APRIL 16, 2012—After graduating from the Law School in 2001, Rachel Brass (’01) clerked for then-Chief Judge James Rosenbaum (’69) (District of Minnesota), a period in her life that shaped her both personally and professionally. Reflecting on her clerking experience she says, "I don’t know that there can be any more formative phase in a young lawyer's career than clerking for a judge." She came away with two important lessons: a passion for the written word and a commitment to maintain balance between personal life and work.
Judge Rosenbaum is well known for his accurate and memorable legal writing. Brass remembers going "back and forth almost 100 times with an opinion" just to ensure its perfection—not an unusual experience with Judge Rosenbaum. Today she admires Judge Rosenbaum when she considers the thousands of pages that cross a judge’s desk each week, and she appreciates the importance of having a judge "want to read all 20 of yours."
The other takeaway from Judge Rosenbaum was his passion for his life outside the chambers. She witnessed in him a strong role model, who worked hard to focus on both career and life outside work, and to make both high priorities.
This year, Brass made a generous gift for student scholarship support in honor of Judge Rosenbaum. Although he has a named scholarship, she saw in the Robina Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar match to Robina Scholarship fund donations the opportunity to double the impact of her gift to the Law School. Perhaps one of the more notable aspects of Brass' gift is the fact that she is, to date, the youngest graduate to take advantage of the Robina Scholarship initiative. She comments that while it’s "wonderful to have the opportunity to give at any time, to have any donation at this level doubled makes donating now a no-brainer."
As the beneficiary of generous alumni scholarship support when she was a Law School student, Brass remembers thinking that she should give back once she was in a position to do so. Now a partner at Gibson Dunn in San Francisco, she recognizes that her scholarship gave her the freedom of flexibility in choosing a career path, and she wants to give current students the same ability to explore the right career fit for them. Debt relief, she firmly believes, is the linchpin to that freedom.