Meet the Founder of Lawtina LLC
About the founder:
Cindy was born in El Salvador, and raised in Southern Indiana.
She graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts (B.A) in English in May 2013 and with a B.A. in History in December 2013 from the University of Southern Indiana. She graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law and a Certificate of Law in International Human and Civil Rights in May 2018. She is the first Temporary Protection Status (TPS) holder from El Salvador to graduate from an Indiana University Law School.
As the first to graduate from college and law school in her family and community, Cindy has a passion for serving disadvantaged populations. After applying to numerous colleges, and being accepted to all of them, scholarships did not cover all school expenses. Because of her status, she did not qualify for government or personal loans. This is an issue Cindy hopes to highlight with Lawtina.
This meant any tuition cost will need to be paid out-of-pocket. Therefore, Cindy and her family made the decision to attend a university they could afford. It was a great decision. However, Cindy held 10 jobs within a four-year time-frame to graduate with two degrees. At times, she worked 4 part-time jobs, and a full-time job while balancing a full-time class schedule and leadership roles. With financial difficulties for her family, paying tuition was stressful. Yet, Cindy believes education is key to helping the Latino community rise. "My parents always said puedes perder todo, pero nunca te pueden quitar tu educación"- You could lose everything, but no one can take your education.
During her time in college, Cindy worked four years in editing various forms of academic and career documents, including resumes and admissions letters, while also earning her English degree. She additionally volunteered with her alma mater's admissions office to recruit, represent, and advocate for Latino students.
Because of her involvement, activism and drive to help her Latino communities in her state, she was awarded the Phenomenal Women of USI and the Community Award, the Maria Goretti Award, the Bilingual Ambassador of the Year award, the Sierra Club Service Award, and was one of the Who's Who Among Students of American Universities and Colleges.
During the spring and summer before law school, Cindy had the opportunity to work as an intern for the Indiana State Senate, and as the Program Director for a small non-profit in Southern Indiana.
Graduating from law school was Cindy's and her family's dream but there were many obstacles she needed to overcome. Cindy applied to numerous law schools and was accepted to all of them. Although she was offered scholarships, they were not enough to cover living expenses. Moreover, in the state of Indiana, the state government was making it harder for non-citizen/legal permanent resident students to pay in-state tuition. For three months, Cindy advocated for herself to find a university she could afford because universities were unfamiliar with her immigration status. The only way she could afford law school was to attend a "part-time/evening" program, which meant it would take Cindy four years to graduate with a Juris Doctorate. Cindy persevered.
During law school, Cindy worked a full-time job, sometimes another part-time job, while taking part-time classes. With not being able to receive loans to pay her tuition because of her immigration status, Cindy worked hard with her family to graduate without loans.
During her first year of law school, she had the opportunity to work for Indiana University Purdue University (IUPUI) as a program assistant of the Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program, where she discovered the power of creating inclusive academic programs. She collaborated with a large-corporate firm to bring students into spaces not often familiar-- such as a corporate law firm environment and meeting top national attorneys. Additionally, she provided mentorship to IUPUI students, which included editing resumes or admissions letters when needed, and providing resources to students unaware of opportunities available to them.
Thereafter, her passion for immigration work drove her to help different socioeconomic classes in the immigrant community. She had the honor to advocate and work for migrant workers and low-income immigrant families. She has worked in private firms, the Indiana government, and several nonprofits: Linda Kelley Law Firm, Jason Flora Law Office, the Indiana Attorney General's Office, Migrant Farm Worker's Law Center, Indiana University Law School Immigration Clinic, Indiana Legal Services, Inc., Ayuda in Washington D.C. and the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic.
She has served as Chair of Indianapolis Bar Association Law Student Division, was a founding member of the Student Immigration Law Society (SILS), and a recipient of the Freeborn Civil and Human Rights Fellowship and Program of International Human Rights Law Fellowship.
She is the first TPS holder to receive an Elite 50 Award, which is awarded to the top 50 professional graduate students out of 8,100+ from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis for their impact on and off campus communities. Additionally, she dedicated more than 500+ hours of pro-bono work earning the Norman Lefstein Gold Level Award of Excellence.
Cindy is passionate about advocating and acting on diversity issues. Her passion has pushed her to create Lawtina, LLC. Lawtina’s mission is ultimately to advance Latinx in the law, not only to have representation but have an impact in the much underrepresented Latinx community in need of legal services.
Now, Cindy is a #Lawtina (Latina in the law) and looks forward to highlighting the stories of our Lawtinx community, and provide empowering content through the power of social media. Cindy thanks her parents, her husband, and sibling for their support, but most of all she thanks God.