Be Indivisible - Laura's Journey

Real Stories

“I am an advocate for the underserved.”

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Laura (she/her/hers)
Law Professional

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My Progress

My Story

I went to law school knowing I wanted to be an attorney. I knew for a long time that I wanted to be a lawyer, and in many ways, I was inspired by my mother, who was a teacher and a wonderful role model for giving back and being part of our community. She also was a single mom for much of my childhood. She died of cancer when I was 18, but I still benefit from her example. After my undergraduate work, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, which is where I was when I took the LSAT.

Today, I am a civil legal aid attorney with an office in Saginaw, Michigan, that covers a 14-county service area. I serve people over age 55 who have been victims of elder abuse, financial exploitation, or other forms of abuse or neglect. I’m not a criminal attorney — I provide free legal services to those who qualify. I try to take an approach of being reasonable and finding common ground while standing up for my clients.

Why is law so important?

In my particular area of practice, it’s important because it gives access to the justice system to those who couldn’t otherwise afford it. That’s very rewarding, but more importantly, it helps to even the playing field for those people.

What inspired you to pursue law school?

I don’t remember a specific moment when I decided to go to law school, but the desire stemmed a lot from my mom being a teacher and being active in the immigrant community where we lived. Also, I was raised Unitarian Universalist, which is very heavy on social justice and the idea that every human being has worth and dignity. That helped steer me toward this area of the law.

What are the most important skills for success in law school?

You have to be a good problem-solver, but also a good translator. The law is this complex set of rules — statutes, court rules, case law, and so on. As a lawyer, you have to navigate that system, but you also have to be able to convey these complex rules and terms to people who don’t have your background and training. And you have to do it in a way that they can understand, and that empowers them to seek access to the justice system. So, you have to be civil and reasonable, and you have to have empathy.

What would you tell a young person at the beginning of their journey to law school?

Unless you’ve grown up around lawyers, it can be hard to understand what that job actually is. I have colleagues who have three generations of lawyers or judges in their family, and that just wasn’t my experience. Learn as much as you can about what lawyers are and what they do, and connect with people who do the job so you can see if it’s something you would be interested in doing yourself.

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