MCCA LMJ Scholarship – Advancing Together
My mother came here in the early 80s and she came here as an orphan she worked three jobs. Two of them were at fast-food restaurants and a third one was at a local car rental company. I was born in China I moved here when I was 8 years old. I was picked on a lot My parents not speaking a word of English they could even fend for us They just told us to put your head down and like stay out of trouble and like study hard and someday like that will pay off. My parents were both undocumented from Mexico and so growing up in Los Angeles in the 90s was a different and difficult time. My dad for the longest time struggled to find work because he wasn’t documented and he would do sort of odd jobs work as a mechanic Work as a janitor My mom would take care of kids also working as a janitor When I began teaching in inner-city Houston half of my students were Latino and half my students were African American and one thing that I realized was that The vast majority of my students would count themselves out for opportunities simply because of the neighborhood they grew up in or and thinking they didn’t have the connections and I found that it was because whether it be they wanted work for a corporation or whether it be because they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or engineer the companies that hire these hyper Professionals didn’t have people who looked like them. And so it was at that point that I realized. It was incredibly important for minorities to enter these fields and pave a way for others to come after them. When we were getting naturalized I just remember having an attorney and I was like oh my gosh the lawyer as a problem solver and that’s what I want to be for my family So for me speaking Spanish at home learning English That later meant is that I would be translating for my parents whenever they would have to deal with things with landlords or neighbors or other people I remember specifically when folks needed to needed help drafting letters to their employer for example to ask for back wages Or just certain things that they needed as that they were entitled to as employees They would often come to me and this was after they were trying to advocate for themselves and so I think that for me early on gave me a better idea of what justice Looks like and so I think growing up in that context really Motivated me to do a lot of the work that I was gonna do later on It was either right before or right after Christmas. I got an email and it said congratulations. You’re a LMJ scholar I was incredibly excited that this particular organization would believe that I’m a good candidate to carry forward the values and carry forward the mission for diversity inclusion and it really solidified my zeal to go into corporate law. So I heard of LMJ through former scholars and through folks here at Harvard Law School Who were admitted before and applied Well, particularly the folks that had won it before, they were just an amazing group of people that were supportive throughout my law school journey And not only that but also knowing who had won in the past and that I would be a part of a community of folks That had similar stories like my own and that were thriving having those kind of folks that I can call in and they were very understanding very supportive and will give you just a Real advice. I mean that’s powerful for a first-generation college student like myself. The summer after my 1L year at Law School I went to the MCCA conference in DC and That’s when I met Toby Chung a partner at Kirkland Ellis and he spoke about you know, the diversity efforts at Kirkland You know, I was really convinced that I need to work like that one day Later on. He actually got me an interview with Kirkland New York. He went ahead and vouched for me So here I am today. There really are no limits to what the LMJ scholarship is So in addition to the financial support that they’ve given us They’ve also given us a network. I know that I can contact not only Jean but Sophia not only my scholarship sponsors but really anyone in the MCCA network I can’t even count the number of people that I met at the gala when I was able to attend as a law student and I look forward to doing that in the future. We’re not passive about our talent We actively seek out the best and the brightest Destiny is an excellent example of that talent. We know that she will be an exceptional lawyer with us and more importantly we know that we can learn from Destiny. It’s not about just her learning from the lawyers at the firm more importantly as the lawyers at the firm learning from her experience from her perspective Part of the success of any D&I effort strategy involves having very strong collaborations and partnerships with the minority bars. MCCA is an excellent example of that. Thank you for supporting the LMJ scholarship. Thank you so much for supporting the LMJ scholars. This is a reminder that together We’re building one of the most diverse communities in the legal field. Thank you for your support of MCCA thank you for your support of LMJ scholars, and thank you for really being a beacon of Diversity at your various corporations and your various law firms. It means the world to us, and we look forward to working with you in the future.