March 16, 2012 | 1:23 p.m.
By Nicole Finsaas '14
Jay Milbrandt '04 is a human rights lawyer working for global justice.
Business alum Jay Milbrandt ’04 earned his law degree in 2008, but instead of joining a prominent law practice, he decided to take a different road, traveling the world to bringing justice and healing in other countries. Milbrandt is an attorney and the director of the Global Justice Program and associate director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion, and Ethics at Pepperdine University School of Law. He travels regularly throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America as a human rights lawyer, focusing on fixing broken justice systems. He has provided children with proper identification so they can go to school, prepared cases for children in prison who would otherwise be forgotten, and helped resettle refugees. “My goal,” he says, “is to look at how these systems are breaking down, and see if we can find a creative approach to resolving the problem so that [the systems] functions properly, particularly for the poor.”
Milbrandt says Bethel provided the foundations for his work in global justice. “While I was in college,” he explains, “[global justice work] was not on my radar as a plausible career path. Yet, I can see how the foundations for it were built during my time at Bethel. I fondly remember attending chapel services where globally-focused speakers planted seeds deep inside of me.”
Studying abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during his freshman year was also a significant experience. “It was that trip that truly opened my mind to the world, showed me some of its greatest challenges, and pushed me far beyond my comfort zone,” he says. His journey continued with a trip to Thailand, where he felt God’s call to make global justice his ministry. Now he travels regularly to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, seeking to fulfill that call.
While a large part of Milbrandt’s job involves his work overseas, he says that in order to be effective, he needs to tell each story upon his return. For this, he has many outlets, including a blog, speaking engagements, showing his photography, and creating films to share his message. In May, Milbrandt’s first book, Go and Do, will be released. The book challenges Christians to step out of their comfort zones and engage in justice and healing, “going and doing” as Jesus did.