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So you want to be an attorney...
Photo courtesy: Diego Rodriguez

By Joshua Pilkington

Law School…(Si Se Puede) Yes We Can member Alma Hinojosa talks about her success

When U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello founded Law School…Yes We Can (Si Se Puede), she had people like third year CU-Boulder student Alma Hinojosa in mind.

“I had the opportunity to meet Judge Arguello when I was a sophomore in high school,” said Hinojosa, one of the original enrollees in Law School…Yes We Can (Si Se Puede). “I met her at the CU Law School Pipeline Conference where she was a panelist. She shared her story with the students there and I really connected with her. She had experiences that I was experiencing and it was so powerful in the sense that for the first time I had come across a professional who not only looked like me, but she made it to where she is now in life. That was really powerful for me to see.”

Some of those shared experiences included being told that a career in law was laughable, if not out of the question for a woman, particularly a Latina.

“She talked about how when she was younger there was this classroom activity where the students were asked what they were going to do with their life after college,” Hinojosa said. “When it was her turn to speak and she was very hesitant to say what her dream job was, but she went ahead and said, ‘I want to be a lawyer’ and everybody laughed at her.”

Hinojosa added that her experience prior to Law School…Yes We Can had been similar.

“For me it’s been the same experience,” she said. “For my parents it was hard to see…it was more of a joke for them like ‘you’re living in this fairy tale. That’s not who we are, that’s not what people like us do.’ Also my college counselor and other people they just didn’t believe that I could actually come to college and become a lawyer.”

That sentiment of incredulousness towards minorities in law is one that Judge Arguello has not only witnessed in her own life, but also spoken out against often.

“Because our laws are the glue that binds civilization, a legal profession that reflects the great diversity of our communities is critical to the health of the third branch of government,” she said in a written statement. “The perception of inequity in our justice system erodes the fundamental idea that we can all expect equal justice under law.”

According to the American Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission, the legal profession continues to be one of the least divers professions in the nation with nearly 90 percent of lawyers being white.

That was fact that hung over Hinojosa’s head when she considered being a lawyer. Law School…Yes We Can (Si Se Puede) helped her realize that a career in law was a possibility.

“I always had this idea of wanting to pursue law, but I didn’t know how to get there. Is a person like me, of color, even able to get that career?” she said. “I think having a program like this one definitely inspires students like myself to believe in themselves and say, ‘I can do this too. I can do that professionally one day.’”

As her college career is approaching a conclusion, Hinojosa said that her plans for the future include an internship in Washington D.C. and giving back to others the same way Judge Arguello had given something to her.

“As a leader that’s the way to do it,” Hinojosa said of giving back. “As a person that got the opportunity to meet Judge Arguello and be a part of her program, I feel like it’s my duty to help out. Especially now it’s a scary time for students of color to think that college is not for them or this career is not for them. I think more than ever we need to stand by together and help each other out.”

To apply for the Si Se Puede program please e-mail Deadline to apply is March 31, 2017.





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