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Dominguez Legal Justice Center Summer 2017 Internship
My name is Vanessa Garcia, a UIUC Senior majoring in Latina/o/x Studies and Political Science with a minor in Communication. This past summer I served as an intern for Daissy Dominguez, an immigration attorney in Chicago and UIUC Alum. I met Daissy through my advisor, Alicia Rodriguez, and we quickly became friends. Initially, Daissy did not have an official internship set up for her firm, but she willingly took me under her wing so that a fellow Latina can gain experience in the legal profession.
Throughout the internship I was required to work from 9am to 5pm every weekday. At times, we’d stay a bit later to wrap up a case or finish consulting with a client. That work environment helped improve my work ethic significantly. I’ve always had trouble with time management, but my instructor Daissy was very attentive to me and my growth. It was nice to have an instructor who genuinely cared about my well-being and invested time and energy into my personal and professional development. I was very indecisive on my future career prior to this internship, but was able to reflect on my aspirations this summer and finally decided on my next step.
I quickly discovered that I would be given a large amount of responsibility. My instructor assigned me to work on entire briefs on my own but always made herself available when needed. She trusted that I had the ability to work independently and trusted me with cases that she deeply cared about. I improved my translation skills as I spoke with Spanish speaking clients, google translating an endless amount of legal terms. Another large part of the internship was attending networking events, where I met powerful womxn who were actively fighting against injustices within their communities. The most difficult part of the internship was watching these families express the violence they’ve experienced and attempted to flee, leaving them traumatized for the rest of their lives. I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, but found myself connecting to these Latinx families on a more personal level. Making them comfortable and earning their trust was a priority for me. I loved what I did because I believe no one should live in fear of being removed from their family, of returning to violence, of feeling subordinate just because of the status of their citizenship.
I realized that although law school is the next step for me now, I do not necessarily see myself as an attorney for the rest of my life, because the law will always have limitations. I aspire to teach performative arts and mentor young womxn, offering any knowledge I may have so that they may prosper, so that we may prosper.