My decision to attend law school and become a lawyer was motivated by my deep sense of justice and commitment to advocacy. There’s a family story I like to tell to help explain those motivations:
When I was very little (two to five years old), my family lived in Mississippi and my father was the pastor of the local church. I was in pre-school at the time, which was held in the church building. A young black family that lived nearby had a daughter who was my age, and they applied to send her daughter to the pre-school. Unfortunately, the church had a strict policy against allowing black people on church property, so the church board told the school to reject that family’s application.
One of the pre-school teachers made the decision to move class out of the church building and into her own home so that the family could send their little girl to school. My parents moved me into that teacher’s class as a statement against the church’s racist policies. My parents had been vocal opponents of the church’s racism and this gesture was met with some support in the community but also a lot of anger. I didn’t know it then, but my parents were at times afraid for our family’s safety because of their actions and beliefs. Eventually, the deacons asked my father to resign. We left Mississippi and never looked back.
Although I was too young to remember those events, I have grown up with that story my whole life. It left a great impression on my thinking about social justice and equality. Our legal system has many flaws but, ultimately, it should support justice. In my practice, I seek to be a compassionate lawyer who can act as bravely as my parents did in the face of injustice. One of the biggest problems facing our legal community today is unequal access to our justice systems. When the average lawyer charges $400 an hour, a huge section of people are immediately preventing from having a professional guide them through our complex legal systems. By using a sliding scale fee structure, I can focus my practice on serving people who have traditionally been overlooked and have issues that many lawyers would be unwilling to take. In this small way, I hope to change the way people can access justice.