Thursday, March 7, 2013
San Diego (March 7, 2013) – Michelle Silva, '14 (JD), is a true extrovert who is energized through interaction with others. She's followed her bent in a variety of for-credit and volunteer activities.
"I've wanted to be a lawyer since I was 16 and participated in mock-trial. Our coach was a judge, and I got the chance to observe real trials in the courtroom. I was hooked!" After her first year of law school, she had a summer internship with a private defense attorney and then worked at the Office of the Alternate Public Defender as part of the Criminal Clinic under the supervision of Professor Jean Ramirez. "I learned so much through these experiences. I learned a lot about client control because in the criminal defense world, many of the clients have mental problems and can be very demanding."
Especially memorable was the first time Michelle's supervisor sent her into the holding tank to confer with a client. "There I was, this short, blonde girl in high heels, locked inside a glass tank that was sort of like a giant fishbowl with a bunch of criminal defendants, trying to whisper with my client because the court was proceeding outside." Michelle now hopes to add to her resume with some experience working on the prosecution side.
In addition to pursuing her goal of becoming an attorney practicing criminal law, Michelle wanted to get to know as many of her classmates as possible; so, in her first semester, she ran to be her section's representative to the Student Bar Association (SBA). She won that election, and in her second year, she's served as SBA treasurer. "This was a perfect job for me because as I helped with the budgets of student organizations, I got to know lots of people and see all the exciting projects their groups were working on. I was often locked in the SBA office, sending emails, writing checks. As a third-year, I saw how much effort students were putting into organizing activities for their clubs; it made me wish I had time to attend all the events that are happening." Michele will be serving as president in her third year.
The best part about being a student at USD? "The school is small enough that you can get to know everyone. People are friendly, and I really feel I'm part of a community."