For Jacob Barrera ’22, law school has been a 10-year journey. In 2012, Barrera knew he wanted to pursue a career in public health and accepted a summer internship with the Future Public Health Leaders Program via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While working at a community health center in Detroit Michigan, he asked himself: What can I do to improve health equity? How can I a seat at the table of those making these decisions?
Originally from Whitter, California, Barrera earned his BA in Psychology and Dance from Pomona College and his Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Policy from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While pursuing his master’s degree, Barrera concurrently took classes at Harvard Law School as part of the MPH program. “It was in this space that I solidified that my quest to achieve health equity would be furthered by a law degree,” he said.
One of the main reasons Barrera said he chose Hastings was its Health Law concentration and faculty. He said, “Hasting’s Health Law faculty and program is robust and provides students with an incredible foundation for practicing in the health space after graduation.”
After graduation, Barrera will work at Holland & Knight as a litigation associate in their San Francisco office; he “want[s] to remain in private practice while simultaneously looking for opportunities to give back to the Latino community, by sitting on boards and donating time, money, and expertise.” In the long term, Barrera aspires to become the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
While at law school, he was involved in many groups and activities, including La Raza, OUTlaw, and Hastings Health Law Organization. Barrera served as a 1L representative for the Clara Foltz Inn for ASUCH, the Hastings student government organization, and was the only 1L representative on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group, where he helped launch the Campus Climate Survey.
In his second year, he was elected ASUCH Treasurer and VP of Finance for OUTlaw. During 2L, Barrera was a staff editor on the Hastings Law Journal, teaching assistant and the Executive Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Hastings Law Journal.
During his three years of law school, he interned as a law clerk for the Department of Justice’s Office of Vaccine Litigation, served as a compliance intern for Central Health Plan of California, and wrote two health-care-related seminar papers on Pay-for-Delay and the use of AI technology in pharmaceutical clinical trials. He also spent a summer working at Holland & Knight.
Barrera said, “[a]ll of these experiences allowed me to work with different people, work on my writing, and understand different management styles, all of which are crucial as I prepare for my legal career. Coupled with these experiences were incredible mentors and role models that continue to be sources of inspiration and invaluable advice.”