Bilingual UNO student strives to become lawyer

César Magaña Linares works in his office at the law firm where he is employed. Photo by Abbie Perry

Abbie Perry

For many college students, deciding what to do in the future is a difficult task. For University of Nebraska at Omaha junior César Magaña Linares, law school has always been the end goal.

Magaña Linares is working toward a bachelor of arts in Latino/Latin American studies. He said his degree will help him reach his goal of working as a bilingual lawyer.

Magaña Linares’ inspiration for law school comes from being exposed to many great thinkers growing up.

“In my time as a debater in high school, I was exposed to hardline viewpoints that had incredibly sound backing,” he said. “John Stuart Mill, Locke, Sun Tzu, Rousseau, all these people had problems in some capacity.”

By reading the works of these influential people, Magaña Linares said he realized that anything can be defended. This is a philosophy he finds to be especially true in the law profession.


Getting into law school is no easy task. Magaña Linares is involved in many activities that he hopes will help him achieve his goal.

At UNO, Magaña Linares is a member of the UNO forensics team. MavForensics Director Abbie Syrek said he “will thrive in law school.”

“César has a sharp mind that he is continuously looking to expand and a passion for justice,” said Syrek. “He is intelligent and well spoken. If I ever need a lawyer, César would be my first call.”

Outside of school and since 2016, Magaña Linares has worked as a legal assistant at Pesek Law, LLC. By working there, he’s gained real experience in the legal field. Everyone in the office where he works is bilingual.

Some of Magaña Linares’ duties at the firm include drafting correspondence to law enforcement, clients, opposing counsel and co-counsel, assisting in multiple successful immigration cases and regularly translating English and Spanish.

In addition, Magaña Linares was recently selected as a recipient of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) Prep Scholarship by the Nebraska State Bar Association.

This scholarship was created to encourage diversity in law school applicants. The scholarship will completely cover the cost of a Kaplan LSAT Prep Course and registering for the LSAT exam.

By receiving this scholarship, Magaña Linares said he can now focus on his admittance to law school without worrying about the cost.

This scholarship isn’t the only time Magaña Linares has been recognized for his success’ during his undergraduate career. He’s also a Dreamer’s Pathway Scholar.

The Dreamer’s Pathway Scholarship Program helps students who are not eligible for conventional college aid. Magaña Linares has Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is how he qualifies for the scholarship.

As a recipient of these awards, Magaña Linares has put his focus on academic success. His peers rave about the great things he is constantly accomplishing.

“The work that César does is so important,” said Alissa Duong, one of Magaña Linares’ classmates. “Not only has he himself overcome so much, but he has carried those experiences on with him and his community by working toward their safety and well-being.”


With his next step after graduation being law school, Magaña Linares is making sure he sets himself up for success.

Hopefully, with the help of the Underserved Law Opportunities Program (ULOP), Magaña Linares will attend the Nebraska College of Law in the Fall of 2019.

ULOP aims to give students from underserved communities an opportunity for a legal education, which makes Magaña Linares a perfect fit.

“I am in the first cohort of ULOP scholars,” Magaña Linares said. “The program has rigorous standards and keeps us close to Nebraska Law.”

Despite being busy, Magaña Linares still finds a way to give back as much of his time as he can.

“His next step into law school is not just a big deal for him and his family,” Duong said. “It’s a leap for the entire undocumented community, who are all counting on him.”