Lorena Rivas is dedicated to helping minority teens overcome personal and societal obstacles that may get in the way of pursuing their education and hinder their employment goals.
As a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Mexico, Rivas has worked to serve and represent her Latino community and family as a community leader and role model.
While at the University of Tulsa College of Law, Rivas participated in the Immigrant Rights Legal Clinic where she successfully prevented a Haitian national from being deported to Haiti in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake and hurricane. The man had been lawfully residing in the U.S. since he was a child, his children were U.S. citizens, and their mother had recently suffered a stroke.
She worked with a criminal law attorney in Indiana and federal immigration officials in Washington, D.C., to secure her haitian client’s release from detention in Louisiana, making it possible for him to remain in the U.S. with his family. She says that was the proudest moment of her career, thus far.
“Lorena has the utmost character and integrity,” said Fry & Elder colleague Shane Henry. “These qualities are evident through her dealings with her clients, colleagues and the public.”
Henry says Rivas is always focused on clients’ best interests and zealously advocates for their cases. With colleagues, she is truthful and forthcoming in her dealings even when it is difficult to do so.
“Finally, with the community, she is a stand-up leader with character and integrity, respected and admired by all,” Henry said.
Rivas volunteers with the TU Minority Law Awareness Day and the Judge Carlos Chapelle Pathway to Law Academy. She is a volunteer coach for the high school mock trial team of Union Alternative High School. And, she is a volunteer attorney at immigration clinics that help youths gain lawful status in the U.S. so they may work lawfully and continue their education.
As for her advice for others in the legal profession, Rivas says women can’t have it all or do it all.
“However, you can have a lot and do a lot of good,” she said. “It’s OK to not have the perfect life. It’s OK to fall short occasionally. It’s OK not to be the perfect lawyer, partner or parent; no one can be. The quicker you realize that, the quicker you can realize how much you do have and how much good you are doing. Focus on the important things and don’t fall short on those.”