Hello everyone! My name is Jo and I am a sophomore at the University of California, Riverside. I’ve wanted to become a lawyer for a very long time. Here is what I’ve done so far to achieve my goals:
Starting in high school, I was involved in various activities that helped further my interest in the law. As a freshman, I joined the high school debate team because I thought it would develop my speaking skills. After practicing and coaching, I ended up on the varsity team and was a captain by my sophomore year. My school unfortunately cut our debate team, so I decided to join choir. Choir taught me how to better project my voice and forced me to get comfortable performing in front of a lot of people. I became the president of my school’s Chamber Choir my senior year and helped other people learn to better project their voices and conduct themselves during performances. The most helpful thing I did in high school was Mock Trial. It made me sure that I wanted to be an attorney. I was Mock Trial team captain and lead prosecution attorney. Practicing with the lawyers that coached us helped me earn MVP for one of my cases. I believe all of these activities made me more competitive when applying for college.
In college, I have become more strategic about getting into law school, both in academics and my extracurricular activities. I am majoring in Philosophy Law/Society and Ethnic Studies. For the Philosophy Law/Society major, I take classes that teach logic (which I know is good for the LSAT) and classes which cover a variety of legal topics (which will be helpful for law school). I am also majoring in Ethnic Studies because I want to use my knowledge of the law to correct various systems that work against different groups of people in the United States.
When I was a freshman, I became a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity (PAD), the largest co-ed law fraternity in the world. Honestly, I don’t think I could stress enough how important this has been for me. Being in PAD has put me in contact with lawyers, and law schools, and has given me benefits like LSAT course discounts. Through PAD, I have met other students who share my goals. I am currently the Vice President of the Black Student Law Association, which was founded by members of PAD. We have hosted lawyer banquets and joint programs with law schools on campus. I am also involved in student government. I am an Associate Justice on the Associated Students of UCR Judicial Council, which is the equivalent to being a Supreme Court Justice in our student government. This is more practice for the professional world because I have to memorize and interpret a Constitution, 44 bylaws, and some rules of procedure.
Outside of academics and extracurricular activities, I think it is important to utilize every resource you can to try to meet as many professionals who are doing the kind of work you want to do. To that end, I have been reaching out to the Riverside County Bar Association and the Fresno County Bar Association to get connected with their professional members. Also, keep your mind open as to what counts as a connection. I recently looked up my old Mock Trial coach from high school online. He works at one of the larger law firms in Fresno. After messaging him, he said he would be more than happy to be a mentor to me on my journey to law school.
There are too many opportunities in this world for people to not accomplish their goals. It’s not easy and everyone has their challenges, but I think that if you remain persistent you can achieve what you want to achieve in life. I still have two years to go to get to law school at least, so I’m just going to keep pushing.