What should a young person know about law school? What tips would you give them?
Law school is a big commitment. It can be challenging and overwhelming, but it’s worth it for anyone genuinely interested in working in the legal/political field. For anyone considering going to law school, I suggest researching different universities and sitting in on a class if possible. I also advise finding a mentor in the legal community or currently in law school. They can help you navigate through the enrollment process as well as how to approach law school courses.
What made you interested in law?
My parents are from Mexico and mainly speak Spanish, so I started translating for them and other family members at a young age. By translating for my family in legal settings, I was directly exposed to the inequities in our justice system. This experience is the primary reason I decided to attend law school. From a young age, I knew I wanted to help minority and low-income communities be informed about their rights and have easier access to legal resources.
Have you witnessed or experienced racism in law school? What does it look like?
At the end of my first year, the school’s Dean of Student Life accused me of taking a final with two classmates (both my friends, one is Black, and the other is Indian). The dean claimed she was “aware” that the three of us took the final together in a study room. I later discovered that she approached me shortly after receiving this information from a different classmate. This specific student had previously commented that my friends and I were only hired at firms because we are minorities. The dean did not investigate this situation before questioning me about my exams. If she had done her due diligence, she would have quickly realized how untrue the student’s statements were. I would say that racism in law school looks like this: jealousy and attempts to discredit the work and accomplishments of minority students.
Why does representation matter in clubs and organizations on law school campuses?
Representation in clubs and school organizations is so important, especially in a primarily white institution. As minority students in law school, our peers and faculty often don’t look like us nor share the same experiences and struggles as us. This can be discouraging in an already stressful environment. Having a club or school organization devoted to supporting minority students is crucial to ensure that students feel motivated and ultimately perform better academically. Organizations like LALSA and BLSA (the Black and Latino law student orgs at Bowen) provide a safe space for diverse students to ask questions, help students feel included, and provide the support that students don’t usually get otherwise. If you are entering law school, I strongly encourage you to join a student organization!
How do you plan on using your voice to create more room for diverse people in law?
I plan on staying involved with LALSA and BLSA as an alumnus and sharing any networking/job opportunities in the legal community with those students. I also plan to be a mentor to current diverse students. The mentors I’ve had during law school have considerably impacted my life, and I’d like to follow in their footsteps and contribute to the success of others like me.