Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship

The Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship (BLOS) is a 3 year, full tuition scholarship for first generation college graduates. In order to apply, you must:

  • Identify as a first generation college graduate (see our definition in the How to Apply section)
  • Submit a complete admissions application by December 15, 2022
  • Have taken the LSAT or GRE (or in limited circumstances the GMAT*) no later than November 30, 2022
  • Write a 1-2 page BLOS essay with your application materials

As a premier public law school, meaningful access to a high-quality legal education is central to our core mission and values. We believe that we have a responsibility to promote access for students who are the first in their families to graduate from college and to pursue a professional degree. The Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship is a symbol of our commitment to both excellence and access. 

Furthermore, we believe that first generation individuals bring an important perspective, shaped by their personal experiences, to any setting—from the classroom to the board room. We also recognize these individuals have the potential to become law students who have a high degree of leadership potential and a strong personal commitment to making a positive impact on society. The Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship provides students with an outstanding, affordable educational opportunity.

Scholarship & Programming

Financial Support

The Berkeley Law Opportunity Scholarship provides recipients with funding to cover tuition and fees (including Student Health Insurance, materials fees, etc.) for three years (six semesters) of study at Berkeley Law. This is equivalent to more than $180,000 in guaranteed non-loan aid. The BLOS does not provide a stipend to cover books, computing needs, or living expenses, relocation, etc. 

“The BLOS award has served as an invaluable gift and resource to me in law school. I have always worked multiple jobs in high school and college to pay for tuition and living expenses, which made it very difficult for me to dedicate time and energy to my classes. For the first time in my life, I can solely focus on my academics and law school endeavors.”

-Xiaolin Chen ’21

Programmatic Support

We realize that there can be unique challenges when you are the first person in your family to receive a college degree and go on to attend law school. Among these are the financial pressures and demands that often distract from an academic experience. We hope this award will allay those concerns. We also recognize that at times a lack of family or other social support may complicate your introduction into the legal profession. We hope to address these barriers in meaningful ways as well.

Berkeley Law is community‐oriented. Recipients of the BLOS will have the option to participate in the First Generation Professionals (FGP) student organization. FGP was founded and is run by students with the support of faculty sponsors. 

Some of FGP’s activities include:

  • Organizing events designed to support students in the development of social capital, networks, and knowledge, to help ensure that these students have the same opportunities for success as everyone.
  • Offering programs such as dinners with other first generation professional alumni, and a first generation alumni‐student mentorship match coordinated by the Career Development Office.
  • Facilitating connections for FGP students here at the law school, including offering a first generation professional buddy system that matches 2Ls and 3Ls with 1Ls, and an annual dinner at a professors’ house in which students have the opportunity to spend time with the Dean and other members of the faculty. 
  • Academic and other support in the form of exam‐taking skills training sessions, career development forums for both careers in the public sector and the private sector, and more.

In addition, recipients of the BLOS will be guaranteed a spot in Berkeley Law’s Pre‐Orientation Program, hosted by faculty before the official start of classes to ease the transition into law school. (Non‐BLOS recipients are also eligible to participate in the Pre‐Orientation program if they submit a timely application.)

“In our first BLOS dinner, I was introduced to faculty and staff that quickly became trusted advisors and career mentors. Building this support was an important goal for me in law school.”

-Rosa Hernandez ’21

There are also many social and networking events specifically for BLOS recipients. Typically, they are welcomed to campus with a “Family Dinner” that introduces them to key staff in the Career Development Office, Financial Aid, Student Services, etc. In the past, the Dean of the law school also hosted the BLOS recipients for a dinner at his or her home, along with members of the faculty. We expect these and other traditions to continue.

Finally, all Berkeley Law students have access to our on‐site psychologists, Academic Skills Program (ASP), field placements and externships, clinics, journals, Student Initiated Legal Projects, Career Development Office programming, and more.

How to Apply

Candidates must be a first generation college student in order to be considered. We consider a college student to be first generation if neither parent earned a four-year college degree (or the equivalent) or if you were raised by a single parent who did not earn a four-year college degree. 

