Brittani Kirkpatrick ’10 arrived at Columbia Law School determined to pursue her keen interest in how legal, social, and political issues affect minority communities. She earned a B.A. in political science and a certificate in African-American studies from Princeton University, and was interested in working on the National Black Law Journal.
But after ascending to the level of editor in chief at the journal, Kirkpatrick found herself thinking about ways to make an even greater scholarly impact during her time in Morningside Heights. Her idea: a Columbia Law School–specific scholarly journal that addressed broad issues of race and the law.
Kirkpatrick moved quickly, and she applied analytical skills honed during a two-year stint as a management consultant to develop a strategic plan for a new publication to be named the Columbia Journal of Race and Law.
In April, Kirkpatrick introduced the concept for the inaugural issue of the new publication at the 16th annual Paul Robeson conference, which was organized by the Columbia Black Law Students Association. “Spearheading the process of creating a new journal was an amazing challenge,” she says. “It was a thrill to develop and present a strategic plan to the faculty, and their unanimous support was deeply gratifying.” The journal will be published in the fall.
Kirkpatrick, a Kent Scholar, also found time to intern for U.S. District Court Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., commuting twice a week to his Newark, N.J., chambers during the fall of her second year at the Law School. The following year, Greenaway hired Kirkpatrick to serve as his teaching assistant for the Columbia University course he leads on the history of the Supreme Court. She met with the judge weekly, brainstorming ideas for class discussions. “The experience of working closely with Judge Greenaway gave me an opportunity to think about the law in different ways,” says Kirkpatrick, who will complete back-to-back clerkships—including one with Greenaway—before starting a career in corporate law.
After graduation, Kirkpatrick’s strategic planning and time management skills will be put to the test as she studies for the bar, plans her December wedding, and prepares for her clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson in Norfolk, Va.