A Letter to My Younger Self

Bob Hunter, a white man with grey hair and wire-rimmed glasses, wears a white button-down shirt and pale blue tie and a black judge's robe.By Bob Hunter

Bobby Cooke (now Bob Hunter),

Here I am Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division, Justice on the Cherokee Supreme Court, Chairman of the North Carolina Property Tax Commission, former North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge, and former member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. How in the world did a child from a meager home in Marion, North Carolina, whose father was an alcoholic and left home when I was five and never contacted my mother or me again, accomplish this?

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Taking a Different Path: Alternative Legal Careers

Maya, a Black woman with black hair, wears a white blouse and maroon blazer.By Maya Davis

On March 22, 2024, the New Lawyers in Practice Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association hosted a panel event: “Taking a Different Path: Alternative Legal Careers.” The dynamic panel included the following speakers: Alexandra Davis, Managing Editor at Public Discourse; Debra Hamilton, Certified Mediator (Animal Conflicts); Kearra Richardson, Project Review Analyst; Sarah Clayton, Director of ADR at the American Arbitration Association; and Najib Azam, Senior Risk Manager at UBS.

Every story has a beginning, and at the beginning of the event, panel attendees first learned about the pivotal moment, or moments, that led the panelists to choose an alternative career path. While some panelists knew right away that they didn’t want to practice or litigate, some panelists litigated and stepped away from litigating after several years. A common thread seemed to be that everyone found their perfect niche and had a unique story to finding that path, whether they discovered it immediately after law school or years later.

Another commonality every panelist shared was the benefit of having a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Najib Azam believes this degree can set you apart in non-attorney roles. The J.D. will often lead people to hold you to an esteemed degree, but with great power comes great responsibility. Going through the rigor of the law and the bar often reflects the analytical and problem-solving skills people have. Kearra Richardson and Debra Hamilton encouraged the guests to obtain additional certifications which will allow for greater knowledge, new skills, and better communication in an ever-changing society.

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Searching for Volunteers for the Grab-a-Coffee Program: Summer 2024

Alex Gwynn is a Black woman with black hair and brown eyes. She is wearing a red and white shirt, black glasses, and dark jacket.Will, a white man with brown hair, wears a white shirt, blue and yellow striped tie, and black suit.Matt, a white man with brown hair, wears a pale blue shirt, grey suit, and mint green tie.By Alex Gwynn, Matt Meinel and Will Robertson

Do you have time to grab a cup of coffee? Instead of taking this one to go, how about spending thirty meaningful minutes with a future lawyer?

A half hour of your time is all we need to make this program a success! We are seeking attorney volunteers to connect with a law student and pass on the valuable insights you have about succeeding in law school and entering the practice of law. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this attorney sign-up form (law students can sign up with this student sign-up form). If you have signed up during a previous GaC session, you will need to sign up again.

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The Professor Who Changed the Trajectory of My Career

Lauren, a white woman with long brown hair, wears a black turtleneck.By Lauren Jones 

I came into law school having no interest in commercial law. So, how did I spend the past summer in Rome drafting international factoring law at a prestigious international institution? How did I get the opportunity to spend my fall break presenting at the 14th Annual Transnational Commercial Law Professor Conference? The answer: an outstanding professor who believed in me and taught me how commercial law can be more than it seems.

During my first week of 1L, the older students warned me about Professor Gabriel. I was told he was an “old-school” law professor with high expectations for his students. Hence, I was nervous when winter term came around because I had him for Contracts. Going into the first class, I was expecting someone who would do his thing and leave, not caring whether or not we understood the material. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. It was evident from the first day that, although his humor was extremely dry, he cared about the material and hoped we would, too. As the trimester continued, I knew I would take every class he offered. Fast forward one year and two more classes with Professor Gabriel: it was my 2L Winter trimester, and I figured I would ask Professor Gabriel how to get involved in this field of law. He asked me if I had an internship lined up for the summer and if I was open to international travel. Read more

