Graduation appreciation

Three star students discuss their law school experiences and what they’re doing next

It’s commencement time! As the class of 2023 prepares to graduate on May 13, the School of Law asked three star students about their time at Loyola, their most exciting experiences during law school, and what’s next. Congratulations to all of our fabulous graduates!

Paola Vargas Daly

What was your most rewarding experience in law school?

Graduating is absolutely the most rewarding experience of law school. My daughter was 3 when I took the LSAT. She’s 8 now, and when she describes what a lawyer is, she says, “It’s a job where you help people.” That is why I pursued this career. My family and I emigrated from Mexico, and it was a family effort to get me to this day. As the first lawyer in my family, graduating is surreal and a joy and achievement I share with them. 

What are your career plans after graduation?

I will be clerking for Justice Briana Zamora at the New Mexico Supreme Court for two years. She has consistently dedicated her time to issues of equity in the justice system for vulnerable populations including youth, Native peoples, and the homeless. Justice Zamora was also a first-generation law student and is someone I admire. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to work on cases at this level. 

What will you miss the most about the School of Law? 

My classmates and my professors. In the Weekend JD program, we spend eight hours together every other Saturday and Sunday. Most of us have been in the working world for a while, and we understand one another. There is a sense of community that builds when your classmates also show you pictures of their kids, tell you about the careers they have been building, and show up for you in little and big ways. 

Vanessa Aceves

What was your most rewarding experience in law school?

My most rewarding experience in law school was definitely taking Street Law. Before law school, I was an AmeriCorps member for City Year Chicago, assisting a sixth-grade math teacher. Through Street Law, I was able to go back and teach my same students, then eighth graders, about important laws they should know about. It was such a unique experience to be able to celebrate the work I had done in the past and apply my new skills as a law student.

What are your career plans after graduation?

I will be working for Equip for Equality’s special education clinic enforcing legal rights and promoting access to communication devices for students with complex communication needs. My brother uses a communication device but only recently discovered he could use one, years after aging out of public education. My brother’s experience motivated me to create this project to make sure eligible students can implement communication devices much sooner in their education. I worked for Equip for Equality during my 1L and 2L summer, so I am very excited to be back there full time!

What else would you like to say about your time in law school?

I am so grateful for the classmates and friends I met. The Class of 2023 had such a unique experience with our first year of law school being entirely online. Somehow, despite that lack of physical community, I made such incredible friendships with my 1L classmates. I would not have gotten through law school without them, and I know I will be there for them as a lifelong friend. 

Suet Lee

What was your most rewarding experience in law school?

The most rewarding experience in law school was being the president of the Student Bar Association (SBA). SBA provided an opportunity to connect, meet, and listen to the various student organizations, committees, and offices at the law school about how Loyola can improve. I learned so much about leadership and service in this role, and I hope to carry that spirit forward. 

What are your career plans after graduation?

After graduation, I’ll be returning to Irwin IP LLP as a first-year associate. I’m most excited to be further involved at the firm, learn more about IP [intellectual property], and give back to the legal community via mentorship and volunteering.

What will you miss the most about the School of Law?

I’ll miss the law community at Loyola the most! I was fortunate to meet so many great people and cultivate lasting friendships. Overall, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all Loyola individuals and alumni. Thank you to everyone at the School of Law for making my law school experience memorable. (May 2023)

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