Fellows

Meet Some of Our LEAP Fellows

Julie Pech

Going to law school always seemed an unattainable dream for Julie. She never saw people who looked like her in mainstream media. Her educational experience has been a series of firsts. She is the first in her family to go away to college and graduate. She will be the first to go to law school, and become an attorney.

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.

Hugo Santiago

Fellow "Santiago" double majored in Legal Studies and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, Class of 2020.

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.

Kaleinani Nallira

Kaleinani "Nani" Nallira is attending Berkeley Law School and like many others in LEAP, will be the first attorney in her family. Nani grew up in a low-income household which taught her the importance of education. She was raised by a single mom who taught her that a good education would open doors for her that would help her prosper economically.

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.

Christian Parham

Christian Parham is a member of the second cohort of LEAP, Class of 2021 and will be attending Pepperdine Law School in the fall of 2022.

“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.”

Andy Le

Andy Le graduated from UC. Davis, and his infectious personality became an integral part of the 2021 cohort.

"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."

Julia "Jewels" Sarabia

Julia "Jewels" Sarabia is a graduate of UCLA and will be attending Rutgers Law School in the fall of 2022. She was in the inaugural cohort of LEAP, class of 2020.

"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.

Leslie Estrada Flynn

Leslie is a first-year law student at Golden Gate University, School of Law in San Francisco and was a member of the 2020 inaugural cohort.

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.

Alejandro Antonio Jaramillo

Alejandro J. graduated from Kalamazoo College and is a member of our 2022 cohort. In his words: “Mentorship has always been one of the key contributions to leading me in the direction in which I must travel. LEAP has provided me the opportunity to network with folks that have been down the road I am approaching. LEAP’s specific focus on a social justice based understanding of the law would enhance my path by providing me with the necessary networks to be a legal beacon of change in my communities. Having worked in a law firm for the past two years has given me the exposure to see what the day-to-day life of a lawyer is like. However, I still yearn for an opportunity to see what a lawyer engaging with the justice system to aid those who look like the people I grew up with is like. LEAP’s emphasis on mentorship and guidance will play essential to allowing me to be the best possible candidate that I could be as I know this is a journey that can be traversed alone. It is through collaboration that we are able to reflect on, challenge, and further develop our skills and knowledge.”

Jannet Gomez

My personal experiences have given me first-hand observations of how policy and law implementations affect low-income communities and individuals, giving me the skills to make a difference for when I become a lawyer. The nature of my interest in the legal profession closely resonates with my personal values of altruism and activism. One day I wish to be able to inspire others who are in the same place as I once was and help them achieve their goals. I would love to use my legal education to advocate for a variety of marginalized and underrepresented groups.

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!