Leslie Cabrera always knew she wanted to be an attorney. Her parents weren’t surprised, as she “always had something to say” and liked arguing. Leslie grew up in Puerto Rico but moved to Orlando at the age of twelve. She first attended Valencia College where she got her associate’s degree in science and became a certified paralegal. After two years there, she transitioned to University of Central Florida where she received her bachelor of arts in legal studies.
Leslie is an incredibly hard worker and worked full-time in a preschool throughout her undergraduate studies to pay her tuition. Working in a preschool was a natural choice for her – as the oldest daughter and granddaughter in a large family, she was used to being around children. She took a gap year to work and save money after obtaining her undergraduate degree and then was accepted into WMU Cooley Law School.
She tried to continue working full-time but quickly realized after beginning her classes that she wouldn’t be able to. That’s when she started focusing on her goal of becoming an attorney and it shows. Leslie has made the Dean’s List numerous times and is secretary of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL). In addition, she is a resource editor, corroborating facts and checking sources for the WMU Cooley Journal of Practical & Clinical Law. She is also a historian for the International Legal Honor Society.
In law school, she decided to tailor her electives to the BAR and took several courses in family and immigration law. Both areas spoke to her heart. Leslie is from a family of immigrants – her grandmothers both took the citizenship test – but after spending time learning about immigration law, she decided it was too close to home and began to focus on family law instead. She will graduate in May of 2020 and will begin an internship with DCF afterwards. Her hope is she will start her career there, in litigation and children’s advocacy.
Leslie has been with GLS for an entire summer and has since rotated through all our units. She began in the housing unit with Jeff Canup, then spent several weeks assisting Joanne Lee in the immigration unit, where she worked with victims of domestic violence seeking U-Visas. She will end her internship in our consumer law division with Sara Jones.
One thing she’s liked about interning at GLS has been the approachability and friendliness of the attorneys. “They all really want to help people,” she says. Leslie believes she has thrived because of the relaxed environment, and the attorneys’ open-door policy.
“They’ll stop whatever they’re doing to answer my questions.”
Her favorite part of her internship has been the impact she’s had in case outcomes. She can see her contributions being used in court and final decisions, and that has given her work so much meaning. She also loves the clients, especially the seniors! “They’re just so happy we’re able to help them.”
Leslie has been a force in the office, liked by everyone she meets and known for her friendly demeanor and willingness to help. We are sad to see her go but are excited to see all the amazing things she will do in her career! Thank you for choosing GLS this summer, Leslie. We are so proud of you.