Cinnamon Butler, a 2007 graduate of Brandeis School of Law, has been honored many times during her education and career. While a student she received a graduate fellowship from the American Association of University Women in 2006. She went on to a career filled with many more successes including being:
- selected for the Presidential Management Interagency Rotation Group, a prestigious opportunity afforded to rising stars in federal-government management to rotate among multiple agencies so that they can learn how to improve inter-agency cooperation,
- invited to speak on property and legal issues at the Small and Limited Resource Minority Farmers Conference in Lexington, Ky., and
- featured in Black Enterprise magazine as one of three African Americans working in agriculture. Cinnamon lives in Washington, DC, but was raised in southwestern Kentucky on a family farm.
She is a real star, an alum of this law school of whom all of us can be proud. We recently caught up with Cinnamon to ask her about her life and experience in law school.
Why did you want to pursue agriculture law?
My background and previous work experience in agriculture production and inspection made a career in agriculture law a perfect niche for me. Very few African-American families own land and I watched my family's hard work and struggle to keep the farm. It was important to me to understand property laws and landowner rights to ensure that my family's legacy stays intact.
Are you glad you attended Brandeis?
Attending Brandeis School of Law was surely one of the smartest decisions I made on my way to a legal career. While a student I met Professor Tony Arnold and admissions counselor Charlene Taylor, who became two of the most influential people in my life. Professor Arnold came to the Brandeis School of Law during my second year in law school. Since my background was in agriculture, we had an instant connection. His expertise in sustainable agriculture, farmland conservation, and property were very influential on my educational career. He helped me appreciate and pursue public service legal careers as opposed to the traditional law firm environment. Additionally, he helped to build confidence in my professional abilities at a time when I was unsure of myself. Even now, if I have any questions or issues, he provides expert insight.
Charlene Taylor was the first person I met when I entered the halls of the law school. She made me feel right at home and allowed her office to be a safe haven away from the rigors of law school. She also helped students who were members of the Black Law Students Association stay engaged with the local legal community, be active participants in law school functions, and thrive in the classroom.
Did you ever doubt your decision to go to law school?
After my first semester in law school I had some doubts that I made the right decision to attend law school. I had always been a very good student and usually received high marks in my classes before coming to law school. Even though I gave my best efforts, my first semester in law school was very challenging. Not receiving the grades that I was used to and expected was definitely a humbling experience, and I was not sure that I wanted to return for the second semester. My long-time mentor, attorney Linda McHenry, helped me to refocus my efforts and master exam writing and understanding legal concepts. With support from her and Professor Arnold my grades and confidence improved dramatically.
What are your future professional goals?
In my professional future I want to pursue a career as a federal administrative law judge. Civically, I would like to volunteer more to improve child literacy within the communities that I serve.
Cinnamon Butler is sure to be a success at whatever she tackles in her future. We congratulate Cinnamon on all of her achievements and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.