Finalists will be chosen from all qualified applicants by a selection committee and will be invited for an interview in March. Interviews are required. The deadline to apply and submit all required materials for BLOS is December 15, 2022 and you may apply using the regular decision application or binding early decision application. Because BLOS applications are reviewed in January, the last LSAT that we will take into consideration for BLOS candidates is the November 2022 LSAT

You are required to submit a one to two page essay addressing the following prompt: How do you think being a first generation college student has shaped your perspective, and how will that perspective contribute to the Berkeley Law community and the broader legal profession? The essay can discuss content from your personal statement or diversity statement (if included), but should be a unique, independent essay specifically addressing your identity as a first generation college graduate. You may wish to discuss any obstacles you have faced on your journey to law school, contributions to your community, history of leadership or advocacy, and what kind of impact you hope to make at Berkeley Law and in the greater legal profession. The essay can be submitted at the time of your application or emailed to us at admissions@law.berkeley.edu as a PDF attachment by the December 15 deadline. 

What do we look for?

“The BLOS award not only removed financial barriers from my law school goals, but also gave me the validation I needed to know I belonged in the Berkeley Law space. I immediately connected with Berkeley Law staff and other students through the BLOS interview process, and felt supported and seen by staff throughout my 1L year, with built-in friends in my BLOS cohort. I was able to focus on public interest goals and involvements immediately in pursuit of my future career, feeling free from financial restraints to pursue my dreams and finally not having to make a decisions based on financial feasibility.”

-Maddison Pilgrim ’22

In selecting finalists, the BLOS selection committee will read through your application materials, including personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, optional addenda, and the required BLOS essay. In general, our committee is looking at three broad categories in selecting finalists:

  • “Distance traveled” (in the non-literal sense). How far have you come, and what obstacles have you faced, on your journey toward law school?
  • “Potential contribution” – both to the Berkeley Law community (will you be a student leader? what activities or curricular areas are you interested in? etc.) and to the legal profession in general (what do you see yourself doing with your law degree? how and where will you have an impact?).
  • “Need” in the financial and mentoring sense. How will you benefit from the BLOS? There are no actual income or asset tests, but we’re looking to provide opportunities to those with very limited resources, financial and otherwise.

Retention and Renewability

BLOS awards are renewed automatically for up to three years (six semesters). There is no GPA or class standing requirement associated with scholarship renewability. The only requirements for retaining BLOS awards are that recipients make satisfactory academic progress and remain in good standing with the law school.

Meet the Scholars

Class of 2025

Harvinder Bassi

Hometown: Houston, TX
Undergraduate: New York University ’18

Harvinder Bassi is the son of Punjabi immigrants. He graduated magna cum laude from New York University (NYU) in 2018 with a B.A. in economics. While at NYU, Harvinder was an intern at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and The Office of United States Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand. Before matriculating at Berkeley Law, he was a Teach For America corps member (Houston, ’18). During his four years in the classroom at Yes Prep Northline, he taught middle school math and high school English, teaching the same group of students from seventh to tenth grade. At Yes Prep Northline, he served as a Grade Level Chair, a role in which he led a team of teachers. Harvinder is excited to join the Berkeley Law community and hopes to explore the intersection of social and economic justice. He enjoys biking, playing basketball, and traveling during his spare time.

Angélica B. César

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Undergraduate: Arizona State University ’20

Angélica is a proud first-generation law student and Mexican-American Latina with degrees in political science and transborder studies from Arizona State University. Her love of community coupled with her personal experiences with family separation and anti-immigrant policies, including Arizona’s infamous S.B. 1070, shaped her propensity for mobilizing communities to action and informed her decision to pursue a career in law and public policy. Angélica has an emerging track record in community organizing, policy advocacy and political development. She has honed her skills through her work leading organizing efforts and advocacy campaigns with progressive organizations and governmental institutions including the Latino Victory Project, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, UnidosUS, Aliento Education Fund, the Obama Foundation, ACLU of Arizona, the United States House of Representatives and the Arizona State Senate’s Democratic Policy Staff. This summer, she participated in the SEO Law Fellowship Program and interned for Allen & Overy where she supported the firm’s pro-bono and international arbitration work. Shortly after completing her summer fellowship, Angélica led public narrative and policy advocacy trainings for UnidosUS’s Líderes Avanzando Fellowship, a program invested in developing the next generation of Latinx civil rights leaders.

