What excites you most about joining the UC Irvine School of Law?
I have lived in Orange County for many years, and am incredibly excited about the impact that the Law School will have on the community, especially for those that are poor and underserved. I was thrilled to learn that Erwin Chemerinsky would be the Dean of UCI School of Law, placing an emphasis on experiential learning and public interest law. Having the opportunity to work here, creating opportunities for our students to work on behalf of the underserved, is a dream come true. I am eager to be a part of the changes that are on the horizon as this law school grows, and produces generations of bright, engaged attorneys that are committed to using their legal skills to improve society.
What inspired you to go to law school?
During my undergraduate studies, I was inspired by the stories of the 1960’s civil rights movement, and believed that the legal system was the most effective tool for fighting systemic injustice. As the daughter of an elementary school principal and a special education teacher, I had always wanted to do more to improve the lives of vulnerable children. I went to law school to learn the tools that I would need to fight on behalf of children who could not fight for themselves.
Describe a favorite pro bono or service project:
As a practicing attorney, I spent many years representing children in the foster care system that were victims of abuse and/or neglect. I am very proud of that aspect of my career, and have many “favorite” moments. In particular, I spent a considerable amount of time working on the case of a teenage client who was charged as an adult for a serious felony. Although I was not representing her in the criminal matter, I spent many hours researching her dependency file and meeting with her in juvenile hall. I advocated on her behalf to the judge, who decided to sentence her as a minor. That meant that instead of facing a possible sentence of life in prison, she could not be held past her 25th birthday. I was humbled when the District Attorney called to tell me that my advocacy was a significant reason for the judge’s decision. I learned that advocacy can take many forms. Being completely informed about every aspect of your client’s case and history makes an enormous difference.