Class of 2004
Professor of Legal Writing & Lecturer in Law, University of Miami School of Law
Shakira Pleasant has worked in several different areas of the law since she graduated from McGeorge, and there's no question to her that she has found her niche as a law professor. "I know that I am impacting lives," she says.
Prior to her current role as professor legal writing at University of Miami School of Law, Shakira was an associate professor at Savannah School of Law, Shakira had several years of adjunct teaching experience at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, during which time she also worked as a litigator with the District of Columbia Attorney General's office. Prior to that, she also worked for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"I enjoyed the competitive nature of litigating," says Shakira, "but over time I found that I got more joy out of teaching."
She recalls an email a former student sent her that was both moving and affirming of her path to academia. "The student had graduated, passed the bar, and gotten her first job," says Shakira. "I felt pleased to have helped teach her some of the skills she needed for a successful career."
Shakira says she knew from the time she was in high school that she wanted to be a lawyer. Her father's career as a psychiatrist was not one she wanted to follow, and family members told her they thought her inquisitive nature made law a good choice. "I think what they really meant but were too polite to say was that I was nosey and liked to argue!" says Shakira.
At McGeorge, Shakira was a member of the Phillip C. Jessup Moot Court Team and has fond memories of beating UC Berkeley in the regional round and advancing to the international rounds in Washington, D.C. "I really appreciate Professor Eric McElwain giving me the opportunity to be on that team," says Shakira.
She also acknowledges other McGeorge faculty — John E.B. Myers, Lexis Allen, Kristine Burks, and Wanda Hill Rouzan — who guided her development, particularly in the areas of legal research and writing, which Pleasant now specializes in teaching.
She advises current law students to chase their dreams but remain flexible. "If there is something in your heart, you should pursue it!" she says.
"I am blessed," says Shakira. "I'm thankful for the path that I've traveled and grateful to embrace the next steps of my journey."