Pre-Law Junior Samantha Guerra

Samantha GuerraThe IE Pre-Graduate School Internship has been such a valuable experience that it has helped me solidify my educational plans for the future. The past three years I have been in a constant battle with myself questioning whether or not going to law school is something that I truly want to pursue. I had come to doubt whether I was willing to commit to being a law student and if practicing law was even a profession I was interested in doing for the rest of my life. Fortunately, the IE Program has given me the opportunity to shadow a law student as well as work with an attorney allowing me to confront my concerns.

My mentor-Carina Garza is a third year law student, personally I think working with a 3L is particularly the best type of mentor to work with. 3L's have already gone through most of the rigorous law school process, which is wonderful because she was able to answer all of the burning questions that I had about law school. My mentor was kind enough to make the effort find first year classes specifically for me to attend and then would attend them with me as well. Attending these classes that are taught by such amazing professors was quite motivating. There were a few times while as I was sitting in on these classes that I felt that I wanted more than anything to be apart of that "law school" culture I was experiencing. My mentor was also a fantastic tool in gearing me towards various resources in preparation for law school. I visited a law advisor several times who was able to give me a clear sense of what I need to do in order to prepare for law school. During the course of being an intern I read a few books that my mentor along with the law advisor recommended I read to help assure my decision of going to law school. Another incredible opportunity that I was able to experience was attending the CHLSA banquet with my mentor. CHLSA is the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association that my mentor is a member of. Considering that I am a Hispanic myself, it was great to interact with other Hispanic law students and lawyers in the community. I met some remarkable people at this banquet that had some great advice and were quite inspiring. One of the assignments for the internship was to interview a faculty member under our field of study. The opportunity to have a conversation with a well established professor was quite an honor. I interviewed Professor Patricia Hansen who is the director of the dual degree program in Law and Latin American Studies. Professor Hansen gave me some wonderful advice and after getting to know each other she highly recommended that I take at least one year off before attending law school. Hearing this from a professional was quite comforting. Considering that I will be graduating in three years I always had an uncertainty whether to attend law school immediately or taking some time off. I have always been under the impression that taking time off would be a big mistake because it is so difficult to get back in the swing of being a student. Professor Hansen helped me make this decision and assured me that if law school is something that I really want, it is something that I will definitely come back and do. Carina exposed me to so many aspects of law school and various resources that have helped make my vision of what I have always wanted for my future become clear.

This semester was the first time the IE Pre-Graduate School Program implemented a co-pilot program with attorney Aurora Martinez Jones. Having the opportunity to work with Aurora has been an experience of a life time. Aurora has fundamentally been one of my biggest inspirations. She has shown me a side of being an attorney that has been so motivating. One of my main concerns of becoming an attorney was having a hectic workaholic lifestyle where I would be putting in 75+ hours a week. I truly value family in life and I know that neglecting my family because of my profession is not a way of life for me. What inspired me about Aurora is that she opened up her own small practice and works around her own schedule. While opening your own practice fresh out of law school is not an easy task, Aurora has shown me that it is something that can be done with out completely consuming a persons life. Another wonderful aspect to the co-pilot program and specifically working with Aurora is that not only did I work with an attorney, but I was working with an attorney that had just graduated from law school. This was great because is allowed me to get a sense of what being an attorney is like after graduating, it was not the picturesque life of an attorney that has been practicing for the past thirty years and has a well-established firm. I was able to witness the difficulty of starting up a practice and working hard to put her name out to the public. Aurora was kind enough to allow me to do a lot of hands on work which was excellent experience. I told her that I had a specific interest in Real Estate Law, so she did her best to allow me to be actively involved with all of her Real Estate cases. The major ongoing project that I worked on all semester was the responsibility of creating a chart of all of the Real Estate Deeds for her future reference. Creating this chart taught me a great deal and increased my interest in the real estate field of law. Throughout the internship I was able to do a lot of independent work like draft demand letters, create exhibits, research, and manage cases. While some of these tasks were intimidating and I had no idea how to approach, Aurora was always open to answering any questions and more than willing to take time aside to teach me how to do something I did not understand. Working with Aurora functioned as a great learning experience that I feel I would not have been able to obtain with any other attorney, considering I was a starting intern with absolutely no previous work experience.

My initial goal of the IE Pre-Graduate School Internship was to figure out whether or not going to law school and becoming an attorney was something that I essentially wanted to do with my life. This program let me explore and discover my true educational aspirations. I feel so privileged to be given this opportunity not only to work with a mentor and be exposed to the school of law, but also work with an attorney that has taught me about the legal profession aspect as well.

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