A Guiding Light in My Legal Journey – My Uncle’s Influence

Throughout our lives, we meet many people who influence us directly and indirectly. Those who influence us directly usually offer words of encouragement and support to reach a certain goal or put us in the best position possible for the future. The indirect influences have an incredible power to inspire us through their actions. Since November is National Inspirational Role Models Month, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge someone who helped shape me into the attorney and person I am today, both directly and indirectly.Andrea Shoup - My Guiding Light

Growing up, I always had the feeling that my Uncle Carl was an exceptional individual. He gave me my first glimpse into the legal world and showed me what it was like to be an attorney. He served as the executive director for the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, a nonprofit organization that provided free legal services to those in need. He implemented or oversaw programs designed to help victims of domestic violence, veterans, those suffering from AIDS when it was a more significant societal concern, and many other initiatives.

I remember hearing jokes and stereotypes about attorneys being money-hungry or ambulance chasers and not really understanding where the joke came from. My uncle was my main image of an attorney; all he ever did was help those in need. This created the foundation in my mind for what an attorney should be. As I grew up and learned more about law, I realized how much good attorneys could do in society. I made it my goal to follow in my uncle’s footsteps and help those in need.

As I pursued a career in law, my uncle was always there by my side, providing guidance whenever needed. His advice helped me with my law school admissions essays and the LSAT. When I first started law school, he told me that each day would feel like it took years, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll feel like law school was over in the blink of an eye. He was right. He helped me earn a scholarship to help pay for school, and I even interned at one of his domestic violence clinics while in law school.

My uncle has been an incredible source of support, encouragement, and inspiration. He’s now 85 years old and greatly enjoying retirement. Uncle Carl still provides support for me whenever needed, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of everything he has done for me. To this day, I still try to emulate him. I believe that it’s vital for everyone to have a positive role model in their lives, just as my Uncle Carl was for me. It’s quite impactful and can bring many positives to your life. There’s no telling where I would be right now without my uncle’s support and guidance!


Andrea Shoup