Sisters in law

Jacque Patton & Grecia Perez, L’16

From left: Grecia Perez, L'16, and Jacque Patton, L'16

Grecia Perez (left) and Jacque Patton, L’16

For many, the friendships born in Green Hall last long past graduation. But some students gain more than study partners, becoming roommates, colleagues and lifelong friends.

Class of 2016 members Jacque Patton and Grecia Perez plan to move to California’s Bay Area after graduation to launch their legal careers together. The pair took different paths to KU Law — Patton a Kansas native who embarked upon law school straight after earning her undergraduate degree at KU, Perez a Californian who went to college in Los Angeles and worked for six years before law school.

“I knew who Grecia was my 1L year and thought she was intimidating — in a good way,” Patton said. The women bonded through a love of food, music, politics and feminism.

Both women faced an adjustment process as they adapted to the rigors of law school. Patton let go of the need to compare herself to others in a competitive academic environment, while Perez learned that balance was essential to keep her academic aspirations in line with her personal ones. To blow off steam, the duo screened “Sex and the City” marathons during study breaks.

“We analyzed the characters’ experiences through the lens of what it’s like to be women in the legal field — a field that is mostly dominated by men,” Perez said. “We do this often: take something happening in the legal field, politics or pop culture, and analyze through lenses of feminism, social justice and more.”

“We don’t agree on everything,” Patton said. “And we always challenge each other — something that might make it seem like we’re fighting to others around us, when really we are making each other better advocates.”

Patton and Perez brought that spirit of advocacy and justice to their legal educations. Patton served as President of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and interned with Kansas Appleseed, working to create legislation to help undocumented immigrants obtain drivers licenses. She plans to leverage that experience to launch a career in the public sector. Perez served as Student Bar Association President and interns at the district attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kansas. She is pursuing a career as a prosecutor.

After wrapping up finals and graduation festivities, the friends plan to spend the summer studying for the California bar, then fly out to take the exam in July.

While their close friendship may seem unconventional to some, for Patton and Perez it’s been a key to their success in law school.

“We are each other’s sounding boards,” Patton said. “We bounce ideas off each other, help each other study, and when we combine forces, we are capable of doing a great deal.”

“We get a lot of jokes about being a couple, most of them made by us,” Perez said. “It is difficult for people to understand how two heterosexual women can be so close. The sad reality is that women are taught to be competitors instead of sisters, and that’s the best way we could define our friendship: a sisterhood.”

— This post is the first in a series profiling a select few among the many outstanding members of the KU Law Class of 2016.