What drew you to the law?
As a minority growing up in poverty, I learned very early that life was harsh and unjust. No satisfactory answers were given when I asked why certain conditions were the way they were, such as segregation or oppression. As laws were passed to desegregate or to relieve oppression, my eyes were opened to the benefits of an education and the law. Believing that education and the law were the keys to help those being treated unjustly, initially my goal was to become a social worker. However, as my education continued, I felt more could be accomplished as a lawyer in order to make more permanent improvements in my clients’ lives.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I see my position as a professor in the Family Law and Benefits Clinic as one that is a win-win-win experience for those involved. I win in that I get to teach, practice law and share my legal experience with students who are eager to learn the law. The students win in that they have the opportunity to learn how to actually practice law and help those who cannot afford to retain an attorney. Our clinic clients win in that they are able to have access to justice by having their legal issues resolved with the help of our students.
What do you hope students gain from your courses?
My hope is that my students will learn not only how to practice law but to have compassion for their clients. Students gain hands-on experience with real clients with real legal problems. The students also learn to analyze the legal issues, determine what steps are needed to resolve the issues and actually go to court to ensure that court orders are granted that will alleviate their client’s problems.
What did you do prior to entering academia?
I represented victims of family violence in family law cases through my employment at Legal Aid of North Texas in Dallas and, prior to that, Legal Aid of Central Texas in Austin.
What are you passionate about outside of the law?
My family. My son, daughter, son-in-law and grandson mean the world to me, plus I have my extended family that I love to visit.