Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)
Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)

Member Profile

Ms. Michelle Lopez

Law Intern HOR (TX-19)
Law Student Member
130 Mst NE
Washington, DC 20002

Phone: 210-324-3541

Law School: Florida Coastal School of Law (May 2014)
Foreign Languages: Spanish


Both nursing and the legal profession encounter people at their most vulnerable points in life and are guided to help others in an ethical manner. It took me a while to see this connection, but it became clear while I was serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, home of Saddam Hussein, with the 228th Combat Support Hospital as a trauma flight nurse from November 2004 to December 2005. I was there to treat casualties of the Battle of Fallujah, including enemy combatants. In both nursing and in law, professionals work under great pressure. In Iraq, we experienced food shortages, living in crowded tents, and showering only once a week. Many times, we felt uncertainty about our safety, the duration of our deployment, and whether we would be able to contact our loved ones. Many logistical concerns existed regarding expired drugs, blood shortages, outdated medical supplies, and lack of pediatric supplies, and all of these issues required me to think on my feet. I was selected to evacuate critically ill patients to Germany based on my clinical competence, physical and emotional fitness, operational competence, leadership, group cohesion, and soldier survival skills. After all, the majority of the patients evacuated had blunt head trauma with an intracranial pressure monitoring device, penetrating orthopedic trauma with serious amputation, and all were on life saving mechanical ventilation and vasoactive medication to maintain a heart rate and blood pressure. I know what it is to be trusted with someoneís life.
Continuously providing care to a large volume of high-acuity patients in the war zone, and especially caring for the detained insurgent or enemy combatant, really takes a toll on your emotions, beliefs, and morals. These insurgents were of all ages and from all walks of life, some local recruits of al-Qaeda in Iraq, however many were foreign fighter extremistís from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Pakistan. When I asked why they came to fight, many stated they were recruited with stories of westerners pillaging and raping the holy land of Allah.
Helping the enemy live is a very important aspect of the current American counterinsurgency policy, and ethically the correct thing to do based upon the Geneva Convention. Assisting these insurgents back to health was the most difficult aspect of my time in Iraq. I found it extremely difficult to care for individuals that had killed our own brave American men and women. Yet amongst the pain and suffering, I saw the other side of things: most were young men, poor and uneducated. I tried to imagine how it must feel to have another country invading your own, and lacking infrastructure, work, money or food to feed your family. Many of my friends have died as a result of the actions of these insurgents however I cared equally and ethically for the prisoner and soldier alike. This was my first true test of dealing with my integrity in a serious ethical dilemma.
I feel that my unique work experience, decision making under pressure and understanding both sides of controversial issues is meaningful and will allow me to contribute a different perspective to the legal profession. While I have no doubt that the study of law will push me to my limits, I am confident that I can face the rigorous challenges posed in law school and thrive under the demanding environment that advanced studies entail. I am fully confident that not only will I be able to fulfill my dream, but to contribute substantially to my community and the world.

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