As a veteran herself, Michelle Brady has a passion for veterans law.
When the 2021 University of Kansas School of Law graduate saw an opening to clerk under Judge Amanda Meredith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, she decided to apply. Brady has been clerking with Judge Meredith since October 2022.
As a clerk, Brady works on a few cases at a time. She researches the law that applies to each case, looks through records and reads briefs. A lot of reading and writing goes into the job.
“I honestly love all of it. It’s all my favorite part. Every day, I am so excited. I do not even like stopping. But my real favorite part is reading the briefs,” Brady said.
“It’s fun to see what different attorneys think is appropriate to write or how they state their argument. I am learning so much so that when I become an appellate attorney – that’s my goal – I will have an idea of what it should look like and what is truly persuasive,” she said.
As a non-traditional student and mother of two, Brady was limited in her availability for hands-on learning opportunities at KU Law. One that she chose to take advantage of was moot court. She and her partner competed and learned skills such as reading, writing and oral advocacy.
In her time with the Moot Court Program, Brady formed lifelong relationships. Her competition partner is still a close friend. Her moot court faculty coaches helped Brady land her clerkship. Taking the time to prove her skills to coaches paid off, Brady said.
“I had to do a good job and when they saw that, they were willing to stick their neck out for me a little bit. I wouldn’t be here otherwise,” she said.
Brady ended up at KU Law by a bit of chance, but always felt very welcomed. Her husband is in the Air Force and needed to go to school. He ended up in Leavenworth and KU Law was the best law school nearby. In addition to moot court, Brady was also the president of the Military Law Society. The group gave her a network of veterans to interact with as well as people who were interested in military and veterans law.
Before coming to KU Law, Brady was a helicopter pilot in the Army. After law school, Brady worked as an attorney for the Air Force.
Brady knows how hard law school can be, especially as a non-traditional student with kids. Her advice to current students is to put in the work and take chances when applying. It just might pay off.
“Apply broadly, but don’t be too worked up if they don’t get something. There are plenty of other opportunities out there,” Brady said.
“Be creative and branch out. You don’t even have to be a lawyer; a law degree is helpful in a lot of places,” she said. “Your first semester does not define your career. Try not to stress, maintain a balance and know that things will work out.”
— Sarah Pickel