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Alisha Michel

Alisha Michel has been selected as the Fall 2023 award recipient of the Hoggatt Injury Law Children of Injured Workers Scholarship. Alisha is a student at Florida International University College of Law. After graduation, Alisha intends to pursue a career as a labor and employment attorney.

Alisha Michel

Read Alisha's Essay:

When I decided to pursue a law degree, I aimed to use it as a tool for positive change in the world. Growing up, neither of my parents spoke English as they had emigrated from Haiti already adults; the language barrier restricted their opportunities for work and their abilities to aid me through this daunting yet gratifying experience we call life. Despite it all, being a first-generation student with these experiences has shaped me into who I am today, with a desire to advocate for those, much like my family, who cannot do so for themselves.

At the age of eleven, I got a house call from the hospital about my mom, and my immediate reaction was to panic. She could not communicate with anyone at the hospital, which forced someone to contact me. She was working as a hotel maid when she slipped and fell, breaking a disk in her bottom spine. The injury severely reduced her movement. She was home only one week before her job demanded she return to work, which she did to make ends meet for our family. As the injustices grew, my mother believed her employer was acting with intent, trying to get my mother to quit. This way, she would not receive the benefits she was entitled to instead of being fired. So, my mother hired a lawyer. It was apparent that we were not financially secure, so the lawyer gave my mother a price we could afford, which consequently gave him the causation to put our case on the back burner. It took the lawyer two arduous years to work her case. I had to watch my mother come home every day suffering from her employer’s unfairness and her lawyer’s negligence; I felt helpless. Shortly this agony transformed into an intense desire like a fire within, and it became my aspiration to know and apply the law to assist others in cases like my mothers’.

My goal after I graduate is to use my law degree to make meaningful contributions to addressing some of the pressing challenges our world faces today. I am particularly passionate about labor and employment law, as I have witnessed how it feels to be mistreated by an employer and how it can affect one’s life. As someone who has personally undergone the impact of labor and employment law, I can attest to its importance in protecting workers’ rights. These regulations guarantee that workers receive fair treatment and are not exploited by their employers. It is alarming that many employees are unaware of their rights, including those related to the minimum wage, overtime compensation, and anti-discrimination legislation. Many workers would be exploited and mistreated in the absence of these protections, and some have been subjected to such unjustness because they don’t have the help of an attorney.

Aside from my labor and employment goals, after graduating with my legal degree, I would also love to promote social justice and human rights, which is another area where I want to make a difference. Inequality remains in our society on many different levels, including racial, gender, and socioeconomic position. I want to represent the voiceless and ensure their rights are protected within the law by working at the grassroots level with non-profit groups or even working for governmental organizations committed to these issues. My ability to advocate for underrepresented populations will eventually improve as a result, both during my time in law school and beyond. Furthermore, by participating in extracurricular activities such as research projects and legal clinics centered around social justice themes while in school, I can actively work towards creating positive change within campus culture through collaborative efforts among students, faculty, and staff alike. In law school, I want to be included in advocating for gender-neutral restrooms and organizing workshops designed to raise awareness about issues related to race, sexuality, the environment, and mental health. Joining clubs also focused on these pressing issues and rights would allow me to learn more about these specific concerns and engage with others who share my devotion to creating a more inclusive and equitable society. In addition, I wish to help build a more equitable community where everyone has access to fair opportunities and legal protection through public interest litigation or pro bono work.

Receiving this scholarship toward my legal education would have a transformative impact on my journey and career goals. Law school is undeniably expensive; thus, this financial assistance will significantly alleviate the burden of student loans and allow me to focus wholeheartedly on acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in my chosen employment and corporate law fields. Additionally, with less financial strain, I will be able to actively engage in extracurricular activities associated with these fields throughout my time in law school, such as internships at various firms that focus on these issues or joining pro bono work at FIU’s legal clinics that advocate in some areas regarding those topics. This kind of funding would not only enable me to pursue a high-quality education without financial restrictions, but it would also allow me to pursue a career path that, while it may not be the most profitable, is in line with my desires and beliefs.

In conclusion, a law degree is a powerful catalyst for change, enabling me to tackle pressing issues such as employment law and social justice. By investing in my education, upon graduation, I will be better equipped to advocate for lasting solutions that promote a more efficient and equitable world. The financial assistance would significantly alleviate the monetary constraints associated with pursuing higher education and enable me to fully dedicate myself to acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for effecting positive change. I believe that my academic record, relevant experiences, and commitment to serving others through the legal profession make me a deserving candidate for this scholarship. This investment in my future enhances my personal development and contributes to the collective effort of building a brighter future for my community overall.

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