A spot on the bench serves as long-term goal for student


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

In third grade Brianna Hines took part in a mock trial, playing the role of an attorney.

“I had fun doing it—and I told myself then I was going to be a lawyer,” she says.

She was further inspired in her mid-teens, after meeting a judge who let her visit her in chambers a couple of times.

“Meeting a judge in chambers and being able to observe courtroom proceedings confirmed this was the career path I wanted to pursue,” Hines says. “The judge continues to inspire me to this day, and I often think back to those experiences I had visiting her to help me stay motivated.”

Knowing from a young age that law school was her goal, Hines chose political science as her major at Western Michigan University as a first step to achieving that dream.

“The law affects everything that we do, and I’ve always had an interest in the rules that govern how we live,” she says. 

Now in her 1L year at Detroit Mercy Law, where she is the SBA 1L Class Representative, Hines thoroughly enjoys the sense of community.

“Even though school has been remote this year, I still feel a connection to my classmates and my professors,” she says.

Hines has similarly enjoyed the sense of family and community through the Black Law Students Association that has been a tremendous help in her law school experience, and where she will serve as treasurer in the upcoming 2021-22 year.

“Before I started at Detroit Mercy, I received a lot of help and support from many of their members, and that help, and support continued into this current school year,” she says. “Everyone is very willing to help and make sure we all succeed. That has really helped me during this 1L year, and I look forward to extending that same help and support to next year’s students.”

Hines currently finds criminal law and contracts law to be interesting.

“However, I love how diverse the legal field is,” she says. “I’m really excited to learn and get exposure to as many areas of the law as I can; and my long-term career goal is to be a judge.”

She had a taste of the work in judicial chambers during her last year of undergrad, when she interned for Judge Curtis Bell at the Kalamazoo County Probate Court. And for the first part of this upcoming summer, she will intern for Judge Mark Goldsmith at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. For the rest of the summer, she will work at The Miller Law Firm in Rochester, a firm that deals with complex business lawsuits and class action litigation.

Hines admits remote studies have been an adjustment.

“I hadn’t taken online classes in the past, so I’ve been having to make a stricter schedule in order to make sure I stay on task and don’t fall behind,” she says. “Also, I make sure I make time to step away from the computer screen and relax by either exercising or painting.”

Last summer, Hines was among 20 students, alumni, and administrators who spent an afternoon volunteering with Keep Belle Isle Beautiful to clean up the park by picking up litter. Altogether, the volunteers picked up almost 40 pounds of trash.  

“The part I most enjoyed was getting to have an in-person opportunity to network and connect with my classmates,” she says. “It was great to have that in-person interaction. And I look forward to getting involved with community services opportunities this summer.”

Bitten by the travel bug, she looks forward to traveling again when the pandemic slows down, especially abroad—Cape Town, South Africa is top on a list of places she would love to visit.

Hines, whose sister is in college in Ohio, is a lifelong resident of Farmington Hills in Oakland County, where she lives her parents. She enjoys living and studying in the Motor City area.

“Detroit is home and I love the pride people have when they talk about Detroit,” she says. “It’s a city full of history, and a lot of great talent has come from here. I can’t imagine living or working anywhere else.”

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