Justice Pam B. Jackman Brown has an accomplished, quite decorated history. The Queens resident has worked as a Criminal Defense Attorney, a Law clerk, and as a Supervising Judge for the New York City Housing Court.
In 2009, Justice Jackman Brown was a Civil Court Judge, and in 2010 appointed to sit as an Acting Supreme Court Justice in Queens County.
On November 8th, 2011 Justice Jackman Brown was elected by the Queens Democratic Organization for the New York State Supreme Court.
And it all started for her at BMCC. Jackman Brown graduated in 1979 with a degree in Business Administration.
It began at BMCC
Jackman Brown recently received BMCC’s third annual Distinguished Alumni Award. She was honored with a ceremony in the Hudson Room.
The BMCC Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the life and career achievements of honorable members of the BMCC alumni community.
Business Professor Percy Lambert, who attended the ceremony, was one of Jackman Brown’s mentors when she was a student at BMCC, and the two have remained friends.
Jackman Brown has nothing but fond memories of her time at BMCC. She even taught Business Law courses at BMCC for almost ten years.
After an introduction from President Antonio Pérez—who invited Jackman Brown to come back and teach at BMCC anytime—she spoke about her childhood in New York.
“I’m originally from Guyana. I remembered how hot it was here in the U.S., and my mom telling me this was my new home now,” she recalled, surprising the audience by insisting she was so shy growing up, she’d "turn colors from embarrassment” whenever she was asked to speak aloud in a classroom.
Jackman Brown enrolled in a speech class at BMCC.
“I didn’t realize I actually had to speak in front of the other students,” she laughed. After failed attempts at trying to back out the course—she even sat in the back of the classroom so the speech professor wouldn’t see her— Jackman Brown decided to recite a poem.
“It wasn’t that bad!” she recalled. “I did it! BMCC helped that shy little girl come out of her shell. And the next semester, I enrolled in Speech 2.”
Like most BMCC students, Jackman Brown worked. “I took evening classes and worked at Burger King during the day,” she said, citing math classes as another course she enjoyed.
After her stint at Burger King, Jackman Brown worked as a secretary. One of her colleagues surprised her by handing her a legal dictionary and advising her to attend law school, suggesting she’d make a good lawyer.
Jackman Brown was surprised—she had toyed with the idea of pursuing a medical career and law never really crossed her mind. She enrolled at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and “had internships where I wrote a bunch of essays about correctional institutions,” she recalled.
CUNY Law calls
After she received her BS from John Jay College, Jackman Brown went on to a ‘big name’ law school in Delaware.
“I only stayed in Delaware for two months,” she said. “That’s because CUNY School of Law called me in for an interview. I was initially hesitant—it was a new law school with no real history.”
Jackman Brown followed her intuition and interviewed anyway at CUNY Law. “I heard it was innovative and someone said to me, ‘You should try this school. Everyone will want to hire a student from CUNY Law.’”
She transferred to CUNY School of Law, which she described as “challenging,” and “never regretted my decision.”
Taking a stand
During her Law School years, Jackman Brown interned at various law firms, public relations and government agencies, to see where she’d fit in as a lawyer.
She is a graduate of the first class of CUNY School of Law (’86) and one of its very first judges. Early in her career she worked as a Criminal Defense Attorney and a Law Clerk. She also published several judicial decisions and taught at BMCC.
Currently, Jackman Brown is in her 13th year on the bench after having been appointed in 1998 to the Civil Court of the New York Housing Part where she served until 2009.
Her tenure on the Bench includes Family and Criminal Court, and she is actively involved with several Judicial and Bar Associations holding positions as Officer and Board Member.
During her time as a New York Judge, Jackman Brown learned some important life lessons.
“Children are my passion,” she said. “I speak and stand for them.”
At the Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony, Jackman Brown said she was “looking for little Pams around BMCC.”
She would tell these “little Pam’s” to “stay focused in school and doors will open for you. The keys are there, you just have to learn how to open closed doors,” she said, crediting BMCC for “giving me my legs to stand on, and my voice to speak. It got me where I am today. But you can’t open any doors unless you have an education.”
Jackman Brown advised today’s BMCC students to “be fair and patient,” and told them her courtroom is always opened to interns.
After she was handed her Distinguished Alumni Award by President Pérez and Pat Splendore, Director of the Annual Fund & Alumni Relations, Jackman Brown referred to the BMCC community as “my family.”
“BMCC was the root of my beginnings and I thank BMCC for embracing me and reaching out to me. This is an award I cherish.”
Nursing major Umeda Narzieva attended the award ceremony and had an opportunity to meet Jackman Brown. Narzieva is President of BMCC’s Future Alumni club.
“Pam was wonderful,” said Narzieva. “Her speech motivated me to work even harder and really focus on my next step—enrolling at New York University or Hunter College. She was so inspirational and it’s great we have an alum of her caliber.”