Garnette Bond

Master of Legal Studies (MLS)
Brunswick, Maine

Why did you decide to earn your master’s with @WashULaw?

I live in Maine, where there is only one law school — and that school does not offer a master’s. When I researched programs, Washington University School of Law consistently came up as not only a top-20 ranked law school but also as a program designed to give students a real law school experience from afar.

What career or personal goals motivated you to pursue a deeper understanding of legal procedures in the U.S.?

My personal experience with the legal system in my state inspired me to develop a better understanding of the law. I was a victim of the way the law does not work. I felt obligated and inspired to shed light on an area that people often overlook until they are jolted into it.

How does this degree fit into your career plan?

I decided, after much soul searching, that I did not want to be a practicing attorney. However, the law is part of everything I want to do — which is advocate for the disenfranchised people in the legal system. This is a degree that offers me an edge in that area. I don’t have to be a lawyer to advocate for legal services for the poor, but I must understand the law and our system.

What are your goals upon graduating?

The simple answer is: I want to make a difference. The complex answer is that I would like to use my business, sales and lived experience to change the landscape for those who cannot afford legal representation in this country. I want to find a way to advocate for those who do not know where to turn when they are engulfed in legal troubles.

How do online classes benefit your lifestyle?

I am a single mother of three children, so the online class environment is like being able to participate in a live discussion without ever leaving my house. And I can choose classes after bedtime!

Can you describe what it is like to participate in a law program in an online setting?

I have found it to be much like a classroom setting, which is well suited for me. I interact (verbally and visually) with other classmates as well as the professor. There are homework assignments and then class to discuss the materials. Everyone is accountable and all viewpoints are heard.

What is your favorite class?

My favorite class, thus far, has been Contracts — and I never thought I’d say that! I was nervous, but the level of research and references to the UCC and Second Restatement, along with my great professor and asynchronous material, really taught me how to think about the law.

How do you see yourself making a difference with your degree?

Ideally, I would like to obtain a leadership position in an existing nonprofit or start a new one. I want to focus on advocacy for prison and judicial reform. I believe an awareness of our law is something that everyone is entitled to, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Law should not only serve the top 10 percent.