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Fall 2022 Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec Public Service Scholarship Winner

Emily Martinez

Emily Martinez

Emily’s essay exhibits her strong work ethic, sacrifice, and tenacity. Not only is Emily a first-generation college student, but she is also a first-generation citizen and service member. She is a leader among her peers, and we wish her the best in her pursuit of a career in law.

Read Emily's Essay:

My unconventional path to law school has provided me with a depth of knowledge and experience, which has inspired my commitment to diversity and inclusion and led me to a legal career. As a first-generation citizen, college student, law student, and service member, my experiences provide a diverse outlook that will assist me in finding creative solutions as an attorney and promote the advancement of Hispanics in the legal profession.

I am a daughter of immigrant parents. My mother immigrated to America from a small community located in the forests of Chiapas, Mexico. My father sailed from Cuba to America on a boat he crafted. When I turned 11, my mother was detained by immigration officers. The protracted legal battle that resulted was my first exposure to the legal field.

The seeming hopelessness of my family’s situation motivated my studies. I was offered the opportunity to study at an Early College High School, where I concurrently attended a community college working toward an associate degree. Shortly after graduating high school, my mother’s immigration appeal was denied. However, an innovative attorney informed my family of Military Parole in Place, a program that could repeal my mother’s deportation order if one of her children was a service member. That week, I enlisted in a combat role with the Army National Guard. I was one of four women to graduate training. This was a pivotal moment for me. I realized that my life would be a constant pursuit of personal and professional growth, and I owed it to my mother to devote my life to meaningful work. I am passionate about empowering the members of minority groups through legal solutions and mentorship.

While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I continued to develop my leadership skills. I learned to thrive as a leader under pressure while in command over teams of soldiers during three National Guard missions. I successfully commanded a platoon of 30 soldiers by managing large movements, mission assignments, and the needs of individual soldiers. In my final semester with ROTC, I was promoted to Executive Officer, where I was second in command of 58 cadets, running day-to-day administrative duties and developing support officers. As an Executive Officer, I started a workshop program where I selected skilled cadets to run informational classes over a variety of topics such as women empowerment and time management. In 2021, I commissioned as an Army Officer. Through my military service, I have become decisive and intentional in my actions, developed strong problem-solving skills, and the ability to teach and mentor others.

I regard myself as a candidate whose unique experience singularly demonstrates the life-changing power that attorneys have as counselors. I am ready to offer my efforts to the legal field so that I can work with a diverse set of clients and colleagues who will benefit from my experiences and few of the world while simultaneously empowering members of the Hispanic community.

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