Rising 3L Liz Medrano completed the spring semester at UC Hastings as the President of the Pilipino American Law Society (PALS) and will commence her duties as the Executive Production Editor for Hastings Law Journal (HLJ) in the fall. But until then, Liz is pursuing her newly discovered passion for Employment law at the prestigious Outten & Golden LLP in New York City this summer.
Below, Liz answers some questions about her experience in law school, her fun opportunities in Manhattan this summer, and her plans for the future as a practicing attorney.
Where are you from?
Born in San Francisco, raised in the East Bay Area! Can’t seem to get away from here.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I either wanted to be an astronaut or a lawyer for Disney. Is it too late to be an astronaut?
Why did you decide to go to law school?
Since I was a young child, my parents were always telling me to go to law school (probably because it was clear that I wasn’t going to make it as a doctor- yuck, blood). So when I was in college, I was wondering – do I just want to go to law school because it’s expected of me? After a little bit of a crisis, I decided I wanted to really really go to law school because I found it thrilling to be able to use my voice and words to argue and advocate a side I believed in. I wanted to pursue a career that would put me in a position to do so.
Why did you decide to come to UC Hastings?
Growing up in the Bay Area, I had always heard great things about UC Hastings and the quality of education there. San Francisco is really the best place in the world, and UC Hastings is located in the heart of it and is surrounded by so many opportunities! So glad I came here.
Are you focusing on any type of law and why?
In general I am interested in employment law and advocating for justice in the workplace. In particular, I want to work in the entertainment industry and advocate for those who put their creative and physical time and effort into creating movies and television shows.
What have been some of your highlights at UC Hastings?
I had the privilege of being the President of the Pilipino American Law Society (PALS) last year and though we are a small group, our community at Hastings has really been my favorite thing in law school. There are so few Pilipino/a faces and voices in the legal field and to be able to gather with the (very few) Pilipinos at UC Hastings is really important to me. Since I was in college, I wanted to be a part of empowering and supporting the Pilipino community in any way. Being the President of PALS gave me the opportunity to help Pilipinos at UC Hastings connect with lawyers and other law students who actually looked like us, which hopefully has inspired them and encouraged them in this law school journey.
What are you doing this summer?
I’m working at the New York City office of Outten & Golden LLP, which is a plaintiff’s side employment law firm.
How did you hear of this opportunity?
A recent UC Hastings grad (shout out to Ashley Rippolone ‘17!) told me about O & G my 1L summer and I happened to find a job posting through Career Services. I applied to both the San Francisco and New York offices. New York got to me first!
What’s the absolute best part of your summer gig?
Well, I always had a dream of living in New York City, so I’m loving that I’m right in the middle of Manhattan. I’m obsessed with any form of entertainment and being able to see a show on Broadway anytime I want is amazing. Ok, but about the gig – I absolutely love this firm and its dedication to ensuring that workers’ rights are protected. Workers of all sorts create the backbone for an employer and it’s a shame that many workplaces cheat their workers of basic rights.
Do you miss San Francisco?
I miss San Francisco mainly because of the weather (though I hear it’s pretty hot over there right now too). The heat and humidity in New York right now is horrible, but I will be back to the Bay in a month!
How are you working #ForJustice?
Coming into law school, I had no interest or knowledge about employment law whatsoever. When I started learning about employment issues, I stayed with it and really became passionate about it. Workers in any industry should be treated fairly and equally – no matter what their race, color, gender, national origin or religion is. Furthermore, workers should be supported by their employers and should not have to be denied fair wages or struggle with things such as healthcare, child support, and other valuable benefits. This summer (and forever into the future), I am advocating for workers’ rights.
What are your plans for the fall semester?
I’ll be doing the Worker’s Rights Clinic and taking Employment Law with my favorite Professor Veena Dubal. I’m also the Executive Production Editor for the Hastings Law Journal (HLJ) this year, so I’m sure I’ll be busy with that.
What are your goals for after law school?
I want to pass the California bar exam and practice in the entertainment industry. I am passionate about supporting the people who contribute to the world of entertainment, which I think is a valuable tool to spread ideas, encourage empathy, and introduce new places, faces, and emotions. I also want to have a dog and a cat and no more student debt.
Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be General Counsel for Disney one day.
Any other fun opportunities you experienced or are looking forward to this summer?
I’m seeing Hamilton in July here! It was way too difficult to land tickets in San Francisco. I also got to meet Olivia Wilde after seeing her in “1984.” I totally embarrassed my boyfriend while getting her autograph because I blurted out that he’s had a crush on her since we were 15. She was honored.
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