Alejandra Salas recounts her less than conventional road to becoming one of Austin’s brightest young lawyers.
By Cy White, Photo courtesy of McGinnis Lochridge
Alejandra Salas didn’t always have dreams of practicing law. Growing up in Grand Prairie, Texas, the daughter of an immigrant single mother and a tight-knit family, the idea seemed a bit out of reach for her. “I grew up with a single mom and two siblings. I’m the middle child, and I have five wonderful nieces and one nephew,” she says, warmth coloring her tone when she speaks of her family. “I didn’t always know that I wanted [to practice law],” she reveals. “But in college, I kind of realized that I wanted to pursue law. I interned at a clinic at the UT Law Center, and that’s kind of when I figured out that’s something that I wanted to do.”
After completing her UT Law Center internship, the spark bloomed into a burning love of law. But for Salas, the road to achieving her dream of becoming a lawyer was a bit complicated. “It was incredibly difficult to kind of figure out, first college, then law school and what I actually wanted to do without having someone to provide that guidance,” she says. “I certainly didn’t know how to guide myself through that, so I really had to reach out and do as best as I could to kind of fit everything in place and make all the pieces work together to get through college, and then I decided to do law school. I worked in college, and I worked some in law school, to the extent that I was allowed.”
In the end, all her hard work, grit and dedication paid off when in 2018 she graduated magna cum laude from St. Mary’s University School of Law with her J.D. “The moment that was most significant for me was being sworn in as an attorney,” she reveals. “Seeing my mom at my graduation and knowing that she did that. She did that all by herself.”
Salas has made her J.D. count in more ways than one. Prior to her current tenure as an associate attorney at McGinnis Lochridge, she served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable David Counts of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland/Odessa and Pecos divisions. Under Counts’ tutelage, she had the immense responsibility of managing half of the civil and criminal dockets. Now as a general business litigator, she focuses on the oil and gas industries and continues to build her strength as an attorney.
Her own experience with a formidable mother and a strong family unit allows her to encourage other young lawyer hopefuls to lean on and reach out to those women who have been through everything they’ll no doubt encounter on their own journeys. “Having a mentor and someone who can help you understand the profession and where it is and what they’ve been through is a very helpful perspective to have,” Salas says. “Especially for first-generation students, there are first-generation lawyers and maybe women who don’t have that sort of support and guidance within their family. It might seem like a daunting task, but I think finding a mentor will be incredibly beneficial in the long run.
“I truly believe that things happen for a reason,” she continues. “You are in the spaces you are for a reason, and while you’re in them, take advantage of them and make the most of them.”
Find out more about Alejandra Salas and more of the women at McGinnis Lochridge at their website.