Thursday, January 22, 2015

          2L Trailblazer Liliana Garcia

          "We might have had less growing up,” she said, “but I actually had more support emotionally, and that is what people need to get through anything.”

          Sample alt tag.
          Photo Credit: Melissa De Witte

          On her trips home to visit her parents in Los Baños, California in the Central Valley, where the land is studded with tomatoes and cattle farms, 2L Liliana Garcia often lends a hand to her parents.


          Both retired agricultural workers from Zacatecas, Mexico, the Garcias benefit from their second daughter’s fluent English, her sharp analytical mind, and her generous heart. “I always want to give back to my parents. We might have had less growing up,” she said, “but I actually had more support emotionally, and that is what people need to get through anything.” Garcia is inspired by her father, who set up a refuge in his house for arriving farmworkers when he first came to the country. “He would always help them find housing and employment,” she said, as she talked about how, decades later, people still came to her house to ask for her dad.

          Garcia graduated valedictorian from her high school, and went on to complete a Bachelor’s in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz in just three years. Her path is now institutionalized as the UCSC/UCHastings 3 + 3 accelerated law degree program. Even though she didn’t know much about legal practice, a professor’s challenge encouraged her to consider applying to law school. Ultimately, a long, heartfelt conversation with her boyfriend, Dominic, also a UCSC graduate, gave her the courage to apply to Hastings. “I met my first lawyer when I came to law school,” she said. “I had never gone to court and had never thought about the law as an academic subject. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t break it!”

          At UC Hastings, Garcia has enjoyed serving as treasurer for the student Latino organization, La Raza, and helping out with its Day at Law school program, which brings low-income students from area schools onto the UC Hastings campus for a taste of legal education. Garcia has also taken advantage of the many professional resources of the UC Hastings community. Last summer, she had an externship with Judge John S. Salazar in Santa Cruz County. She shadowed the judge, observed trials and even got to work on some briefs. She got the position after meeting Judge Salazar at a Bar Association event.  “The externship was such a great experience! Not only did I learn about every aspect of the criminal law, from arraignments to jury trials, but also received mentoring that will be invaluable in my future legal career.”

          Now she works part time as a legal assistant at a boutique immigration firm where she helps a solo practitioner with family-based immigration, removal proceedings and some asylum cases. “My favorite part is actually talking with clients,” she said, and explained how delighted she was to finally meet a man whose DACA application she had been laboring over for weeks. “It’s a stack of papers to request a delay on deportation for childhood arrivals, and after you complete and file one of those, you feel like you know the person.” She saw her client walk in to the office: “My soul lit up! I was really excited to meet him in person and see who I was doing it for. Here was the face behind all my dedication,” she said.

          These practical experiences in combination with her classes have helped her discover what she likes and doesn’t like about legal practice. She isn’t cut out for criminal law, and moot court, despite her great performance, didn’t inspire, mostly because she sees herself as a collaborator, not an adversary. But she loved a recent course of Professor Hadar Aviram’s on criminalization and social control. Garcia is driven to build her career in public service law, since she is driven to see social change happen. “What fascinates me isn’t the black letter law, but the theoretical concept and how it plays out in the real world,” she said.

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Friday, November 17, 2017

          Exciting New Spring 2018 Courses Focus on the Future

          Grabbing from the headlines and emphasizing innovation, courses like Legal Tech Startups, Advanced Immigration Law, and Stalking and Law will prepare UC Hastings students for next-level legal careers.
          Tuesday, November 14, 2017

          Port pilot John Betz ’96 discusses his non-legal career and the importance of education

          A tragic “Deadliest Catch” moment piqued a lifelong interest in the law and encouraged John to pursue a law degree at UC Hastings.
          Friday, November 03, 2017

          Thinkers & Doers: October 2017

          100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die -- Alum appointed Chargé d’Affaires -- The poisonous dynamic over who’s to blame for racism -- Prof. Williams on the Harvey Weinstein Effect -- Two More UC Hastings Grads Receive Judgeships from Gov. Brown -- Jury selection in the Steinle case -- and much more
          Wednesday, November 01, 2017

          Why do drug prices remain so high?

          "Because drug companies block competition," says Professor Feldman in a new study that examines all drugs on the market between 2005 and 2015, identifying and analyzing every instance in which the company added new patents or exclusivities. 
          Wednesday, October 25, 2017

          UC Hastings Community Offers Legal Help to Wine Country Wildfire Victims

          “I'd been reading stories in the news, and it was devastating. It bothered me not doing anything about it—I just wanted to do something for the families,” says 2L Trang Luong.
          Go to News Archive