A mock trial piqued a young La’Bria Barnes’s ’18 interest while attending Port Gibson High School.
“It was shortly after the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, and I vividly remember tensions being extremely high around the country,” said Barnes. “From that moment, I began looking into the field of law and networking with lawyers to understand their job duties better. From their stories and my research, I realized that there were so many injustices occurring around me, and I wanted to join the fight.”
Since that moment, Barnes has been relentless in pursuing her dream of becoming an attorney. She completed a giant step in her progress by earning a Juris Doctor from the Mississippi College School of Law in May.
Completing the program is one of Barnes’s most significant accomplishments. She’s proud that her hard work and sacrifices have paid off.
“It feels absolutely amazing. There is also a feeling of relief because I have never worked so hard in my life. I have started days as early as 4:30 a.m. to have extra time to complete assignments. I’ve slept as little as two hours after completing so much work. The program is rigorous, but it does pay off.”
Practicing law allows Barnes to explore different avenues to make life easier for her clients. It’s the most satisfying part of her job.
“The most rewarding part of practicing law is the problem-solving aspect. We are trained and educated to sit with people from all walks of life and fight for them from start to finish. I enjoy being able to look at my clients and deliver them a remedy that helps them sleep a little better at night.”
Honing her critical thinking skills is one of the many benefits Barnes received while studying criminal justice at Alcorn. Shadowing seasoned attorneys as an undergraduate equipped her to achieve this milestone.
“I was under the instruction of attorneys before I began law school. They gave me real-world advice and pushed me to pursue my dreams. They have written recommendations for me, taught me more about the criminal justice system, and offered a shoulder to cry on. Alcorn provided me with knowledge, compassionate instructors, and a never-ending network.”
Alcorn also taught Barnes to shine and do her best, even when she thinks no one is watching.
“I learned never to compromise my integrity and continue to do what is right because you never know who is watching. Alcorn taught me never to silence myself or to conform to ways that do not suit my character.”
Barnes’s message to others is to pursue their dreams no matter the circumstances.
“Work hard and never give up. Stay the course, and do not believe the naysayers. You are worthy and capable. You can do this.”