Meelissa (Mel) Cortez

Hometown: Acapulco, MX
Undergraduate: UCLA ’20

Meelissa was born in Acapulco, MX, and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. She graduated from UCLA with a double major in History and Gender Studies and a minor in African American Studies. There, she focused her studies on the ways in which state violence creates the conditions exposing undocumented women of color to disproportionate rates of interpersonal violence, and the transformative justice approaches available to help the affected women find community, resources, and healing. Meelissa’s personal and professional work has always prioritized women of color from countries suffering the historical and present impacts of Western colonization and settler colonialism, and she will continue to do this in her career through work in impact litigation in international human rights.

Belén de León

Hometown: Columbus, OH
Undergraduate: Ohio State University ’18

Belen was born in Uruguay, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia when she was seven years old. She moved around the U.S. as a child, and calls many places home. After obtaining DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2012, she went on to attend the Ohio State University. As a student from a low income background, Belen was guided by a passion for social justice, and was dedicated to fighting for the rights of undocumented immigrants in particular. Throughout her undergraduate career, she worked with refugee and immigrant aid organizations, and with recently arrived migrant youth at a local high school. Her time in these roles coincided with the expansion of anti-immigrant policy under the Trump administration. After graduating, Belen worked with Columbus’ Latinx communities as an advocate for survivors of trauma. Her time in this role highlighted the limitations of the nonprofit industrial complex to disrupt pervasive systemic injustices. Most recently, Belen worked with YWCA Columbus, designing a social justice oriented curriculum that seeks to raise political consciousness among Central Ohio’s girls and gender non-conforming youth. Belen is passionate about leveraging the law in the interests of oppressed communities, and she is excited to learn more about movement lawyering and policy research at Berkeley Law.

Anna Judson

Hometown: Van Nuys, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’22

Anna Judson was born and raised in the foster care system, and aspired to be an attorney from a young age. Anna received her Bachelors of Arts in Legal Studies and double minor in public policy and human rights from the UC Berkeley in 2022. Throughout her undergraduate career, Anna provided services to low-income, first-generation, and foster-youth communities, and developed outreach curriculum which supports foster youth applying to college. In 2019, Anna served as a case clerk with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP where she conducted legal research and gathered supporting evidence in the class action lawsuit Wyatt B. v. Brown. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Anna interned as a court reporter where she published legal journalistic articles, researched state and local COVID policies, and tracked COVID-19 rates among California prisons. Before entering law school, Anna was chosen as a Berkeley Law Human Rights Fellow, and attended the United Nations Youth Assembly which focused on international relations and international advocacy.

Jenna Kwak

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Undergraduate: University of Notre Dame ’19

Jenna (she/her) graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2019. At Notre Dame, Jenna was a Tutor for the University Writing Center and provided academic support to incarcerated students at Westville Correctional Facility, Indiana. During her summers, Jenna interned at a South Korean nonprofit, serving the country’s North Korean refugee population; and interned and lived at a facility for unhoused persons in South Bend, Indiana. Following her graduation, she worked as a Legal Assistant at a Bay Area Plaintiffs’ side employment law firm, and subsequently joined the ACLU of Northern California to provide legal and policy support for the organization’s Criminal Justice Team, and Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Justice Team. In her free time, Jenna enjoys cooking, playing board games, and biking.

Lucia Lopez

Hometown: Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Undergraduate: Stanford University ’19

Lucia Lopez graduated with honors from Stanford University with a M.A. in Latin American Studies and a B.A. in History and Spanish. At Stanford, Lucia developed an interest in environmental history and international law, and spent her summers interning with the Haas Center for Public Service. After graduation, she continued working in the nonprofit sector, specifically in the housing advocacy sphere. By obtaining a JD, Lucia hopes to continue working with low-income and marginalized communities.

Nina Perez-Morales

Hometown: Dublin, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’21

Nina is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies with highest distinction in general scholarship and highest honors as the recipient of the 2021 Legal Studies Departmental Citation. As a system-impacted person, the primary focus of her undergraduate studies centered around mass incarceration, inequities in access to justice, and the abolition of the prison industrial complex. Throughout her time as an undergraduate, she was involved with various campus organizations and programs where she played an active role in providing direct aid to incarcerated people. As part of these groups, she also hosted events for women at Berkeley interested in breaking into the political and legal fields and mentored community college students, offering support as they prepared to transfer to university. Her educational pursuits combined with her campus involvement are what guide her as she works toward an impactful career in public service, advocating for those disproportionately affected by the system. Nina is immensely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Berkeley Law community and is looking forward to spending these next few years developing the skills necessary to become a dynamic, compelling legal advocate.

Tayyaba Riaz

Hometown: Live Oak, CA
Undergraduate: UC Santa Barbara ’18

Tayyaba was born in Pakistan and moved to Northern California when she was 6 years old. Passionate about helping others, Tayyaba decided to attend UC Santa Barbara and major in Sociology and a minor in Education. Upon graduation Tayyaba decided to join Teach for America where she taught at a Title one school with over 97% of her students being low income and from marginalized communities. After growing tired of hearing her students coming day in and day out of her classroom crying about another shooting or injustice they had suffered in their communities, Tayyaba decided she wanted to do more. Despite already being a dual master’s program for teaching and operation and logistical management with an emphasis in project management, she began to research and find new opportunities to educate herself on how she could change the infrastructure of education on a macro level. Tayyaba’s passion is fuel from her own lived experiences of being an immigrant who struggled and suffered many social injustices. Tayyaba went on to accept a job in the Judicial Council of California where she leveraged her operations masters in being able to understand the internal workings of the judicial system. Today she is pursuing a JD in hopes to be able to destroy the school to prison pipeline. Aside from her passion for education equity, Tayyaba has been working on launching her startup business centered around individuals loving all aspects of themselves through proper skin and hair care. She credits the formation of her startup business Razi: Your Chosen Beauty to her 2nd grade students who continued to call her Ms. Raiz instead of Ms. Riaz. Raiz means to be content and happy with what is in Punjabi and Urdu, Tayyaba’s native tongue.

Leslie Sepulveda

Hometown: East Palo Alto, CA
Undergraduate: Loyola Marymount University ’22

Leslie Sepulveda was born in Michoacán, Mexico but was raised most of her life in East Palo Alto, California. She attended Loyola Marymount University (LMU) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and double-minored in Spanish and Economics. While at LMU, Leslie was involved in immigration advocacy through a variety of roles. She co-founded BoundlessLMU, a student-run program that provides paid fellowships to undocumented LMU students. Additionally, as a UCLA Dream Summer Fellow she has interned at immigration nonprofits providing free immigration legal services to low-income communities in the ​Bay Area. Leslie is beyond grateful for the opportunity BLOS has provided her and is excited to explore the different fields of law.

Alyssa Young

Hometown: South Central Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate: University of Southern California ’22

In May 2022, Alyssa graduated Cum Laude from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, & Law with two minors in Spanish and Law & Public Policy. Throughout her high school and undergraduate career she remained dedicated to her community South Central LA. She participated in various community service projects, worked throughout college as a teacher and high school advisor at the USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative for students at her former middle and high school, and co-created Black Excellence at Topping for her fellow Black classmates to find community amongst their peers during the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests. At Berkeley Law, Alyssa plans to continue participating in community based work by joining the school’s clinical programs and SLPS to further explore her passion for public interest work and community based justice. After graduating, she hopes to continue helping her community as a daughter of immigrants by becoming an immigration attorney and influencing policy improvements. In her free time, Alyssa loves going to the gym, being with family, and listening to Beyoncé.

Class of 2024

Alleyah Caesar

Hometown: Laurel, MD
Undergraduate: Spelman College ’21

Alleyah Caesar graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in History and a minor in Sociology from Spelman College. She is passionate about restorative solutions for alleviating extreme rates of imprisonment, and wants to continue this as a pro bono venture while a litigator. Alleyah currently serves as Student Advocate for the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (P-CAP) and Co-President for Law Students of African Descent (LSAD). While at Spelman, Alleyah worked extensively with inmates, juveniles, and families of incarcerated loved ones through organizations such as Common Good Atlanta, Forever Family, and the Spelman College Social Justice Program. Most notably, Alleyah served as Chair for the Youth Subcommittee of the governor-appointed Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group. In her role as Chair, she created an engagement program to improve community relations between law enforcement and minority youth. This year, she summered at Perkins Coie and plans to return next summer.

Alitzel Cervantes Solis

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate: University of Southern California ’21

Alitzel grew up in Los Angeles and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. Before law school, she worked and volunteered at several nonprofits that provide low-cost legal services to the local LA community as well as others that helped first-generation high school students apply for college. At Berkeley Law, she has participated in the Digital Rights Project, the Employment and Labor Law Journal, and the Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law. This year Alitzel has joined the New Business Community Law Clinic and will be acting as programming chair for the Womxn of Color Collective. This past summer Alitzel had the pleasure of working at Visa Inc and spent some time at Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office. Next summer Alitzel is set to return to Los Angeles to join Orrick’s finance team.

Elizabeth García

Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
Undergraduate: UCLA ’18

Elizabeth was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Chicanx Studies and a minor in Labor and Workplace Studies. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile. During her time there, her studies focused on the militarization of police and the resulting human rights abuses that occurred under each country’s dictatorship. Shortly after she participated in the UCDC program and interned for the Washington Office on Latin America as a Mexico and Migrant Rights intern. After graduating, she was employed with the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, an office of the Judicial Branch of California which provides counsel to represent indigent men and women under sentence of death in California. At Berkeley Law, she seeks to explore the intersection of race, gender, and criminalization. She is particularly interested in the exploitative and abusive powers of law enforcement and the impact of over policing in immigrant communities and communities of color. In her free time she enjoys weightlifting, indoor rock climbing, and camping.

Denisse Hernandez Zaldana

Hometown: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’20

Denisse grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Honors from the University of California, Berkeley. During Denisse’s gap year, she was a Senior Advisor for the Y-Scholars program to assist high school students with the college admissions process. Upon starting 1L year at Berkeley Law, Denisse served as the Conference Director for the First-Generation Professionals (FGP) student organization and as an Associate Editor for the Berkeley Business Law Journal (BBLJ). For the 2022-2023 academic year, Denisse was elected Co-President for FGP and a Senior Articles Editor for BBLJ. Denisse enjoys yoga, pilates and hiking.

Julia Michell Ho-Gonzalez

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate: UCLA ’19

Julia graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science and two minors in Public Affairs and Spanish. While at UCLA, she had the privilege to serve as Facilities Commissioner for the student body and advanced sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility efforts. Following graduation, Julia interned at the Library of Congress and the United States Department of Agriculture. These experiences furthered her passion for public service and advocacy. During her first year of law school, Julia volunteered in the Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trip and the La Alianza’s Workers’ and Tenants’ rights clinic, which she will be co-leading this fall. She will also serve as the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association’s Affinity and Alumni Chair and La Alianza Student Association’s Public Relations Chair. Additionally, this year she will be joining the New Business Community Law Clinic. For summer 2022, Julia worked at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Jasmin Luz

Hometown: Stockton, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’21

As a Stockton, CA native, Jasmin Luz is inspired to advocate for the rights of immigrants and low-income individuals. Jasmin is the proud daughter of immigrant parents and a first generation high school and college graduate. During her first year of law school, Jasmin was actively involved in the California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC), BLAST – Central Valley, and Trial Team. During Summer 2022, Jasmin spent her time interning at the Immigration Center for Women and Children where she primarily focused her efforts on helping immigrant clients who have been victims of crime in the United Status, adjust for status. As she enters her second year of law school, Jasmin will be Co-Chair of the Womxn of Color Collective (WOCC), finance chair for CARC, and participating in the Education Justice Clinic under the East Bay Community Law Center. Jasmin is beyond grateful for this opportunity afforded to her at Berkeley Law and hopes to continue using the skills and knowledge she has gained to help disadvantaged communities.

