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McKenna Newsum-Schoenberg 

Member Spotlight

June 2024

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A Colorado native, McKenna Newsum-Schoenberg is a graduate of Cherry Creek High School and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She has wanted to be a lawyer ever since she can remember and currently provides legal aid services for the Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center (JAMLAC).

Hometown: Centennial
Law School: University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Lives in: Centennial
Works at: Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Center
Practice Area(s): Immigration Law
CBA Member Since: 2018
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Don’t ever count yourself out.” That’s what my grandfather Col. Fitzroy Newsum would say to anyone in our family who expressed doubts in their ability to rise to an occasion. A former Tuskegee Airmen (an all-Black unit of the US military during WWII), he taught me to always show up, to always dig deep, and to always give it my best.

What are the greatest challenges you face in your practice, and how do you manage them?

I work at a nonprofit legal aid center. The most challenging part of my job is feeling limited in the services we can provide. People are dealing with so much, and it can be difficult to want to do more but be unable to do so. My clients are truly remarkable and resilient, and my colleagues are amazing. We get through challenging times by leaning on each other, taking long walks outside, and understanding that although we provide a limited scope, we can still give our all within that scope.

Outside of law, what are you passionate about?

Swimming! I’ve been swimming since I was 4 years old. I started out swimming for a summer league team in my neighborhood and then started competitively swimming when I was 8. I swam through elementary, middle, and high school and swam at Emory University in Atlanta. After ending my own swimming career, I started coaching and have continued ever since. I love the water, and working with kids in a team environment is the best! In addition to swimming, I love spending time with friends and family, and I love holiday baking.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to:

I have two. My family and I recently got back from a trip to Paris, and it was stunning and magical. I would go back in a heartbeat. My other favorite place is Barbados. My grandfather was originally from Barbados, and nothing on this planet compares to the pristine Bajan beaches and the vibrant culture there.

What is your favorite place to escape to in Colorado?

Although I didn’t go to CU, Boulder holds a special place in our family’s heart. Nothing beats a Colorado fall day at Folsom Field. Go Buffs! Vail is another magical place that I love to escape to. I consider myself so lucky to get to call Colorado home.

Who is your favorite writer and why?
Maya Angelou. She was a true visionary and an incredible activist.

What sport do you love to play or watch?
I love watching college football. As a former collegiate student athlete, I have a deep respect for college athletes and their dedication to their sports. There is something special about game day and getting to put your college teams gear on and represent your university at that level. What a feeling!

Who is your hero and why?

Outside of my parents (because they are absolutely incredible), my hero is Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer was a voting rights activist, a women’s rights activist, and a community organizer in Mississippi during the 1960s and 70s. She had an indominable spirit and is a true American hero. She once said, “If I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom.”