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Memphis attorney gives back to organization who helped spark her legal dreams

“Seeing somebody who looks like you makes a difference," Memphis attorney Brooke Benjamin said. The transactional lawyer is now giving back to where she started.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It is interesting how everything in life can come full circle.

That is the case for a Memphis attorney who got her start with a local internship program and now gives back to others.

Each moment turns a page in life’s book.

“Think about when you read a book, you know," Butler Snow LLP Attorney Brooke Benjamin said. "The thing that really stands out is a climax or a set point—when that person faced adversity and what they did after it. That's what makes a beautiful story.” 

Benjamin’s story is one of both trial and triumph. Going into her junior year of high school in 2011, Benjamin joined the Memphis Bar Association’s Summer Law Internship Program (also known as SLIP). It is a program for minorities interested in law.

“I can't remember exactly in high school what drew my interest," she said. "It was probably just the way it looked on TV [and] not really having seen other people like me in that setting. Seeing somebody who looks like you makes a difference.”

Credit: MBA

It is a difference that kept Benjamin motivated. 

“One of my mentors—still my mentor today—Nicole Grida was somebody who I met during that process,” she said.

That connection was instrumental as an exciting time in her life turned into one of her hardest trials.

“During that time, when I was an intern, my mother was sick," Benjamin said. "Shortly thereafter, that summer, she actually ended up passing away. By no means is it easy to lose a parent, and to lose somebody close or to face different forms of adversity in your life, but that's life.”

The pages keep turning. Benjamin pushed through her chapter of SLIP with the help of her mentor, Nicole Grida. 

“She was a really good mentor—making sure she always stayed close in that time of need and my family's need,” Benjamin said.

Staying in the program helped her get the legal experience she needed. 

“It still is nice to be able to go in the courtroom, especially," she said. "It's easy to have an opportunity to meet judges to see what goes on in a deposition.” 

Now, after graduating from the University of Memphis, Ole Miss School of Law and the University of Florida, Benjamin has completed her goal. 

“I'm a transactional lawyer, so I do real estate,” Benjamin said. “I told my mother, when I was younger, I'm going to be a lawyer ... I think she would be very proud or just very happy. And again, just wanting me to continue to be—not only a mentor to other people—but also pouring into my siblings.”

As another chapter opens, Benjamin’s story comes full circle. 

“It's like, wow, I can't believe I'm now on the other side," she said. "I'm on the board of this program.”

She is now pouring into other what the program poured into her. 

“Just take it a day at a time. You know? Life is not a sprint," she said. "It is a marathon and a journey. Most importantly, it's your journey ... make it your journey.”

Credit: Brooke Benjamin

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