Law in Contemporary Society

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ChrisSantanaFirstEssay 3 - 26 Apr 2018 - Main.ChrisSantana
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OLD DRAFT, PLEASE SCROLL BELOW PROFESSOR MOGLEN'S RED COMMENTS FOR FINAL DRAFT
 -- By ChrisSantana - 01 Mar 2018
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If Not Gang Banging, Then What?

Growing up, I believed that my only realistic options in life were either working a minimum wage job or dropping out of school and joining a gang like my brother. After nearly losing my life in a gang-related incident, I began to examine why my neighborhood was infested with violence, drugs, and poverty. I asked myself if I deserved this reality because of my parents’ lack of education or their undocumented immigration status. I felt trapped and began searching for an exit. When I witnessed my brother, a convicted felon, struggle to find employment without a high school diploma, I realized that pursuing higher education was my only option to create a better future for my family, community, and myself. I embraced the value of hard work and resourcefulness that my parents instilled in me and enrolled in a local community college in pursuit of my associate’s degree.

Achieving Justice in College

While at Rio Hondo College, I became committed to supporting underserved individuals like myself, by working to reduce barriers that prevent many of us from completing a post-secondary education. As the Vice President of student government, I spearheaded a project that provided low-income students with a daily free meal to ensure they could remain engaged in class. Because of my unwavering commitment to my college community and academics, I graduated with honors and was admitted into the University of California at Berkeley as a junior.

At Berkeley, I majored in Political Science because of my appreciation and passion for proper political and legal representation among vulnerable communities of color. This passion stemmed from helping my parents navigate the immigration and criminal justice system in the U.S. For example, some of the most fulfilling experiences of my life was helping my mother complete her application for a green card and helping my parents respond to notices and other legal documentation because they could not write or read English.

In addition, I utilized my education to assist asylum seekers with various aspects of the asylum application process through a nonprofit immigration law office in Berkeley. My most rewarding experience at the sanctuary was preparing a client from El Salvador for his asylum interview. After a successful interview, our client was granted asylum and was able to secure employment in Northern California. Learning about the horrific adversities he overcame and witnessing his strength to persevere fueled my passion to continue working with asylum seekers.

Trying to Achieve Justice After College

Since graduating from Berkeley, I remained passionately committed to serving immigrant communities. While working at a BigLaw? firm in Los Angeles, I worked alongside attorneys to request asylum for two young boys from El Salvador. After assisting with research for the asylum application and serving as the translator during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, the two boys were granted asylum. Their new immigration status gives them the opportunity to live safe and successful lives in the U.S. which was not a possibility in their hometown.

I also worked with a team to assist an undocumented pro bono client get out of jail and avoid deportation. With our help, he was released from jail with the freedom to remain in the U.S. He was reunited with his family and able to spend the holidays at home instead of a jail cell.

Is BigLaw? for Me?

As Columbia Law School student, I have been influenced into a career in BigLaw? for the supposed money, prestige, and pro bono work. I convinced myself that working for a BigLaw? firm is beneficial because it will provide me with invaluable training but it might not be the training that I want or need to achieve my long-term goals.

After working at two BigLaw? firms, I have become aware of the training they offer. The clients I was working for were almost always corporations and when they were not, I was working on pro bono matters. However, being able to work on pro bono matters and bill sufficient hours to please my superiors was almost impossible to achieve without me being exhausted from working 12 to 15-hour days, including weekends.

What Now?

Throughout my young adult life, I have used my success and knowledge to empower people of color and want to continue to pursue opportunities that enable me to empower my community via our legal system. Whenever I speak with my brother over the phone, he reminds me of the ways the criminal justice system affected him and that some of our childhood friends are still behind bars. My brother was unfortunately not the only one around me that was a victim of the criminal justice system when I was growing up in Pomona. I am certain that I want to pursue a career that in involves me helping victims of our criminal justice system in some capacity.
 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

ChrisSantanaFirstEssay 2 - 08 Apr 2018 - Main.EbenMoglen
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It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.
 -- By ChrisSantana - 01 Mar 2018
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Achieving Justice After College

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Since graduating from Berkeley, I remained passionately committed to serving immigrant communities. While working at a BigLaw? firm in Los Angeles, I worked alongside attorneys to request asylum for two young boys from El Salvador. After assisting with research for the asylum application and serving as the translator during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, the two boys were granted asylum. Their new immigration status gives them the opportunity to live safe and successful lives in the U.S. which was not a possibility in their hometown.
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Since graduating from Berkeley, I remained passionately committed to serving immigrant communities. While working at a BigLaw firm in Los Angeles, I worked alongside attorneys to request asylum for two young boys from El Salvador. After assisting with research for the asylum application and serving as the translator during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, the two boys were granted asylum. Their new immigration status gives them the opportunity to live safe and successful lives in the U.S. which was not a possibility in their hometown.
 

I also worked with a team to assist an undocumented pro bono client get out of jail and avoid deportation. With our help, he was released from jail with the freedom to remain in the U.S. He was reunited with his family and able to spend the holidays at home instead of a jail cell.
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 Advocating on behalf of society's most vulnerable inspired me to continue fighting for the rights of underserved people of color by representing my community in the courtroom, legal system, and policy-making process. I have used my success and knowledge to empower people of color and want to continue to pursue opportunities that enable me to empower my community.

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However, as Columbia Law School student, I have been influenced into a career in BigLaw? for the supposed money and prestige. I convinced myself that working for a BigLaw? firm is beneficial because it will provide me with invaluable training but it might not be the training that I need to achieve my long-term goals. I am back to the position I was after my near-death experience - lost and searching for answers.
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However, as Columbia Law School student, I have been influenced into a career in BigLaw for the supposed money and prestige. I convinced myself that working for a BigLaw firm is beneficial because it will provide me with invaluable training but it might not be the training that I need to achieve my long-term goals. I am back to the position I was after my near-death experience - lost and searching for answers.

