By Judge Christine Arguello
Law School…Yes We Can came into being because its founders believed that our Colorado legal community could stand together to accomplish an important mission – a mission with which the legal profession as a whole has struggled with for years – the cultivation of a legal community as diverse as the population bound by our laws.
Several years ago, I wrote that the common challenge that motivated the creation of Law School...Yes We Can was the need to drown out the delegitimizing “no” that many bright minds hear when they dare to dream big dreams, such as “I want to be a lawyer.” It is a “no” that is directed at them merely because they do not fit the mold of what someone thinks a lawyer should be. Law School...Yes We Can has met this “no” with the resounding “Yes, We Can - Sí, Se Puede” of almost 200 hundred lawyers who came together to dedicate time and treasure in making the dream of law school a reality for our Fellows.
This is an exciting time in the life of Law School.…Yes We Can. Today, four years later, we find ourselves celebrating on many fronts. We celebrate our workshop presenters, the law schools, the law firms, the corporations, and all of our other supporters who comprise the Village that helped us beat the odds in establishing a thriving organization that gives our fellows the skills and training to position themselves as competitive law-school applicants. We celebrate our Mentors who walked next to the Fellows and provided a listening ear, words of wisdom, and that extra inspiration when it was most needed. Most importantly, today we celebrate our Fellows who have scaled their Mount Everest and successfully completed their college education and will begin the next phase of their trek towards joining us as colleagues and fellow officers of our Colorado courts.
In short, we are celebrating the Village which came together to help us ensure the success of our mission of making the legal profession
Law School … Yes We Can is very excited to announce that Maria G. Arias has become the new Executive Director for the program. Ms. Arias has unmatched experience in diversity and inclusion and is considered a leader among leaders in this field. As the Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for Comcast Corporation from 2011 – 2017, she established a nationally recognized diversity and inclusion program that was ranked first among Fortune’s Best Companies for Diversity. She had various business roles at Comcast as well. Before joining Comcast, Ms. Arias was AT&T’s Chief Regulatory Counsel for the Western Region, Vice President of Government Affairs for AT&T Broadband, and Vice President of Law & Government Affairs for Adelphia Communications. Earlier in her career, Ms. Arias was a partner with the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago, where she specialized in litigation. More recently, Ms. Arias has built a consulting practice, Arias Solutions, which helps companies and organizations achieve diversity and inclusion.
Message from the Executive Director:
Trailblazers and Bridge Builders
I am thrilled to help lead Law School … Yes We Can. For me, this new mission is personal, and fueled by my passion to help our Fellows overcome the obstacles and the steep professional hill that lies ahead, as they pursue their college careers and ultimate goal of law school.
The stories of our Fellows are mine, too. As a Mexican immigrant to the United States, my childhood was one of flitting between Spanish and English, along with summers and holidays with the abuelitos, tios y tias, primos y primas back “home.” I had a culturally rich childhood, with rules like “Spanish at home, English everywhere else” but there also was a constant emotional pull in myriad directions by two very different cultures. And yet, my parents and dual culture taught me at a very early age the value of hard work. My dad used to say, “El hombre nació para trabajar” which means, “Men were born to work.” To which I would say, “And what about the women? … We work too!”
“Sí, Se Puede” is a phrase born of farmworkers, who, under the leadership of the UFW, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, fought valiantly for equal protection under the law. As a result of the efforts of the UFW, “Sí, Se Puede” has become well known as a call that engenders hope and inspiration in those who face similar battles. We thank the UFW, whom we acknowledge to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Trademark SI SE PUEDE, for granting us a limited license to use“Sí, Se Puede” in connection with our efforts to recruit, in Colorado, students of Hispanic or Latino descent for our law school pipeline program. For more information about the programs offered by the UFW, please see UFW’s webpage (www.ufw.org); UFW Foundation’s webpage (www.ufwfoundation.org); and UFWF’s immigration services webpage (www.sisepuede.org)