Nicole Benalcazar

UCLA School of Law

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips



Nicole Benalcazar was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but spent the first few years of her life in Ecuador with her family. When she came back to the United States, she was raised by her single, undocumented mother and had to learn how to assimilate to the U.S. language and culture all while being in constant fear that her sole provider would be deported. She witnessed the stark difference between the dilapidation of the communities she called home and the prosperity of the neighborhoods that her privileged counterparts grew up in. From an early age, she recognized how much the law is at play in the way society is organized; that understanding transformed into a strong desire to become a public interest environmental litigator. Before law school, she assisted top environmental litigators at Earthjustice and gained crucial experience about the power of community partnerships in legal advocacy work. As an environmental litigator, she will utilize her unique perspective to bridge the language and cultural gaps that naturally appear when attorneys (and other experts) work closely with marginalized communities experiencing harsh environmental injustice. Nicole is a 1L at the UCLA School of Law.

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