INTERVIEW: ALEX FAVELA ’14, PARALEGAL, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

Alex Favela was born and raised in Miami, FL, where he graduated valedictorian of his high school. Alex first enrolled at the Florida International University’s Honors College to be close to his family, but, seeking a more rigorous education, later Alex transferred to the Johns Hopkins University in 2014.

Alex received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at Johns Hopkins, taking graduate courses his senior year. For his academic achievement, Alex was invited to the Golden Key Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Outside of academics, Alex served as the Elections Commissioner, was Philanthropy Chairman of his fraternity, and actively contributed to the Prometheus Philosophical Journal.

After graduation, Alex moved to the District of Columbia to work at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. There, Alex works with a team of attorneys to track LGBTQ-related legislation across all 50 states, lobby members of Congress, and manage the organization’s campaign finance matters. Alex takes pride in mentoring LGBTQ undergraduate students of color, enjoys badminton, and designs menswear. He will attend Stanford Law School the fall of 2018.

Questions:

Describe a day in the life of a Paralegal at the Human Rights Campaign.

Each day is fresh and exciting! I work with a team of 10 attorneys split between the Policy department and the General Counsel’s office at HRC; each attorney has expertise in a different body of law so there is quite a variety of projects I get to take on. Examples of frequent/daily tasks include writing letters to administration staff, drafting contracts, reporting in-kind contributions to campaigns, and creating talking points on issues.

What made you choose this particular position and has it met your expectations?

My team is super appreciative of the work I do here but sometimes I think I get more out of them than what they get out of me. What I wanted from my gap year(s) was to catch a glimpse of the kind of life a policy attorney leads and to get my feet wet into the vast field of LGBTQ law. I’ve certainly accomplished that.

Did you pursue anything else during your interim years before beginning law school? How did you go about researching each of these opportunities?

I did not, unfortunately! Studying for the LSAT and getting my applications out took up way more time than I thought. Studying for the LSAT alone drained maybe 7-8 months before I reached the higher percentiles and was confident in my scores. I do mentor law-curious, brown, LGBTQ students which has given me so much in terms of self-discovery and experience but other than that I’ve only volunteered here and there for smaller initiatives.

What do you think you have gained from the experiences and from taking time off before law school? Given the choice, would you do it again?

There’s a very strong narrative out there about choosing law. I find that I just have to mention the term “law school” and people are quick to regurgitate the alleged bad news: law school is expensive, isn’t worth the investment, and the legal job market is scarce. For me, I thought it’d be foolish to just ignore all the naysayers without good reason to do so. Taking the time off to join lawyers in the trenches nicely dissipated whatever doubts I had and I would absolutely do it again – even if only just to be confident in the decision.

What types of undergraduate opportunities did you pursue that led to your decision to apply to law school? Were there any other experiences that you felt were particularly helpful in strengthening your application to law school?

My experience might be different than most here. I wanted to get into the best school I could, given the difficult major I chose. Each year, I only chose 1 or 2 involvements so that I had plenty of time to dedicate to keeping my GPA as high as possible. I have been thinking about a legal career since high school so much of what I did in my undergraduate career was aimed at confirming my interest and in getting my feet wet. I will say that during undergrad, I had the chance to intern/work for nonprofit, public, and private legal entities which has been a huge help in planning out where I want to end up.

Contact Information:

Alex is happy to answer questions and is reachable by email at: Alex.u.favela@gmail.com.

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