Andrés Cantero Jr.: 2016 Best and Brightest

Andres Cantaro

Andrés Cantero Jr.

USC Gould School of Law

Hometown: Tustin, CA

Undergraduate School: Stanford University

Undergraduate Major and Minor: Bachelor of Arts in History

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:

Extracurricular Activities

  • President of the Latino Law Students Association
  • Lieutenant Governor for the 9th Circuit of the ABA Law Students Division
  • Managing Editor of the USC Business Law Advisor
  • Former Member of the USC Competition Cheerleading
  • Member of the International Arbitration Team
  • Volunteered for USC Gould School of Law’s Admission Committee
  • Member of the Career Services Advisory Committee

Attended 4 OneJustice Bus Trips, where I travelled to Central California to provide legal support to communities lacking the sufficient legal support. I also prepared a presentation on IRS 990 Forms for OneJustice, to help guide non-profit organizations on potential pitfalls when filling the form out.

Community Work

  • Vice Chair of the Mexican American Bar Association
  • Volunteered for the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association and the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association
  • Judge for Varsity Spirit (Judging All Star, High School and College Cheer Competitions)
  • Volunteered for Stanford University’s Admission Committee
  • I meet with prospective college and law students to provide feedback on personal statements, college/law school plans, and SAT/LSAT support
  • Working to establish a corporation that establishes a club Model United Nations team to provide this great program to all high schools that don’t have the program
  • My friends and I like to organize blanket, food, and hygiene product drives to pass out to the homeless in the Long Beach community.
  • I have also volunteered at a couple immigration clinics in Orange County with OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development)

Scholarships/Awards

  • CALI Award in Property, Criminal Law and Legal Writing & Research
  • Dr. Rodolfo Montes Memorial Scholarship
  • Honors in Labor Law, Remedies, Law of the City, Contract Drafting & Strategies, and Pre-Trial Advocacy.

Where have you interned during law school? (List firms and locations)

1L: Hanson Bridgett LLP- San Francisco, CA

2L: Hanson Bridgett LLP- San Francisco, CA and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP- San Francisco, CA.

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation?

My offer from Sheppard was as a general transactional attorney. However, my interests this past summer were in the corporate, real estate/construction, and finance and banking practice groups.

My offer from Hanson was a general offer. However, my interests this past summer were in their business, tax, and real estate sections.

Why did you choose to attend law school? I made the decision to attend law school to help people who could not help themselves. I worked as an intern for the Solano County Superior Court, where I supported their Family Law Facilitator’s Office. During that time I saw divorce, custody, and domestic violent cases that made me realize how important an advocate was in the lives of these people. These advocates, however, hardy ever looked like them or understood where they came from. No one in my office spoke Spanish, and very rarely did I see a Latino attorney, yet an overwhelming majority of our clients were Latino. When I did my research, I realized that this was a reality across the country. Our profession does not look anything like the demographics in our country—especially in California. Therefore, I came in wanting to help others who could not help themselves, and while in law school, I’ve fine tuned my reason for coming to law school to also focus on improving the current picture of Latinos in the law. By doing this, not only will our profession receive the diversity it needs, but I will also help those that can’t help themselves with advocates that understand their needs best.

What was your favorite law school class? My favorite course in law school has been Business Organizations. Not only is Professor Donald Scotten an amazing instructor, but this course is a foundational course for any corporate transactional attorney. With every new subject I learned in this class, it felt as if one less barrier was there for me to cross as a Latino venturing in a field where few Latinos exist. I also felt empowered that I was learning about subjects no one in my family knew about, and that I could be the source to share it amongst them. The information I have learned in this class, now continues to educate me as I venture to start a corporation that will bring Model United Nations to students in Southern California.

Which attorney do you most admire? Mike Moye, a partner at Hanson Bridgett LLP, is the attorney I admire most. Not only is he the first law firm partner I EVER met; the reason we met is also what makes him the partner I most admire. Every November, without failure, Mike Moye hosts a 1L Diversity Interview Workshop at Hanson Bridgett. The Workshop is designed to educate 1L’s on the law firm interview process, procedure and the do’s and don’ts. Additionally, several members of the legal community volunteer their time to interview 1L’s and provide feedback. This is just one of many ways Mike Moye and his firm have gone above and beyond to ensure that diverse candidate have the resources to thrive and excel in the law.

