1L Tony Sanchez, First-Gen Student, Future JAG

September 24, 2020

At Florida State University (FSU), Tony Sanchez participated in Air Force ROTC and plans to one day serve in the JAG Corps. While an FSU student, he had internships at the State Legislature and in the Office of the Public Defender, both excellent preparation to pursue a career in the law. He is also a first-generation student in his family.

At FSU you were Air Force ROTC. Can you describe those experiences and how they might connect with your conceptions about leadership?
One of the organizations I had the biggest pleasure being a part of at FSU was the Air Force ROTC. I left the program with two takeaways;in order to be a great leader, you need to know how to be a great follower, and if you don’t have a growth mindset you leave no room for improvement.

Meet Minnesota Law's Class of 2023Could you describe how your internships with the Office of the Public Defender and in the State Legislature connect to your decision to enroll in law school?
In the State Legislature, I was able to see behind the scenes at how bills were processed through committees and votes. The public defender’s office showed me was how important it is to offer a strong legal defense to those who don’t have the means to afford a private attorney, and to show compassion to those asking for help.

What do you hope/plan to do with your legal education (realizing, of course, that may change during the course of your studies)?
With my legal education, I plan on becoming a JAG (Judge Advocate General) for the U.S. Air Force. After serving in the Air Force, I hope to go back to where it all started for me and work in the public defender’s office, wherever that may be for me, to provide the best legal defense for those in need.

You are first-gen student in your family. Can you discuss a bit about that, the importance of diverse types of perspectives in the classroom, and what you’re hoping to add to the mix?
I think it’s extremely important to add diverse perspectives in a classroom, because not every problem is looked at through the same lens. I hope to add a fresh set of eyes in the classroom, whether that’s as a Wendy’s employee during a discussion in Advanced Corporate Law or as the son of a Black/Hispanic father in Employment Discrimination.

Why did you select Minnesota Law?
I selected Minnesota Law because during the stressful time of applying to law school and deciding where to go, the community was there every step of the way, whether financially through a fee waiver, or emotionally when I needed to call with the millions of questions I had.

Law School can be stressful at times. What do you like to do for wellness or to de-stress?
One of the biggest stress relievers I have is the kitchen. I love to cook and bake in my free time, which with quarantine, I have had more than enough of. But with cooking, I’m excited to bring some home cooked meals to my section-mates in hopes that we can find some normalcy during these extraneous times.

1L Tony Sanchez, an ROTC graduate from Florida State University, a future JAG, and a first-gen student, pictured with his parents.
1L Tony Sanchez, an ROTC graduate from Florida State University, a future JAG, and a first-gen student in his family, pictured with his parents.


What three words or phrase describes you best?
Enthusiastic, positive, and funny

Do you have any interesting hobbies or leisure activities you’d like to share?
Moving from Florida to Minneapolis has been a bigger change than I thought. After realizing I could walk outside in the summer for once, I bought a bike and have been discovering trails around the Mississippi and am absolutely loving it.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to study law at the University of Minnesota, between the faculty and students I have met so far, I am beyond excited to build even more relationships and to offer my experiences and perspectives to the Minnesota Law community.

Tony Sanchez, 1L
Tony Sanchez, 1L

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