and has been for 5 or so years.  Ian likes to spend time with his family, which includes his parents, Dan and Jamie, his older brother Dillon and his wife and children, who are Ian’s nieces.  And, Ian likes to spend time with his twin brother, Graham.  Ian and his family have spent time at their vacation cabin at Lake Tahoe both in the summer and the winter.

Did you learn something new about the law? 
Ian:  We visited the Yolo County Court Family Court Services office, directed by Kay Hohenwarter, a member of the SLIC.  This part of the court provides a vital service to help those without lawyers navigate the system serving tens of thousands of people.  
Jim:  Yes, that there are dedicated young folks who are sincere in their effort to help less fortunate members of society gain access to legal services.

Did you meet new and interesting people? 
We both visited and met with Yolo Superior Court Presiding Judge, Sam McAdam, Assistant Presiding Judge, Dan Maguire, and new judge Sonia Cortez, all of whom are members of SLIC.  Judge Cortez is a native of Yolo County, and the first native of Yolo County on our bench.  Judge Maguire is president of SLIC.  We visited and met Kay Hohenwarter, Director of Family Court Services. She is a member of SLIC.  We also met with Rafael Moore, at his private practice law offices.  He is prestigious lawyer and member of SLIC.We also attended the Yolo County Bar Association Lunch, which featured its annual program of meet the judges.  We met two newly appointed judges to the Yolo Court, Hon. Peter Williams, and the Hon. Tom Dyer.

What was the most fun you had together? 
Ian:  the visit to the courthouse and Family Court Services Office with Kay Hohenwarter was wonderful, informative and fun!  I learned a good amount on how the services office provides vital guidance and information to an incredible number of people every year what are trying to navigate the legal system.  
Jim:  Everything Ian and I did together was fun.  Ian was game for all of it and seemed to enjoy the journey and meeting folks.  Spending time with Ian has made my mentorship very gratifying.  I have enjoyed immensely getting to know this wonderful young lawyer.  

James V. Nolan, Esq., partner, Gardner Janes Nakken Hugo & Nolan (mentor); Ian Dougherty, student, University of California Davis (mentee)

The Inn scavenger hunt was enriching, fun, and fabulous!

We learned a lot about each other, both professionally and personally.  Being American women of Muslim and Indian heritage, we already shared a lot in common, but this Inn experience brought us even closer together. We planned our Inn scavenger hunt during a phone call in which Ismah talked about the start of her last semester of law school and her new job as a litigation student associate at a small civil law firm.  Ismah also shared the sad news of the passing one day prior of a beloved law professor that both Judge Mesiwala and Ismah shared, who was a founding faculty member of UC Davis Law School.

At our January Inn meeting, we spent the social hour talking to Dean Kevin Johnson and Professor Emeritus Alan Brownstein, both of UC Davis Law School, about the opportunities afforded diverse members of this great legal profession.  (See picture of all of us together at the Inn meeting.)  We shared dinner with the two newest judicial appointments to the Sacramento Superior Court bench, Joginger Singh Dhillon and Peter Southworth, who were the guests of our Inn’s immediate past president, Judge Emily Vasquez, and we learned about their paths to the bench. We listened together to a lively presentation about California bail reform featuring the California senator who introduced the legislation. Finally, we visited the law firm of Inn member Rafael Moore, where we learned about his transactional law practice that he shares with his spouse.  Ismah and Judge Mesiwala, along with fellow mentor-mentee pair, Jim Nolan and Ian Dougherty, discussed the pros and cons of private practice and government and public sector employment. Thank you for this opportunity that allowed us to get to know each other better, and in a most meaningful and lively way.

Hon. Shama Hakim Mesiwala, judge, Sacramento Superior Court (mentor); Ismah Ahmad, student, University of California Davis (mentee)

Mentoring Scavenger Hunt for Pairs
Item Six: Tell your story.


Once you've accomplished three out of the five items, write a short story together about your Scavenger Hunt experience:
  • What new things did you learn about each other?
  • Did you learn something new about the law?
  • Did you meet new and interesting people?
  • What was the most fun you had together?​