The story that solidified Mike Moye as the most admirable partner in my mind, however, is the story of how I become a 1L summer associate at Hanson Bridgett. After the workshop, Mike Moye encouraged all the 1L’s to remain in touch, so I took his advice and remained in touch. Every few weeks I would send him an update, and we gathered once more over coffee to talk about my future. My law school experience would have been very different, had Mike Moye not existed. The day after Hanson Bridgett closed its 1L summer associate position, Mike asked if I had submitted an application. When the committee responded I had not, he asked if they had reached out to me. Again, they replied they had not. Mike immediately emailed me to send the resume and cover letter I could pull together and that he would see if the committee would accept my late application. I was fortunate that I impressed the committee and was granted an interview. I was even more fortunate to have impressed the firm, and receive the sole 1L summer associate position from the dozens of candidates that were interviewed for that position. I would not have received this position without Mike Moye; not because I was not qualified, but because I just did not know. This is often the reality for many diverse law students, and this is why Mike Moye and his efforts are so admirable.

What have you enjoyed most about law school? What I have enjoyed most about law school is the amazing Trojan community. Not only are my peers some of the best of friends I now have, the professors at the law school have also been very supportive and great instructors. I am also blessed to be part of a wonderful alumni community. On more than one occasion, alumni have purchased tickets for me to attend gala or organization events to network and meet other fellow Trojans. I have also received great support from the general university in my efforts to diversify the legal education and increase the pipeline of Latino students. It is the Trojan community that has made this law school experience enjoyable.

What word best describes your professional brand (and why)? Passionate. With everything that I do, I bring a passion that is endless. This is why I have the drive to go above and beyond what is expected, and what I expect, in accomplishing my goals.

If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? I would use my funds to establish a scholarship foundation that would focus on providing scholarships and mentorship to low-achieving students. There are so many resources for the high-achieving that we sometimes forget that many are not high-achieving, especially students that look like me. For that reason, I would give these students a scholarship as a token of confidence that people believe they have the potential to accomplish a lot. And paired with mentorship support, the foundation would seek to guide these students in the right direction. Sometimes all a low-achieving student needs is someone to say they can do it. That is what my foundation will seek to do.

“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…nothing I currently possessed could help the needs of my clients; I needed a law degree to help give them a voice.”

“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…If I didn’t go to law school, I would be a high school teacher then principal in a majority-minority community.”

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud that I will have a future where I can take care of my parents. My parents came to this country and sacrificed a world they were comfortable in to give my siblings and I an opportunity at a better life. To be able to say that I will care for them when their bodies are no longer able to work their physically demanding jobs is something that makes me proud beyond belief.

Fun fact about yourself: I am a former Stanford Cheerleader, and also cheered on USC’s Competition Cheer team. On my weekends, I often find myself traveling the country to judge all star, high school and college cheerleading for Varsity Spirit.

Favorite book: My Beloved World by Sonya Sotomayor.

Favorite movie: This questions is probably the hardest question of all time for me. I have too many to pick. However, if I have to pick I would go by the movies I see most. That would be all the movies and plays Tyler Perry produces. I watch his movies at least every day during finals, and occasionally as a pick-me-up mid way through the semester.

What are your hobbies? I frequent the gym with friends to do weight lifting. I also like to go to cheer gyms to tumble. My friends and I will also come together and organize toy, blanket, and hygiene product drives to give to homeless in Long Beach, Ca. I also like to study with Tyler Perry Movies running in the background.

What made Andrés such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“Andres is a dedicated law student, exemplifying qualities that every law school values. He is an active participant and contributor in class as well as a committed leader. He is involved in an array of activities and has earned the respect of his peers and faculty alike.”

Donald Scotten
Associate Academic Director for Graduate and International Programs
USC Gould School of Law