Brennan Aberle featured “fighting for the underdog”
“I get to be the person who’s there for someone when no one else is there,” said Elon Law alumnus Brennan Aberle in a News & Record article about the Guilford County Public Defender’s Office.
The Feb. 17 article notes that the 22-attorney Guilford County Public Defender’s Office, which represents people who cannot afford to hire an attorney, handled close to 11,000 clients in 2012. Aberle L'12 is an assistant public defender in Guilford County.
The article describes Aberle’s family history of legal advocacy for the disadvantaged, noting that he and his two brothers were each named after U.S. Supreme Court justices and that his father is an appellate public defender in Louisiana.
“I deal with a lot of people who may not have gotten a good break in life,” Aberle said. “And it’s my job to try to mitigate the harm against them. … And if I can get a break for, say, a 16-year-old girl who made a mistake, maybe that’s the break that steers her on a better path. I love that. To me that’s incredibly rewarding.”
As a student at Elon Law, Aberle served as president of the law school's chapter of the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. During the summer of 2011, Aberle clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, Staff Attorney’s Office, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was one of 33 members of his class to receive a North Carolina Bar Association Pro Bono Recognition Award for performing at least 75 hours of pro bono service. He received the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Student Advocacy Award, which recognizes a graduating student for demonstrated commitment to public service and excellence in trial and/or appellate advocacy skills. Aberle was selected by his classmates to deliver the student address at Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2012, when he said that Elon Law inspires community and leadership.
“I walked through the doors of the law school alone, but I walked out of them with every single one of you,” Aberle told his classmates at graduation in 2012. “You all have a positive view of what a lawyer does and all of you were willing to take a risk to do something great. I don’t doubt the moral convictions of my peers for one moment. I believe that we are all capable of being heroes. We have the chance to create a new culture, if only we are willing to remember that we have the power to do it. This task may seem insurmountable, but fortunately you are Phoenix.”