Ange

Paralegal

For example, one Friday, around a quarter till five, everyone was about to head out for the weekend. In walks a client in tears; her husband had abused her. She tried to get help from multiple other legal aid organizations but they all turned her away. We were her only option left.

“My parents immigrated to California from Mexico. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, so I’ve seen the changes in San Francisco’s culture first hand. The people who make the community feel distinct are now being priced out.

Originally I wanted to be a police officer; I thought it was the best way to make a difference. After enrolling in some criminal law classes, though, I changed my mind. I saw a lot of abuse within the system, and it seemed that arrests weren’t getting to the root of the communities’ problems.

I started to look for a job where I could address the source of people’s problems, not just provide band-aid solutions. That’s when I found Open Door Legal. I’ve been a paralegal here for almost 3 years still, every day brings new challenges.

For example, one Friday, around a quarter till five, everyone was about to head out for the weekend. In walks a client in tears; her husband had abused her. She tried to get help from multiple other legal aid organizations but they all turned her away. We were her only option left.

We got to work and booked her an emergency intake. I saw this client in her most vulnerable state.

Now, years later, we’ve gotten her a divorce, custody of her kids, and financial compensation. I’ve also been able to build a relationship with her and her family. It’s incredibly moving to see someone’s life transform like that.

Sometimes when I’m working with clients, especially Spanish-speakers, I picture my parents, who risked everything in order to give my brothers and me better lives. No one should have to be in that position. I am so grateful that I get the chance to pay it forward and help my clients live their safest and happiest lives as well.”

Photography © Dale Tan