April 9 - 12, 2014
Santa Fe, NM
As the son of immigrant parents and the first in my family
to go to college, I was inspired by the Attorney General’s
call to public service and the Department’s need to attract
individuals from all backgrounds with a strong desire to help our
country live up to its ideals.
I first came to the Department from Los Angeles as a summer intern assigned to the Misdemeanor Trial Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia. I decided to go to law school and thought the Department would provide the perfect opportunity to become immersed in the law. Between the fast-paced and demanding environment of the Section, I looked for opportunities to learn about all of the different ways the Department made a difference in people’s lives. I quickly learned that the Department’s impact is tied directly to the dedication, commitment, and passion of the people who work every day to fulfill its mission, a message that the Attorney General made clear during the welcoming address for new interns. As I sat in the Great Hall listening to the Attorney General, I was inspired by the call to public service and the Department’s need to attract individuals from all backgrounds with a strong desire to help our country live up to its ideals. As the son of immigrant parents and the first in my family to go to college, I was convinced that I could make valuable contributions to the Department’s purpose. While attending law school in California and with encouragement from my mentors and family, I applied to the Attorney General’s Honor Program and found my way back to D.C.
As an attorney, the Department has lived up to my expectations and more, providing me with many opportunities to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. The work of the Civil Rights Division is challenging, demanding, and greatly rewarding. I began a day before the 9/11 attacks and the support from my peers and supervisors was evident from the moment I entered on duty. As a group of us evacuated the downtown area in my supervisor’s car, we wondered about the uncertainties that lay ahead. We knew the challenges facing our country had multiplied, but we also recognized that countless individuals who were voiceless and in need continued to depend on our enforcement efforts. Rather than return to Los Angeles to be closer to my family, my resolve to remain in D.C. and fulfill our mission only grew stronger.
Although I was given significant responsibility early on, I had the fortune of working with outstanding experienced attorneys. Each had different styles and strengths, but all were equally effective. As a new attorney, it was important to be able to develop my skills and know that my supervisors and colleagues supported my professional growth. I was assigned a formal mentor who helped me navigate the vagaries of government service and my Section’s management was accessible for guidance and advice. The impact of this support early in my career and the contributions I’ve been able to make have been critical factors in my decision to remain in the Department and a reminder of my own responsibilities to foster the same enthusiasm and growth in newer attorneys who are dedicated to public service.