Q How did you find out about CLEO?
CLEO was made available to me once I became a member of the Lawbound Scholars PRLDEF program affiliated with Latino Justice. It was after joining I was able to see how involved CLEO is with Hispanics not only in New York but also across the United States.
Q When did you realize you wanted to attend law school?
Since childhood, through close friends, I have been exposed to the immigration system and the process of deportation. I have seen people, primarily Hispanics, be violated from a system that was meant to serve and protect. It was only after my volunteer year, through Americorps, working with poverty-stricken High School students, whom inspired me to truly fight for those without a voice. It was the realization of becoming a lawyer that I can show through example that my people are meant for greater things.
Q What did you learn during the various CLEO programs
Through Juniors Jumpstart the LSAT, one of the many CLEO programs catered to specific age ranges, we were able to get a great introduction to the realm of study prep. This specific course was geared towards networking and establishing a foundation for critical reading and writing skills vital to a great score on the LSAT. As a clueless student wanting to go to law school this truly made me shift my study regime and focus on particular areas I needed more focus in.
Q How has the CLEO programs influenced your preparation for law school?
First, law school has always been a dream that never truly seemed possible given my financial situation; however, looking for opportunities through programs such as CLEO removed the veil of this illusion. It is through them I now know I could be a top contender in law school with the programs readily available. They have explained the different realms of law and how they can impact others like yourself.
It is through CLEO I was able to meet actual law school admissions staff and see what they are really looking for in applicants. They introduced me to top LSAT prep tutors that have valuable experience to give their students and ways to contact other attorneys in fields you want to achieve success in.
Q Select one of the CLEO programs you attended. What portion of that program was most beneficial to you and why?
The one CLEO program that stood out for me was the Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP). In this program we were able to speak with actual lawyers in the NY area and discuss our law school application process with actual law school admissions staff. A panel of students, ranging from 1st years to 3rd years, was made available for questioning and went above and beyond with their responses. We were able to discuss financial planning with reputable law school representatives and decide on a course of action given our individual circumstance.
Q Do you plan to attend any future CLEO events?
The beauty about CLEO is they always offer programs that make you want to return and learn more. Once I am accepted into law school, I hope to attend the prep class they have available in which students can get a real life simulation of a class experience with actual professors. This was added so students may in fact achieve success in their first year and not be intimidated by the course curriculum. As an aspiring lawyer this provides much reassurance, as we have been breed to fear the first year course load.
Q Do you have any advice for other aspiring lawyers?
My advice for aspiring law students is to truly get to know yourself. Get to know your ambition and what you’re willing to fight for. It is through the hours of studying and the application process I feel I have emerged a brand new person. It doesn’t matter what set of gifts/ talents were bestowed upon you at birth to make it into law school but the sheer ambition and determination that gets you there. Enjoy the ride of getting into this profession so that one day you may give back not only to your fellow Latino but your fellow man.
Q Do you have any additional comments about CLEO?
During the program CLEO provides a clear outlook on what is to be expected from a successful student post workshop. If you are not ready they encourage you to take time for yourself and truly see if the law profession is for you. It was through this advice I realized what it was I truly wanted out of my law degree. This program opens doors that I never imagined could be opened for me.