Name: Bianca Moore
Hometown: Chesapeake, Virginia (by way of Boston)
Alma Mater(s): THE ILLUSTRIOUS Xavier University of Louisiana; Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Major/ Field of Study: Political Science and Spanish Literature and Language; Juris Doctor
Jen: Tell us a little about yourself?
Graduate: I am a 24-year old, Gemini (I promise we aren’t all crazy) and devout woman of God, with a passion for criminal justice and educational reform. I tutor children of all ages in Spanish and English, and assist students with both undergraduate and graduate college admissions. I also love singing with my church’s Ensemble and dancing in local parades with the New Orleans East adult dance team, Satin Dolls in Heels.
Jen: What degree did you obtain?
Graduate: On May 11, 2019, I will be obtaining my J.D, with a certificate in Social Justice.
Jen: What inspired you to get this degree?
Graduate: Honestly, my mama and the Holy Spirit! Since I was little, I have always wanted to be an attorney; watching Legally Blonde only solidified that desire. I had my mind set on being a corporate attorney, mainly because they earned ridiculous amounts of money. . . but that soon changed. During my junior year at Xavier, I participated as a fellow a Walton-UNCF Education Reform Fellowship, and found my passion for education reform. One of mentors convinced me to pursue a Masters in Public Policy rather than attending law school. However, one of my professors at Xavier, Dr. Pamela Waldon-Moore, was greatly disappointed in my decisions and offered me a free Kaplan course to study for the LSAT just in case I changed my mind–and I did. But here’s the catch, the LSAT was 6 weeks away. So, feeling the nudge of the Holy spirit, I took the course, study over 20 hours a week, and took the LSAT. I then, praying my score was good enough, applied to about 15 law schools. I was accepted into all 15 schools with 3 full rides and several near-full tuition scholarships. Still, with that burning passion for aiding in the fight for educational equity, particularly in New Orleans, I chose to attend Loyola, which has a strong social justice background.
Jen: What do you plan to do with your degree? What are your next steps?
Graduate: I’m still figuring out where exactly I will be working after I take the bar this upcoming July; however, I aspire to serve as a criminal defense attorney/ public defender in Orleans parish and create a non-profit geared towards teaching students and the community about the importance of exercising their constitutional rights and fulfilling civic duties to create a more just and humane society. I also have a long term goal of serving as a Federal Public Defender, and running for office to become a United States Senator. I am currently a member of the New Leaders Council Louisiana 2019 cohort, which will help me do just that.
Jen: What was the most challenging aspect of obtaining your degree?
Graduate: Time Management. Honestly, law school is not necessarily hard, it is just really demanding. It involves a lot of reading, writing, quick thinking, and information retaining in a short period of time (no you cannot dump what you learn after the exam). Also, as a full-time law student, you take 14-16 graduate/professional level hours; whereas other graduate/ professional students take 9 hours max. On top of that, as a minority woman, I cannot just go to school, get good grades, and just get a job. I have to be twice as fantastic, right? I have to network, participate in extracurriculars, read for class, write papers, meet with professors, somehow work part-time, remember to eat and shower, and occasionally call my mom. So, time is of the essence.
Jen: What does this degree mean for you?
Graduate: This degree means Thank you. What I mean by that is, this degree is not just for me. It is my gift of appreciation to my ancestors, my family, and especially my mom. Right now, I am living my mother’s dream. She had me and my sister at a very young age, and because of that, she had to put her dreams and education aside to do what was best for us–which included moving very far from her family to be with my father. So, this degree is a thank you to my mother for sacrificing her dreams for me, for being my biggest cheerleader, for praying incessantly for me, and for truly instilling the values and spiritual guidance in me to assist me with achieving this goal.
Jen: What advice can you give others who wish to pursue this degree?
Graduate: I’d tell them: Look, it’s gonna be rough out there in those law school streets, but you got this! What God has for you, no man can take from you, because YOU are in control of your fate. Also, no test defines you and the school you attend honestly doesn’t matter. Just do well and get that degree, because really it’s your work and your character that defines you. Lastly, I was successful because I told myself when I started that I am my only competition, and the rest of them folks are just running in the race with me. So treat others as if they are competing with you, not against you; you’ll get farther in life and law school that way.
Jen: What advice can you give to the family and friends of those who wish to take this path?
Graduate: Leave us alone, and do whatever you need yourself! Just kidding, but seriously. First, friends and family need to understand that the next 3-4 years are going to be a major time of transition for their loved one, and all they really need is food, free money, and support–emphasis on the free money and food. No the partying might not stop, but he or she might not be able to go out every weekend anymore. Also, he or she might can come for Christmas, but not Thanksgiving. It is sad, you will miss him or her, but the world will go on. Second, please do not tell them laws school is not that hard, or down play their experience. Law school is hard, it is stressful, and it changes you; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. But, whatever the change is be supportive and get them help, if need be. Lastly, make sure you pay attention to any new habits they start or any isolating behavior, it can be a sign of metal unhealthiness. Other than that, please just give/bring them free food, and call occasionally to make sure they changed their sheets and are keeping up with daily necessities.
Jen: We all know we don’t do it by ourselves. Who was instrumental in helping you achieve your goals and dream?
Graduate: God, My mentors, and BLSA family. Honestly, without my faith and trust in God, I would have cracked, gave up, cussed multiple people out, and moved to a different country by now. However, by meditating on his word and remembering the scriptures my momma and papa instilled in me, such as Isaiah 40:31, I was able refraining from putting my hands on folks and excelling in school. Next, New Orleans has a rich community of extremely successful black attorneys, judges, and politicians, a few of which who are my mentors. They have truly looked out for me and are constantly supporting me, guiding me, and pushing me to be greater. Lastly, last year I was the president of the A.P. Tureaud Chapter of BLSA (Black Law Student Association), where I built deep relationships with my members and classmates. They make sure that my life is not all work and no play–which can often be the case in law school. I am truly blessed to have such great influences in my life.
Jen: Any last remarks?
Graduate: Thank you Jen for featuring me in this series. You are doing fantastic work. I truly hope that, as I progess in life, I continue to be a blessing and inspiration to black and brown women in New Orleans, and hopefully, one day, around the nation.
Shameless plug: If you are interested in law school and/or following my journey, follow me @raisingthebar94 and check out my blog at www.theraisingthebar.com. Don’t forget to subscribe, and be blessed!