Family experiences drive McGeorge law student to advocate for others
Consuelo Amezcua ’20
Consuelo Amezcua ’20 recalls being an advocate for others since her early teens when she translated and completed important paperwork for her immigrant parents.
Amezcua’s mother had been a political refugee who escaped Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution and her father had fled severe poverty in his hometown in Mexico. They came to the United States, met and started a family. It was their experiences and Amezcua’s own that drive her to study at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.
“Since I can remember, I have always been an advocate,” said the first-generation law student. “As a young teenager, I was the only English-speaking member of my family. This meant I was the advocate and translator in my family.”
Amezcua recalls the moment she decided to go to law school. She was asked by her junior high school teacher to represent her class by giving a speech in English and Spanish at the promotion ceremony. The Spanish portion was interrupted by parents refusing to listen and chanting that she should only speak English.
“Through that event I learned several things,” Amezcua said. “For one, I have a right to speak Spanish, or any other language. In fact, speaking whatever language we choose is one of the hallmarks of our democratic, free society. Second, I learned that I was not afraid of public speaking, even during adversarial situations. That was when I knew I had to continue advocating for myself and for others, especially those that are disenfranchised.”
She began seeking experiences and mentors to guide her career. She learned about issues facing winery and vineyard workers while working at Legal Aid of Napa Valley. She also helped immigrants understand their rights and fill out immigration applications.
Pursuing a legal education at McGeorge seemed natural to Amezcua in continuing to advocate for others.
“Since the beginning, I knew I could trust McGeorge with my legal education,” said Amezcua.
“I was confident that McGeorge would make me a successful law student based on its distinguished faculty and its committed and involved alumni.”
Amezcua has taken advantage of her McGeorge experience. She is a law clerk at McGeorge’s Legislative and Public Policy Clinic working with adjunct professor Rex Frazier ’00 and the Personal Insurance Federation of California to promote state legislation.
“This is a clinic that makes McGeorge unique and sets it apart from any other law school,” she said. “The Legislative Clinic provides practical skills in researching, drafting and pursuing adoption of California legislative changes.”
She is also part of McGeorge’s successful Moot Court team traveling across the country for competitions. Most recently, she and fellow law student Kim Carrubba ’20 received the award for the second best brief at the ABA National Moot Court Competition regionals in San Francisco in late February.
“Being a competitor on the McGeorge Moot Court team has been by far the most fulfilling experience during my law school career,” Amezcua said. “It has truly given me a glimpse into what it is like to be an appellate attorney. As a competitor I get to analyze a client’s problem, research the relevant law, prepare written submissions and present oral argument.”
April 2019 was a big month for Amezcua. She was named a Peggy Browning Fellow and spent 10 weeks during the summer working at the National Domestic Workers Alliance in Oakland. Fellowship recipients are distinguished students who have excelled in law school and demonstrated their commitment to workers’ rights through their previous educational, work, volunteer and personal experiences.
“Receiving this fellowship has been a tremendous honor,” Consuelo said in April 2019. “As I continue to develop my legal career interests, this fellowship is of great significance to me educationally and professionally. It gives me the encouragement to pursue a legal career in employment law.”
Aso in April 2019, she received the Diana P. Scott Award for being McGeorge’s Top Oral Advocate during the annual Global Lawyering Skills II Final Four Competition in which she prepared and argued motions from trial through the appeals process. She did that before a distinguished panel of judges, including Andrea Lynn Hoch ’84, California Third District Court of Appeal; Arthur G. Scotland ’74 (Ret.), California Third District Court of Appeal; and Kimberly J. Mueller, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Amezcua was also awarded a fellowship by the Sacramento Bar Association Diversity Fellowship Program, which exposes first-year law students from diverse backgrounds to the work, requirements and culture of majority law firms.
And through all this, she strives to be an example to other future Latina legal professionals by being the president and chair of the Latinx Law Student Association and working as a teaching assistant in Ederlina Co’s Global Lawyering Skills II course.
“This was just one way I share my knowledge and oral advocacy skills with the upcoming class of legal professionals,” Amezcua said.