Throughout February, GW Law celebrates the accomplishments, contributions, and achievements of our community as we observe Black History Month. Read about our events during the month, current students, and an alumna's mission to combat homelessness and help at-risk D.C. residents.
Five Questions with Ali Kingston, 2L
Ali Kingston was born and raised in Clarksville, Tennessee. She attended the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN, for undergrad and enjoyed four years of great BBQ and music. Ms. Kingston moved to Washington, D.C., right after graduation to begin law school. Her dream is to work internationally to eradicate child sexual abuse. "In the little free time I have, I enjoy volunteering with the Junior League of Washington and Circle of Sisterhood," Ms. Kingston said.
What motivated you to pursue a law degree?
From a young age, I have watched my mother advocate for her students is all aspect of their lives. I feel that I am privileged to have an education and a family that supports my dreams, and therefore, it is my social responsibility to use it responsibly. I have a strong passion for human rights and plan to use my privilege to benefit those who are less fortunate. I want to use my voice in order to speak for those who have been silenced.
How would you describe your experience here at GW Law so far?
GW Law was my first choice and it remains as such. The community here is supportive, and I feel blessed to have such amazing people surrounding me. Our professors are extremely impressive and always willing to assist students. Our staff go above and beyond for us each day to make sure we are getting the best experience. My experience has been incredible, and I owe much of that to the intelligent, humble, and hardworking individuals I get to learn beside every day.
Why did you decide to get involved in SBA? (Ms. Kingston is the Vice President of First Year Students.)
I had an incredible first year at GW Law, and I feel the SBA played a large role in that. We all work extremely hard and it is nice to have social events for students to attend. I applied to be Vice President of First Year Students in order to assist in making sure the first-year experience remains great. It can be extremely overwhelming at times and you can feel that you are navigating through a maze blind, but having someone committed to being your cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, or source of information is invaluable. I have enjoyed every moment of being VP FYS and hope that I made a small impact on the lives of this current class.
For the first-year law students, what advice can you give to them?
I think having a few butterflies is a good thing. I am always a little nervous before an exam, cold call, first day of work, or skills competition. To me that means that I am doing something I want, something I want more than anything. I advise that you channel all of your nerves into your work. Be unapologetically confident and ambitious in this journey. Never doubt your worth or abilities because the hardest moments might just in fact be the moment for which you were created, so just keep pushing forward.
Do you have any professional plans for the summer or future plans after graduation?
I will be interning with the National Partnership for Women and Families this summer. After graduation, I hope to clerk in D.C. or my home state of Tennessee. My ultimate goal is to work internationally, so my hope is to be living abroad within five years of graduating.
Five Questions with Jordan Green, 3L
Jordan Green is a Cum Laude graduate of Hampton University, where he earned a bachelor's in political science with minors in English arts and military leadership. While at Hampton, Mr. Green was extremely active, both on campus and in the Greater Hampton Roads community. From organizing voter registration drives and leadership workshops at the University to serving as a male mentor and motivational speaker, his commitment to servicing the community has never wavered. In May 2015, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves.
What motivated you to pursue a law degree?
I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer when I was eight years old. I argued with my second grade teacher about a logic problem and almost convinced her that I was right. She told me that I was wrong and she was the teacher, but that I had a real talent for argument and that I should be a lawyer. I never looked back.
I attended Hampton University on a full-ride ROTC scholarship for the Army. Both of my parents are military retirees—Dad with 21 years in the Navy and Mom did 32 years combined in the Navy and Army—so I knew that I wanted to serve my country as they had.
What area(s) of law are you interested in and why?
I am particularly interested in appellate litigation. I think that it is the perfect harmony of my skillset and interests. I like to craft novel arguments from existing case law, statutes, and literature, and argue them before a panel of judges. I think there is something uniquely invigorating about arguing the nuances and application of the law with legal experts that are charged with its interpretation.
So far, what's been your biggest accomplishments in law school?
I think that my biggest accomplishment has been the great work that I have had the pleasure to oversee as the National Vice Chair of National Black Law Students Association (BLSA). I have worked with some amazing people to help increase the academic and professional opportunities of black and minority law students all over the country. BLSA is all about using the foundation built by previous generations to reach down and uplift those who will come after us. I feel like this is my biggest accomplishment because BLSA has given me so much, and my service in this capacity has been my opportunity to help give something back. It has been a truly rewarding experience.
How would you summarize your time here at GW Law?
Busy, but in a good way. There is always something to do at GW Law, and I have had no shortage of opportunities to challenge myself academically, explore my interests personally, and expand my network professionally. I’ve been able to advocate for clients on appeal through the Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Services Clinic, take part in congressional investigations as a law clerk for a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, and meet a Justice at the Supreme Court with a professor who had previously clerked for the Court. I cannot imagine having these same opportunities anywhere else.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to complete a one-year judicial clerkship before entering the Army JAG Corps on Active Duty.
Alumna in Action
Keturah Brown, JD '16
Associate, Van Ness Feldman LLP
Keturah Brown was named the "Rising Star" by the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH) for her volunteer work with at-risk Washington, D.C., residents. GW Law recently caught up with Ms. Brown to discuss her work and latest achievement.
Keturah Brown was named the "Rising Star" by the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH) for her volunteer work with at-risk Washington, D.C., residents. The award is given to volunteers who go above and beyond to assist those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and in so doing, strengthen the mission and values of the Legal Clinic. She was presented with the award at a ceremony this past fall. GW Law recently caught up with Ms. Brown about her work and latest achievement.
Ms. Brown provides legal representation to homeless and low-income clients through WLCH's Legal Assistance Project. She receives cases either by meeting with clients at community sites or connecting with a WLCH staff attorney who has a case requiring immediate attention. Ms. Brown has assisted clients with a myriad of issues, from regaining access to shelter after wrongful termination, to obtaining a second housing voucher after the expiration of the first voucher. She is currently assisting a client with her claim for improper termination of rental assistance benefits.
"Public service is innate to me," Ms. Brown said. "It is ingrained within my moral fiber and produces an insatiable desire to provide assistance to others. With homelessness and poverty being rather prevalent within the District, it was only natural for me to serve members of those communities and fight to provide them with access to the resources they need, such as shelter, housing, and life-changing services."
Ms. Brown has volunteered her time over the past several years, first as a law clerk and then as an associate, providing initial advice and ongoing advocacy to ensure that these vulnerable residents are treated fairly and have equal access to justice. "The power of the award lies not within the personal recognition," Ms. Brown said. "It lies within the awareness it brings not only to the homeless and low-income communities, but also to a phenomenal organization that has worked for 31 years to break down the barriers that prevent these communities from accessing legal assistance. Such awareness has inspired colleagues to become involved with WLCH, which produces a louder and more powerful voice for these underserved communities."
Keturah Brown is an associate at Van Ness Feldman LLP.