Elliot Brooks ’23

 

law school students

What led you to pursue a law degree?

A: The first time I thought about being an attorney was when I attended my aunt’s swearing in for her judgeship. From there, I became very intent on better understanding the system, which really became apparent after my 6th grade inquiry project on the legal system (with judicial robes and a gavel as my visual aid, lol)! But, on a more serious note, as I grew older, I observed the world I was experiencing as well as the world my younger brother experienced. It was very upsetting to see that at such a young age, my parents had to have conversations with my brother that were solely because of his existence as a Black male youth, not to mention, man, in this country. Additionally, it was the knowledge of the Black community being inherently and disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system that invigorated me to direct my need for change in this sect. I have always been a people person, someone who wants to help, and someone who looks to leave environments better than how I found it. That’s exactly what I want to do with criminal law and the effect it has on my community. I see law as the key to uncovering a deeper understanding of an inherently racist, inequitable, stratified system and the toolbox that holds the instruments to challenge it at its core.

Q: What experience have you appreciated the most since starting at UC Hastings?

A: UC Hastings has been so great in many ways, however what stands out the most is the study group I along with four other Black women in my inn created. We started it as a way to better organize ourselves for finals and to review and hold each other accountable during reading period, but it has become one of the best parts of this year. Not only did it prepare me for the exams, but it gave me some of my best friends in this experience and a bit of normalcy in this unprecedented time. It isn’t only a place to study but also a place to decompress and share our stressors, accomplishments, questions, stories, etc. I cannot wait until we are all in person and actually get to experience the bond we’ve created this year.

Q: Who would you have dinner with if you could choose anyone (dead or alive)?

A: This question is always so hard for me because there are so many incredible individuals I wish I could share a moment with. However, the first that came to mind is Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a vibrant, keen, fortitudinous character in the course of history, but specifically with her story and the overall understanding that a woman has every ability to shatter the glass ceiling and be a leading role model in diplomacy, politics, and activism. I also think she is one who could speak not only on the will to survive, but to thrive. She faced a lot of hardship, loss, and difficulty in her life, yet she has a timeless impact on history. I would want to uncover a mind like hers and better understand how to stay true to one’s self and personality, but still hold monumental presence and command of a room, situation, etc.