One of the best to ever take the pitch for the Chapman University women’s soccer team, Haley Aanestad (formerly Fedden) ’16 (JD ’20) is now fighting sexual abuse cases as an attorney for the Manly, Stewart and Finaldi law firm in Irvine. Haley graduated from Chapman with a dual degree in Political Science and Business Administration before attending the Fowler School of Law here at Chapman. She passed the bar last month and was sworn in two weeks ago on January 18th, 2021.
Haley’s list of accolades as a women’s soccer athlete is nothing short of incredible. The midfielder currently holds the career record with 6,777 minutes played over her four years. She was a three-time All-SCIAC selection and a two-time All-West Region selection. Among these awards, Haley was also the first Chapman student-athlete in women’s soccer history to receive the Brine Award of Distinction, awarded to a leader who excels in sportsmanship, community service, academic success and success on the field.
Haley, a captain her senior year, took that fierce competitiveness with her to the classroom and the courtroom, becoming one of the top performers in her class in the Fowler School of Law. She secured a clerkship with Manly, Stewart and Finaldi early and earned a full-time position with them upon passing the California state bar exam. The top sexual abuse law firm in the nation, Manly, Stewart and Finaldi has prosecuted landmark cases such as the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Bishops sexual abuse and the Michigan State University Larry Nassar sexual abuse cases.
“Working for Manly, Stewart and Finaldi during law school made me realize that I was passionate about the work they did in representing victims of sexual abuse and pursuing reforms within institutions where sexual abuse had been allowed to proliferate,” Haley said. “Now, as I begin my career here as an attorney I continue to value the work that the firm does in seeking justice for all of our clients and feel grateful to be a part of this team.”
Haley’s ties to Chapman University are still as strong as when she stepped on campus for the first time in 2012. In a fairy-tale love story, Haley lived down the hall from a water polo player named Garrett Aanestad in her freshman year dorm, a man who would eventually become her husband. The two were best friends for four years before starting their relationship senior year. When the pair got married in July 2019, Haley invited several women’s soccer alumni along with current head coach Courtney Calderon and former assistant coach Sarah Barton to the wedding.
Chapman women’s soccer runs in her blood, as she has not missed an alumni game since graduating in 2016 and she attended as many games as her tight schedule would allow while finishing her law degree. Haley credits her time as a student-athlete with helping in her lofty career ideals.
“Being a student-athlete not only made me an attractive candidate for admissions to law school but provided me with the knowledge, tools and tenacity to succeed once admitted,” she said. “Also, when it came to applying for internships in law school it was something the employers told me stood out on my application. The time management skills that you master as a collegiate student-athlete translate really well to both law school and a career as an attorney.”
There is no doubt that Haley Aanestad will do incredible things as an attorney, and the Chapman family cannot wait to watch her journey.