Featured Lawtina: Ashley Alvarez
We love empowering stories, and we love to see the obstacles each Lawtinx overcomes, and how each story is not the same but we join in the movement of uplifting each other. Ms. Ashley Alvarez shares her personal story with us at LawtinaJD.com and we are so grateful she did! Que orgullo to hear it!
"I am a second-generation, Cuban and Puerto Rican American and proud Chicagoan. I graduated from the California Western School of Law in San Diego, California in May of 2017.
My law journey began the day my birth parents divorced, I was 2 years old. Both parents fought tirelessly for custody until I was 11 years old. Between those years, I became a regular at the Circuit Court of Cook County and DuPage County Courthouse. The day my father won custody of my brother and I was the day I left the Circuit Court of Cook County knowing I would one day return as a lawyer. I wanted to fight for people like my father, those vulnerable to the system, those who deserved a voice. My father is my biggest cheerleader and best friend. He taught me to never give up on the things you love. A quality I continue to use whenever I find myself experiencing a “set-back” and believe me, there have been many.
I began law school in 2015. I remember feeling this instant burst of empowerment and defeat. I stepped into my dreams and years of hard work, but never quite felt connected. The people around me came from security, support, and money. Insecurity overcame me.
A few months into my first semester, I was chosen as a clinical student for the California Innocence Project. This experience forever changed me and for the first time, I felt alignment with my purpose. I saw the system in a different light. I saw the need for people of color and, most relatable, Latinx communities, to see representation when engaging with the system that so easily called lack of accountability, “justice.” I soaked in knowledge from some of the most amazing mentors, leaders, and friends. I learned the importance of using my platform. After, I began learning how to use my platform while interning for the San Diego and Orange County Public Defender’s Office.
I love my city. Chicago is home and so I moved back near the end of 2017. I spent all of 2018 studying for the Illinois Bar Exam and working full-time. I felt true defeat with each email that did not start with “Congratulations.” I had hit a place where drive could no longer take me where I wanted to go. I felt like I had failed myself and the people around me. The thing we do not learn enough of in our communities is the value of gratitude and self-love; the value of emotional intelligence. Yes, there’s an aspect of cognitive intelligence needed to achieve our careers, but without understanding our deep-seeded traumas and the responding insecurities, we will continue to fall at the hands of them. Especially, during our misperceived “set-backs.”
I spent much of 2018 learning how to love and authentically believe in myself. I practice this daily and on April 1, 2019 the power of faith and hard work came together. I am proud to say I will be taking the oath into the Illinois Bar on May 9, 2019.
I’m a fighter. I will continue the fight for the underserved and vulnerable. I will be a voice for our communities, our neighbors and friends. I am ready to see the world the 11-year-old me knew she would one day live in."
Wow! Congratulations Ms. Esquiere, keep shining and thriving!