10 Questions With Edgar Barraza


1. Where did you go to law school and where are you currently working?
I attended the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.
I am currently working at Rollin Braswell Fisher LLC, practicing commercial and financial litigation.

2. Why did you become a lawyer?
As an undocumented immigrant, I was keenly aware of the special vulnerability of my community stemming from its limited access to economic opportunity and legal resources. Learning about the success lawyers had shaping their communities for the best, I thought a law degree could provide the tools to bring similar relief to my community. In the process I also hoped to set an example. Latino lawyers were and are still underrepresented in the profession. It’s undeniable that the law profession figures prominently in American life, and I wanted to prove that undocumented immigrants could become attorneys if given an opportunity, and that way increase society’s awareness and understanding of undocumented immigrants.

3. What was your biggest hurdle in becoming the first DREAMer to be admitted to the Colorado Bar?
Finding a way to pay for my first year of law school and clearing that first hurdle was most daunting. DU provided a very generous scholarship, but I was still significantly short on tuition. Being undocumented at the time, I was ineligible for any sort of student financial aid or private loans. The prospect of failing to pursue my life goal for a lack of money was something I dreaded and that kept me up at night. Luckily I was able to obtain a loan with help from my uncle from a bank in Mexico, which was enough for the first year!

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? What advice would you give to other DREAMers seeking to become attorneys?
Any time I expressed doubt to my mother on whether I could accomplish any of my goals, she would first scold me and then remind me that ‘el mundo es de los audaces’ which roughly translates to ‘the world is for the daring.’ Whenever I faced major hurdles in my path, I imagined my mother’s major scolding and let her words nudge me into doing whatever needed to be done.
To DREAMers looking to enter the profession, I would tell them to stay the course. The Colorado legal community has been very supportive of me, as I am sure it will be of you; you will not be short of allies if you wish to join us. You must aim high to reach that loftier version of yourselves. Envisioning myself as a law student walking the halls of DU helped me overcome a lot of the doubts and the obstacles that stood between me and my goals. Big ‘D’ dreamers and little ‘d’ dreamers should try it!

5. Where are your favorite places to travel?
I have really enjoyed traveling to Los Angeles with my family lately. Horrible traffic aside, it is a neat cosmopolitan center and offers some of the most authentic Mexican food I have ever had. In the future, I would like to travel to the Eastern Mediterranean, China, or some other place that has been the scene of great human accomplishments and where you can feel ancient history weighing down on you.

6. Are you currently binge watching any shows?
I am currently watching Twin Peaks (1990). I am really drawn to mystery series, especially ones where the main character is cast into a quirky little town in the middle of nowhere (here literally), which really heightens the drama and my interest.

7. What’s the best restaurant in Denver?
Yabby Hut, one of the few places that offer delicious fresh seafood in the city — plus, no cutlery!

8. Favorite childhood memory:
My grandfather and I stargazing while sipping (unbeknownst to mom) a bit of Don Pedro rum.

9. How do you de-stress?
I take long walks with my dogs, hike and I strum my guitar, which I cannot yet properly play.

10. If you weren’t a lawyer, you’d be
I was a pre-med major once, so perhaps a researcher at a cancer research institution, where I would likely be analyzing and writing about arduous text and formulating experiments–which is not all that different from what I do now! I really enjoy doing research and complex problem-solving that engages one’s cognitive ability to the full. D