The theme of my life thus far is reflected in three words: adaptability, independence and perseverance. From early childhood, I moved between households, cities and countries almost annually, learning to adjust quickly to new circumstances. Born in Portugal, I lived there intermittently, as well as in Mexico, the United States and Barbados, before settling in Canada 15 years ago. Having to continuously navigate cultural and linguistic differences forged within me a keen sense of self-sufficiency and independence. At the age of 16, a year after arriving in Canada, I left home and began living on my own. I dropped out of high school and worked three jobs to support myself. A year later, I strategically entered the legal field, utilizing my fluent knowledge of Spanish to obtain employment (without prior legal experience) at an immigration law firm and have since then worked at various small and top-tier law firms. I advanced my career through demonstrated initiative from an entry level position to working with a managing partner at a corporate law firm to my current position as a systems analyst at the same firm.
I have always had a strong affinity for knowledge and learning. Intent on continuing my education, I enrolled as a mature student at the University of Toronto in 2001 and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in 2006, majoring in Political Science and Sexual Diversity Studies. Throughout my studies, I generally managed a full course load during the day, worked part time in the evenings (between 20 to 30 hours per week) and was involved in extracurricular activities. Studying as a mature student was a difficult transition, which was reflected in my first year marks. However, determined to succeed, I became more skilled at time management and subsequently achieved consistently high standings in later years.
I believe my personality is exceptionally suited to the field of law. Ten constructive years in the workforce, over four years of higher education and challenging life experiences have shaped and fine-tuned my analytical and interpersonal skills, allowing me to develop a strong sense of responsibility and strengthen my communication and organizational skills. I have honed my ability to critically and creatively analyse complex arguments and problems. It is an ability that I have relied upon in my academic and professional life. As a legal assistant, I consistently went beyond the scope of my duties. I actively read documents for content while inputting revisions, isolating points of concern that I would then bring to the lawyers' attention. The lawyers recognized my abilities and relied on me to compose correspondence and put together drafts of various legal documents, including consents, statements of claim, motions, orders and agreements. I was also frequently asked to conduct research utilizing online resources and QuickLaw. In my current position, I provide technical support to staff, lawyers and management. In addition to troubleshooting and remedying a variety of problems on a daily basis, I have resolved a number of outstanding issues on my own initiative that had implications for the whole firm, including printer driver customization, specialized software and hardware research and acquisition. Additionally, throughout the years, I have volunteered for various non-profit organizations and did freelance work, including business consulting, website administration, tax preparation, and translation. The owners of the small businesses with whom I worked often relied on my advice in making decisions concerning the improvement and advancement of their business.
I believe it would be invaluable to obtain practical legal experience and I plan on practicing law after obtaining a LLB. However, I am also interested in law from an academic perspective. I took a number of interdisciplinary courses that examined the relationships between law, politics, society and culture from comparative, historical and ethnographic perspectives. I am most interested in how law, through the specific use or manipulation of legislation and courts, is utilized to achieve particular social and political means, as well as the consequential reshaping of the established social fabric and social norms. Ultimately, I would like to further explore this academic interest in law by continuing my studies at a graduate level and pursuing a Masters of Law and, possibly, Doctor of Juridical Studies.
The LLB program offered at the University of ***, Faculty of Law, is most suited as a first step towards my goal as it ***