Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Career First - Guest Post by Cecilia Pulido, Esq.

When I think of ambition, drive and determination I think of Cecilia (Cecy) Pulido. She is one of those rare people who as a little girl knew exactly what she wanted to become as a grown-up; and she never ever swayed from that dream. She became a successful immigration attorney through an arduous road, a road that took much longer to navigate than she may have first planned, and a road that meant delaying another goal of hers to become a wife and mother.

Here is Cecy's story:

Most little girls aspire to be ballerinas, teachers or movie stars. I was quite different from most girls. As a young 8-year old, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. After my father suffered a work related injury, I became the spokesperson for my family. I began to be pulled out of school to interpret for my father during attorney-client meetings. It was during those meetings that I knew I wanted to represent those who have limited access to the judicial system. However, becoming a lawyer was not an easy task.

There were many obstacles I faced during the long treacherous road to becoming a lawyer. I am the first in my family to graduate high school and attend college. I am also the first one to go to graduate school. As a first generation Mexican-American woman attending college and law school, I encountered a lot of pressures. One of them was being a role model to my younger siblings and cousins. They looked up to me, so I knew I couldn’t screw up. In law school, that meant making the grade.

I started law school after having worked as a legal assistant for 5 years. So going back to school was not easy. My first semester grades were the lowest I had ever received. You see, courses in law school are not based on papers and assignments throughout the semester. Each course is based on one 3-hour written exam in which you must apply what you learned during the semester. Needless to say, the first semester was definitely a challenge. But things got better, busier but better. I work well under pressure and as my schedule got busier, the higher my grades got. In my 3rd year of law school, I participated in the Justice and Immigration clinic where I had the opportunity to represent a Somali native seeking asylum in the U.S. This was my first time appearing in front of a judge on behalf of a client. I knew then I had made the right career choice.

Aside from the pressures of law school, there were also pressure coming from my family. Mis tias (aunties) would ask me the same questions over and over and over again. “Mija, cuando te vas a casar? Cuando vas a tener hijos?” (When are you going to get married? When will you have children?) My answer was always the same “primero tengo que terminar la escuela.” (First, I MUST finish school) I always knew what my priorities were and did not allow anyone to dissuade me from them. Don’t get me wrong, I do want a wedding and children, what woman doesn’t? But all in due time and I am confident that my time will come.. I'll get married and embrace motherhood.

Now as a lawyer I have a busy schedule and never have a set time at which I leave the office, but I don’t mind. I love what I do and most importantly, I love that a high percentage of my clients are Spanish-speakers. The legal system is complex as it is, so being able to communicate with my clients in their native language and being able to assuage the complexity of their cases is truly gratifying. This is exactly how I envisioned my profession to be. I am living my dream!

Cecilia Pulido graduated from UC Santa Barbara c/o 2003 and received her law degree from the University of La Verne.
She practices law at The Arns Law Firm in San Francisco, CA. 
Cecilia's career achievements are completely admirable and a true testament to hard work and vision. She foresaw a dream career path and stuck through it regardless of ups and downs!

Can you relate?

Is your career what you dreamed it to be? If not, what do you want to be when you GROW up? After all we never stop growing up! Comment and share your career successes/ambitions with us.

1 comment:

Comment aka Props!