A nontraditional student finds his calling in law

Brandon Redmon
Photo by Tony Nelson.

It was while working as a truck driver in his mid 20s—transporting everything from beer and seafood to gas and hazardous materials—that first-year law student Brandon Redmon experienced an incident of discrimination where he had to take legal action against his employer.
“Going through that process was definitely challenging,” he says. “But I came out of it thinking, ‘Wow this was interesting. I could possibly do this.’ And then I had a great attorney who motivated me and said, ‘Hey Brandon, you’d be good at this.’”
When he later encountered a similar incident at a different company, Redmon—then in his mid-30s and a father of four—resolved to go back to school and pursue a law degree. This fall, he began his first year at the U of M Law School, supported by the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law.
The endowed scholarship in George Floyd’s name, created in June 2020 following Floyd’s death at the hands of police, is designed to provide critical financial support for underrepresented students, and Black or African American students in particular, in pursuing careers in law and achieving their dreams.
For Redmon, receiving the scholarship has evoked complex and bittersweet emotions. On one hand, he is excited by the opportunities it will help make possible. On the other, George Floyd’s name carries a lot of weight and hurt for him as a Black man. 
“It’s wonderful to honor him by being a recipient of the scholarship, but at the same time it reminds me of the work that needs to be done,” he says. “It reminds me of injustices that happen in our country, in our state. It also reminds me that there are good folks out there, and how the community rallied up and tried to change the trajectories.”

{"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/twin-cities.umn.edu/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/bjJvidFIFPU.jpg?itok=_gzPGp4D","video_url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjJvidFIFPU&feature=emb_logo","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}

Redmon is originally from North Carolina but lived in California for the last dozen years. His return to school began at Los Medanos College, a community college in Pittsburg, CA. After graduation, he went on to the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in American studies, a field that explored subjects such as the sociology of culture and what defines race and ethnicity.
While Redmon is interested in fields like labor law and civil rights law, he plans to stay open to other areas of study, as long as his future career gives him the opportunity to help people.
Redmon says he comes from a lower socioeconomic background and was a foster youth earlier in his life. Having overcome obstacles and reached this point as a nontraditional student, he emphasizes that it’s never too late to go back to school.
“It doesn’t matter what background you’re from, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been out of academia,” he says. “You can always jump back into it.”
Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law Fund.


This story was adapted from the summer 2021 issue of Minnesota Law.