If the two parts of this draft—the story of the car-jacking and your choice of career path—are both necessary to convey your idea, an important effort in revising is to bring the two parts closer. They succeed one another autobiographically in the current draft (first this happened to me, then that happened, now I confront a different form of radical uncertainty); in a revision that keeps both parts, they should integrate more tightly.

I don't know whether that's the best route in revision, however, because I don't really know what the focus of the essay is supposed to be. On one hand, as a reader I take it for a story of personal formation. One can't write a bildungsroman in 1,000 words, but the goal of explaining personal formation might be the central point. If so, the clear implication of your narrative is that you want to serve individual clients. The likelihood is low that the training you want is to be found in large practices that serve primarily impersonal enterprise clients. (The story of large-firm pro bono practice that you tell is not to the contrary; you know from experience, though you don't say, that such work is window-dressing.)

But the real point of the essay might be that you know "the training" is neither such a firm's purpose in hiring you nor your purpose in associating with it. In that case the draft's real purpose is to explore not the experience of being lost, but the experience of inner conflict, redramatized (and to some extent reframed) as a hijacking. If that's where you're really headed here, the best way forward might be to drop the metaphor, scarily real to you though it is, and to look at the present internal conflict for what it is, rather than through the lens of another traumatic experience altogether.

 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable.

ChrisSantanaFirstEssay 1 - 01 Mar 2018 - Main.ChrisSantana
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstEssay"
It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

-- By ChrisSantana - 01 Mar 2018

Gang Banging

Fear overwhelmed my 18-year-old body as I looked into the eyes of a local gang member while he pressed his chrome 9mm pistol against my forehead. The gang member demanded that I give him the car I was driving-my parent's car. He climbed into the backseat and told me to drive to a distant location where he said he would "get rid of me," pushing his pistol against the right side of my ribs as I drove. After five minutes of begging him to spare my life and promising that I would not report him to the police, he released me in the middle of the street. I ran for my life as he drove off with the car. I had experienced situations like this before-I was raised in a neighborhood terrorized by gang violence in Pomona, California.

If Not Gang Banging, Then What?

Growing up, I believed that my only realistic options in life were either working a minimum wage job or dropping out of school and joining a gang like my brother. After nearly losing my life in the aforementioned gang-related incident, I began to examine why my neighborhood was infested with violence, drugs, and poverty. I asked myself if I deserved this reality because of my parents' lack of education or their undocumented immigration status. I felt trapped and began searching for an exit. When I witnessed my brother's struggle to find employment without a high school diploma, I realized that pursuing higher education was my only option to create a better future for my family, community, and myself. I embraced the value of hard work and resourcefulness that my parents instilled in me and enrolled in a local community college in pursuit of my associate's degree.

Achieving Justice in College

While at Rio Hondo College, I became committed to supporting underserved individuals like myself, by working to reduce barriers that prevent many of us from completing a post-secondary education. As the Vice President of student government, I spearheaded a project that provided low-income students with a daily free meal to ensure they could remain engaged in class. Because of my unwavering commitment to my college community and academics, I graduated with honors and was admitted into the University of California at Berkeley as a junior.

At Berkeley, I majored in Political Science because of my appreciation and passion for proper political and legal representation among vulnerable communities of color. This passion stemmed from helping my parents navigate the immigration and criminal justice system in the U.S. For example, some of the most fulfilling experiences of my life was helping my mother complete her application for a green card and helping my parents respond to notices and other legal documentation because they could not write or read English.

In addition, I utilized my education to assist asylum seekers with various aspects of the asylum application process through a nonprofit immigration law office in Berkeley. My most rewarding experience at the sanctuary was preparing a client from El Salvador for his asylum interview. After a successful interview, our client was granted asylum and was able to secure employment in Northern California. Learning about the horrific adversities he overcame and witnessing his strength to persevere fueled my passion to continue working with asylum seekers.

Achieving Justice After College

Since graduating from Berkeley, I remained passionately committed to serving immigrant communities. While working at a BigLaw? firm in Los Angeles, I worked alongside attorneys to request asylum for two young boys from El Salvador. After assisting with research for the asylum application and serving as the translator during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, the two boys were granted asylum. Their new immigration status gives them the opportunity to live safe and successful lives in the U.S. which was not a possibility in their hometown.

I also worked with a team to assist an undocumented pro bono client get out of jail and avoid deportation. With our help, he was released from jail with the freedom to remain in the U.S. He was reunited with his family and able to spend the holidays at home instead of a jail cell.

What Now?

Advocating on behalf of society's most vulnerable inspired me to continue fighting for the rights of underserved people of color by representing my community in the courtroom, legal system, and policy-making process. I have used my success and knowledge to empower people of color and want to continue to pursue opportunities that enable me to empower my community.

However, as Columbia Law School student, I have been influenced into a career in BigLaw? for the supposed money and prestige. I convinced myself that working for a BigLaw? firm is beneficial because it will provide me with invaluable training but it might not be the training that I need to achieve my long-term goals. I am back to the position I was after my near-death experience - lost and searching for answers.


You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules for preference declarations. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of these lines. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated ALLOWTOPICVIEW list.


Revision 3r3 - 26 Apr 2018 - 20:41:47 - ChrisSantana
Revision 2r2 - 08 Apr 2018 - 13:35:03 - EbenMoglen
Revision 1r1 - 01 Mar 2018 - 22:12:37 - ChrisSantana
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