Chance encounter with alumnus set 2L on the path toward a legal education
As an undergraduate English major at the University of Texas at El Paso, 2L Jesus Quintanilla wasn’t quite sure what direction he wanted his career to take after graduation. An internship at the El Paso City Attorney’s Office, however, and an insightful encounter with an alumnus of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law put him on the path toward a legal education, which he hopes to one day use to advocate for the rights of others.
“There was a Moritz alumnus at the city attorney’s office, Omar De La Rosa ’15, and I had the chance to see how he would interact with different sorts of organizations from the city, and he was a big inspiration for me,” Quintanilla said. “He was patient with the people he was serving, he was kind, and he was really smart. That was a big reason why I chose to come here. That, and he told me that Midwesterners are really nice.”
While that experience gave him the idea to begin taking a closer look at a career in law, helping others is something that has always interested Quintanilla. Prior to his internship at the El Paso City Attorney’s Office, he served as a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer. Quintanilla worked with children in the foster care system to help them adjust to their new families, schools, and communities during a difficult and often painful time in their lives.
“It was mostly just being a friend and providing a human connection since they had attorney’s ad litem who were really there for the nitty gritty casework and who had other clients to attend to and couldn’t really establish as much of a connection as maybe a CASA volunteer could. I know now if I were to pursue being a child advocate I would definitely try my hardest to make the transition a lot easier for someone I would be representing,” he said. “I’m still open to exploring different kinds of law, but I’m considering being a child advocate.”
When it came time to choose a law school, not only did Ohio State offer an excellent education that would enable Quintanilla to do good in the world, it was also somewhere he knew he would be proud to say he graduated from. What made that choice even easier, Quintanilla said, was the Hite family scholarship. Now he can afford to pursue his dream.
“It gave me confidence that I could make a difference and I want to make people from Columbus and the school proud,” he said.
Quintanilla added that he is extremely grateful for the donors who made his scholarship possible. Their generosity has given both him and his family peace of mind. It’s something, he said, that inspires him to strive for excellence in everything that he does in law school.
“It’s a real privilege and I see it as a responsibility to them and to myself to capitalize on what I’ve been given to do good,” he said. “I actually met the donors at a dinner with the dean and they were extremely nice. I promised I would bring them back some pecans from my hometown—they grow in my backyard in Texas—since I don’t think they grow here. So, you can tell them, I have the pecans and they’re on the way.”