March 2014

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Page 14 of 24

Lifestyle 9 What's Trending 9 Get Connected 9 Member Advantage 9 Contact Us u Immigration stories sponsor: Practice Pointers 9 about us: 15 Inter Alia 9 by Alina Cruz A necdotes abound regarding multi-generational lawyers in a family, typically involving children following in their parents' footsteps straight out of college. But Alina Cruz's professional choice happened late in life, when at the age of 48, she followed in her mother's footsteps and pursued a career in immigration law. e mid-life change came aer a career spanning more than 20 years as an artist and graphic designer, not to mention at a time when her two children were enrolled in elementary school. Cruz explains in her own words: I have been drawing ever since I could remember. In college, I first studied graphic design and then earned a bachelor's degree in advertising from the University of Florida (go Gators!). Aer a few years of working in my hometown of Miami, I set off to New York to pursue a career in fine art and graphic design. I started showing my work at art exhibits and freelancing as a graphic designer. When I was offered an art director position at a cruise line, I happily accepted. As much as I loved working as an art director in New York, I missed my beloved Miami. Aer six years, I moved back home. I searched for freelance work and soon had a full client roster that included Disney and Warner Brothers. I continued to participate in art shows. When my second son, Lucas, started kindergarten, I eagerly accepted a full-time job as an art director to avoid the uncertainties of freelance work. Days off were scarce for new hires, though, so the job was not flexible. I soon realized that I missed my two sons, and, with my husband's blessing, I le the job to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. I soon became involved with the parent-teacher association. Although I had never done anything remotely like this, I ended up launching a grassroots parent initiative to turn the elementary school into a K–8 school. I researched and presented my findings to the principal and the school board. I organized and oversaw surveys. I aended the monthly school board meetings to pitch the idea to various stakeholders. e public was allowed to speak at these meetings, but only for three minutes. I wrote speeches for my team so that we could speak consecutively at the meeting, address all the points, and advance a stronger argument in the limited time alloed. e three-year–long effort finally paid off. From Artist to Lawyer: A Creative Journey e Boot, authored by Cruz, is a pop-up artist book about the state of immigration in the United States. It is in the collection of the Biennes Center for Rare Books. The Entrepreneurial Lawyer + LIBRARY BOOK next uw

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