BLOG | Cendy De La Torre
First in the Family
July 2, 2019
“Aren’t you scared of not going back to school?” I have heard this time and time again as my undergraduate graduation approaches and I have made the decision to take a break before applying to law school. At first, I found it quite offensive as these comments were coming from very close family members whose opinions I greatly value. I was hurt by their responses because I thought they knew me better than that. I figured that they would understand I was not taking a break because I have settled with my bachelor’s degree or because I have given up on becoming an attorney, but rather because I want to take time to recharge and to also study for the LSAT exam in order to excel once I retake it. Of course, I thought this with the assumption that they would just “get it,” but I failed to remember that this experience has been new for all of us. Not only am I a first-generation student, but we are a first generation family.
I acted quickly on the uncertainty I felt and recalled the advice my mentors and Judge Arguello gave me. I recalled they told me law school would be like nothing I’ve done before, and that it is important to feel not only academically but also mentally ready for the journey. When I told my team that I would not be immediately applying to law school, they did not respond with questions but rather with opportunities for great job experiences to look into while I take my “break.” Not only did I feel reassured, but I felt supported as I began my job application process as a college graduate.
Their immediate understanding made me trust in my decision more and validated my desire to take time for myself. When no one in your family has a legal career, it is hard to find your way without a mentor. It is not impossible as Judge Arguello, and my wonderful mentors Cristina, Luis, and CiCi are all testaments that it is possible to have a successful career within law without having someone to lead the way. I am blessed that I do not have to do this alone as I have their guidance and support. I am thankful that with this program I have the support to be the first in my family to become an attorney, but I will not be the last.
On Being a LAW SCHOOL … Si Se Puede Fellow
May 19, 2016
Being a LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede Fellow has brought many opportunities my way. From workshops that have helped me obtain study skills to use during my first year of college, to amazing advice from my mentors; this program has provided me with indispensable resources. Before I even became a Fellow, Judge Arguello provided me with the opportunity to be an intern at an immigration law firm. During my interview process for the program, Judge Arguello noticed that I had a passion for immigration law. She told me that a good friend of hers was looking for an intern for the summer and that I should apply. Before I even left the parking lot from my interview, I received an email from Judge Arguello with the information.
I was quite hesitant to apply for the internship since I was still a senior in high school. I had never interned anywhere before, and I had never even made a cover letter like the one the application was requesting. After thinking about it for some time I came to the conclusion, “if Judge Arguello believes that I can do it even though we have only met once, I should give it a try.” I applied to the internship and was surprised to hear back from Lynn Doble, the lawyer I could potentially intern for the next day. She wanted to meet for an interview and when I told her that I could do it after my graduation day, she excitedly congratulated me and said that she could not wait to meet!
The interview had a very happy ending. The same day I was told that I was accepted and could start the following week. Even though my time was short at the office, the summer I spent there will be an unforgettable one. I made lifelong friends with the lawyers and paralegals who work at the Aguirre Law Group, and gained yet another family. I worked with clients who were both detained and others who going through immigration proceedings. I had the opportunity to learn about their experiences and how my work could impact their lives. Even though I was only an intern, this experience made me feel like I had an impact on my community and on the lives of everyone who I worked with.
Looking back at this experience almost a year later, it is incredible how I was able to
obtain this opportunity even before I became a Fellow. Judge Arguello’s and all of the LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede team’s commitment to empowering students is contagious. We as Fellows also empower one another and know that we have a family ready to support us whenever we need motivation. I am grateful to be a LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede Fellow and for all of the love and support I have received.
“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)