Deana Brown ’09 finds bankruptcy law fascinating, and its inherent structure appealing. “The code offers creditors and debtors leeway to work through issues without resorting to litigation,” explains Brown. “Although that’s always an option,” she adds.
As head of the Black Law Students Association, Brown regularly counsels Manhattan high school students to trust their intellectual ability and explore diverse career paths, just as her mother advised her to do while growing up in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn.
And Brown is living proof of the benefits that can accrue from taking that advice to heart. While an undergraduate at Yale, she intended to go to medical school until she encountered an elective course called “Blacks in the Law” that drew her into the legal profession. Now, a few years later, the would-be med student is preparing to start a successful legal career. She credits Professor Carol Sanger’s emphasis on the Socratic method in Contracts with helping her ease into a new culture.
Following graduation, Brown will move across the country to Los Angeles, where she will work on bankruptcy matters for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. She previously served multiple stints as a summer associate for the firm—first in New York City, then in Los Angeles—and is looking forward to the sunny climate, as well as the West Coast lifestyle. But she also can’t wait for the intellectual challenge that lies ahead.
“Bankruptcy is likely to change quite a bit because of the economy. But Columbia Law School and the people I’ve met here have prepared me well,” says Brown with confidence.