Florencio Maldonado

Hometown: Tracy, CA
Undergraduate: UC Merced ’19

Florencio was born in México and moved to California’s Central Valley when he was 8 years old. Determined to find public policy solutions to the social inequities he witnessed growing up, Florencio interned in the United States Senate and spent two years as a legislative staffer in the State Assembly upon graduating from college. At Berkeley Law, Florencio has continued his passion for public service by participating in La Alianza’s Workers’ and Tenants’ Rights Clinic. In addition, Florencio has also explored his interest in corporate law and serves as an Associate Editor of the Berkeley Business Law Journal. Florencio furthered explored his interests in corporate law this summer by working in the Corporate and Finance group of a large law firm in San Francisco. Upon graduation, Florencio plans to become a law firm associate and continue to pursue his intellectual interest in business law, but also maintain a robust pro bono practice to serve the most legally disadvantaged Californians.

Kayla Nguyen

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Undergraduate: Duke University ’20

Kayla was born in Calgary, Alberta. She graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a concentration in life sciences. At Berkeley Law, she is an active member of the Berkeley Business Law Journal, the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, the Women of Color Collective, Legal Obstacles Veterans Encounter, Queer Caucus, the Healthcare and Biotech Law Society, and First Generation Professionals. During her 1L summer, she was an extern for the Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Next summer, she will be joining Sidley Austin in San Francisco to continue to explore her interest in corporate law and the biotech industry.

Miranda Paez

Hometown: El Monte, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’19

Miranda attended the University of California, Berkeley where she earned a B.A. in Political Science with Honors for her thesis, which measured the effectiveness of Oakland Ceasefire—a youth violence prevention program. Following graduation, she worked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as a Docket Clerk. In addition, during her gap years, she also created an online organization to help make higher education more accessible for youth in her hometown. As a 1L, Miranda was an Associate Editor for the La Raza Law Journal and served as a 1L Representative for the Coalition of Minorities in Technology Law. This year, she will be an Associate Editor for the California Law Review, Moot Court competitor, Submissions Editor for the La Raza Law Journal, and President of the Coalition of Minorities in Technology Law. This summer, she worked at Oracle Corporation as an In-House Legal Intern. Miranda is interested in pursuing a career in litigation, particularly in technology law, and looks forward to combining her interest in technology and public policy through public service.

Maripau Paz

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Undergraduate: UCLA ’20

Maripau Paz is a first-generation American originally born in Bogota, Colombia. She received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA’s Honors College with a double major in Political Science and Global Studies. Maripau is a board member of the Human Trafficking Legal Network, which connects advocates with Pro Bono opportunities to advance initiatives to protect foster youth from human trafficking. Maripau spent her summer before law school as an SEO fellow at Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe. During 1L, Maripau participated in the Startup Law Initiative, East Bay Dreamers Project, and competed in the Bales 1L Mock Trial competition. Maripau spent her 1L Summer as a Coleman Fellow and LCDC Scholar for O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, in New York. As a 2L, Maripau is the Editor-in-Chief of the La Raza Law Journal, Associate Editor of California Law Review, and Graduate Student Researcher for Professor Saira Mohamed. She is also a board member of the Startup Law Initiative, and a member of Berkeley Law’s International Human Rights Law Clinic and Mock Trial Team. Next summer, Maripau will be splitting her summer between Cleary Gottlieb and O’Melveny & Myers in New York City. Maripau is passionate about increasing representation, and looks forward to continuing to grow at Berkeley.

Class of 2023

Juan Martin Cabrales

Hometown: San Diego, CA
Undergraduate: San Diego State University ’15

Juan is the proud son of Mexican immigrants and a first generation American. He received his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. Juan has served as a case manager for unaccompanied minors, working towards to reunify families across the U.S. He then transitioned into immigration law, providing direct legal services for immigrants seeking a secure and stable life in the U.S. In addition, Juan worked with the East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate Practice from 2018 -2020. He worked on growing and shaping EBCLC’s first “Crimmigration” program, assisting indigent immigrants and residents to overcome barriers created by their criminal record. At Berkeley Law, Juan has worked with the La Raza Workers Rights Clinic, the Berkeley Immigration Group, and the International Human Rights Clinic. He served as the Co-Editor in Chief of the La Raza Law Journal and Public Interest Chair for La Alianza (formerly La Raza) from 2021-2022. Juan worked with the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties for the summer of 2021. He worked with the Alameda County Public Defenders office for spring 2022. Most recently, he worked with the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. for summer 2022.

