Legal clerk, Hankins Law Firm PLLC
Sylvia Sanchez started working as a victim witness advocate for the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office in 2016 after graduating from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal justice. In June 2019, she was promoted to victim witness coordinator and started managing the victim witness unit. The goal is to support victims through the court process, answer their questions, sit in on interviews, keep victims and witnesses updated on their cases and work as a liaison between the prosecutor and victims.
In December 2020, she left the prosecutor’s office to pursue her dream of becoming an attorney. Sanchez is now working as a paralegal at the Hankins Law Firm while participating in the Washington State Bar’s Rule 6 Clerkship Program — a four-year alternative to law school that provides access to legal education guided by a qualified tutor using an apprenticeship model. Her mentor for the apprenticeship is Wenatchee attorney Nicole Hankins.
What challenges do you see ahead, and what do you believe needs to be done to get prepared?
Our community, because of COVID-19, has been struggling to follow the rules. Quarantine has caused many businesses to close and that hurts our community. We have been doing better, and I think that reopening places has helped. Also, sports and activities are starting up and that is particularly important for kids. As a mom, I hope it continues to get better.
If we continue to follow guidelines, we can make this work. We need to encourage each other and work together.
In my profession, there is a big barrier with the Latino community. The Wenatchee Valley is filled with Hispanic/Latino people who do not understand the criminal justice system and/or the legal system and that makes it harder for attorneys to do their job.
I believe we need more bilingual and Hispanic attorneys in this community to help others feel more comfortable and be able to explain everything in their first language. Crimes and issues are always happening and the more help we can offer as a community, the smoother things go for everyone.