My Road to Becoming a Legal Advocate
By: Andrea Reyes
Out of everyone that I told, my family was the most supportive of my decision to apply to law school. But, who am I kidding? They knew my decision before I did and they sure were thrilled that I made my decision my last semester of my senior year at Arizona State University because I finally made a final decision about my career plan.
When I let my friends know I would be taking the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) this October (October 3rd, to be exact), many asked me why I wanted to pursue a career in law. Following this question, many stated that this career is more of a “male dominated profession.” This statement to them served as a warning they gave me to stay away. I asked myself, how would they even know this? They weren’t attorneys. I never believed my friends when they said this, it is 2015, and everyone deserves a just opportunity in achieving their dreams.
I hate to admit this, but my friends were right. My summer internship at a law firm has come to an end. There was where I realized that this profession is indeed, mostly male dominated. Along the way I told myself that I was not rationally thinking and my dreams to pursue this career could be crushed at any time. Today, I realize it is a challenge that I have to fight for every day.
My foundation in life has given me the guidance to be where I am now and what I need to achieve my plans for the future. This foundation includes my family. Their values and morals drive me to make the appropriate decision about where I want to be in the future. These decisions are not merely to benefit myself, but to help find the voices for the unheard that belong to my Mexican community.
The foundation of my education, the beginning of it all is A Stepping Stone Foundation. This is where my education began. A Stepping Stone Foundation gave me the tools I needed to conquer my education. A Stepping Stone, assured me that because I was a first generation, bilingual, Pre-Kindergarten student I could do anything I wanted. Despite the fact that at the time I did not understand this, it took only one single teacher, Mrs. Milks, to tell me that my dreams were possible through education and determination.
The beginning of my list of goals is to own my own law firm which will help immigrants solve issues with immigration complications. However, I would also like to become a criminal defense lawyer, since many who belong to my immigrant community are unjustly charged with criminal charges that others do not see as an issue. The ultimate goal in my law career would be to become a United States attorney, which would be a very tough goal to achieve, but the most rewarding.
Many mentors, colleagues and professors have previously told me that knowledge is something no one can take away from me. My education has given me so much power that others are afraid of because I will be representing the minority of students who do not make it past an undergraduate education. I want to pass my knowledge on to everyone who is scared to continue studying and teach everyone that education can give one the power they need to be successful.
Andrea Reyes was in A Stepping Stone Foundation preschool at Granada site in Alhambra Elementary School in 1998-1999 and graduated ASU in the Spring of this year. She was a Billie Gannaway Scholar and is in the second year of her internship at the Stepping Stone office.