Impactful Experiences

By Carolina Luna Casas - Fellow, Loyola-Chicago

I have had many experiences through LAW SCHOOL…Yes We Can (LSYWC) and they haveall been very   impactful. One experience that really resonated with me was when I met with Judge Arguello and her talented friend Paula Black during my spring break. These two women who are certainly busy at all times took time out of their busy schedule to meet with me. We met at a coffee shop and had a great conversation about business, politics, LSYWC, but the best part about the conversation was that no matter what we talked about they always made me feel as if I was at their level. They respected my input and treated me as if I was as accomplished as they are. Their actions helped instill a confidence within me, which is not often done by many adults. Knowing that the people you respect also respect you is a great confidence booster.

Not only did they help me build my confidence but they also inspired me to continue working for my dreams. Judge Arguello did this when she said something along the lines of, “50 years ago we would not be able to be where we are now. Many people forget the difficulty women had to go through to change the social acceptance of career women especially for Latinas.” Judge Arguello and Paula Black were able to break the barriers that stopped Latinas from succeeding professionally. They are accomplished and have amazing reputations. But they do not stop there; they give students with barriers (like being first generation college students) the tools they need to succeed. They pushed through social barriers and now they are paying it forward to help us break those barriers.

I would have never thought that a young college freshman could have such an insightful conversation with two very strong and successful women. I was filled with such joy that I shared the experience with my mom. My mom said to me that she was so proud of me for surrounding myself with people that do whatever they can to help me succeed. That was when it clicked. LAW SCHOOL…Yes We Can is not only a mentoring program that describes what we must do to get into law school-—it is much more than that.  It is a community that pushes us, the fellows, to be insightful, attentive, and passionate about life and our goals no matter what barriers may appear. It is a community of professionals who truly respect and care for our well being.

The dedication to the fellows is seen constantly through workshops, outings, and internship opportunities.  Judge Arguello was a great advocate when trying to find internships for us that not only gave us exposure to the legal field but also paid us.  I knew that I wanted legal experience this summer, but I also knew that I needed money to help my parents with finances.  I planned on dedicating my week to an unpaid internship for experience and my free time to a retail job for the money.  Luckily, I was able to have my weekends off because Judge Arguello found a paid internship opportunity for us, the Fellows, with JLT Specialty USA.  I was incredibly excited about the prospect of receiving legal experience in a global insurance brokerage firm.  I took my excitement to my computer and spent hours researching the company and writing my first cover letter.  I followed the advice of Eric Bono, Assistant Dean for Career Opportunities at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, who was the volunteer presenter at a half day workshop on the importance of resumes and cover letters.  A couple of days after my interview, I was notified that I had been chosen as the intern for JLT.  I was beyond excited.  I continue with my excitement as I write about my experience with JLT.  

I really enjoyed my time interning for JLT.  It was amazing to be surrounded by hardworking individuals who truly cared about the people they were serving.  This experience opened my eyes to the different careers that can arise from a law degree.  I learned that there is a huge industry in brokering insurance.  Many of the brokers in this industry use their knowledge from law school to create reliable and lawful contracts for their clients.  I also worked with the company’s legal team who taught me that a business cannot thrive without understanding and complying with the law.  During my time with JLT, I was exposed to researching cases, collecting data, drafting briefs, and many other tasks I had never experienced before.  It was a great experience because it was a good balance between working and learning.  I learned how to be a valuable worker, but I also learned how to prepare for law school.  My supervisor made the greatest impact on me because she gave me advice on what to think of when choosing a law school, how law school classes work, how to read a case, how to brief, and advice on what to do after law school.  All of this was very helpful because it put into perspective what my future will actually entail.  This experience helped me realize that my end goal is not just going to law school to learn about the law, rather that I am preparing myself to put the law into practice to make the world a much smoother and better place.  I am immensely grateful to LSSSP and JLT for this opportunity and look forward to the continued success of our program.