Pre-flections on the Law: Kate Mignani

Six years ago, I suddenly became a single mother of four, with children ranging from 11 to 21.  Though I had a degree from U.C. Berkeley and a previous career in communications, my job as stay-at-home mom had lasted nearly two decades and I was at a loss as to what I would do to provide for my children and put a roof over our heads.  A vocational evaluation pointed me to the legal field.

I entered the paralegal certificate program at John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) in fall of 2014, attending part-time at night, while working full-time as an administrative assistant at a law firm during the day.  I received my certificate in December 2015 and started law school the next month.  I am currently a “2L” in the night program at JFKU and work full-time during the day as a paralegal and certified law student at Edrington, Schirmer & Murphy LLP in Pleasant Hill.

Voice for the Voiceless

My motivation for entering the legal field largely stems from my heart for the underdog. I have a deep need to stand up to bullies and stand by those who need a strong advocate.  I believe I am called to be a voice for the voiceless.

Human trafficking is a crime prevalent in our community and throughout the world that is fraught with bullies and people who need rescuing from them.  These victims largely do not have a voice. I am committed to working toward the solution through volunteer efforts now and as an attorney in the future.

I currently serve on the board of New Day for Children, a non-profit organization that helps girls rescued from human trafficking to restore their childhoods.  These girls receive housing, education, counseling, and healing activities (e.g. horse camp, art therapy).  The young women who persevere and go on to share their stories and join the fight against trafficking are some of my biggest heroes.  Their stories are inspirational and often provide the motivation I need when I feel overwhelmed by the struggle to balance work, school, and other facets of life.

I also support A.R.M. (Art * Recreation * Movement) of Care, a local non-profit that uses the healing arts to help abused children, including girls rescued from trafficking.  This organization provides trauma-specific programs that help empower abused children to discover their true value and find their place in this world.

Legal Career Goals

In line with my passions, I intend to use my legal education to help victims become victors.  For now, I will continue with volunteer efforts and endeavor to understand the Rule Against Perpetuities.  I am deeply grateful to the CCCBA’s Women’s Section for the generous scholarship, as I am paying for law school as I go.  It is a bit of a faith journey, and the financial support I received from the Women’s Section makes it possible for me to keep going.


Kate Mignani is a second-year law student at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill. She currently works full-time as a paralegal and certified law student for Edrington, Schirmer & Murphy LLP in Pleasant Hill and is on the board of New Day for Children, a non-profit that helps girls who have been rescued from human trafficking.

Filed Under: Spotlight

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply