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Spring 2024 Lawyers of Tomorrow Scholarship Winner

Spring 2024 Winner: Sarita Pauly

Sarita Pauly

Sarita Pauly is a law student at the University of Oregon School of Law. Upon her graduation, Sarita looks to pursue a career as a public defender to ensure those unable to afford quality legal services are advocated for. Congratulations, Sarita!

Read Sarita’s Essay:

As cliche as it sounds, I believe helping others is the key to living a fulfilling life. My motivation for pursuing law isn’t the high salary or the prestige that comes with a J.D.; rather, I want to help people. In my life, a number of components have come together and brought me to what I believe to be my true calling of advocacy. I have already had the chance to practice advocacy while working as a manager at McDonald’s. My time there allowed me to be a bigger advocate than I thought possible at a burger joint, as I was able to help employees navigate reporting sexual harassment and be a support person for them. The job also gave me the privilege of working with people from many different walks of life, including those with mental illness, substance use disorder, and lengthy criminal records. I was able to form meaningful relationships with many of my coworkers and gain a better understanding of their struggles. This allowed me to utilize my position as a manager to handle discriminatory interactions more efficiently. In addition to my work experience in the service industry, my education, volunteer experiences in college, internship with a public defender’s office, and AmeriCorps service at a community court have all pointed me in the direction of public interest law, specifically public defense. I want to help fix the system because I’ve seen how it has damaged marginalized communities. However, I know that this can’t be accomplished overnight, but the least I can do is help one person at a time. The public defenders I have worked with through my internship and AmeriCorps position have shown a dedication to justice and a devotion to helping others. I admire them all for sticking with the job to make sure that their clients are represented to the best of their abilities. I would be happy to start in public defense right out of law school or go into the career after working in a clerkship position to get more experience in the court and legal system beforehand. As my career goes on, I can see myself transitioning to a position that has more of a widespread impact such as judgeship or working with national organizations like the NAACP or ACLU. No matter the specific job or title, I know I will help people with my career

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