Leading Questions: Lucy Chin, 2L
One of the first students to enroll in the Law School’s new Racial Justice Law Clinic, she is a former social worker with an interest in civil rights and community organizing
Why did you go to Law School?
Many of the people with whom I worked and looked up to throughout college were lawyers. I was inspired by how their professional training uniquely positioned them to address systemic social challenges and the way they were able to support their clients in moments of extreme difficulty. Toward the end of college, I realized that I was interested in doing that same sort of advocacy work and that a law degree would allow me to combine my interests in community organizing with direct representation. I am deeply interested in advocacy that centers those most impacted, but with the fewest resources, to make their voices heard. I believe that lawyers can be important partners in helping such clients access individual justice. Lawyers can also support movements to address structural challenges that exist in our political system.
Why Minnesota Law?
I was drawn to Minnesota Law because of its reputation as a community that values both intellectual rigor and camaraderie among students, staff, and faculty alike. I was also drawn to Minnesota Law because of its robust public interest offerings. I have found several professors who engage in incredible scholarship and have also made themselves available to serve as mentors. I have been able to expand my understanding of public interest law through so many different channels, all of which have been amazing supplements to my formal classroom experiences.
What type of law would you like to practice?
I hope to develop a career at the intersection of civil rights litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy with a specific focus on reform and reimagination of our criminal legal system.
What has been your favorite Law School experience so far?
The most memorable parts of my law school career to date have been working as a research assistant in the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, serving as a student instructor in the 1L Legal Research and Writing Course, and being part of the Racial Justice Law Clinic.
What has your experience been in the Racial Justice Law Clinic?
In just the first few weeks, I have had the opportunity to expand my understanding of critical race theory and important contemporary racial justice issues while also practicing the skills that comprise movement lawyering. I am lucky to be in community with three other students and Professor [Liliana] Zaragoza. We have been able to support one another and create a transformative classroom space in which I know I will continue to learn so much.
How did you spend your 1L summer?
This past summer I worked with the Capital Habeas Unit (CHU) of the Federal Public Defender in the Western District of Missouri. The CHU represents individuals who are challenging state-based death sentences within the federal court system. The experience provided an opportunity to explore legal representation from a number of different vantage points, including procedural advocacy, appellate litigation, client interviewing, and legal research and writing.
What does being a lawyer-leader mean to you?
To me, being a lawyer-leaderm eans embedding oneself in community and thoughtfully using one’s skills and platform to address structural disparity and advance social justice. It means evaluating current practices with a critical eye and being unafraid to challenge norms that perpetuate systemic inequities.
What is something others might find surprising about you?
In my pre-law school life, I was a social worker! My social work background plays a huge role in informing how I approach legal advocacy and the type of law that I would like to practice.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I was new to the Twin Cities when I started law school last year and I have absolutely loved getting to explore the place that I now call home. In my free time, I like to find fun walking paths for my puppy and me to explore. I also love cooking and baking and keeping my friends well-fed.