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Leveraging maturity for a successful law school experience

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Kimberly A. Dimino is an expert in re-invention. With 20 years of nursing under her belt, she felt the calling to help with medical malpractice cases, and started a legal nurse consulting business. Not content to stop there, she set her sights on a new career in litigation. Dimino graduated from California Western School of Law this past December.

“I couldn't see myself doing what I was doing for the next 20 years. It was time to take the next step,” Dimino said.

That step meant incorporating her interests in health care and advocacy into a new career. “My law degree includes a concentration in health law,” Dimino said. “My goal is to try out trial work doing medical malpractice defense work and then hopefully move into an in-house counsel position working with a hospital system.”

The California Western School of Law degree program, with a concentration in health law, is one of only a few in the western United States, which made it a very propitious opportunity for Dimino.

“There was no other area of law I planned on pursuing, so the only school for me was California Western,” Dimino said, of the decision that involved moving her entire family from Utah to California.

Once she got the family established in San Diego, Dimino promptly set about building a campus support system.

“I immediately wanted to connect with the Institute of Health Law Studies (IHLS), so I met with Pam Tait, program administrator, my first week of school to fully understand what the process was and what classes I needed to take,” Dimino said. That visit was shortly followed by one with Professor Bryan Liang, IHLS executive director, to plan her course of action. During that meeting she learned more about the Health Law Society (HLS), an integral part of the IHLS, and joined.

At about the same time, she learned about Older, Wiser Law Students (OWLS), a supportive community for non-traditional law students, and joined that group too. Involvement in both groups has proved instrumental in Dimino’s success.

“Law school is hard. You need support,” Dimino said. “OWLS provided great support with fellow older students who were doing what I was doing… starting over after having raised kids, or while raising kids.”

Becoming an active participant in both organizations helped Dimino find the support she needed.

She sees maturity as an advantage in managing her time well enough to be successful in law school.

“I may not have the stamina some of the younger students do to pull all-nighters and cram into a few days what should have been accomplished in a week,” Dimino said. “But I do have an advantage in that I have held a job, I have life experience beyond the classroom walls that mixes well with law, and I have fewer distractions than my younger classmates.”

-Submitted by California Western School of Law

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