Kathleen Natividad

JD 13

JD Student

Tell me something special or interesting about your background before you went to law school?

I am fearless and independent. For example, I like traveling to exotic places by myself. I do whatever I set out to do. I succeed because I am willing to do anything to meet my goals, regardless of the obstacles. I know there is value in the obstacles because they add perspective and make me a unique person.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

Many years ago, my brother made a terrible decision that drew him into the criminal justice system. Until recently, he had been on a downward spiral of crime, never had a job, did not go to college and was in and out of jail. For years, I blamed my brother and never considered faulting our justice system. Then, at UC Berkeley, I took a course on juvenile justice and delinquency. The class opened up a new world for me, capturing my interest and leading me on a path towards law school. I learned about the lack of effective representation for youth offenders and the lack of alternative programs to incarceration. I now understand that our criminal justice system never considered rehabilitating my brother. I want to represent juveniles so that I can give them the second chance my brother never had. Also, I have always been able to argue passionately for what I believe. I feel that I am called to argue on behalf of so many who are not able to do so.

Tell me something special or interesting about your law school experience.

In my first year of law school, I worked diligently to host a series of panel presentations at GGU regarding criminal justice reform. Nearly 100 students attended every presentation. This experience helped motivate me during a difficult first year and broadened my understanding of what I could do with my legal career.

What is your greatest source of motivation/support as you work towards your JD?

Society. Everything that I see in society that I wish could be different. When I volunteer and see first hand the impact my work has made, when I see how my brother has changed and grown, my belief in law strengthens and I find the motivation to keep going.

What is your favorite thing you do when you are not at law school?

I enjoy running, spending time with my friends, and going to concerts and athletic events. I can't wait to read for fun again and not feel guilty about not reading for school. The last leisure book I read was "Let the Great World Spin." One of the characters in the book is a judge who is doing his job out of obligation. I think of that every time I talk to a judge.

What message/advice do you have for your fellow law students?

Appreciate everything. Every experience in law school, whether you think it's valuable or not, has value. Golden Gate is such a great school. The professors and staff care so much. Your experience here will make you a great lawyer.

If not in law school right now, what would you be doing?

In fourth grade, I decided to be a pediatrician. My pediatrician helped me so much, and I wanted to do the same for other kids. In college, I changed my major from pre-med to legal studies after taking a seminar on law. Although I am committed to pursuing law, I realize now that my goal is the same: I still want to help kids. If I weren't in law school, I would find some other way of doing that.

About the interviewer: Leeor Neta is the Assistant Director for Public Interest Programs. He joined GGU in August 2010, after founding East Palo Alto's first juvenile diversion program and serving for two years as its Executive Director.