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Kristen Hiraoka ’11

Maintaing relations with previous employer leads to job

Kristen HiraokaKristen Hiraoka, Oregon Law Class of 2011, worked at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) as a Residuals Claims Representative before leaving in 2006 to pursue a law degree. Little did she know that due to good relations she maintained with her previous employer, she would return to the DGA after law school in a management role.

After graduating law school and while waiting for her California Bar Exam results, Hiraoka was contacted by her former supervisor who explained that the Residuals Department was short-staffed and asked if Hiraoka would come back to work part-time. Hiraoka accepted, and when the Assistant Administrator position later opened, she applied.

During the application process, Hiraoka spoke with co-workers to find out what characteristics they would look for in a successful Assistant Administrator. She also asked the Career Center to review her cover letter and resume to ensure that both were polished and professional. During her interviews, Hiraoka tried to demonstrate her strong understanding of the position. Her biggest challenge was convincing her employer that she would remain committed to them even after passing the California bar.

Hiraoka was successful in her application, and was offered the position of Assistant Administrator in November 2011. She was admitted to the California Bar in December of that year. Currently, her responsibilities include overseeing the Residuals Department, managing staff in the investigation and pursuit of unpaid residuals payments, drafting and filing grievances, explaining and enforcing provisions of the collective bargaining agreement, testifying at arbitration hearings, and participating in Tri-Guild bankruptcy matters.

Hiraoka advises students to take initiative and proactively search for jobs. For example, she says, “If I knew any better in law school, I would have signed up for the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s newsletter and attended CLEs while I was home for the holidays.” She believes that building and maintaining positive relationships can play a large role in finding employment.