Alumni Highlight: Tommy McClain '13, Program Analyst with the Citywide Food Access Team, San Francisco Human Services Agency

In my role as a program analyst with the Citywide Food Access Team, I manage grants with and support small San Francisco-based community organizations that run food security programs for primarily low-income immigrant and Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) households. 

Prior to working for the San Francisco Human Services Agency, I worked in the Legal Affairs & Enforcement Division of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, and I served as a Deputy District Attorney in the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. 

photo of Thomas McClain

Q: How did UCI Law prepare you for your legal practice?
UCI Law prepared me for legal practice and my career with its emphasis on getting hands-on and practical training. The professors and administration encouraged and allowed us to participate in pro-bono service from the get-go and pushed us to focus more on getting experience through pro-bono service, externships, and clinics rather than worrying about taking every single bar exam course.

Q: What do you like best about your work?
I enjoy the opportunity to interact with inspiring, grassroots organizations that serve their communities through dignified, culturally relevant, and community-led food security programs. We get to work with partners who feature program models such as free grocery markets, kitchens where community members cook meals with and for each other, and urban farms that train BIPOC youth apprentices.

Q: What was the best part about being a student at UCI Law?

The best part about being a student at UCI Law was that the school attracted warm and kind people; some of my former classmates were my closest friends. Additionally, we had supportive professors who were very generous with their time and energy outside of the classroom, in my case, especially Professor Mario Barnes and Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow. And, with UCI Law being a new school at the time, I really appreciated the adventurous spirit of the Class of 2012 and the example they set for the subsequent classes, particularly the founding members of the Underrepresented Students Alliance (UrSA).

Q: How do you stay involved with the UCI Law community?
I'm always excited to reconnect with other alums, so I've volunteered to organize summer socials and get-togethers in San Diego and the Bay Area. And when I lived in southern California, I enjoyed volunteering during summers at UCI Law for the Pre-Law Outreach Program and the Saturday Academy of Law.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at UCI Law’s Reunion on September 9th?
Now, having lived in the Bay Area for five years, I feel quite far away from the community of UCI Law. So, I can't wait to catch up with classmates and professors I haven't seen in a while!