Anna Benvenue is an Associate Professor at GGU Law where she teaches Civil Procedure. She is also the Director of JD Flex, an innovative hybrid online J.D. program that allows students to earn their J.D. Online and in-person. Prior to joining the faculty at GGU Law, Professor Benvenue spent more than a decade as a legal advocate advancing the rights of immigrants, representing hundreds of clients at a leading deportation defense firm in San Francisco, and briefing dozens of cases in the Ninth Circuit. She brings this wealth of lived experience and practical success to her teaching.
Anna loves her role here at GGU Law and takes great pride in serving her students. As an alumna and now a professor, we were delighted to ask her some questions about the professional journey that led home to her alma mater.
Did you always want to go to law school? How did you end up at GGU?
I grew up in a family that encouraged me to question everything I heard and to consider alternative perspectives. I began to challenge authority at a young age and received praise for logically supported arguments. Early in life I knew that my particular strengths were well suited for advocacy. I spent a few years after college teaching elementary school and realized that most of my students’ struggles needed to be resolved outside the classroom. I went to law school with the idea that access to quality legal representation should be available regardless of income. GGU was ideal!
What is your role at GGU and what brought you back?
I am the Director of JD Flex, GGU’s innovative hybrid, part-time law program. The opportunity to direct the program is what brought me home. JD Flex is an amazing program that allows students to obtain their law degree in only 4 years without being on campus five days a week. This enables many students to avoid student loans and continue to be caregivers, or work throughout school, in a way that is much more attainable than a part-time evening program. It is such an honor to be a part of this program that allows me to help guide a new generation of lawyers.
What is the most helpful advice you’ve received in law school or throughout your career?
The lawyer-client relationship is a partnership in which the lawyer has as much to learn from their client as the client has to learn from the lawyer.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Teaching is my passion. I love taking complex material and breaking it down for students into comprehensible parts and then being there as it clicks into place. But the most fun part of teaching is presenting new material to students and then learning more as students reflect the lessons back to me.
Tell us about why/how you became interested in civil procedure?
Procedure, as boring as it sounds, is often the source of justice for clients. The rules of civil procedure ensure our system of due process and fairness and are required for effective advocacy. Some of my greatest wins for my clients as a deportation defense attorney were possible because I knew how to use the civil procedure to my clients’ advantage. It is exciting to teach Civil Procedure because I know just where it can lead.
What is your favorite thing about GGU?
GGU brings together an amazing group of students that come from all different races, cultures, and perspectives. It is a community that constantly provides us with opportunities to learn and grow as individuals, and I love being a part of it.
How does GGU’s reputation give students a leg up in their careers?
GGU is known for training lawyers to be motivated self-starters who can hit the ground running in any role. GGU-trained lawyers are known to be hardworking lawyers with practical training and experience.
How does GGU open doors for its students?
GGU provides its students with opportunities to take a wide array of classes from law professors and practitioners alike so that they can discover their passions and focus on the areas of law that they are most interested in. Additionally, the GGU alumni network is huge and diverse. By connecting with our network, students can learn what industry suits them best and in what capacity they want to practice the law. Armed with that information, GGU students are prepared to seek a career in whatever role appeals to them.
What piece of advice would you give prospective students who are considering applying to the JD Flex program at GGU?
Ask yourself what you are hoping to achieve with your law degree and try to talk to people working in the field that you’d like to end up in. Think about what the various paths to your goals are and consider what doors a law degree will open. Armed with that information, reach out to us to talk about whether GGU Law is right for you!