Second-year law students Laura and Jake Torres met during the summer of their undergraduate sophomore year at SMU, where they both worked as orientation leaders. They are now married and have an eleven month old, Angie.
Laura Torres, a second-year law student in the evening program, was born in Mexico and raised in West Dallas. She graduated from DISD's Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet in 2007 and studied Political Science and Spanish at SMU. After that, she taught for three years with Teach for America in Memphis and Dallas. Now, Laura works full time in SMU Dedman College as a recruiter.
Jake Torres is a second-year law student and Dedman Law Scholar who grew up in Mertzon, Texas. His father worked as a police officer and his mother as a school counselor. In 2011, Jake graduated from SMU with a degree in English and Spanish, and while in undergrad, he served as SMU’s Student Body President. For three years, Jake taught ninth and tenth grade English, while coaching football and soccer, at W. W. Samuell High School in DISD with Teach for America.
1. Why did you decide to come to SMU Law?
I knew that SMU would provide a great and supportive network during school and once I graduated. All of the SMU alums I have met have been extremely proud of their affiliation because they recognize the quality of the education they received at SMU.
I fell in love with SMU as an undergrad, and it was at the top of my list of law schools. Laura and I actually found out that we were pregnant around the same time that we were accepted by the law school. With our due date set two weeks after the start of classes, we understood that going to law school with a baby was going to be challenging, but we also knew that SMU would provide the help and support we needed to be successful. Our professors and the law school staff were very supportive and encouraging throughout the first year.
2. What extracurricular activities at the law school have you enjoyed most and why?
I have enjoyed being a part of Women in Law because it has proven to be a great way to get involved at SMU, even as an evening student. Being a woman is a huge part of my identity, and this organization is a great way to surround yourself with amazing women law students and alumna who are there to help you in your career as a lawyer.
I am the vice president of the Hispanic Law Student Association (“HLSA”). HLSA has given me opportunities to connect with the Dallas legal community.
3. How do you think your experience of being a married couple in law school might be different from other students’ experiences?
There are a few married students with families in my evening class, and we share a lot of the same experiences. What makes our experience a little unique is that some days our "family time" consists of studying and reading Contracts cases to our daughter, Angie.
I think being a married couple in law school gives me a better appreciation of what my spouse is going through as a law student. When Laura comes home and needs to study, I understand how important it is for her to brief cases or work on her outlines. It is also helpful that we are able to bounce ideas off of each other. Having a baby, although it can be stressful, keeps us both very grounded. There is no bigger motivation to do well than our daughter.
4. What has been your most memorable law school moment so far?
My most memorable law school moment thus far has been our daughter being born two weeks into our first year of law school! It was a huge blessing for our family, and she is our motivation to do our best in school.
Driving my wife to class. After the baby was born, Laura couldn’t drive for two weeks, but she refused to miss class. I would come home from class, load up her books and the baby, and drive her to school. She couldn’t take the stairs, so Angie and I would walk her to the elevator. I remember being so proud of Laura. She very easily could have taken a few weeks off, but she was so determined to do well her first semester.
5. Where do you see yourselves in 5 and 10 years?
In five years, I hope to be a practicing immigration attorney. In ten years, I hope to be raising money to run for a legislative office to represent West Dallas, where I grew up and currently reside.
I am not sure in what area of the law I would like to practice, but I know that SMU will make sure I am prepared. I have two summer clerkships next year, and I am looking forward to those opportunities.