I was drawn to a career in the law because I felt it would put me in the best position to be able to affect change in the community and in our country.
Was there a person or experience that inspired you?
I was first inspired by seeing Barack Obama win the presidency. I was in fourth grade at the time, and one of four Black kids at my school, and the only in my class (the three others being my sisters). It took me by complete shock that a Black man could become the president of the United States, and it inspired me to learn more about politics and showed me that this was something that was not only obtainable, but had been done right before my eyes. This led me to taking a justice and law class later on in high school, and I knew instantly that I wanted to be a lawyer because to me, it is one of the best positions to have if you want to fight for social justice and make an impact in the community.
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I have lived in Nebraska since I moved back here in 2010, and have worked here since I was 16. I am currently a second-year law student at the Nebraska College of Law and do not plan on moving. Ultimately, it will depend on what opportunities are available after graduating.
Is diversity important in the judicial system and, if so, why?
I believe diversity is important in every organization and system, especially in the legal field. Having diversity allows for different perspectives and viewpoints to be heard, discussed and understood. This is particularly important in the legal field, where much of our work requires critical thinking and looking at issues from multiple levels and angles. This is also a field where oftentimes the people we represent, whether it be a group of people or on an individual level, come from a diverse background and having attorneys and judges who understand them or their world view a little bit better can make a huge difference in their representation. On another note, I think it’s important because it has the ability to inspire young, diverse, potential future lawyers to join us in the field and feel welcomed.
What is one thing that can be done here to improve diversity among attorneys and judges?
I believe that there are many things that can and must be done if we want to improve diversity among attorneys and judges in Nebraska. The one I will focus on here is that we need to help make the journey to law school more accessible for young people, and I think starting young is the best way to do this. Many people of color or from diverse backgrounds do not have attorneys in their families or broader friend groups. Making it known that 1) Being an attorney is something that is obtainable for them; and 2) Helping to explain the process of getting into a legal career (applying for college, choosing a major, maintaining a good GPA, prepping for and taking the LSAT, applying for law school, encouraging application in the state, etc.) in addition to helping take down some of the huge paywalls that block off access to legal education for many, would make a big difference in Nebraska’s legal diversity.
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On Twitter @LJSpilger