When Serena Kallas, ’14, was a student at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, she was not aware that her younger brother Amir Kallas, ’21, would one day follow in her footsteps.
While Serena always knew that she wanted to pursue a legal career, Amir never dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Instead, he focused on science and the medical field and had a love for inventions and things that people created. When he started working with Serena at a firm she established after graduating from law school, he was inspired to pursue a legal career.
“I remembered my love for inventions, and I realized it would be the perfect segue for me to make a career in patent law,” Amir said. “I could mix my blend of getting a JD with my science background and create a life that is exciting and fulfilling.”
Originally from Lebanon, Serena said their parents did not expect them to become lawyers. Because of the sacrifices she experienced growing up and watching her family struggle with their business, Serena knew from a young age that she wanted to learn how to run a business and how to help small business owners like her parents. Seeing her family fear the unknown sparked her interest in business law.
“We wouldn’t be here today without the love and support from our parents,” Serena said.
Amir added, “The way they came to this country, the way that they built themselves up, the way they have two children who went through the rigors and made a career for themselves, I know it must fill them with pride.”
Serena decided to pursue her legal education at McGeorge School of Law because it was one of the top schools for aspiring attorneys interested in doing a JD and MBA at the same time. Her family is from Sacramento, so McGeorge’s location appealed to her.
“McGeorge enabled me to accomplish my goal of becoming a business attorney,” Serena said.
Because his sister went to McGeorge, Amir was familiar with the school’s beautiful campus and the proximity to the California State Capitol. But in the end, it was the McGeorge community that made him fall in love with the school.
“I felt a sense of community and belonging,” Amir said. “Seeing faculty interacting with students and being genuinely interested in them, there were a lot of factors that made McGeorge the right choice.”
Amir’s path after law school led him to a career where he combines his love for inventions and law. He works as an Intellectual Property Officer at the University of California, Davis, where he manages patent prosecution for the university and drafts and negotiates licenses and other types of agreements related to inventions created on campus.
At McGeorge, Amir was part of the University of the Pacific Law Review and the Intellectual Properties Student Association and also earned the Intellectual Property Law Certificate of Concentration.
“The classes at McGeorge came with a lot of learning about the different laws — my favorite being learning about intellectual property laws — and really understanding the scope of how the law is, and the constant evolvement of it. The classes at McGeorge really prepared me with the skills that I need today for interacting with counsel on the other side as well as negotiation and writing skills,” Amir said.
Serena is Product and Commercial Counsel for Impossible Foods. With the dual degree that she received from McGeorge, Serena was able to build the foundation for a successful career.
“In terms of researching, writing, and advocacy, those skills definitely started at McGeorge,” Serena said.
Serena said she felt prepared for her career because the school’s diverse and hands-on curriculum gave her the tools and resources needed to succeed.
“I felt so comfortable knowing that my brother was in the great hands of McGeorge,” Serena said. “I really thank McGeorge for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams as the first attorney in our family.”
Serena was active in various student organizations while she attended McGeorge and is currently a member of McGeorge’s Alumni Association Board, a volunteer group of alumni dedicated to advancing the interests and promoting the welfare of the McGeorge School of Law.
Amir advises prospective and current law students to remain goal-orientated throughout their law school journey.
“Never forget your goal, and the reason why you came to law school,” Amir said. “Use that goal as your motivating force to keep going.”