Featured Lawtina: Ruth Blanco
I personally became emotional reading Ruth’s story. Ruth, you’re an incredible human being and I’m sure your papá is smiling down on you everyday. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey and keep thriving hermana! Eres un orgullo Latinx! -CP
“My name is Ruth Blanco; I am a rising 3L, the Hispanic/Latinx Law Student Association President, and an incoming Immigration Law Clinic Student Practitioner at the LoyolaUniversity of New Orleans, College of Law.
I am from the California Bay Area; Oakland born, Haywardraised. I am proud to be of Nicaraguan descent. “Nicaraguense por Gracia de Dios”, as we like to say. My parents moved to the United States in 1990 and worked endless hours in sheet metal factories to make sure my older brother and I had everything we needed. I was 10 years old the first time my dad was told he had 6 months to live. He told his doctors he was not going anywhere until he saw his baby girl graduate from college. Through my adolescence, I lived in fear of losing my dad but he continually showed me the definition of strength and the will to live. I graduated from Mount Eden High School in Hayward, California with an acceptance to the University of California- Riverside (UCR). Regardless of my dad’s complicated medical history, he continued to work endless hours to financially support me while I completed my undergraduate degree.
During my time at UCR, I joined Model United Nations as a Conference Director General. Being a part of Model United Nations gave me the first insight into international law by learning about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations.
My last semester at UCR, I was accepted into the UCDC program in Washington D.C. where I interned for Congressman Eric Swalwell, the representative of my congressional district. I completed my program and internship and flew back in time for my graduation ceremony which landed on Father’s Day in 2014, where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. My dad asked for the time off from work to watch his baby girl (a live representation of his hard work, blood, sweat and tears) cross that stage.
After 8 months of job-hunting, I accepted a job offer as an Immigration Assistant at Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL). There I began learning about corporate/business immigrationand was being guided through the field by my managing attorney. Little did I know he would plant the idea of considering law school as a career option in my head. During my time at BAL, I was promoted and awarded with a Paralegal certificate. After a couple of years at BAL and with the continued support of my parents, I decided to take on the LSAT.
In February 2017, I received my first law school acceptance letter. I remember having this inexplicable feeling of happiness, pride, and disbelief. I ran into my parents’ room with tears running down my face. I told them I got accepted into law school. My dad with the biggest smile and tears running down his face, hugs me tightly and tells me, “ves mi muchachita, yo te dije que vos podias” (see baby girl, I told you, you could do it.)
The celebration was short-lived as my dad passed away a week later. Today, those words are my strength and my memory of his positive energy is a constant reminder to keep pushing forward, that I can be anything I put my mind to.
Since my 1L year, I have volunteered my time to being an interpreter for Spanish-speaking clients of the Loyola New Orleans Immigration Law Clinic dealing with asylum cases.During my 2L year, I was accepted to be a Legal Intern for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, New Orleans Immigration Court. In June 2019, I completed a Summer Legal Studies Program in Spetses, Greece focusing on comparative law. I have also continued to go back to BAL every summer to work as a Law Clerk.
I have an interest in practicing Immigration Law. I am alsointerested in giving back to the community that raised me and every community I have joined on this journey to become a lawyer. “In order to change the world, you must first change yourself.” I share my story with hopes of inspiring others to do the unthinkable. You never know where life will take you; you just have to enjoy the road.”