Growing up, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do as an adult, but I did know that I wanted to help people. My mother works in the schools and my father is a public defender, so after graduating from college, I decided to give both of their professions a shot. I taught for a year in Spain and then moved to New York to work at Staten Island Legal Services, where I negotiated with mortgage lenders on behalf of low-income homeowners facing foreclosure. I loved working at Legal Services. My colleagues and clients were amazing people, and I found the work very fulfilling. That experience made clear to me the importance of accessible counsel in an equitable judicial system, and ultimately, it motivated me to apply to law school.
I came to law school to do public service work, so I was quite eager to find that community here at CU Law. Fortunately, I had no trouble doing so. The best part about CU is the people it attracts. The students, professors, administrators, and staff are friendly, curious, and supportive. Within weeks of orientation, I found numerous folks throughout the building who were more than willing to share their perspectives on the various types of public interest work that are available at the law school and in Colorado at large.
The most valuable experiences that I have had during law school have been working in the Criminal Defense Clinic and spending my summers with the Colorado Public Defender’s Office. Although I came into law school with a background in civil legal services, I knew that I wanted to use my time as a student to try out public defense. Little did I know, I could not have chosen a better place to do so. The indigent defense community in Colorado is remarkable, and the Clinic and the Public Defender’s Office provide wonderful opportunities for students to work in the field. I am grateful for both experiences, as they have inspired me to pursue a career in public defense.
My advice, like that of many others, is to get involved. Law school is more fun when you actively engage with the community. If you are still trying to determine the area of law that suits you best, don’t hesitate to pursue different experiences (i.e. summer work, internships, faculty-led public service projects, student groups, volunteer opportunities) in different practice areas. And if you know what you want to do, but there isn’t an established path in that direction at CU, don’t hesitate to forge the path yourself. You will certainly find the support you need along the way.