Elvira Daza Hernandez
Student in the LL.M. U.S. Law & Policy program
Hometown: Oaxaca, Mexico
Undergraduate: Benito Juarez University of Oaxaca
As challenging as some of her courses at McGeorge may be, Elvira Daza Hernandez' biggest academic challenge may have been applying for the program. Born in Mexico City and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, Elvira was inspired to study law by the first indigenous Mexican President, Benito Juarez, and the lack of access to justice and legal information she experiences while living in Oaxaca.
President Benito Juarez was the first indigenous President of Mexico and was a revolutionary in law who, after overcoming poverty, studied one of the professions that was almost exclusive for wealthy students, became a practicing attorney, governor of his state and President of Mexico. It was during his presidency, in the mid 1800's, that he separated the church from state. Benito Juarez was born in Oaxaca and studied law in a local Institute that is now the Benito Juarez University of Oaxaca-the very university where Elvira earned her degree to be an Attorney.
After graduating, Elvira worked for the local and federal government and for several non-for profit organizations. After several years of work in Mexico, Elvira decided to move to California. After a couple of years she began law school admission process While a couple of situations caused delay of her applications, it was the process of having her academic documents sent to U.S. schools that took the longest time and almost made Elvira stop trying to continue her studies. In 2006, a local strike became a violent political uprising that shut down the City of Oaxaca for almost three years. The administrative offices of several universities were completely shut down with no possibility of doing any transactions.
Living abroad, and with no formalized process for securing her transcripts, Elvira tried for three years to get official transcripts sent for her application to an LLM program. She ultimately had to wait three years for the institutions to re-open only to face another administrative hurdle. While the institution was open to receive the request, it was unfamiliar with the way U.S. educational institutions request and receive transcripts, resulting in a wait of another year. After almost giving up she found she had been accepted in McGeorge.
Elvira loves the opportunities she has to meet people from all over the world at McGeorge. She appreciates learning from their experiences, about their legal systems and their views and perspectives of the U.S. legal system. Elvira also enjoys having the opportunity of taking classes with J.D students which makes the learning process more interesting and challenging. She finds especially interesting the fact McGeorge has a special program for foreign educated attorneys who want to prepare for the Bar Exam. She would ultimately like to focus on immigration law and is especially interested in the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Elvira is currently working for Victims of Crime Resource Center in that pursuit.
In her spare time, she enjoys running, dancing, knitting, cooking, baking and taking her two children, ages 8 and 4, to the park. When asked about the difficulties of balancing school with family, she noted that it is difficult but also a nice break. Her children help to distract her from her schoolwork, providing some much needed relaxation.