BLOG | Jasmine Luna
Meeting a Judge
July 2, 2019
It is not every day that I am able to walk into the chambers of a Colorado Court of Appeals judge and discuss with them what exactly it is like to hold such a position. Thanks to my mentor, Juan Villaseñor, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Judge Rebecca R. Freyre, who gladly addressed many questions I had for her. Before meeting Judge Freyre, I had limited knowledge of the Colorado Court of Appeals. I had previously taken a tour of the building where she works and had a general idea of what that court did. I knew that the Court of Appeals considered civil or criminal cases that were appealed for one reason or another in order to get the case reviewed again with the hopes of a different outcome. Judge Freyre is the newest judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals.
When Juan and I first arrived to ask for Judge Freyre, I expected to just go up to her chambers and meet her there. However, Judge Freyre came all the way down to the lobby and personally greeted us, which I greatly appreciated. Once we stepped into her chambers, I thought about myself in the future. Her chambers reminded me to dream big because it could be me working in such a position in the future. I also appreciated that Judge Freyre mentioned how she worked as a public defender before becoming a judge because she was able to talk to me about her experience in front of a judge as well as being the judge in a case.
Judge Freyre thoroughly explained the work she does as an appellate judge. One thing I didn’t know until Judge Freyre explained it was how much the tables turn when a criminal case goes to the Court of Appeals. Instead of the prosecutors holding the burden of proof, the defendant who’s been found guilty now has the burden of proof.. I also appreciated how Judge Freyre mentioned that she liked being a Court of Appeals judge because it allows her to work with two other judges to decide the outcome of each case. I was actually surprised that three judges were assigned to work together. However, it makes sense since the parties who appeal are seeking a review of the trial judge’s decision.
After meeting with Judge Freyre, I have a greater appreciation for the Court of Appeals because the judges have an important responsibility to carefully review cases that have previously been reviewed by other courts. I have also been more open-minded about the type of law I want to practice in the future. In the past, I have said that I wanted to practice criminal and immigration law. However, the more I am exposed to different courts and types of law, I have the opportunity to see which are more interesting to me and why.
Networking Not Only in the Field of Law
October 18, 2016
No matter what career path one chooses, it is essential to have mentors to help one network and seek new opportunities. Since forming part of my high school’s mock trial team, I have had the best mentors, all of whom have provided me with incredible advice and support. This past year I mentioned to my former mock trial coach, Dermot Lynch, that I was interested in majoring in business. However, I was not completely sure whether I wanted to major in business administration, with an emphasis in finance or international business, or whether I wanted to major in accounting.
Since Dermot is also on the Board of Directors of LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede, he connected me to Anna Halaburda, a CPA who is also on the Board. I met with Anna at her office and I was able to learn exactly what an accountant does from an accountant herself! She explained to me that, although both majors I am considering are great options, she could give me her perspective from being an accountant. I learned that an accountant has a greater opportunity to move up within a company, such as becoming a chief financial officer, rather than being limited to certain paths one may have with a business administration degree. In addition, accountants critically analyze situations, which is also going to be essential for law school. Anna also brought to my attention that becoming a CPA also requires an exam, just as law school graduates take the Bar exam.
After meeting with Anna, I was still confused as to what major would be best for me. I thought I would think it over through the summer and make the appropriate changes to my schedule for next semester, if I ended up changing my mind. Fortunately, Anna offered me an internship position to assist her throughout the summer in order to help me decide whether or not accounting would be the right major for me. This opportunity could not have come at a better time because not only had I had been struggling over the decision as to my major, but also, whether to take a summer course or do something else during the summer. What better way to make up my mind than from getting personal experience in accounting?
It has been a few weeks now since I have started my internship and I could not be happier! From day one, everyone at the office has been nothing but welcoming and helpful. I am learning something new every day about what an accountant does and what computer software they use. I began my internship by using the accounting software, Sage 50, to reconcile multiple accounts. Next, I was taught the whole process of how the online bank statements of companies eventually turn into the information that I reconciled on Sage 50 through a series of steps. As I begin to gain a better understanding of each task I am assigned, I am being given more and more responsibility. I am looking forward to seeing how much more I will learn by the end of this summer! I appreciate that, through this internship, I am given the trust to handle such important accounting processes and data. I know that I will benefit very much from such an experience, regardless of whether or not I go into accounting. I am grateful to Dermot for introducing me to Anna, because without that introduction, I would not have had such an amazing opportunity. I have come to realize how lucky I am to be involved in a program that offers so many connections and networking opportunities to its Fellows. I am glad to be surrounded by so many people and mentors that not only want to see me succeed, but also, are willing to help me succeed.
Fear Could Not Stop Me.
October 16, 2015
“Does RED mean go? Although this may be obvious to most of us, it was not so obvious to Elliot Cook, the plaintiff in today’s trial.” This was how I began my opening statement in Denver’s 2014 Regional Mock Trial competition. Although my opening statement was pretty much meaningless for everyone in the audience after I preformed it, for me it was an eye opener. I hate public speaking, but I was not afraid to stand up and represent my client in the case. In fact, I felt comfortable presenting facts and evidence to the jury. After standing in front of a jury and feeling the adrenaline rush, I knew that I wanted to attend law school and pursue a career in law. However, I knew I needed some type of guidance to help me get admitted into law school. I heard about LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede through my mock trial coaches and I knew I had to apply. I had never heard of any other program that offered such a great mentoring program that benefited students so much. Since becoming part of the program, I know I have been moving in the right direction because of what I have experienced so far. During my first semester of college, I was able to shadow one of my mentors, Anni, in her criminal lab class at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. This was such a special experience for me because I was able to visualize myself in the same classroom in just a few years and I promised myself that I will accomplish that goal. In addition, another mentor Cristal, was able to help me receive an internship at the City and County of Denver that I am excited to start soon. I know my internship will be one of many unforgettable and beneficial experiences that LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has granted me!
“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)