Monday Profile: Brian Gilmore

 Brian Gilmore, who earned his law degree from the David A. Clarke School of Law in D.C., is a clinical associate professor and director of the Housing Clinic at Michigan State University College of Law. He previously served as a clinical professor and supervising attorney with the Clinical Law Center Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.Gilmore has approximately 40 published works to his credit, including law review articles, legal articles, commentary, reviews, and contributions to books, essays, anthologies, and encyclopedias. His works have appeared in The Washington Post, Book Forum, ABA Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, The Nation, The Baltimore Sun, and the Utne Reader. He recently released his third book of poetry, “We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters.” A Literature Fellow for the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities, his honors include: Pushcart Prize nominations, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Arts Awards, Cave Canem and Kumbilio Fellowships. He also taught a GED course for the nonprofit DC WritersCorps at Lorton Reformatory in Virginia.

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

 

What is your most treasured material possession? Probably a photo of me and my family from the 1960s all dressed up like for church or me and my wife, Elanna, right after we got married, dressed in our summer outing outfits.

 

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Have a plan.  Plan A, Plan B, know what you want to do too.  Have a financial plan as well to pay back loans and imagine yourself doing something specific. Also, don’t be afraid to consider alternate work that uses your law school skills. Maybe become a film producer, a writer of digital content, a project director for a company. Law school provides many important, useful skills.

 

Favorite local hangouts: My house. And I dig libraries. Ann Arbor. East Lansing. 

 

Favorite websites: The Guardian, U.K., Andy Borowitz on the New Yorker site is awesome.

 

Favorite app: Got to be the NCAA March Madness app but that  is seasonal, so I will say the language apps, like Busuu where you can learn some Portuguese, (and I stress, some).

 

Favorite CD: Hard to break it down to one.  Oliver Nelson’s “Blues and the Abstract Truth” is one for sure but really his song “Stolen Moments,” that is on that album, is the song, any version of that, I want to hear it over and over. I’ve also been listening to Frank Ocean’s “Orange” as well, really talented young singer.

 

What is your happiest childhood memory? As crazy as it sounds, looking back, I once fell and broke my wrist and I remember like in seconds it seemed, my father had jumped a fence and scooped me up from the ground as I was lying there in pain. He and my mother took me to the emergency room and sat there as they treated me. The comfort of knowing they were there for me is quite happy looking back.

 

What would surprise people about your job? Our students do what lawyers do each day. We provide free legal assistance to people with real legal problems. Law school is not simulation or theory in my class; it is actual work, like new doctors doing their residencies. That is the idea anyway.

 

What do you wish someone would invent? A cure for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease, or Parkinson’s; knock out one of the big diseases. That would be great.

What has been your favorite year so far? Probably one of the years before things got complicated like 1973 or 1974 when I was a little league baseball player. First year of college was cool as well – 1983-84, really began to discover myself and what I wanted to do.

 

What’s your most typical mood? Pretty moody person. Up and down daily, ebb and flow.  I laugh a lot, though I know that doesn’t mean I am swimming in a pool of glee.

 

Why did you become a lawyer? I wanted to stand up for the little guy, the ordinary people who don’t get lawyers. I hate bullies and I often see it that way. A corporation suing someone is like a bully at times to me. 

 

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? Like some crab, shrimp, or oyster fishermen on the Chesapeake Bay. I got to think that is quite an experience out on the boat fishing for shellfish all day.

 

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? Taos, New Mexico.  Driving up the mountains to the place is quite an experience.  It is like 8,000 feet. I went there for a writer’s retreat for 10 days.

 

What did you do last weekend? Had a big time launch for my book, “We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters,” and took my daughter and her friends to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  “Rocky Horror” is always quite crazy no matter where it plays.

 

If you could have one super power, what would it be? Predict with great accuracy, winning lottery numbers.

 

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Slow down.  Real love can wait.  But also, do not let anyone, ever to put their hands on you, and not let them know they have made a mistake.

 

What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? The day I was sworn in, 1993. My parents came to watch in a torrential downpour.  I was in the clouds that day. I had achieved my goal.  

 

What do you do to relax? Watch Julia Child and Jacques Pepin re-runs on HULU. It is a cooking show.  Love it.

 

If you were starting all over again and could not go into law, what career path would you choose? Blues band or Gospel band. I was in a Gospel band about 20 years ago, and it fizzled and so here I am.

 

What’s your biggest regret? Not going into radio. I love it.

 

What word do you overuse? Fabulous. But I do think a lot of things are fabulous, so that is why I use it so much.

 

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? Speak some foreign languages: Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish, German, that would be great if I had the time.

 

What is something most people don't know about you? I still got a pretty good jump shot.

 

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? It would have to be four – my wife, and three daughters. Otherwise, let it be the surviving members of Led Zeppelin.

 

What’s the best advice you ever received? My father used to tell me to watch who I was with all the time. Don’t get in strange cars, or ride with people who drink and drive. It taught me the notion of responsibility. Now, when I am out with someone who is drinking, I usually tell them I will drive home because I am no drinker.

 

Favorite place to spend money: Used bookstores.

 

What is your motto? “Espirit de Corps,” it is a common phrase denoting the common enthusiasm of a group,  the common spirit of that group. My father, and many of his colleagues used to live by this code of honor.

 

What would you like as your epitaph? God and Family Forever and Ever.       

 

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