1. Why did you become a lawyer?
It may sound cliché, but I became a lawyer to help people. I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. I also became a lawyer because I desired a career that would keep me on my toes and challenge me every day.
2. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Things always look better in the morning.” My mom has given me that advice more times than I can count, and she has always been right. (Don’t tell her that!)
3. What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your career?
Working in immigration law, there are a lot of devastating days, but there are also a lot of rewarding ones. Reuniting family members, helping a deserving client avoid deportation, saving someone from persecution … every single successful case is a rewarding one. The smiles, happy tears and emphatic “thank-you’s” that I receive are enough to remind me that the frustration and bureaucracy are always worth it in the end.
4. How do you achieve work–life balance?
I’m an avid long-distance runner, and I love to snowboard, hike, backpack, camp and play Ultimate Frisbee. On my quieter days, and when it’s sunny, I enjoy cuddling with a good book in my backyard.
5. When did you start learning Spanish?
High school. I continued taking classes in college and studied abroad in Buenos Aires.
6. What are some of the advantages of being bilingual when practicing law?
Being bilingual is essential to practicing immigration law in Colorado. The vast majority of my clients come from Mexico, Central America and South America. If I were not bilingual, I wouldn’t be capable of truly understanding my clients’ cases or communicating our case strategy to them. But being bilingual isn’t just useful in immigration. In our global environment, more and more clients will need attorneys who speak other languages. Learning another language was the best decision I ever made — not only as it relates to my career, but also personally. With learning a foreign language comes cultural understanding, and that makes one a better lawyer and a better world citizen.
7. What inspired your enthusiasm for Metro Volunteer Lawyers?
In law school, I was one of the bilingual intake volunteers for Colorado Legal Services (CLS) and learned a bit about Metro Volunteer Lawyers (MVL) through my work there. I have an extensive background in public interest, so it was natural that I found MVL’s mission important. There is a significant shortage of legal services for those who can’t afford traditional attorneys, so I was very appreciative that such an organization exists. When the YLD started looking for a liaison to MVL, I jumped at the chance.
8. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I’m one of those people who can’t stand certain noises. I could be in a crowd of a 1,000 and still pick out people loudly chewing gum, slurping coffee or tapping a pencil.
9. If you could change anything about Denver, what would it be?
The crowds. I’m a Colorado native, and while I’m proud that so many people love our state and want to move here, I have a long commute, and traffic is a nightmare!
10. If you weren’t a lawyer, you’d be:
A river rafting guide? A lighting designer? An environmental engineer? A travel writer or photographer? A realtor? Fortunately for me, immigration law was my dream career!
Editor’s Note: Do you know a DBA member who should be featured? Email nominations to Jessica Volz at email@example.com.