The moment Veronica Macias (J.D. ’21) saw Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” sign a contract relinquishing her voice to the devious Ursula, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer. As she got older, working in her parents’ Mexican restaurant showed her that attorneys could be problem solvers. This drove her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science from Georgia State. As an undergraduate, she worked in filing at a law firm to get glimpse of life as an attorney. She fell in love with downtown Atlanta and the vibrancy of Georgia State University, and decided to stay for law school. Now, in her second year, she is the national representative for the regional Hispanic Bar Association, president of the Latinx and Caribbean Law Students Association and plans to pursue a career in corporate litigation. Here, she talks about the importance of giving back and why she loves Georgia State Law.
What made you want to stay at Georgia State for law school?
As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to walk by the building every day and I thought it was beautiful. I was in the Prelaw Club and we had a lot of opportunities to come into the building. We got to practice for our Mock Trial in the ceremonial courtroom. That experience was great for me. I knew this is where I wanted to be.
What has been your favorite class?
I looked forward to going to Professor Donaldson’s Contracts class every day. It was like a free stand-up comedy routine. He turned the class into a game show and the last man standing got bragging rights. Another professor I’m thankful for is Professor Rowberry. He’s an all-around great guy. He took 30 minutes at the beginning of one class to give us a history of property law in England, which is where we get a lot of our laws from.
Tell me about your internship/externship experience.
This summer, I interned at Goodman McGuffey, an insurance defense firm. I found out about it through the Minority Diversity Clerkship Program. I got really lucky because one of our clients dropped 10 cases on our desk within a two-week period, and I got to see two trials from start to finish. After doing Mock Trial, I thought ‘I know how this is going to go,’ but there were so many things I’d never seen before. It was fun to see the jury selection tactics attorneys use to detect biases.
What do you have planned for the Latinx and Caribbean Law Student Association?
I had three big goals for this year. The first is connecting students with the larger organizations in the community, such as the Hispanic Bar Association and the Georgia Latino Law Foundation. The second big goal is fundraising to send a team to the National Moot Court Competition. The last thing is our mentorship program. We assign mentors to every student and we’re checking in with them throughout the year. The first year of law school can be overwhelming, so having someone to help you create an outline, make sure you’re using the right study aids, and provide encouraging words is really helpful.
What do you think makes Georgia State different from other law schools?
The people here are the Georgia State difference. Everyone is here for your success. One day when I was out sick, four people asked if I needed notes from that day. Any time I have reached out to alumni they have helped. I am the GRA for the LLMs and professor Lawlor needed someone to help find mentors for them in their areas of interest. I put a call out there and got an overwhelming response.
What are some of your goals after law school?
There are a lot of barriers to entry to law school and in law school for minority students, like paying for the LSAT, paying for law school or taking unpaid internships. Georgia State gave me an application waiver and I had somebody else help pay for my LSAT expenses. I want to be able to give back financially because I know I had people helping me along the way.
What’s something you wish someone had told you going into law school that you would tell someone else?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. You are not a bother; you matter. Anything that is worth doing in this life is worth doing with help, with people advocating for you along the way. I have what I call my mentor collective and I know I can get advice from them. If anyone wants to reach out to me, I love to help people overcome challenges.
Interview by Kelundra Smith