- Her journey to attorney began with a mother's wish.
“All through elementary school and high school, I was undocumented. I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to become a U.S. citizen and figured my options would always be limited—for schools, internships, future jobs, everything. But by luck, I became a citizen last year. It was so exciting! We had moved to the U.S. from Mexico when I was 8 or 9 because of my mother’s wish for a better future. Now I’m the first one in my extended family to graduate from college, and obviously the first to go to law school.”
- She went door-to-door to learn about lawyering.
“The summer after my sophomore year in college, I went to Waukegan’s downtown area and knocked on all the lawyers’ doors to ask about internships. My last try was a local criminal lawyer, Julio Argueta. He agreed to let me shadow him for one summer, so I was able to watch him meeting with clients and appearing in court, mostly on DUI and speeding ticket defenses. I learned a lot, and by the end of the summer, I knew I wanted to go to law school.
“Julio kept in touch. He has always taken time to advise me, whether I was worrying about grades or looking for jobs. He has been my greatest influence in law school.”
- Can we talk justice? Language matters.
“We had a client in the Wisconsin Innocence Project who really hadn’t talked much to us. One day I started speaking to him in Spanish and suddenly he was talking to us a lot. It was interesting to see the change in him. We looked back at past letters and conversations involving his case — all in English. Even though all the police reports said our client spoke English, he did not. English was actually his third language, and most of the English he knew, he had learned in prison. It made me think about how the language barrier can affect non-English speaking clients.”
- Editing the Gender Journal? She can do it!
“When one of the board members at the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society approached me about running for the editor-in-chief position, my first thought was, ‘Nope, no thank you.’ I worked as a cite checker during my first year of law school, and last year, I became senior managing articles editor. Becoming editor-in-chief was not on my radar at all. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there were things about the journal that I wanted to change, and some things I wanted to improve. In the end, I decided to run for the position, and I got elected. Even though it was stressful sometimes, I loved seeing how a publication gets made from start to finish, and I loved working on all the parts with all the people. It was a great experience.”
- She’ll be getting clients’ housing in order.
“Last summer I interned at a Chicago nonprofit that provides low cost legal services, where I mostly consulted on foreclosure cases. All of these clients were going through a foreclosure, so I would explain the process of a foreclosure to them, and tell them what was coming next or what they needed to do. We also helped them fill out and file their court documents. In June, I’m excited to start a new job with the Legal Aid Society in Milwaukee. I’ll be working on outreach with the Hispanic community and focusing on housing law. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to give back to the Hispanic community.”
González receiving her certificate of citizenship
Submitted by Tammy Kempfert on May 29, 2018