Mariam El-menshawi, ’11, initially wanted to go to law school because of a desire to help vulnerable and marginalized groups access legal services. She ended up discovering her passion for victim’s rights while working at the California Victims Resource Center.
Initially, she didn’t know what area of law she wanted to eventually practice. After gaining experience in the clinics and completing externships, El-menshawi heard about the California Victims Resource Center (CVRC) during her last semester at McGeorge School of Law. It was there that she learned that victims had constitutional rights and that many victims were unaware of these rights. She found her calling in making these rights, also known as Marsy’s Law, accessible to both victims and service providers.
“I fell in love with this area of the law because I feel like there’s so much opportunity to affect change for crime victims,” El-menshawi said.
The Center has been located at McGeorge School of Law since its establishment in 1984, and has grown substantially since then. Their core mission is to run a state-wide hotline for crime victims, but have expanded to include a legal center amongst other projects such as their website and a podcast.
El-menshawi launched a podcast in Dec. 2019 entitled “Knowledge is Power: Victim to Survivor,” which enables crime victims and service providers access to information about victims’ rights and other pertinent information. The CVRC was one of the first programs to launch a podcast specifically aimed at this issue, and is currently translating their seasons into Spanish as an effort to close the gap of information for the Spanish speaking community.
She was inspired to start a podcast during her commute to work, during which she also listened to podcasts and noticed the need for a podcast on victims’ rights.
“I did a quick search and didn’t really find a lot of podcasts out there intended to deliver information for crime victims and service providers,” she said.
During law school, she developed skills in mediation and learned how different areas of the law intersect.
“Going to law school at McGeorge and being exposed to different areas of the law really helps me as I provide services because it puts more tools in your shed,” El-menshawi said.
El-menshawi loves the opportunity to hire McGeorge alumni and expose them to an area of the law that is not widely taught, giving students and alumni alike the chance to see the criminal justice system through a different lens no matter what they eventually decide to practice.
McGeorge students have had the opportunity to engage in the program that El-menshawi calls “one of a kind, not only in the state of California, but in the entire country.”
The experiences that El-menshawi learned at McGeorge now allow her to continue her passion at the CVRC, which is dedicated to helping victims in California find necessary resources and learn about their rights in the criminal justice system.
Learn more about the California Victims Resource Center.
For more information about McGeorge of Law, visit our website.
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