A fall 2020 graduate of the William H. Bowen of School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a passion for public service plans to put her law degree to use in immigration law and a life of service.
“The legal process is already challenging for U.S. citizens,” said Edith Chavez De Oseguera, who is earning a Juris Doctor from Bowen this month. “It’s much more challenging for those who are newcomers. There is such a need for immigration attorneys, especially for those who speak other languages. After graduation and passing the bar, I plan to fulfill my vocation as an immigration attorney, and I plan to continue giving back to my community by doing pro bono work for vulnerable clients.”
A native of Cancun, Mexico, Chavez De Oseguera is a 2016 graduate of UA Little Rock with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in international business. She said her family’s experience with immigration is what motivated her to work in this area of law.
“My desire to study law stemmed from my vocation to service, my grandfather’s influence as an attorney, my family’s political persecution, and my own personal experiences as an immigrant,” Chavez De Oseguera said. “My mother is from Nicaragua, I’m from Mexico, and now I live in the U.S. I’m a third culture kid. My mom moved to Mexico as a refugee of the Nicaraguan Revolution. My grandfather was an attorney in Nicaragua and my mother’s family suffered persecution. I think that is what draws me to pursue humanitarian law.”
Chavez De Oseguera lives in Bella Vista, Arkansas, with her husband and two daughters. She entered Bowen as a part-time law student in 2017 while also working as a law clerk and interpreter at an immigration law firm.
“As I reflect upon my life as a law student, I recognize each and every person who helped me throughout my law school journey,” she said. “Law school is highly demanding, but it is even more rewarding because with one single action, we have the power to instantly improve someone else’s life and effect change.”
While at Bowen, Chavez De Oseguera served as president and secretary of the Hispanic Law Students Association. A large part of her life has been dedicated to public service. Her public service has included serving as an interpreter for the Mexican Consulate, volunteering for efforts to encourage voter participation with Indivisible Little Rock, and serving as a panelist to promote diversity in education for groups. In 2019, she received the Dean’s Certificate of Public Service from Bowen.
“The emphasis of my career has been helping out people and doing any kind of humanitarian work,” Chavez De Oseguera said. “I truly believe that we live in a community where we all need to help each other. I want to leave a better world for my children.”
Chavez De Oseguera has volunteered with the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and a couple of Bowen law clinics that have shown her the need for more lawyers in rural areas and the vulnerabilities in the legal system.
“From my Bowen professors, I take their passion for the law, their vast knowledge, and their commitment to diversity and inclusion,” she said. “From the many learning experiences, my favorite one was representing low-income clients as a Rule XV law student for the Delta Clinic. Through this experience, I saw the need for attorneys, judges, and non-profit organizations in rural areas. At the beginning of November, I helped a client get a divorce, and she was immensely grateful. Sometimes, people wait 10 or 15 or even more to get a divorce because they can’t afford it. Some of them are victims of domestic abuse and haven’t been able to get away to be free to start a new life.”
Chavez De Oseguera hopes her story will inspire others to pursue a career in law.
“Although as a newcomer I had self-doubts about entering law school, I was able to overcome them with passion and perseverance,” she said. “Thus, my only advice to potential law students is trust yourself and give it your best.”