Madison Huerta, Class of 2022

1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a third-year law student interested in the intersection of law and policy. I grew up in Seabrook, Texas, where I spent my time playing competitive sports, enjoying the beach with family and friends, and involving myself in community and school organizations. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, where I was elected to serve as Speaker of the Student Government Assembly and worked at the Texas Capitol. I love spending time outdoors, meeting new people, and Texas.

2. Why did you decide to come to SMU Law?
After attending a large public undergraduate program, I knew that I wanted to be a part of a smaller, more personal community for graduate school. I was initially attracted to SMU Law because of its location in Dallas. However, the public service hour graduation requirement and the opportunity to work in the Hunter Legal Clinic for Victims of Crimes against Women were my deciding factors. I wanted to experience public interest work and I knew that I would have that opportunity at SMU Law.

3. What has been your favorite class and why?
My time working in the Hunter Legal Clinic has been my favorite because it has been the most transformative class for me. In class I learned practical skillsets that not only prepared me to serve my client but taught me to look at the world differently. My co-counsel and I also had the opportunity to advocate for our client in a formal hearing. We researched the law, filed an appeal, wrote a brief, prepared and executed a direct-examination, and argued in front of a judge. For me this was a meaningful moment because everything I learned in law school immediately became relevant and had prepared me for that experience.

4. When you are not in school or studying, what do you do for fun?
I am an avid fan of women’s soccer and Texas football. But when I am not following the U.S. Women’s National team or the longhorns, you can find me at White Rock Lake running or paddle boarding. I also enjoy following Texas politics and volunteering for local campaigns.

5. What extracurricular activities have you enjoyed most and why? (SBA, moot court, etc.)
This is a difficult question because I have truly been enriched by all of my extracurricular activities. After two years on my mock trial team, I have become a stronger, more confident advocate. Even more importantly my coaches have imparted on my team the importance of being a good human being with strong moral character inside and outside of the courtroom regardless of the circumstances. I have also enjoyed my time in the Student Bar Association, as a representative and vice-president. We were faced with the challenge of uniting our community as we returned to campus after COVID-19, and we have worked hard to contribute to re-establishing a strong community of students and faculty on campus. Lastly, I came to law school with an interest in public interest work and serving as the President of the Association of Public Interest law has allowed me to promote public service on campus which has been rewarding.

6. How has law school challenged you most?
My biggest challenge in law school has been rising to the level of my peers while not losing sight of the reasons that I came to law school. It is an amazing experience to constantly be around smart, driven individuals. It has also been easy to get distracted by their goals and to lose sight of my goals amongst all the competition. But three years later, I am better because of my peers, and my desire to pursue my ambitions is stronger than ever.

7. What has been your most memorable law school moment so far?
While I was working in the Hunter Legal Clinic, the Texas Legislature was in session. My team and I worked with the Lonestar Justice Alliance to write a white paper for a bill that would help survivors of abuse. When the bill was heard in committee, we drove to Austin with our professor to testify in support of that bill. Before law school, I worked for the Legislature for three sessions, and it was a full circle moment for me to be back in the Texas Capitol as an SMU Law student advocating for women.

8. What do you plan to do post-graduation?
After graduation I plan to move back to Austin and do policy and regulatory work.

9. Have you had any important mentors during law school? If so, who?
I have been fortunate to have many important mentors during law school. Professor Nanasi, my clinic professor, has taught me how to be an empathetic human being, a patient listener, and a passionate advocate in addition to teaching me how to think critically and everything else that comes with practicing law in the clinic. My mock trial coach, Allison Reppond, has dedicated countless hours to teaching me how to be a strong and compelling female advocate both in the courtroom and as a professional in general. Lastly, Rachael Jones, my supervising attorney during my summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, took me under her wing and exposed me to incredible opportunities to learn about the inner-working of our justice system. She also showed me what it means to truly love your work. Because of these women, I am empowered to confidently pursue my highest ambitions.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
In 5 years, I see myself continuing to learn and grow in the practice of law; continuing to be mentored and to mentor; and using my knowledge to add value to my clients and the legal community.

In 10 years, I see myself working towards serving in some type of state policy making role. If law school has shown me anything, it is that our laws and policies have a direct effect on individuals. And when laws are written poorly or don’t consider all communities equally, they have detrimental effects on our society. I want to do my part in creating laws that include and consider all Texans, especially our most vulnerable populations.