Emulating her compassion

A student shares how his mother’s career in law and his African American identity inspired him.


I want to be the change.

During my childhood, my mother was a paralegal for a prominent criminal defense attorney in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I grew familiar with the criminal justice system through her. Hearing the stories about her clients’ cases sparked an interest in having a career in the legal field. 

There were times when I would visit my mother at the office, and I would see how she interacted with clients and their families. She would help them through very difficult times as their loved ones faced a challenging judicial system.

Although I saw and admired my mother’s career in law throughout my childhood and adolescence, I did not get the idea to pursue a law career until halfway through my freshman year of college. 

I wanted to be just like my mom from witnessing her compassion. Her drive for public service and desire to help those in need are qualities that she has forever instilled in me. 

Specifically, I want to promote and increase the amount of African American attorneys and to influence my community in a positive way. I joined the Black Law Student Association at Temple University to surround myself with like-minded people who aspire to help uplift our people because the need for the people is evident.

Today, the underserved African American community is struggling under an extremely flawed criminal justice system that is disproportionately against them, and not enough people care or to want to make a change. 

But I do. I want to stand up and fight for what is right, and I want to create a better world for generations to come.  

African American men are extremely underrepresented. There are not enough Black lawyers and judges in our courtrooms. With the knowledge that minorities make up so much of those incarcerated, on parole or probation, why aren’t there more minorities representing the people that they can relate with the most? Millions of African Americans and other minority groups are marginalized through incarceration, and that is the culture in our criminal justice system. 

We need more advocates who have similar backgrounds and have faced similar racial injustices and disparities. 

I was fortunate to obtain an internship with the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Being involved in the work that I did on a daily business inspired me even more. I knew that my decision to pursue a career in law was the right choice. 

I strive to one day have my own law firm and hire law partners that are people of color. I want to give people hope, to lead by example and to show the world that you can become anything you want to be.

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