Few law students will ever attain real-world experience in the inside of an actual courtroom until they pass the Bar. Fewer still will represent clients in a live courtroom hearing. Second year Fowler School of Law students Martina Vigil and Lauren Mayfield recently had the unique opportunity to appear opposite of each other in Orange County Superior Court, representing clients in a felony criminal law case.
Martina and Lauren, who are also roommates, were certified to appear in court with the supervision of their respective employers. On January 23, 2009, they appeared in the North Justice Center in Fullerton at a preliminary hearing in a case involving an alleged gang member accused of multiple felony counts. Martina is currently working as a law clerk for the gang unit in the Orange County District Attorney’s office, while Lauren is clerking for Christopher Strobel, a private defense attorney.
In the hearing, Martina qualified a gang expert and conducted direct examination of each prosecution witness while Lauren conducted cross-examination on two of the People's three witnesses. Scott Steiner, an Orange County District Attorney and adjunct professor at Chapman, observed the hearing and noted that “both represented the best Chapman has to offer and both were remarkably composed, competent, and professional.” Of note, Martina established probable cause for each of the felony counts.