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Meet Lamar C. Brown, Esq.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lamar C. Brown, Esq.

Hi Lamar, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
My story began in one of Chicago’s most devastated, left-out, and forgotten-about communities on Chicago’s south side–Englewood. Food stamps and other public aid were primary forms of currency, the local thrift store was our shopping mall, boarded-up homes were just another porch to chill on, and the sounds of gunshots became nighttime lullabies. This all may sound like struggling, and it was for a Black family living in poverty, but it didn’t exactly feel like it many times. You don’t know what you don’t know. I was a crack baby. My mother and father were drug users, and I was born with prenatal cocaine exposure. My grandmother adopted my siblings and me at a very young age after we were taken from my mother by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). My grandmother’s early retirement and choice to adopt my siblings and me were perhaps the most pivotal moments of my early life. Despite my humble beginnings, I was fortunate enough to have a grandmother who made the coldest nights feel like hot summer days by the way she provided and how she loved–I didn’t always feel poor because she made sure I didn’t.

I went to public school like many other kids from my neighborhood, and because Granny didn’t play that, the entire school knew us by name and had the green light to “straighten us out” when we got out of line. I spent Sundays in a little church on the corner and holidays there until it was dark outside–a lady named Sister McGinnis used to drop us off on the late days. There wasn’t a roadmap for what I wanted for my life; I just knew that I didn’t want to be one of those guys who called me shorty, wishing they’d done it differently. School and church were vehicles I used to navigate the minefield kids faced growing up in the hood.

I played varsity sports in high school, served on the student council, and volunteered often. These helped me discover one of the key ingredients to making it out–discipline and responsibility. I wasn’t the smartest kid–in fact, I never have made an honor roll or dean’s list in my life–but I worked hard for what I wanted and believed in myself. In 2006, I was accepted to one college, Grand Valley State University, and it was there that I truly began to bloom. As the first in my family to attend a 4-year university, I had no road map or safety net. I worked and took out loans to get myself through school, and in 2010 I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree.

After periods of unemployment after college and an initial miss at law school, I began volunteering for a local alderman. In 2013, that alderman took a chance on me, and at 25, I was appointed as an Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for the Chicago City Council, the youngest to hold the post in the city’s history. In that role, I honed my political understanding, skills in legislative strategy, relationship building, and the importance of being ready for the moment. I went back to law school in 2015 at The University of Illinois-Chicago School of Law (formerly The John Marshall Law School) while I led government affairs for a citywide office. For the next four years, I attended law school at night and worked during the day, and in 2019, I earned my Juris Doctorate and realized my grandmother’s sacrifice. Shortly after, I lost my Granny. I failed the Illinois Bar Exam that summer but some of her final words were that I would pass and that she was praying for me. In the summer of 2020, I passed the Illinois Bar Exam and became the first licensed attorney on either side of my family–this was a generational victory. Until this day, I believe my Granny’s prayers continue to protect me.

I applied to many law firms, went on many interviews, and received many of the same responses like, “you have a great experience but not enough legal experience,” or “you’d fit in great here, but we decided to go another way.” Eventually, I decided to bet on myself.

I am now the Principal and Founder of the Law Offices of Lamar C. Brown, LLC. Our mission is to provide affordable, creative, and high-quality legal solutions for everyday people and meet their business and legal challenges through personal attention, zealous advocacy, and professional diligence.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Absolutely not. I did not mention that my first attempt at law school was in 2012 when I uprooted everything and moved to Charlotte, NC. I attended Charlotte School of Law for one year, and after the first semester, I was placed on academic probation. The next semester, I leaned into my faith and worked smarter and harder but still fell short. In the summer of 2013, before semester grades came out, I was granted a 30-day international internship at a Chinese IP law firm. Twelve days into my internship, I was notified that I had been academically dismissed from school. There I was, more than fifteen hours away in a foreign country, with no money and no one to call. I left immediately and was on the next flight back home to America. Due to my expulsion, I no longer enjoyed the benefit of summer loans and was left without any money. I sold many of my belongings, bed, TV, and game system to make my last month’s rent. I was a failure for a moment, and I had given up on my dream of becoming a lawyer.

Granny used to say, “the darkest hour is just before day,” and I guess she was right. I remember reading the Book of Job and was reminded that keeping the faith once you have lost everything makes a difference in reaping a greater reward later. For the next two weeks, I slept on a cot on the floor in my apartment and borrowed a few dollars from friends. Fast forward to nearly ten years later, here I am.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about the Law Offices of Lamar C. Brown, LLC.?
At the Law Offices of Lamar C. Brown, LLC, our mission is to provide affordable, creative, and high-quality legal solutions for everyday people and meet their business and legal challenges through personal attention, zealous advocacy, and professional diligence. We focus much of our work on real estate, estate planning, corporate, and criminal defense. Other services provided to our clients include election law and government relations.

Our clients are who make our firm great! We develop strong relationships with our clients through effective and consistent communication and allow them an inside track to their case each step while we pursue excellence on their behalf. Having a client-centered approach certainly separates us in a crowded field.

I want readers to know that when you work with my firm, you are working with someone who likely shares your story. You are working with someone who doesn’t see you simply as a payday but as a partner and who aims to deliver work product with compassion, empathy, and understanding. People depend on us as attorneys to be their shields, their protection. I hope to deliver the help and safe harbor many seeking counsel deserve.

What characteristic of yours would you give the most credit if you had to?
I believe that my tenacity is the most important quality or characteristic important to my success. Life is hard, and challenges will come, and you may spend more time in the valley than you will on the mountaintop. I have found that with discipline and faith coupled with an indomitable will and an insane belief in yourself, nothing is impossible.

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Image Credits
Jason McCoy Photography

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