Latino Law Student Association President Works to Remove Barriers to Law School

November 21, 2023 | Diversity, News, Student Success, UToday, Advancement, Alumni, Law
By Kirk Baird

Gabriella Galvan is a third-year law student. She’s also a second-generation college student.

And for both accomplishments, her parents serve as her greatest inspiration.

Gabriella Galvan, center in a group photo, is a third-year law student and is president of the Latino Law Student Association. In the photo on either side of her are two other women who are also members of the Latino Law Student Association.

Gabriella Galvan, center, is a third-year law student and president of the Latino Law Student Association. On her left is Renee Hopper, vice president of the Latino Law Student Association, and on her right is Belinda AK Grant, secretary of the Latino Law Student Association.

Galvan’s mother grew up working in migrant fields, and her father in factories. They were both second-generation Americans whose parents immigrated from Mexico.

Her mother earned her master’s degree in social work while her father demonstrated dedication to his family by working up to management positions in manufacturing plants. Knowing what her parents have endured and focused on has instilled a good work ethic and dedication in Gabriella.

“I’m a minority in law, but I also have a privilege that many Latinx students don’t have since I had a parent that attended college,” says Gabriella. “I want to use that privilege to help other Latinx students gain this opportunity as well with as few barriers as possible.”

Galvan is president of the Latino Law Student Association (LLSA) at the College of Law, an organization she helped create to remove emotional and financial burdens for future Latinx law students. Building on their momentum from the last academic year with the launched La Conexion, a mentorship program for undergraduate Latinx students interested in law, LLSA is focused on the future and creating more opportunities for Latinx students to attend law school.

“We are providing the next group of Latinx law students with resources and materials as well,” says LLSA President Gabriella Galvan. “There is an emotional and financial weight placed on many Latino students which greatly impacts whether they see attending law school as a realistic opportunity or not.”

The resources and materials being shared with future Latinx law students come from a catalog of documents being collected by LLSA. From LSAT prep materials and practice tests to outlines and more, the collection is lessening the financial burden felt by many students to purchase their own, or risk taking the LSAT without having been able to afford the resources that prepare them for it.

While providing cost savings through sharing resources relieves some financial burden, LLSA has a goal of also creating a fund where they can sponsor students to take the LSAT as well.

Headshot of Gabriella Galvan, center, is a third-year law student and president of the Latino Law Student Association.


“Many Latinx law students are first-generation students, so they are left to navigate the process to get to, and through, law school without family guidance on top of worrying about funding,” Galvan said.

Her biggest challenge as a law student has been a lack of representation and implicit bias, she said.

“My first year at Toledo I was one of seven Hispanic law students across all four cohorts. That messes with you a little and makes you want to change the system that created the problem in the first place,” Galvan said. “By creating La Conexcion and working with the administration, I can already see a great improvement in attempts to increase diversity. There’s always room for more growth, but I’m happy to see improvements all the same.”

Galvan has been a Rocket for several years. The Clinton Township, Michigan, resident received her bachelor’s in criminal justice from UToledo through a full-ride scholarship, “which lifted a huge financial burden off my shoulders,” she said.

And she has enjoyed her time as a law student.

“I love the community at UToledo College of Law, and the professors are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the opportunity to work with,” Galvan said. “It sounds like a marketing line, but they really are so incredibly genuine and willing to help you achieve your goals.”

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