It was in third or fourth grade when LaSheda Brooks remembers first declaring her intention to become a lawyer.
“I used to talk a lot and liked to argue with my siblings and my cousins. I was ready to debate; even if my parents would be giving me a punishment, I was ready to argue and give them a better proposition of what punishment I should receive,” Brooks says.
So, when asked what she would like to be when she grew up, her response was: “a lawyer.”
This month, Brooks receives a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University’s College of Law and will spend the summer studying for the bar exam and taking swimming lessons before she begins officer development classes and Naval Justice School with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps.
The path to becoming a military lawyer
Originally from Chicago’s West Side, Brooks and her family moved to Plainfield, Illinois, when she was in middle school. While in high school, Brooks had a daughter, Mya, who is now 10 years old. “Mya has been my motivation,” she says.
“I finished high school about a semester early and when I was getting ready to graduate my mother suggested I consider joining the military. I told her I would think about it,” Brooks recalls. She ultimately spoke with an Air Force recruiter and joined as a reservist. “I fell in love with the camaraderie and the commitment. I love the discipline, the work ethic, the environment,” she says.
“When I was an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University, I became active on campus: I was a senator, and I joined a lot of different organizations. My sorority played a big role in my getting involved in politics and all that helped me understand my purpose – and that was to basically make a difference in something bigger than myself,” she explains, adding …