Lawyer tweets that minorities don’t have to feel guilty about BigLaw career, garnering over 1,200 likes
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A Hispanic lawyer who works as a public defender apparently struck a nerve when she offered some career advice on Twitter.
“PSA: Law students of color, you don’t have to go into public interest just because you’re a POC [person of color],” tweeted Jimena Mohedas, deputy state public defender with the Colorado state public defender office. “Free yourself of that guilt and allow yourself to make $$$ like the yt [white] kids.”
The tweet had more than 1,200 likes and more than 180 retweets as of Thursday morning.
Law.com discussed the post with Mohedas, a 2020 graduate of the Boston University School of Law. She said she had a genuine interest in public service when she became a public defender, but some like the idea of a big paycheck that can help their families and themselves.
A lot of minorities went to law school with the idea that they have to give back to their community, she told Law.com.
“For the Latin kids, it was immigration law. For a lot of Black kids, it was public interest, like housing or family or criminal law,” she said.
“Then [they] realized that they could pay off their student loans, … help their families, … do all these things, if they went into BigLaw, and they felt really guilty about it—like genuine guilt about feeling like they weren’t helping their community enough, or feeling like they were turning their backs on where they came from in exchange for this paycheck.”
One lawyer who agreed with Mohedas is Tiffany Williams Roberts, who is counsel for human rights community engagement and movement building for the Southern Center for Human Rights. She told Law.com that giving back can take many forms, including pro bono work and volunteering.
“You shouldn’t feel guilty if you take a job because you have student loans or you have responsibility, or you have a passion for an issue area that doesn’t fall within public interest,” Roberts said.