Wanting our first Pre-Law Society meeting of the semester to be special, we kicked it off with a compelling speaker, Linda Geffin, the former Chief of Harris County’s Special Prosecution Unit. Wanting to reach as many people as possible, we set up two separate discussions with Ms. Geffin.
The first was a small-group session for promising undergraduates as well as a handful of Psychology Ph.D. students.
In this more intimate setting, Ms. Geffin went in-depth into the problems faced by those that were trafficked, as well as her own brush with mortality when, in 2011, she was attacked in her own home. The attack, which is believe to be a retaliation on her by one of the gangs or businesses she prosecuted, left her with a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and emotional difficulties.
Geffin discussed her career, her strategies for attacking human trafficking civilly, the sometimes difficult aspects of tackling multi-jurisdictional crime, and the personal toll that being a prosecutor can bring.
Geffin was happy to take questions, and she fielded questions from a diverse group of students. With only 15 students in this small-group session, there were 8 majors represented across five colleges!
Following the small-group session, we took a break to host our Ice Cream Social, before again featuring Ms. Geffin in our first Pre-Law Society meeting of the semester. But in this iteration of Geffin’s talk, she brought a special guest, a handsome Doberman named Zac.
Zac was not the star of the show, but he sure stole the hearts of many. As Geffin’s service dog, he plays a large role in her recovery from her 2011 attack, while also providing protection and friendship.
Geffin addressed many of the same themes of her earlier discussion, while providing new information about her background and career, the practice of law, and human resiliency.
What is amazing about her journey is that it started out like many college students. She did not have an idea on what she wanted to do, so she went to about six different universities. Following that, she decided on law school at South Texas College of Law.
As an attorney, she worked not only on human trafficking cases, but also cock fighting, dog-fighting, and sexually-oriented businesses. Perhaps the most significant aspect of her discussion was the fact that she herself is a victim of attack.
Ms. Geffin was assaulted in her own home in 2011. Today, she remembers little of the attack. After the physical assault, she awoke on the floor of her kitchen, seeing the numerals 4, 5, and 6 on her microwave. She realized that was the time of day, and that she had likely been unconscious for more than three hours.
After going to the hospital and learning she had a traumatic brain injury, massive bruising, and broken bones, she began a long recovery. This recovery involved relearning basic activities, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, and living without constant fear or another attack.
Early in her recovery, with perhaps too much reliance on self medication, Geffin was moved by Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” to take control. Realizing that she had no control over the attacked that had previously occurred, she did have control over how she responded to that attack.
One response was to become an advocate for people with “hidden injuries” and also to speak to students, for which we are very grateful. She left us with a peal of wisdom, encouraging us to savor each day, making the most of it–and not waiting until someone tries to kill you to begin appreciating the little things in life.
Dinner with Linda Geffin-Ilexus Williams
After a busy yet eventful day, the LEAP Ambassadors were able to have a relaxing night by having dinner with Linda Geffin. The restaurant selection for the night was 1836 Steakhouse, which is a local Huntsville restaurant that exudes pride for Texas Independence. For many of the Ambassadors, this would be a new experience.
For starters, we enjoyed Sundried Tomato Bruschetta and Roasted Pepper Hummus. We ordered a variety of different main courses including Snapper Ponchartrain, Grilled Snapper, the Herbivore, and the New York Strip.
During dinner Ms. Geffin discussed how the attack in her home, which caused substantial head injuries, has impacted different areas of her daily life. Despite many challenges, Ms. Geffin has fought to overcome them and remains thankful to be able to enjoy life. She believes that God has a purpose for her life and kept her here for a reason.
Ms. Geffin’s insight is truly inspirational, and the LEAP Ambassadors would like to thank Ms. Geffin for coming to Huntsville and spreading a powerful message to the students of Sam Houston. We wish you well in your future and hope to work with you again! (Group Picture)