Chriska Francois

Law Student Chriska Francois’ Passion Is Justice

Juris Doctorate Candidate | School of Law
Graduation Year: 2017

Where is UMKC taking you?

UMKC will take me to the courtroom advocating my clients’ causes, and hopefully around the world doing the same.

What led you to UMKC?

What led me to UMKC was on its reputation for practical lawyering skills, and comments from successful mentors who gave good recommendations.

Why did you choose UMKC?

One of the reasons I chose UMKC was for how personable the faculty was, even during my interview. My interviewing professor showed support, she “heard me” and addressed my questions and concerns about the legal world. She too was a first-generation lawyer in her family.

Why did you choose the degree you’re pursuing?

I was trying to figure out where I was going with a psychology degree. I wanted a niche where I could be challenged, and always have opportunities to speak and write. I took an American jurisprudence course in college taught by a Missouri Supreme Court judge, and the rest is history.

What field of law are you studying?

I am emphasizing in International, Foreign and Comparative Law.

How has your college program inspired you?

Everything from the rigor and challenge of legal studies to the hands-on experiences like interning with a federal agency and clerking for a judge have all fueled my desire to make a serious impact in the world with the best tools I have: my words and my passion for justice.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I think. I’ve learned that without leaving my comfort zone, I’ll never truly know what I can do and to what extent I can effectuate change. My education so far has taught me that greatness is the product of willingness and dedication.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

“You can do it. Just stick to it.” Law school, like life, is far from easy. There were times when I second-guessed my career path when things became more difficult than I expected. Hearing those words from a successful professor and mentor affirmed me and encouraged me to keep going.

Who do you admire most at UMKC?

I admire the professors most, and all their vast professional and life experiences. I would have never guessed that I would connect so well with former U.S. military colonels and United Nations influencers. The professors don’t allow their titles and experiences to get in the way of truly connecting with students and helping them every step of the way.

What motto do you live by?

Micah 6:8 – “Seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

What are your hobbies?

I love to travel. I enjoy music of all kinds, writing and spoken word poetry.

Do you belong to any organizations?

I belong to the Black Law Students Association, UMKC Law Review and the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court team. The moot competition is in May, and we will compete in Washington D.C. against schools from all over North, Central and South America.

What’s your favorite place to hang out in Kansas City?

The Plaza. I enjoy the fun restaurant options, fountains, and the neighboring Loose Park.

What’s your favorite place at UMKC?

The Story Suite Library. It’s on the second floor of the law school and is a quiet place for work.

Are you a first-generation college student?

I am the first in my family to go to college in the United States, and the very first in my family to pursue a Juris Doctorate. I feel honored to fulfill a dream my ancestors worked, protested and even died for. It means the world to me.

What’s your greatest fear?

Losing my passion. I chose this career path because I believe it is God’s calling for my life. When I work, I put all of myself into my work. When I advocate, I advocate zealously and fearlessly. The day I lose my passion for my work will have to be the day I consider another route.

What is one word that best describes you and why?

Tenacious. I will fight for what I believe in until there is a fight no more.