As I’m wrapping up my final semester of law school, I’ve been reflecting on my three-year journey. I will miss the quirky professors and their bland jokes. I will miss the everyday academic challenge. Most of all, I will miss many of the people I’ve come to know. As a law student, you will spend three years in the trenches with your fellow classmates and build (mostly) fond memories. It’s the students that make the law school experience. I have been fortunate to spend my three years with an incredible group of people, many of whom I met through student organizations. One organization that has been important to me during law school has been the Hispanic American Law Students Association (HALSA).
Early in the fall semester of my first year of law school, several second- and third-year HALSA members welcomed me and became my mentors. They were my support group, and I felt like I could come to them with any questions, concerns or issues. It was refreshing to have many people I could rely on. I identified with them because we came from similar backgrounds, and I knew that if they could survive to be 2Ls and 3Ls, then I could, too.
The past three years in HALSA have been filled with activities. I have met countless attorneys through the variety of diversity events HALSA has attended, such as the Seigfreid Bingham Diversity Happy Hour, the Lathrop & Gage Diversity Happy Hour, the Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s Diversity Open House and the Kansas City Hispanic Bar Judicial Reception. I have also gotten an opportunity to give back to my community. Earlier in the school year, HALSA collected school supplies and donations for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, a nonprofit organization that caters to approximately 1,200 children in the Lawrence area. In early March, HALSA hosted KU Law’s annual Diversity in Law Banquet, which raises money for diversity scholarships and is a celebration of our differences. I was honored (but nervous) to get up and say a few words in front of the crowd. Thankfully, I got through my speech about how the legal profession can achieve its goal of increasing the number of diverse attorneys by working with law schools, colleges, secondary and primary schools, legal employers, bar associations and clients.
The highlight of my law school career was when I met Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She has an amazing life story and is such a courageous and inspirational figure. I even mustered enough courage to ask her a question (although I rehearsed the question several times in my head before actually asking her).
I would have missed out on so many opportunities in law school if I did not get involved in some of the many student run organizations at KU Law. In law school, time is of the essence; the assignments can quickly become overwhelming. For me, student groups have been an enjoyable outlet and have contributed to making my years at Green Hall worthwhile.
Alex Aguilera, 3L and Student Ambassador