College of Law > About > News > Student profile jesus diaz
By Brett Davinger /
September 15, 2021 /
Posted in: Student News /
Hispanic Heritage Month Student Profile: LLSA President Jesus Diaz (’23) “Pays it Forward”
Latino Law Student Association (LLSA) President Jesus Diaz (’23) continuously gives back to the Latino/a communities that shaped him into who he is today. According to prior LLSA President Matt Sanchez, “From the very early stages of his legal career, Jesus already has made an active effort to mentor and support young Latino and Latina students interested in pursuing law school. I am confident that he will be an asset to the LLSA family and to the legal profession as a whole.” Agreeing with Sanchez, Ana Vazquez-Rivera, director of diversity, inclusion and student life at the College of Law, says, “Jesus stood out as a student leader during his very first semester of law school. He showed his commitment to recruiting more diverse students to DePaul when he assisted me with a virtual admissions program as a volunteer for the national organization sponsoring the event.”
To Diaz, Hispanic Heritage Month is “an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the Latino community in the United States, across many professions.” These include role models, such as his parents, “who left everything in Mexico so that my siblings and I could have the opportunities they did not have,” and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “another first-generation law student from the Bronx, New York, like me!” He also plans to continue to support the Hispanic community by frequenting small, Hispanic-owned businesses and aiding Hispanic law students who wish to attend law school.
Diaz’ prior exposure to the law and lawyering – and its impact on vulnerable communities - led him to DePaul Law. Diaz attended The City College of the City University of New York where he majored in political science and government and graduated magna cum laude. It was seeing the effects of “stop and frisk” policies while in New York City that initially inspired him to go to law school. “I observed how ‘stop and frisk’ [policies] affected communities of color, especially in the Bronx,” remembers Diaz, “and I was intrigued by the civil rights lawyers who spoke against those policies.’”
After finishing his undergraduate degree, Diaz joined an immigration law firm in Cicero, Illinois, where he worked on family law petitions and DACA and citizenship applications. He also spoke on several community board panels about being a first-generation college student and gave tips on applying to law school; he also volunteered with the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute’s National Conference.
As a DePaul Law 1L, he was a First Generation Law Student Organization representative and a summer legal intern with Children’s Legal Center in Chicago, and after a successful social media campaign, he was elected central regional director of the National Latino/a Law Student Association (NLLSA) during its March 2021 national conference. He considers this a particular point of pride, noting: “I am the first DePaul law student to be elected to the NLLSA executive board, and I hope I am not the last.”
Diaz acknowledges the importance of LLSA in his life. His decision to run for president came from his desire to “pay it forward,” as LLSA was a great resource for him even before starting law school. As president, one of his main goals is to follow in the footsteps of previous LLSA presidents and execute a great Illinois LLSA Forum featuring Latinx attorneys from a variety of fields. The annual Forum works to increase the Latinx presence in the legal community, and as Diaz explains, “the LLSA Forum is special to me; I attended the event before I started law school. It was my first networking event in Chicago, and I met law students who would become great friends and mentors. As [LLSA] president, I hope other pre-law students get the same experience I had.”