亚洲免费无码中文在线&free欧美高清猪马牛&青青草手机在线免费看Meet Adam Awad, a third year student at San Joaquin College of Law and Pre-Law major from Fresno Pacific University. From a young age, he knew he wanted to become a defense attorney one day and help the people in his community who needed it most. Find out why Adam doesn’t look at the big picture when it comes to balancing work and school, how he became a Certified Law Student and why you’ll always see him wearing a suit and tie.
Tell us about your journey to law school.
I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer from an early age and more specifically, a criminal defense attorney. I’m from the Central Valley, I grew up here and attended Clovis East High School. I earned a cross country and track scholarship to Fresno Pacific University. I always knew I wanted to stay local and stay close to my family. There’s also a high demand for criminal defense attorneys in Fresno, so I knew this would be a good place to work. The Central Valley is so small and everyone knows everyone, so it just made sense to work here and I didn’t want to go somewhere else and start from scratch. I have a great support system here and that’s ultimately why I chose to attend San Joaquin College of Law.
What inspired you to go to law school and become a defense attorney?
I had two goals when I was a kid - make it to the Olympics as a track athlete and become a criminal defense attorney. The Olympics dream didn’t happen (yet), but law school became a reality. I’ve always had a passion for speaking and helping others because I know the type of individual I am - I’m dedicated, a hard worker and determined. I feel like individuals in this community need someone to advocate for them in trials, someone that has my skills and work ethic and my passion. They need a zealous advocate and I’m really confident in myself as far as the skills and knowledge I’ve obtained, and that’s one of the reasons I can go above and beyond for a client. I ultimately wanted to do something that was bigger than me and as a law student, I personally feel that there’s nothing more important than representing someone in a trial where their life is on the line because they’re trusting you. We come to school and learn about these cases, but there’s going to be people coming to me for help and I’m going to have their lives in my hand. That’s what motivates me mentally and spiritually and it’s one of the things that keeps me going in law school. I know the outcome is that I’m going to help people in a few years and that’s worth it all.
Why did you choose SJCL?
I knew San Joaquin College of Law was going to be my first choice and my second choice because there was no other law school I was looking at. I’ve built strong ties in the community, both in the legal field prior to law school and with the university through track and other competitions. Attending San Joaquin College of Law allowed me to maintain my support system and not have to start at square one like I would have at an L.A. or northern California school. This is where I wanted to be, and I know I’m needed here. Being the competitor that I am and believing in myself the way that I do, I know that I can be an ambassador for my law school and a pillar in my community.
What feedback did you get about SJCL before attending?
While I was an undergrad at Fresno Pacific, I was also an intern at the Public Defender's Office and one of the first attorneys that I was able to work with, Henry Campa, attended San Joaquin College of Law and allowed me to assist him in a trial. I told him I was thinking about going to San Joaquin College of Law and he told me that that would be the best choice that I could make because the faculty cares about you and everybody knows everybody. It’s comforting, especially with the stress and rigor of the material you’re learning and as far as feedback goes, he was one of the first legal professionals to tell me that San Joaquin College of Law was a good choice and a perfect fit for me.
What does a typical day as a law school student look like for you?
I wake up early every day, usually around 5 a.m. and if I have time, I'll go for a run. Then I’ll get ready for work or school. I work three days a week in downtown Fresno for a criminal defense firm under Amanda Moran, who’s an SJCL alumnae as well. Also, one thing about me is that I always dress up for school. That’s probably another aspiration for me to become an attorney because it gives me an excuse to wear a suit and tie. I currently wear a suit and tie to school every day and Thursdays are bow tie Thursdays, so I try to keep it exciting. I’m reading 24/7, studying all day at school and writing motions or meeting with clients at work, so there has to be something that lightens it up a little bit.
How do you keep a balanced work/school life?
亚洲免费无码中文在线&free欧美高清猪马牛&青青草手机在线免费看It’s all about allocating my time wisely. I work three jobs - I work three days a week at the defense firm, I’m a proctor at the SJCL Library and just this year, I got hired by SJCL to be the Outreach Specialist to assist the Admissions team. What I do is just focus on the task at hand. For example, I know I’m going to have class all day on Tuesdays (Evidence in the morning, Wills & Trusts and then Con Law). I know I’m going to have to work all day on Mondays and Wednesdays and I know I have class and work on Thursdays, so I just make sure I schedule everything in advance and focus only on what needs to be done. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress and feel like you’re drowning mentally when you know you have all these things coming up, but I don’t focus on what hasn’t happened yet. I just focus on the present and prioritize. I’ve seen it with some of my classmates because they look at things from a big picture perspective and stress out, but I just take things one task at a time.
What is something you learned from going to law school that no one told you about?
亚洲免费无码中文在线&free欧美高清猪马牛&青青草手机在线免费看One thing I learned was that your legal career starts in law school with the reputation you build with your peers. The community here is so small, and everybody knows everybody, so how you conduct yourself in a professional environment is important. Someone that you have class with now might be your co-worker, your supervisor or your opposing counsel in trial when you graduate. It’s important to realize early on that it’s a professional environment and you have to treat it that way. You can’t wait until you pass the Bar and become an attorney to start acting like one. We have a duty as students to present and carry ourselves well and the more you can do that in law school, the smoother the transition will be when you become an attorney. You’ll have poise and confidence and your former classmates will want to work with you or hire you because they know the type of person you are.
What’s been the best part of law school so far?
For me, it’s been the opportunities I’ve been exposed to at SJCL to make an immediate impact. I’ve always wanted to be a trial attorney and I didn’t want to wait until I graduated to be in trial. So I became a Certified Law Student and I’m really proud of that because even though I’m a student, I don’t have to wait until I pass the Bar before I can help individuals that need me. I’m in court making appearances for clients, assisting attorneys in trials, visiting inmates and communicating with them on a daily basis. SJCL really pushes for their students to get certified and it’s something I really appreciate because when you’re a Certified Law Student, the experience you get and the skills you learn are very valuable to a client that needs your help.
What’s the process to become a Certified Law Student?
In order to become certified, you have to complete Civil Procedure, which is a course you take your first year. Then you have to be enrolled in or have already completed the Evidence course. Once you have those two done and you’re working or interning for an attorney, your supervising attorney can fill out an application with the State Bar and within a few weeks it will be approved. When that happens you can actually represent clients, argue motions before a judge and make appearances for them under the supervision of your attorney. I’ve definitely taken advantage of this opportunity to give me the experience I need and it’s allowed me to actually see what it’s like to be in the courtroom with opposing counsel, see how the judge interacts with attorneys and clients and it’s something I enjoy. If any student has any aspirations of representing their clients in trial, they should take advantage of that certification as soon as possible. You can learn from briefing a case and writing about it in class, but it’s a whole other thing to learn how to communicate effectively with a judge.
What advice or tips do you have for people who are interested in going to law school?
亚洲免费无码中文在线&free欧美高清猪马牛&青青草手机在线免费看Both of my parents didn’t go to law school, so I’ll be the first person in my family to attend and receive a legal degree. It’s scary, but one thing to remember when you’re considering going to law school is that everyone is on the same journey as you. Yes, being in law school can be intimidating but that’s just part of being a student. At the end of the day, regardless of whether you have a legal background or family members in law, it’s doable because we all have to take the same exams, brief the same cases and learn the same material. You just have to have that determination to know that you can do it and nothing can get in your way.