A Retrospective Session with 2011 Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Recipient Elva Linares

linaresThe Justice & Diversity Center’s Diversity Pipeline Programs Manager Nicole Britton-Snyder recently checked in with 2011 Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Recipient Elva Linares as she finishes her final year at UC Hastings College of the Law.

Linares has come a long way since her adolescent years, where she worked in the fields picking fruit with her mother. The UC Davis graduate reflects on her personal journey, her law school experiences, support she has received from the Justice & Diversity Center and advice she has for others applying and currently in law school.

Nicole Britton-Snyder (NBS): Why did you want to go to law school?

Elva Linares (EL): At the age of fourteen I was working in the fields and through this experience I witnessed discrimination. At that age, I did not know that what I was experiencing was discrimination but I knew it was wrong. I decided that I was not going to work in the fields forever, so I decided to go to college and find a career that would equip me to prevent discrimination. Once in college, I decided that a J.D. would be the best tool to advocate for immigrants and farmworkers.

NBS: How did you find out about the Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship?

EL: I found out about the scholarship by doing my research the summer before entering law school. Luckily, I was one of the scholarship recipients for the 2011-2012 year.

NBS: How has this scholarship been beneficial for you?

EL: The scholarship has helped reduce the stress that comes along with law school. This scholarship allows me to focus on my career without worrying about the cost of getting a J.D.

NBS: What assistance has the Justice & Diversity Center and BASF provided for you since entering law school?

EL: They have provided a strong professional network that has always been available whenever I have a question or need help.

NBS: What has been your most rewarding law school experience?

EL: One of my most rewarding law school experiences has been the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. Last year I was part of this clinic and was given the opportunity to travel to El Salvador and advocate for Salvadorian women who are victims of domestic violence.

NBS: What has been your most challenging law school experience?

EL: Once in law school, I faced the challenge of having to learn how to balance my time. I had to find time for class, work, and my homework.  Through this experience I learned that sometimes it’s not a good idea to take on too much work because it gets harder to find time to complete the work.

NBS: Is there an area of law you have become interested in as a practice area? What lead you to this realization?

EL:  This past summer I was part of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Fellowship. In this fellowship I was given the opportunity to work for three different law firms that exposed me to personal injury litigation. It was through this experience that I have become interested in personal injury litigation.

NBS: Have you participated in any clinical/internship positions? If so, what did you do?

EL: Throughout my law school years and as mentioned previously, I have been part of the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. I have obtained an internship at The White House with the Office of the Vice President.

NBS: Since you are entering your 3L year what information do you know now that you wish you knew entering your 1L year?

EL: Several things:
•    Do not stress about grades before the exams, focus on knowing and understanding the material.
•    Do not be afraid to try other areas of law. Sometimes you will discover that it’s a perfect fit for you.
•    Find time to talk to your professors.
•    Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Interested in learning more about volunteer and sponsorship opportunities with the Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship? Please contact, Nicole Britton-Snyder, Diversity Pipeline Programs manager, at nbrittonsnyder@sfbar.org.