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Jermaine Scott Cherry
Jermaine Scott Cherry ’20

Hometown: Brooklyn

Career Plans: Associate, Kirkland & Ellis

Recipient of Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship and Glasser Scholarship

 

What impact did you scholarships have on your law school career?
Having a scholarship was incredibly freeing, and I was subsequently able to submerse myself in my studies and take advantage of all that the law school experience had to offer. Further, being a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship made me particularly proud as a Black man because I felt like I was a living manifestation of all that Dr. King fought for.

What law school accomplishment are you most proud of?
The work I did as a member of Brooklyn Law School’s Criminal Defense and Advocacy Clinic. I spent my final semester of law school helping incarcerated women who were victims of domestic and gender-based violence seek resentencing under New York’s Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. The clinic is led by Professor Kate Mogulescu and is home to some of Brooklyn Law School’s brightest legal minds. I am so privileged to have worked with and learned from each of them.

If you could come back and teach a class here, any class, one we have or one of your own invention, what would it be?
I would teach a class that explained how discriminatory laws lead to the economic divide between Black families and white families in America.

What did you like about going to law school in Brooklyn?
As a Brooklyn native, attending Brooklyn Law made me feel like a hometown NBA prospect signing to the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets. I felt like Carmelo Anthony (Brooklyn Native and my favorite basketball player) signing with the New York Knicks in 2011.

What is your favorite place in Brooklyn and why?
My favorite place in Brooklyn is Canarsie. I was raised there, and it molded so much of who I am. It should not be lost on any of us that we are in turbulent times as a nation because of the systemic oppression of Black people in America, and a huge factor is the lack of economic access available to Black people in this country. However, Canarsie remains a shining example of the Black middle class in America. There is ample Black homeownership, many Black-owned businesses, and there is generally a strong feeling of community in Canarsie, and I love it.

What advice would you give to an incoming law student?
Dear Incoming Law Students, you are going to hear plenty of stories about how hard it is. However, do not let those stories distract you from what a pleasure this experience is going to be. Getting the opportunity to push yourself to your intellectual limits by engaging with the material is the real reward of law school. Accolades and opportunities, while wonderful, are secondary to the privilege of joining this wonderful profession.

Your last semester of law school was disrupted by a global pandemic, with New York City at the epicenter. What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you deal with it? What have you learned about yourself, your law school, and your hopes for the future?
At a macro level, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the pandemic and distance learning disproportionately affected underprivileged students and students of color, because access to campus and its resources democratizes the law school experience. Kudos to Brooklyn Law for moving to mandatory pass/fail as a way to remedy that disparity. I was extremely sad that my fellow class of 2020 classmates and I did not have the closure of going through the final semester and graduation festivities together.