Amy Nichole Briceno is a 2L at S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, and the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Nichole’s life reality as an immigrant, though challenging, has instilled in her a desire to lead, serve, and work in tandem with her colleagues to improve the unstable environment for minorities in Utah.
Nichole’s personal and professional experiences have given her first-hand knowledge about the challenges racial and ethnic communities face when searching for legal representation. She has interned with the District Attorney’s Office, where she associated with Spanish-speaking families who were experiencing abuse. Throughout this internship, she saw the need for more Spanish-speaking prosecutors as she translated for attorneys. She worked with undocumented families who feared deportation because they could not afford legal representation. At Utah Homicide Survivors, she worked with Hispanic families of homicide victims. She saw how difficult it was for Hispanic individuals to find affordable and quality legal advice in this state. She translated legal documents to ensure Spanish-speaking families understood the legal procedures of their case.
During her undergraduate experience, Nichole was the first Latinx President of the Student Alumni Board of the University of Utah. As President, she made it a priority to diversify a board that historically only consisted of white students. Under her leadership, they diversified their alumni engagement and expanded student outreach. After graduating, she spent the year mentoring first-generation college students from immigrant backgrounds. Feeling passionate about giving back to the school that gave her so much, Nichole founded the Briceno Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded yearly to an undocumented/DACA-recipient student who epitomizes leadership and service.
Earlier in 2022, Nichole was elected Treasurer of the Minority Law Caucus (MLC) at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. As Treasurer, one of her goals for this year has been to establish an MLC Scholarship specifically for members that have devoted their time to MLC and show commitment to helping minority communities in their law career. Additionally, she has undergone the Pro Bono Initiative training to assist in Immigration Clinics.
In the future, Nichole intends to support marginalized communities throughout her career as an attorney. As she says, “quality representation begins with a diversified legal community. To diversify our attorneys, we must first diversify law schools in Utah.” Nichole is focused on providing mentorship to increase minority student applications and retention in schools. She will continue to be devoted to supporting marginalized communities after graduation.
UCLI looks forward to working with Nichole this academic year as the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow and thanks the many donors who made this opportunity possible.