Why Legal Aid

Melissa Corral, Esq.
Attorney, Family Justice Project
Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Inc.

My name is Melissa Corral.  I was raised in a small town in Durango, Mexico by a single mother.   I came to the United States when I was twelve years old without knowing any English.  It was a tough transition however before I knew it, I adapted and continued my high school and college education in Nevada.

I attended undergraduate and law school in Las Vegas.  I worked full time while attending school at a local Boyd Gaming casino.  Throughout law school, I intensely engaged with the student body and even served as the President of the Student Bar Association and La Voz, the Hispanic Student Association.  I was also a student attorney at the Immigration Clinic while in law school, which solidified my desire to focus in immigration law upon graduation.

While I studied for the bar, I was lucky enough to get hired as law clerk for the Honorable Linda Marquis.  After some time in private practice, focusing primarily in family law related cases, I returned to my passion of immigration law and have been a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada for a year and a half.

One of the main reasons for switching from private practice to public interest law is my desire to help people.  In private practice, I saw first hand, how expensive and essential hiring an attorney could be.  In cases where people were fighting for one of the most important things in their lives, such as custody of a child, or deportation from the United States, it felt terrible turning people away because they could not afford to pay attorney fees.  As such, after thinking back to what made me go to law school in the first place, helping those like my mother, I decided to apply to the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and treat every client as a person and listen to their concerns and problems with compassion and care.

The reactions from clients is something I will keep with me forever.  The sobs mixed with pure enthusiasm I hear over the phone when I tell them I have their “green cards” in my hands is the same type of reaction I witnessed the day my mother received her legal permanent resident card a little over ten years ago.

It is difficult in our current climate full of obstacles and constant law changes to practice in this field.  But I am inspired by my mother whom moved here for me to have a better future.  It was my mother’s determination and desire for me to prosper that helps me continue with this type of work.

Working in public interest law is extremely self-rewarding.  The Community Justice Fellowship will allow you to take a peek into what the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada does on a daily basis for many of those community members that cannot afford to hire representation.  This fellowship can help a young attorney grow in a professional setting and hopefully allow you find the exact path you want to take your career in the future.

 

Melissa Corral, Esq.
Attorney, Family Justice  Project
Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Inc.
725 E. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV  89104
702-386-1486 direct/fax
702-386-1070 ext. 1486
mcorral@lacsn.org

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