Alum Carving Path in Legal Field
Grace Braun was born in China and adopted from a Chinese orphanage when she was a year old. Her parents raised her and her sister with Christian faith and values and always encouraged them to share their gifts and talents with others. As a child, when asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ she would answer, ‘A mighty woman of God.’ In high school, her natural love for reading, writing, and research ignited her interest in pursuing a career in the legal field.
A member of HCU’s Honors College, President of the Pre-Law Society, and member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Braun graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0-grade point average in 2020 with a degree in Legal Studies.
Led by her faith and her desire to help others, Braun traveled to Vietnam and visited orphanages with Grace & Hope for Children board members to investigate the possibility of starting foster care programs in Vietnamese orphanages, an issue close to her heart. She is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Texas (UT) School of Law and serves as Managing Editor of the Texas Review of Law and Politics and Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review. She is also a member of the Texas Federalist Society. Braun was designated by the UT School of Law as one of the top 16 students in her class. She also applied for and accepted two clerkships (one for a federal district judge and a second with a judge on the Circuit Court of Appeals) which means that she will have the qualifications to potentially clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In this special Q & A, Braun shares a personal account of her journey at HBU and the foundation the University provided in her pursuit of a legal career, her thoughts on the Morris Family Center for Law and Liberty, and her desire to activate her faith to help others.
Q. What led you to enroll at HCU and how was the University pivotal in preparing you for a career in the legal field?
A. I chose to attend HCU because of its Legal Studies program, which Dr. Tyler described as teaching students how to become lawyers. The Legal Studies program taught me the history, principles, and ideals of the Anglo-American legal system, and Dr. Tyler’s classes were foundational to my belief in originalist and textualist methods of interpretation. I also was an Honors College student, which prepared me well for the heavy reading loads and Socratic method of law school.
Q. What are your thoughts on the Morris Family Center for Law & Liberty complex?
A. I love the idea of studying the law in a building modeled after Independence Hall. As an originalist, I believe that the correct meaning of the Constitution is the meaning that the words had at the time they were written and ratified. Learning about the American Constitution and laws in an environment that pays homage to the Founding era is perfect to get into that mindset. I hope the new Center will draw students interested in the history of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and our great legal system to HCU and encourage them in their studies.
Q. What would you say to a prospective student about attending your alma mater and pursuing a degree in the Legal Studies program?
A. I would highly recommend pursuing a Legal Studies degree at HBU [recently renamed Houston Christian University]. It was incredibly beneficial to me to learn about the foundational values and history of the legal system, and I think very highly of all the professors in the program. Dr. Tyler, in particular, has been an incredible mentor to me, and I am so grateful that he encouraged me to come to HCU.
Q. Where do you envision yourself in 5 years?
A. I am currently in my third and final year in law school, and then I will spend a year clerking for Judge Hendrix and a year clerking for Judge Elrod. After that, I plan on practicing in Big Law in Houston as a trial or appellate litigator.
Q. What impact would you like to have in your future legal career and what issues do you hold close to your heart?
A. I certainly don’t know what the future will hold, but I do know that I want to be the best attorney I can be for clients and for the less fortunate. I am very interested to see how the jurisprudence around abortion and substantive due process changes after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, although I’m not sure what role I might play there. Whatever I do, I hope to live up to the ideals and values that my parents and mentors have instilled in me and will trust God to lead me on the way.