By Shanice Hinckson • February 16, 2018•Ms. JD, Conference
The Ms. JD Herstory Series is a project associated with the “Her Story ” themed 2018 Ms. JD Conference. It is a blog posting series that features summaries of interviews with members of the Ms. JD family conducted by Shanice Hinckson, a 2017-2018 Ms. JD Fellow. These summaries portray each person’s account of the influence Ms. JD has had on their lives. Furthermore, it highlights Ms. JD as an important contribution to the legal community and an advocate for stories that refrain from marginalizing the woman’s perspective.
“When I think of her story, I think about the movie ‘Hidden Figures,’” Maleaha Brown said during her interview. “As a black woman, I think the black community has always harped on the importance of telling our story- making sure that we remember.” She continued to say that she is proud that Ms. JD recognizes and represents intersectionality. It is not enough to be complacent with one story because even though history has often been told from a white male’s perspective, it is not the only perspective.
Ms. Brown served as a 2015-2016 Ms. JD fellow, after graduating from Howard University School of Law in 2016 she pursued her life-long dream of being a legal aid family attorney. Additionally, she also continued to serve Ms. JD as the Ms. JD Fellowship Coordinator. In this role, she appreciates all of the opportunities she has to meet amazing women who have yet to start their career and those who have accomplished so much throughout their career. Ms. JD is a catalyst for young women in the legal field. When asked to describe her experience with the Ms. JD foundation Ms. Brown said “inspirational.”
She went on to state that “it may sound corny, but when you read hundreds of applications from students all over the country when you hear what these young women do... it just inspires you to be better, to do better.” As a young black female attorney, she recalls being asked if she was the secretary or court reporter when she enters the courtroom. She reflected on how challenging it has been to go from a D.C. law school to Corpus Christi, Texas where it is not as easy to find a mentor. However, having an outlet like Ms. JD inspires her because minority women are very well represented, racial issues are not overlooked, and LGBTQ issues are not left behind.
At Howard, Ms. Brown is remembered as a legal writing legend and a role model. During her last year at Howard Law in 2015-2016, Ms. Brown helped lay the foundation for the Legal Writing Center and returned January 2018 to assist first-year students. She was among the first class of students to complete the family law certificate program and go on to pursue a career in that field. She has inspired so many students and as the Ms. JD Fellowship Director continues to encourage those who she interacts with. Even with all of her accomplishments, Ms. Brown humbly acknowledges that she is a “young attorney, so everything is challenging” and went on to say, “I’m still at the stage where I am trying to get the keys from other people. I’m like tell me- I’m still searching... but I keep pushing. If you keep fighting for what you want you will be that much closer to getting it.”