First Generation Advocates

Jessica Martinez
“I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants. My parents came to this country as teenagers, with no education, no resources, just hearts full of love and hope for a better future. I stand here today as a proud first generation Latina, a future lawyer who will continue to fight for the ideals of justice and public service embodied by King Hall to create a better and more equitable country and reach success. Success for me, yes, but more importantly, success for the lives I plan to touch in the future.”
- Jessica Martinez, UC Davis School of Law Class of 2019

UC Davis School of Law is renowned for its supportive and diverse community and for its commitment to the ideals of social justice and equality espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in whose memory the law school building is dedicated. As part of this commitment, King Hall is dedicated to maintaining a welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds. King Hall’s First Generation Advocates program was created to promote diversity and maximize the academic, professional, and personal success of students who are the first from their families to earn a college or professional degree as well as students from low-income backgrounds.


Participating students are paired with a faculty or staff mentor, who will provide insight and guidance regarding the special challenges faced by first generation law students.  Participating mentors include Kevin R. Johnson, Dean of the School of Law, Afra Afsharipour, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and other distinguished faculty members from a wide range of backgrounds.


Beginning during the fall semester, the School of Law provides opportunities for incoming first generation students to meet faculty, alumni, and returning students with similar backgrounds in informal settings that encourage the sharing of experiences and promote community and collegiality. The very first networking opportunity is the "First Generation, First Week Welcome Reception," which provides an opportunity for students to meet both their mentors and the various members of the School of Law community who can support them throughout their law school careers.

Seminar Series

The First Generation Advocate Seminar Series features King Hall faculty and alumni and distinguished guest speakers leading discussions focused on the issues and challenges typically encountered by first generation students, such as the financial challenges of legal education, pressures associated with law school assimilation, and related subjects.