McGeorge School of Law

Profile: Joann F. Horta-Baez

Joann F. Horta-Baez
Joann F. Horta-Baez

Class of 2019

JD with distinction, 2019
Outstanding Student Achievement Award
Capital Commendation for Public Service
Latinx Law School Association, member
McGeorge International Law Society, member

Joann Horta-Baez was born and raised in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico. She moved by herself from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles at the age of 17, remembering it as a surreal and exciting time. "I cried that first year, wanting to go home but I had to prove to myself that I was capable of succeeding."

That early journey ignited a passion for travel that Horta-Baez parlayed into a law degree with an international concentration. After visiting Uruguay, Argentina, France, Turkey, Estonia and Finland, she had the opportunity to study and live in Rome, which, she says, was one of the best experiences of her life.

"I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was little but it wasn't until I represented Cal State Los Angeles at the Model United Nations that I decided that was what I wanted to be. We were in the General Assembly and the Canadian Ambassador to the UN spoke to us about the importance of the UN and how he got there. It was very inspiring."

Horta-Baez moved to Sacramento, her husband’s hometown, after graduating from Cal State Los Angeles, and enrolled in McGeorge’s International Law Program as an evening student. "The best thing about coming to McGeorge was the experience of achieving a dream that I was hesitant to go for."

Traveling abroad made Horta-Baez appreciate her own culture. She was an active member of the Latinx Law School Association and the McGeorge International Law Society, and won an Outstanding Student Achievement Award and a Capital Commendation for Public Service for volunteering 100 hours in legal or community service. Now graduated, she hopes to work in human rights or international business transactions.