BY C.S. HOWARD
Starcee Brown is a 2009 graduate of Palmetto High School where she was in the National Honor Society, played junior varsity and varsity basketball and was a dual-enrollment student at State College of Florida. She was also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Delta Gems Program and was crowned Miss Debutante 2009.
After graduating from Palmetto, Starcee continued her education at Florida State University, graduating in three years with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology. She received an M.S. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida in 2013 and the Juris Doctorate degree from Stetson University College of Law earlier this month.
As an undergraduate student, Starcee completed an internship at the Bradenton Probation Office in the spring 2012. She participated in the Civilian Police Academy in Orlando and worked as an Intern for the Honorable Judge Edward LaRose of the Second District Court of Appeal during the spring 2015. During this internship, she was able to draft a legal opinion pertaining to class action lawsuits. During the summer of 2015, she was an intern at Legal Aid of Manasota in Sarasota, and in the fall of 2015, she was a Certified Legal Intern at the Pinellas County Public Defender’s office, which provided her with the opportunity to represent indigent individuals who had been accused of a crime.
While in law school, Starcee worked as a Law Clerk for the law firm of Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., employee rights attorneys in Tampa, where she was responsible for preparing demand letters, discovery documents, complaints and charges to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She was also a member of the Stetson University College of Law Trial Team and volunteered with the Stetson Street Law Program, educating middle school students on their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and with the Federal Public Defenders Office Clemency Project which prepares clemency petitions. She also served as historian for the Black Law Student Association, vice president of Stetson Law Parents and treasurer of Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society.
Becoming a lawyer was a goal that Starcee set for herself and never lost sight of, even with challenges she was faced with. “I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to represent people who could not afford representation,” she said. “Specifically, I want to be a public defender because I believe everyone should be afforded quality legal representation, no matter what financial shortfalls they were presented with. I know there has always been a stigma about public defenders not adequately representing people who could not afford a private attorney, so I want to change that.”
“The one challenge I was faced with was becoming a parent during my first semester of law school,” she said. “It was tiring balancing school, internships, being on the trial team and being a single parent. However, even though I entered law school as a part-time student who would be graduating in four years, I was able to convert to a full-time student after a year and a half and still graduate with my incoming class in three years.”
Starcee is now studying to take the Florida Bar exam on July 26th. She is the daughter of Brenda Quaintance and Mitchell Brown.
To what do you attribute your success?
To God and my mother for continuously supporting me throughout my journey to become an attorney.
What advice do you have for a young person today?
Follow your dreams; never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because of where you come from or because of your economic status.