Meet Some of Our LEAP Fellows
Julie's motivation to make social change comes from her parents and the sacrifices they made for her. They taught her the importance of a strong will and work ethic. They came to this country to make a better life for their family and Julie intends on paying it forward through her advocacy as an attorney. She will be starting her law school journey this fall at Southwestern Law School.
From a young age Santiago had an obligation to his family to navigate complex legal institutions in order to help his family attain residency. As the oldest son, he carried the role of head-of-household as he had privileges that other members of his family once did not. He hopes to use his legal degree to protect others as they navigate the legal system.
Nani wants to practice law to help victims of injustice, to make a difference in her community and to fight against inequalities in society. She wants to help those who suffer from social injustices as a result of their race, gender, sexuality and class.
“In 2016, my aunt bought me a copy of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before handing it to me, she explained that … I understand the power and capability women possess, more so than ever before. I read this book and was thoroughly engrossed by the ways Ruth Bader Ginsberg used her life to fight for all people to achieve a more just society. While I had always enjoyed politics and found them fascinating, I never quite understood the ways that I could have a career that combined the elements of public service, policy reform, and social justice. RBG proved to me that not only was this possible, but that with determination and hard work, I too could be a lawyer that brings positive change to our society.
After reading this book, I knew law school was the path I wanted to pursue. I want to serve as a public defender or immigration lawyer to be an agent of change in a world that desperately needs fearless advocates. I am certain law school will give me the tools to do just this and leave a lasting legacy in fostering equality and compassionate legal care to those who need it most.”
"As a future attorney, my ability to consult, represent, and understand how to appropriately meet a client’s legal and human needs is crucial. I desire to become an attorney because I possess the drive and commitment to demand and create change in our legal system so that disenfranchised and marginalized populations are afforded with legal and quality representation. This educational and career path is arduous and requires resilience, dedication, and passion, which I possess. From my personal, academic, and career experiences, I am certain that I can meet, pass, and excel at the tasks ahead and become an exceptional attorney. As an attorney with a social worker background, I will be able to understand and elaborate upon the human condition and behaviors with critical and analytical skills coupled with personal and professional experiences. With my strong interpersonal and problem solving skills, I am prepared to become a contributing member in the legal field and one-day give back, share my experiences as a mentor, and guide future individuals who aspire to become attorneys."
"I have been shaped by the backdrop of a world that says no and grown to break out of it."
Jewels wants to go to law school for three reasons: (1) she discovered her strength in communication and rhetoric; (2) she wants to be an example that defies the odds; she grew up living in poverty and has made it her goal to show that it is possible to break the cycle, and show that her income does not define her outcome; and (3) she has a need to be an advocate for those who do not have access to information, spaces or the ability to advocate for themselves. She feels it's her moral obligation to use the strengths she has to work for others.
As someone committed to a career in public interest law, she intends to use her law degree to advocate for marginalized groups and serve them through movement lawyering and policy advocacy work. It is essential to uplift the voices of people who are often not getting the recognition they deserve for championing fundamental change. Her goal is to work alongside historically excluded communities and reimagine the American legal system as one centered on transformative and restorative policies.
Leslie’s motivation to serve others through public interest work comes from her own lived experiences and through meeting community members and the impact of legislation on their lives. She grew up in a low-socioeconomic, predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood with little investment from political leaders. She witnessed systemic violence through poverty, affecting every aspect of daily life including poor education, unaffordable housing, inadequate healthcare, and employment.
I would love to help mentor or be a guide to any undergraduate or younger students who are interested in law. I firmly believe that there is a pipeline problem and as someone who is first-generation and was lost by the law school application process, I would love to be
a resource to other students who may come to feel the same way as me. My goal is to always help uplift other students/people from marginalized populations and do my part to help open doors for increased representation, equity, and justice.
Jannet will be attending Stanford Law in the fall of 2022!