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Jocelyn Lucero is a third-year law student from Lexington, Kentucky. She is serving as the 2021-2022 editor-in-chief of the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law’s Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture & Natural Resources Law (KJEARNRL). Lucero has a B.A. in International Relations and Affairs as well as Spanish from Transylvania University. This year, both law journals at the college – including the Kentucky Law Journal – are being led by women of color.

When did you first become interested in law school? And why?

I became interested in law school at a young age, actually. When I was in fourth grade my mother began the process of applying for her mother’s, my grandmother, permanent residence for a second time. While I had the good fortune of being born in this country, both of my parents are from Mexico. Consequently, I was exposed to the immigration process and its shortcomings at a very early age. This was the second time my mother had gone through this process with my grandmother, and I was shocked because I didn’t understand why it was so difficult for us to achieve something so simple as having my grandmother home for Christmas. I witnessed first-hand the lack of legal resources available to the low-income families in the Latinx community, and it was then that I decided I wanted to help. I realized that by becoming a lawyer I could give back to my community, and that has been my goal ever since.

Why did you decide to apply for KJEANRL editor?

Thanks to KJEANRL my writing skills tremendously improved, which in turn instilled a newfound confidence that I lacked my first year of law school. Having such a rewarding experience as a staffer made me want to pursue a role with greater responsibility. It was my hope that I could give back to this organization and ensure the same rewarding experience for incoming staffers.

As the editor-in-chief, what are you goals for the journal?

One of my goals for the journal is to extend the opportunities journal has to offer to as many students with differing perspectives as possible. Being a first-generation student, I was unaware of the importance of journal membership beyond my legal education. That is why this past spring Kelly Daniels, the editor-in-chief of our sister journal, Kentucky Law Journal, and I made it one of our goals to inform as many first-year students about the future professional and scholarly opportunities that journal has to offer. However, we are both committed to this cause as the school year goes on. In fact, both journals will soon co-host an event with various affinity groups on campus to get to know the Class of 2024 in the hopes of establishing the foundation for a supportive relationship.

What can the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law do to support and encourage women and students of color in pursuing leadership positions in student organizations at the law school and in their communities?

Reach out to students personally. When I receive an email from a faculty member encouraging me to apply for a fellowship or scholarship, I genuinely appreciate it. This small gesture not only informs students of opportunities they may not have been aware of, but it also shows how much they care about students' success. Additionally, listen to students. When faculty and the administration make a concerted effort to listen to students of color it can make a tremendous difference. Students appreciate having their voices taken into consideration.

What do you love most about UK Rosenberg College of Law?

I really appreciate the community that the College of Law offers. Law school is tough, but it is so much easier and enjoyable when you have a community of supporters to help you along the way. I can genuinely say that I feel as if every professor I have had during my time here has wanted nothing more than to see their students succeed. In my opinion, this is rare but crucial to ensure the success and mental well-being of law students.

What are your career goals?

One of my goals is to give back to my community. This is why one of my career goals is becoming an immigration lawyer and dedicating my services to low-income immigrant families.

What challenges/obstacles, if any, have you faced while working toward your law degree? How did you address them?

My first year of law school was very tough. I struggled a lot with imposter syndrome and this feeling of not belonging really made me question if I was fit to be a lawyer. I had many moments when I thought my best was simply not enough. I wasn’t able to get past these feelings until I realized that not everyone has everything figured out, not even those people who had an enviable amount of calmness when being cold-called. This led to a lot of reflection on my part. I had to remind myself that I worked just as hard as everyone here to get here and that I was here for a reason. I was offered a spot here because someone believed that I could be a great lawyer, so then the only thing I had left to do was believe in myself.

This article will appear in the Fall 2021 edition of Law Notes magazine.