September 14, 2021
Kamani Cook-Christian grew up in Newark and attended high school near Rutgers Law School.

Talk about yourself and your background
I am a Newark native, and I am the first person in my family to go to law school!  I went to high school right around the corner from Rutgers Law. I studied English and Sociology at Lafayette College for my undergraduate degree as a Posse Scholar. I started teaching at a charter school in Newark called North Star Academy (my middle school and high school alma mater) right after college. I taught kindergarten for three years and completed my Masters in Teaching before I took the steps to go to law school during my fourth year of teaching. Although teaching had many beautiful moments, I realized I wanted more and something different for the life I envisioned for myself. 

Talk about your journey to Rutgers Law School
Going to law school was something my friends used to tease me about because I am known to be very passionate and always down for a good debate. I even had professors in undergrad try to convince me to give law school a thought, but I wasn’t so sure of myself then. When I received an opportunity to start teaching, although I never thought of teaching as future career, I gave it a shot. Fast forward, I taught for three years and completed my master’s degree and didn’t feel the fulfillment or challenge I expected from my career. I’m a scholar at heart so I revisited those law school conversations and eventually became more and more sure that this is what I wanted to do. I completed my fourth year of teaching full time, prepared for and took the LSAT twice, and completed all my application materials during the pandemic. It was a crazy ride but I’m so glad to be here! 

What appealed to you about Rutgers Law? 
Rutgers Law was my number one choice. I always knew I was going to do service work in the career I picked for myself and that’s where Rutgers sold me. Beyond that, it’s in the heart of the city I grew up in and love! Going to law school at home gives me more opportunities to be involved in my city and just learning more about what happens here. I also loved that Rutgers had the MSP program. A former law student told me about MSP while I was applying to Rutgers and that I would want to be a part of MSP for sure!  After starting here and starting with MSP I can say, I feel this sense community and have met so many amazing people already. It’s truly inspiring!

What are your goals and hopes for your post-law school career?
My hope for my law career is to be a voice for those whose voices either can’t be heard and whose voices are strategically ignored. I love helping people and I know I’m doing the right thing when I’m doing the best I can to help people. I also want people who look like me to see more people like them doing amazing work and for those people to also feel like someone’s looking out for them. 

I would love to work for the government in some capacity. The legal field already isn’t very saturated with people of color, so I know that translates into those government positions and spaces especially with our military and legislative positions. Besides that, I’ve been very interested in intellectual property and entertainment law from research I’ve conducted on my own. I know those things are on two very different ends of the spectrum when thinking about law, but I don’t really know where my legal education will take me. I just know the Responsibility I carry as a Black woman in the legal field, and I accept that responsibility wholeheartedly. And I know no matter what I end up doing, I will be making an impact.

 

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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