Georgia state law professor Brandy Owens Domengeaux has always distinguished himself. As a kid who lived in Mobile, Ala. and later growing up in Albemarle, NC, she just finished high school.

In the second grade, Domengeaux decided to become a lawyer and teacher, despite being discouraged by others. She remained steadfast in her pursuit. Today she is doing both as Senior Lecture of Law, teaching Lawyering Foundations and Legal Writing and Analysis for LL.M. Law Faculty students.

However, she took a somewhat unconventional route to get here. Domengeaux earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winston-Salem State University. Before studying law, she taught second and fifth grades, and she says the lessons she learned during her time as an elementary school teacher now stick with her.

“During my first year of apprenticeship in second grade, I had students who were reading in kindergarten and others who were reading in eighth grade,” said Domengeaux. “My job was to ensure that every student, regardless of their level, is supported, encouraged and challenged to reach their full potential. Keeping that in mind helps me to this day as a law professor, especially teaching a basic course. “

After teaching elementary school, Domengeaux was ready to fulfill the other half of her lifelong dream. She knew that because of the close environment, cultural connections, and opportunity to build lifelong relationships with professors and colleagues, she wanted to attend a law degree at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). She went to the Southern University Law Center in Louisiana, where she immersed herself in public relations. During the summer of her freshman year in law school, she worked with the Innocence Project New Orleans on a case that exonerated a client who had spent nearly 28 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.

Domengeaux graduated from the top of her class in law and worked for Lightfoot, Franklin and White in Birmingham, Alabama for several years before moving to Atlanta to work as a corporate law attorney for King & Spalding. However, motherhood marked a turning point in her life.

“I was the only member of my team with a child at the time, and we were the largest practice group in the firm,” says Domengeaux.

She was looking for an opportunity in the academic world to find balance. She was enlisted by the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta to teach writing classes, and during her tenure she also helped develop bar exam preparation programs. There she taught for four years before practicing again for a short time at Greenberg Traurig. Then a chance encounter with Professor Maggie Vath and Professor emerita Anne Emmanuel in 2015 brought her Georgia State Law.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to prepare the next generation of practicing lawyers,” said Domengeaux. “In my classroom, my students are the junior attorneys and I are the senior attorney, and my goal is to teach them the skills to think, analyze, write, and read like a lawyer, to be eager for their clients to enter. ”

In addition to teaching, Domengeaux supports students in developing study strategies for law school and for the bar exam. She also works with students to help them hone their time management. Most importantly, she encourages her to take care of herself and find her own way in the right as she did. Going from elementary school teacher to lawyer to law professor may be an unexpected path, but it’s not impossible.

“I tell the students, ‘This is your trip,’” added Domengeaux. “We are not all meant to occupy the same space.”

Written by Kelundra Smith