Side Bar with Talia Barrales - Inspiring the Next Generation of Lawyers of Color
According to a 2015 Washington post article, the legal field is the least diverse profession in the country; a fact that was echoed quite a few times by attorney Talia Barrales at her recent Side Bar with Talia Barrales event. With fifty people in attendance, and over refreshing beverages and tasty food, attendees came to network, be inspired by and pick the brain of this trailblazing attorney doing amazing work.
Originally from Mexico, Talia emigrated to the United States at the tender age of 4. Despite first hand struggles with immigration she managed to be the first in her family to graduate high school and college. She would eventually go on to law school where she graduated with a Juris Doctor from the Massachusetts School of Law. Talia landed the coveted corporate job, but was not satisfied with where she was. She was also put off by the lack of compassion shown to clients, particularly those that looked like her. Seeing no other option except to start her own firm, Talia did just that when she founded Barrales Law in 2013.
“Known for their compassion, hard-work and advocacy” (Barrales Law website) Barrales Law is the first of its kind in Massachusetts considering that it as an all Latina firm specializing in immigration law, family, personal injury and workers’ compensation. In addition to their commitment “to provide excellent legal services to their clients”, Talia has made a concerted effort to create a space that is affirming to young lawyers of color. Hosting events like Sidebar, have also been a way to provide additional spaces for these women to engage and discuss the challenges they often face.
Some gems Talia shared with the audience included:
- Recognizing your own resiliency. Talia had a moment when she got to the bar exam and realized the act of taking the exam was the easy part. Not that the bar was easy, but considering all the obstacles she had to overcome up until that point, taking a test she was prepared for was a piece of cake. She said, “We don’t value our resiliency and it’s unfortunate that we aren’t aware of how resilient we are until someone else points it out.” The lesson? You are stronger than you know and have overcome more than you often realize. Go for it!
- Identifying the voices that discourage you and learning to tune them out. There were instances in Talia’s life where those who had the ability to be positive influences advised her against going to law school. She knowing her purpose opted against taking their advice. The outcome - she's an extremely talented lawyer with an amazing team of Latinas behind her. The lesson? The path you choose may be difficult or perhaps has never been done before; however, that is not an indication of your ability to conquer it.
The importance of lifting as you climb. Talia credits many people for encouraging her throughout her journey, and has made it a point to do the same. The lesson? It takes a village!