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Lelise Gobena

Right at Home

Fall 2013

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Bay Area native Lelise Gobena ’13 admits that living on the East Coast took some getting used to at first. But after only a few weeks on campus, the University of Southern California graduate had joined a number of student groups that helped ease the transition. One that stands out as particularly supportive, Gobena says, was Columbia Law School’s student-run California Society, which sponsors panel discussions, career fairs, social gatherings, and other events geared toward those with links to the West Coast.

“I found a wonderful community of people,” Gobena says. “It was nice to have an organization that brought us together socially, and it allows students to stay connected to West Coast firms and resources.”

In her second year at the Law School, Gobena served as the California Society’s co-president and became a mentor to incoming students from the West Coast. At the same time, she also began to put down some roots in New York City. Gobena pursued legal internships with both the New-York Historical Society and the National State Attorneys General Program in Manhattan. In the fall semester of her second year, she worked as an intellectual property law intern at Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy in Midtown. It was not until this past year that Gobena returned to California—to work as a summer associate in the Los Angeles office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

“New York has become the baseline I compare all other cities to,” says Gobena, who joined Manatt after graduation and requested to be placed in the firm’s Manhattan office. “I’ve really found a home here.”

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Photographed by David Yellen