My parents have always told me that they knew I would become a lawyer from a young age because of my favorite childhood expression- “That’s not fair!” As I got older, I never stopped feeling that some things just weren’t fair. I have a passion for the pursuit of justice, and I became a lawyer because I want to make the world a better place, particularly for those who have been treated unfairly.
Law is a powerful catalyst for social change. Throughout history, laws have been the driving force toward a better, more just society. The Declaration of Independence. The 19th amendment. The Nuremburg Trials. The Civil Rights Act. These laws changed the course of history. The law also can be and has been an exceptional tool in the fight against tobacco. Because of the RICO case, we can prove that tobacco executives know that cigarettes cause cancer. Because of the Master Settlement Agreement, children are no longer exposed to tobacco advertisements on billboards outside their schools. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (the world’s first tobacco control treaty) established international guidelines for tobacco control. These laws have all been incredible steps, but there is still so much to do, because the fact that millions of people around the world are still dying from something that is completely preventable is definitely not fair.
I fight because tobacco corporations work laws to their advantage and we should too. I fight because I cannot accept that 1 billion people will die in the 21st century in exchange for corporate profits. I fight because I believe that smoke free air laws, youth access restrictions, stringent advertising and promotion limitations, trade laws, and other laws like them are essential tools in preventing the next generation from becoming addicted. I feel incredibly honored that I get to play even a small part in the legacy of exceptional lawyers and people who have fought and are still fighting the tobacco epidemic, and I plan to fight as hard as I can.