10 Questions: Sahr A.M. Brima

Sahr-Brima-3001. What’s your elevator speech?

I have two of them. The one I say in the elevator, as a vocal clarity and strength technique, before presentations is Marc Antony’s monologue in Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene II. (I have a theater background.) My other speech: I’m a problem solver. I use my God-given gifts and legal acumen to resolve complex issues for clients in various industries.  If I don’t know how to resolve your problem, I most likely know someone who does.

2. Why did you decide to go to law school?

I realized becoming the next Denzel Washington was largely a selfish ambition. I also studied economic development in college and found that a strong rule of law with robust protections for intellectual property and fair corporate compliance standards leads to wealth creation and growing economies (all things being equal). This in turn usually leads to flourishing communities, strong civil societies, and stable democracies. 

3. As a young lawyer, have there been any surprises for you in the practice of law?  

I expected most of the challenges of private practice; I even welcomed them. I’m surprised, however, by how personally impactful, rewarding, and enjoyable the practice of law can be. I’m also surprised to learn that I’ve reached a point in my career where I know enough to know what I’m talking about. Being a new lawyer means constant practice in humility and four years of practice has done wonders for me. Just ask my wife!

4. What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

There’s nothing more rewarding than to be honored with a client’s trust and solve a problem that makes a tangible difference in a client’s life and or business. Seeing the positive ripple effects of excellent client service makes the often-arduous process worth it.

5. You were born in Sierra Leone and your family fled civil war. How does that experience influence who you are today? 

The experience of being a civil war refugee has shaped me in more ways than I’m likely aware of. Positively, I’m extremely adaptable and can find a way to thrive in nearly any context. I’m also very good at reading people or situations and identifying possible risks and opportunities. With regard to practicing law, it has given me an unshakeable conviction that the law can be a tremendous force for making this world more just and equitable. I also have a profound sense of gratitude for all the privileges I enjoy today. The fact that I survived when so many others didn’t brings a certain gravity to my life and work. It’s a blessing that I’m determined not to be found unworthy of.     

6. In May 2019, you were admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar. What does that mean to you?

Becoming the first Sierra Leonean-American to be admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar was easily one of the most significant events of my career so far. It’s no secret that for a very long time in this country, people who look like me or come from where I’m from were considered “unfit” and categorically denied access to this Court—whose decisions have shaped their very lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. In light of this reality, getting admitted wasn’t just about me. It was a symbolic moment of black, immigrant dignity and excellence; a moment to highlight our achievements in spite of institutional racism and xenophobia. 

7. Winter is just around the corner. What’s your favorite winter activity? 

My favorite winter activity is staying as warm as possible. This can look like sitting by a fireplace with a great piece of literature in one hand and a heavenly baked good from my wife in the other, working up a sweat while shoveling snow, or dragging my kids around on a sled. 

8.When you’re not in the office, you are...

On a date with my wife, spending time with my family and our church community, playing soccer in a local adult league, mentoring, or reading literature and nerdy science fiction.

9. If you were stranded on a desert island with only one book, it would be...

My Bible, of course! Or a solar-powered Kindle with my Bible, everything written by J.R.R. Tolkien, Dostoyevsky, Augustine, Richard Wright, C.S. Lewis, and the complete Harry Potter series.   

10. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? 

On the cover of GQ and Time as the next Idris Elba or Denzel Washington!  Otherwise, I see myself as a distinguished partner. I’d also like to be part of something that creates significant value for society while maintaining a reputation for excellent client service, love for people, and a humble dependence on Jesus.