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Emily Carielo Treviño

Quintana & Barajas, PLLC – San Antonio, Texas

Emily Trevino

How did you get your job and how long have you been there?

I applied through CORE. I was trying to decide whether to get a job/internship/externship or take summer classes.  I told myself that I would apply to this ONE job posting and if it was the right fit and I was offered the position I would take it and if not, I would enroll in classes. I came to the interview and met the two partners and immediately knew I wanted to be here and that this would be a great fit. I started in February of 2023 working just a few hours a week so that I could learn their writing styles, important rules, and learn as much as I could ahead of the summer.

What do you like most about your job?

The partners here, Carlos Quintana and Jose Barajas, trust me. Obviously, I work under a lot of supervision, but I am not doing meaningless work. I get to write pre-trial briefs, responses, motions, SAPCRs, attend hearings, sit in on client intake/hearing prep/etc., correspond with the clients, and much more.

What is the most challenging part about your job?

When you realize that people’s lives very literally depend on how well you present their case through your writing, it can immobilize you with fear.  And it has.  Pushing through that is the hardest part.  Also, hearing the atrocities that immigrants have lived through and feeling helpless towards the millions of people back in their home countries who are still living it is hard.

How do you think this experience has helped you in your career path? 

My first day on the job one of the partners, Carlos Quintana, handed me a case and asked me to prepare a pre-trial brief. I looked behind me to see who he was talking to, but as you guessed it, he was talking to me. Much like law school, it reinforced my ability to swim in lieu of sinking, and I am so grateful for it. Further, I knew that I wanted to be an advocate for vulnerable populations be it children, elderly, the disabled, etc.  Working for this firm, I can advocate for a very wide range of people. While the caseload is currently primarily immigration, the firm is expanding! We will have two new associates soon (both StMU Law 2023 graduates) and the partners are working to expand in the areas of criminal and family law.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at this job? 

Pay attention and take time to read. Read the rules, read precedent cases that used those rules, read how the elements of the rules were applied. Pay attention to anything a partner or supervising attorney says, even if they’re not talking directly to you. You can learn a lot just from hearing their conversations, the questions they ask clients, and the advice they give.

Do you plan to continue working at this job into the next school year, and after graduation?  ​

I will be here for as long as they will have me.

​What doors has this job opened for you, whether in your personal or professional life? 

This job is the door that opened. They took a chance on me without having any immigration knowledge and just a sprinkle of legal knowledge in general. From here other doors will open I’m sure, but for now I am focused on where I am at. As far as my personal life, this job has allowed me a healthy work life balance where I can entertain my ambitions and still spend a substantial amount of time with my family and being a mom.

What is the one piece of advice you have for other students? 

Apply for the job, even if it is an area of law that you didn’t know you were interested in, or are scared that you have no knowledge in. You might be surprised and land a unicorn.