Be Indivisible - Rebecca's Journey

Real Stories

“The real world taught me many lessons.”

Rebecca headshot

Law School Student

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My Progress

My Story

I am 46 years old, returning to school after a 20-plus-year hiatus. My husband and I started our family very young, about 30 years ago, and I took many years off to do the family thing. However, I always wanted to be a lawyer.

I was raised in an upper-middle-class family, but once I started my own family, I found myself on the opposite end of the financial spectrum and made some desperate choices, which enabled me to see firsthand how unequally justice was dispensed in the juvenile system. I saw many defendants forced into decisions that weren’t in their best long-term interest. To them, it was either get released today or go through the system, which can be a very expensive route to take. So, they were encouraged to get off at the first stop — a choice that can lead to steep repercussions years down the line. This motivated my desire to connect with young people before they're put into the juvenile system. For those already there, I want to reform how the system handles these types of cases, especially minor offenses. I want to help change the trajectory.

What can you do with a law degree?

Having a law degree is invaluable. It’s enlightening in so many ways and fundamentally changes the way you think about everything, not just law. You learn how to be more accepting of other people’s perspectives.

What skills do you need to be successful in law?

I think it’s important to be open-minded about which type of law you concentrate on. A lot of people come into law school with tunnel vision, thinking they’re destined to go into one area of law, only to fall in love with a different type once they get there. It’s important to stay open and realize there may be other avenues you can take to achieve your goals.

Who would you help with a law degree?

Besides helping lower-income juveniles, I see a lot of need to improve the reentry program for those leaving incarceration. I would like to work on cutting the recidivism rate and ensuring that those reentering the community have legitimate opportunities available to them.

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

The only person that can stop you from doing something is yourself. Get out of your own way. It can be done. You just have to believe it.

What does being an older student bring to the table?

Part of me being in my own way at first was the fear of walking into a classroom and everyone there being the age of my children. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it. I will say, however, that there are a significant number of older students at my current law school, just like at many other law schools. But, of course, I didn't know that when I applied. What I quickly found out, though, was that coming back to school at my age has its benefits. For instance, after managing four restaurants and being in the work world, I better understand multitasking and time management. The real world taught me many of the lessons I needed to learn before entering law school.

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