Dr. Vanessa Brown JD '15

Law student Vanessa Brown

As a physician in Stamford Hospital's emergency room, Dr. Vanessa Brown sees her share of trauma.

From domestic violence incidents and end of life decisions to malpractice suits and doctors' contracts, legal matters often arise in the hospital setting. Many doctors don't know enough about the law, Brown explains.

She realized that a law degree could make her a better doctor, and decided to apply to law school. "In the ER, I'm helping people one by one. I want to have a broader impact," she says.

Now a first-year law student at Quinnipiac, Brown continues to work part-time in the ER while raising her two young children and niece along with her husband.

"The [health care] system we have now isn't optimal," says Brown. The system should be focused on the needs of the patient, not on what's best for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, she explains.

She considered other avenues for achieving her goal of improving public policy on health care and bioethics, but ultimately decided that the law offered the most breadth. Law school is helping her decide "where my energies are going to pay off the most" in the future.  

Making the decision to return to school wasn't easy, says Brown, who graduated from UCLA medical school in 1995. "If this was easy for me, I would've done it 20 years ago," she says with a laugh. "The law is outside of my comfort zone."

Having a mentor at the law school and the support of classmates has helped ease the transition, she says.  

Brown wanted a law school that would nurture her growth and invest in her. Quinnipiac School of Law fit the bill. She knew from the moment she received a handwritten note from the dean of admissions along with her acceptance letter.

She is impressed by the caliber of both her classmates and her professors.

"People here have a standard of excellence in the way they teach," Brown says. "The professors are inspired by and excited about the material. Teaching is their priority."


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