I was sitting at my desk in the District Attorney's Office in 2006 when my phone rang. It was the front desk informing me there was a Dr. Cynthia Ostberg on the phone from the University of the Pacific and she wanted to speak with me. Sometimes in life there are times you wish you did not answer the phone. This was not one of those times.
Dr. Ostberg introduced herself and explained she was beginning a program at UOP for undergraduate students to prepare them for law school. She said she wanted to get as many people from different practices of the local legal community as possible involved in her program. Dr. Ostberg detailed a new undergraduate program unlike any other pre-law program. Most pre-law programs only focus preparing students for law school; Dr. Ostberg's program would not only prepare students to succeed in law school, but would also give them the experience of law school to allow them to determine whether that was the right choice for them. At the end of the phone call she asked if I would sit on their board, and I immediately said yes. This was the beginning of the Pacific Legal Scholars Program ("PLS").
From my first Board meeting in 2007 to my last in 2012, I was amazed with Dr. Ostberg's commitment to her students and the legal community. Dr. Ostberg's background is in political science, and as she is quick to say, her research over the years makes her a statistical person who likes to "crunch the numbers." Most program directors would judge their success in a program like PLS based on how many of their graduates attend law school. Dr. Ostberg judges her performance not on the number of students that go on to law school, but on whether they are happy and successful, regardless of their profession.
As any lawyer knows, the legal profession, as important as it is, is not for everyone. Dr. Ostberg's students have gone on to succeed in law school and a large variety of graduate schools, including business and dentistry. Her students' success, as any of them will share, is a direct result of Dr. Ostberg's passion and commitment to them and the PLS Program.
As a Stocktonian I often feel that I have to defend our great City and tell others about all of the wonderful things we have to offer. Some of the best things we have in Stockton are our people. Dr. Ostberg is a prime example. Her commitment to UOP and to our legal community has benefited numerous students and our City. I am very proud to know her and I am glad I picked up the phone that day. Congratulations Dr. Ostberg on being the recipient of this year's Law Day Award!