Brenda Redmond í95: Excels in Department of Educationís Civil Rights Office
Brenda Redmond ’95, a senior staff attorney at the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in Cleveland, had her initial glimpse into the complexities of civil rights as an undergraduate student at Ohio State. “I did some research as a journalism major for articles on minority issues,” she said.
She continued her education by joining the class of 1995 at the Moritz College of Law. Coming out of law school, she sought opportunities in employment law that dealt in large part with discrimination. Her first job after graduating from Moritz was working at Cloppert, Latanick, Sauter & Washburn, a labor and employment law firm, doing employment litigation.
After working in litigation for more than five years, she applied for and was hired at her current position. With her background in employment law, she chose a job that would enable her to use her expertise in civil rights.
A large portion of what she does for OCR is investigating civil rights complaints filed against school districts and other public entities that fall within OCR’s jurisdiction. “Unfortunately, discrimination in many forms is still a big problem in our society. I feel lucky to have a job at an agency that is designed to help prevent and address discrimination,” she said.
Redmond said that because each of the complaints that she handles must be addressed on a case-by-case she appreciates the variety. “You deal with novel legal questions. Civil rights can be extremely complex, especially when it comes to disability issues,” she said.
Redmond said that the most rewarding part of her job is helping children with disabilities get the services that they deserve. “Civil rights is an extremely complex area of law, but it is also extremely rewarding,” she said. “Our agency can have a tremendous impact, I think especially for individuals with disabilities, as the majority of the cases we handle involve allegations of disability discrimination.”
Although she enjoys her job, Redmond sees being an attorney as simply what she does – not who she is. With interests spanning outside of practice, Redmond is a well-rounded Renaissance woman.
“I don’t mind being a lawyer. I do like my job, but it’s not the end all be all of what I do,” she said. “There are other aspects in my life that I find much more interesting.”
Redmond, who acted in high school and college, is involved in community theater in Cleveland and has shot three commercials in the past year. Her most recent commercial featured a Teflon tablecloth. “You’ll probably see it at 3 a.m. on the Travel Channel,” she said with a laugh.
She is also an avid traveler and will be visiting Peru this summer with fellow ’95 alum, Katie Augustine.