From State Politics to Law School: Meet UC Hastings 1L Student Victor Torres

UC Hastings 1L student Victor Torres spent five years working in Sacramento politics before entering law school this year.

UC Hastings student Victor Torres, JD ’25, spent five years working in Sacramento and helping to pass state legislation, including significant reforms to California’s criminal justice and health care systems.

This year, Torres will go from making laws to studying the law as he pursues a JD at UC Hastings.

Torres, 28, said he hopes to use his law degree to serve underrepresented communities, “I think having a law degree will make me a more effective advocate to help address justice, equality, and equity issues.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Irvine, Torres was accepted into the Capital Fellows Program, which brought him to Sacramento. He spent a year working for California State Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-San Fernando Valley), a 1979 Hastings alumnus.

Torres later returned to his hometown of Fresno, where he worked on political campaigns, including one in which State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Fresno) defeated an incumbent Republican in 2018, making her the youngest woman elected to the California Senate. While working in Hurtado’s office, Torres helped advance legislation in 2019 that expanded health insurance gap coverage for Californians from 10 days to one month.

In his most recent job as senior legislative aide for State Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park), Torres did research and advocacy work to support the passage of a 2021 criminal justice reform law. The law makes people who were potentially unjustly convicted of attempted murder or manslaughter eliglbe to have their convictions overturned.

Torres, a Mexican-American, said he chose to go to law school in part because he thinks the legal profession should be more diverse, “The legal field needs people who understand the lived experience of workers, immigrants, people in foster care, and people of color.”

He added that he picked UC Hastings because of its proximity to diverse opportunities in the legal field and because of its public-interest service offerings, such as the Community Group Advocacy and Social Change Lawyering Clinic.

One accomplishment Torres said he’s particularly proud of is a program he launched at the state capitol to offer workshops and seminars that give people of color more expertise in policymaking sectors that lack diversity; sectors such as energy, water, and transportation. He said, “I feel I’m leaving the capitol space better than I found it.”

Coming from the Central Valley, where land use, water rights, and health care are major issues, Torres said he’s eager to learn more about environmental and health law, but he’s open to exploring other areas of legal study.

Torres said he is considering becoming an attorney for social justice organizations after law school, but he’s keeping an open mind about other career opportunities, “With my background in politics and policy and my training at UC Hastings, I believe it will help me become a stronger advocate to make sure people have their rights protected.”