Lucero Cordova Arellanes

Hometown: Santa Fe, NM
Undergraduate: University of Denver ’20

Lucero grew up in Santa Fe, NM and graduated from the University of Denver in 2020. Throughout her undergrad career, Lucero worked as a legal assistant for a small immigration firm and interned for Casa de Paz, a local nonprofit; whose services include providing shelter, food, and transportation to immigrants released from detention. Lucero is passionate about social justice and issues regarding immigration and equal representation. During her first year of law school Lucero participated in La Alianza’s Workers’ and Tenants’ rights clinic, which she will be co-leading this fall, as well as in the La Raza Law Journal. Lucero spent her summer as a law clerk for Hanson Bridgett LLP. Through these experiences she hopes to enhance her skills as a legal advocate.

Kendra Dawson

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate: Loyola Marymount University ’19

Kendra grew up in Los Angeles, CA and completed her bachelors degree in Communications at Loyola Marymount University. She went on to complete her masters degree in Political Sociology at the London School of Economics. This summer, Kendra was a 2L Summer Associate at DLA Piper in the Los Angeles – Century City office. She is pursuing a career in music, entertainment, and intellectual property law and is equally passionate about improving outcomes for system impacted youth. 

At Berkeley Law she is an Associate Editor for the Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law and is a clinical student in the Youth Defense Clinic through the East Bay Community Law Center. After graduation she hopes to build a career that balances out her personal aspirations while also uplifting young people. 

Jessica Michelle Gomez

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate: UCLA ’12

Jessica is the daughter of Salvadoran civil war refugees. She grew up in South Los Angeles. She was a member of the Human Rights Alliance for Child Refugees & Families, a grassroots collective that organizes and supports refugee families by providing material support during and post-detention. As a former organizer and paralegal for the Opportunity Under Law project, the impact litigation unit at Public Counsel, Jessica helped combat economic injustice through community engagement and policy reform. In this previous role, Jessica advocated for the fundamental rights of vulnerable communities, such as formerly incarcerated people, refugees and low-wage workers. Jessica has interned at Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia with the immigration division and the Clean Slate Unit at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office. This past summer, Jessica worked at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s office. At Berkeley Law, she continues to foster deep relationships with system-impacted clients through her work with the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project. Jessica dedicates herself towards elevating the needs and voices of directly impacted and neglected communities. Jessica aspires to become a public defender.

Sasha Graham

Hometown: Richmond, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’20

Sasha, a single mother, attended UC Berkeley, where she majored in Ethnic Studies. She has been a housing activist for the last 5 years, serving as the President on the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment State Board. During her time on the Board she helped pass Rent Control and co-designed a Know-your-rights mural in her hometown Richmond, CA. She assisted in passing AB 1482, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, a statewide anti-rent gouging bill. She has traveled across the nation to engage politicians, political groups and activists to garner support in solving the housing crisis in America. She would like to serve her community through writing policy and litigating for education, housing and human rights.

Taliah Mirmalek

Hometown: Oakland, CA
Undergraduate: UC Berkeley ’16

Taliah Mirmalek is a community researcher/organizer born and raised on Ohlone Land in Oakland, California. She earned her B.A. from UC Berkeley in Rhetoric and Political Science, with high honors from the Rhetoric department for her thesis analyzing the disciplinary logic of economic sanctions. As a student, she organized with Students for Justice in Palestine. Prior to law school, she has worked as a researcher in the labor movement and an educator. At Berkeley Law, she has participated in La Alianza’s Workers’ and Tenants’ Rights Clinic, Law Students for Radical Real Estate, Berkeley Afghanistan Project, and the Berkeley Abolitionist Lawyering Project. She builds community with the Muslim Law Students Association, Native American Law Students Association, and Law Students for Justice in Palestine. She is a member of the Berkeley Journal for Employment and Labor Law as well as the Berkeley Journal for Middle Eastern and Islamic Law. She spent her summers with the Advancement Project, an organization that uses the law to support community and youth organizing, and Equal Justice Center (Peggy Browning Fellowship), where she helped litigate wage theft and discrimination cases.