LLM in U.S. Law & Policy student
Hometown: Valenzuela City, Philippines
Undergraduate: Far Eastern University
Major: Political Science
Theresa Pascua was adept at winning fights with her parents at an early age, which gave them a hunch that their daughter would set her sights on a career in law. "I've always been sensitive to the concept of justice and the cruelty of wrongful convictions," Theresa said.
She pursued her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Far Eastern University and earned her LL.B. at the Philippines Law School. Theresa is fluent in English, Tagalog and the Ilocano dialect, the three most common languages spoken in the Philippines.
Theresa practiced political law in the Philippines where the legal system is based on civil law (the United States legal system is based on common law). "The court procedure in the United States is more complex because there are two jurisdictions-the federal and state court," Theresa said. "In the Philippines, we only have one national court."
At the peak of her law career in the Philippines, Theresa "made a move for love" and immigrated to the United States to live with her husband. She has been living in Elk Grove ever since, working as a paralegal at a personal injury and immigration law firm.
She decided to pursue a Master's degree in United States Law and Policy from McGeorge so that she could practice law in her new home. In order to become an accredited United States lawyer, she had to take an extra 20 credit hours at an accredited law school.
Theresa graduated in December 2017 and is now focused on studying for the California Bar Exam, which she plans to take in July 2018. In addition, Theresa continues to operate as a commissioned and accredited notary public, and a loan signing officer in Sacramento County, something she did while pursuing her degree.
She hopes to open her own law firm someday, with a focus on family law and immigration. "As an active member of the Filipino community in Sacramento, I've become very aware of the need for more immigration and family lawyers to serve my community," she said. Theresa also has plans to run for public office.
Theresa was attracted to McGeorge because of its reputation for producing successful lawyers and for its location — a 20-minute drive from her home and job in Elk Grove. The best part about being a student at McGeorge, she said, was the opportunity to be surrounded by intellectuals with a diversity of experiences. "I got to be acquainted with students, like me, from other countries and get to know about their cultures, laws and values," Theresa said. "I also love the fact that the professors are very helpful and experts in their field."