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Modern American


In May 2002, I opened a law office in one of the most underserved communities in Los Angeles County. Many questioned the sanity of such a career path when evaluating my financial stability and the personal toll that such a career path can exact. Given that I graduated from some of the best universities in the country, my friends, family, and strangers were even more perplexed at my choice. I cannot say that my decision to build a law practice in Compton, California, has been easy. However, time and time again, I found myself rejecting more secure and prestigious job offers and continued in what some of my law school friends call “the more difficult route.”

This article recounts my brief, unrefined, and continuing journey as a novice attorney. My story is not unique or new; however, the triumphs, challenges and defeats of community- based private practitioners serving individuals’ everyday legal needs are largely undocumented. By providing a personal account of my experiences as a solo practitioner, I hope to encourage others working with low-income and modest-means clients to share their experiences and demand more support from our law schools, our bar associations, and legal aid organizations to allow us to better serve our clients and sustain ourselves in the profession

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American University (Washington College of Law)

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