Volunteer Judges Needed for Elon Law Appellate Oral Arguments

By Megan Reilly-Dreas 

Elon University School of Law appreciates all the support from the legal community and welcomes volunteers for this year’s 17th Annual Intramural Moot Court Competition and Legal Method & Communication (LMC) oral arguments at Elon Law. The LMC arguments will be held from Monday through Thursday, May 13-16, at various times during the day between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The Intramural Moot Court Competition will be held on Monday and Tuesday, May 20-21, with rounds at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. We would ask that judges arrive at the law school at least 15 minutes before their argument time. You will be sent the appellate brief problem and bench brief for review before the oral arguments.

To volunteer for the LMC arguments (Week of May 13) and/or the Intramural Moot Court Competition (Week of May 20), please complete the Registration Form as soon as possible and by Wednesday, May 8. The registration form will allow you to sign up for oral arguments during either or both weeks. If you have questions, please contact Kelly Moye at Elon Law via email or by phone at (336) 279-9304).

Thank you again for your consideration of this request. We appreciate your support of Elon University School of Law, and we hope to see you soon.

Practicing Mindfulness During Exam Season

Aleycia, a Black woman with black hair, wears a navy blue blouse and pearl necklace. Rachel, a Black woman with black hair with blond highlights, wears a pale grey suit and clear glasses. By Aleycia Ballantyne and Rachel Cleveland

Navigating through finals season can often feel like traversing a marathon of stress and anxiety, and as NCBA law student representatives at UNC, we understand the weight of this challenge all too well. As we gear up for impending exams, it’s crucial to acknowledge the toll it can take on our mental well-being. To support you during this demanding time, we’ve compiled a few strategies that have helped us to manage stress and approach exams with confidence and tranquility.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the unsung hero of productivity: sleep. We’ve all been inundated with the age-old advice to prioritize sleep, yet it’s astonishing how often we ignore it. Personally, I used to pride myself on burning the midnight oil, believing that sacrificing sleep was synonymous with dedication. However, I soon learned that this mentality is not sustainable in the long run. I discovered that by establishing a bedtime routine and consciously disconnecting from screens and study materials by midnight, I reclaimed a semblance of balance. While I may not always achieve eight hours of sleep, prioritizing rest has significantly enhanced my cognitive clarity and resilience, ultimately empowering me to tackle the day’s challenges with renewed vigor.

Next up: planning and preparation. While pursuing perfection may seem enticing, our goal instead should be to cultivate a sense of order amidst the chaos. Start by outlining your priorities for the weeks ahead, then break down these objectives into manageable tasks on a weekly and daily basis. By adopting a systematic approach, you can alleviate unnecessary stress and maintain control over your workload. Read more

Government & Public Sector Section’s Annual Scholarship

Kayla, a woman with dark brown hair, wears a pale pink blouse, bright pink jacket, and gold fairy pin on the lapel.By Kayla Britt

The North Carolina Bar Association’s Government & Public Sector, Criminal Justice, and Zoning, Planning & Land Use Sections are pleased to solicit applications for the 2024 Government & Public Sector Section Annual Summer Internship Scholarship! We anticipate awarding six $1,000 scholarships to law students completing their summer internships in a government entity.

Eligible candidates are currently enrolled in an accredited ABA law school, are working without compensation in a government law office (i.e., city, county, state, or federal) in North Carolina at least one half of the summer of 2024, and demonstrate a commitment to serving in government or public sector law offices. The scholarship money must go directly to the recipient. Each recipient must write an article describing their experience and the benefits of their summer internship. Each article will be considered for publication in the online NCBarBlog platform hosted by the Government & Public Sector Section.

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The Pragmatic and Transformational Impacts of Leadership Development in the Legal Profession

Clare, a white law student with shoulder-length brown hair, wears a grey button-down shirt, black jacket and pearl earrings.

Clare Magee

Benjamin, a white man with a brown beard, wears a white shirt, gold tie and black jacket. He stands with a brick building behind him.

Benjamin Rigney

By Clare Magee and Benjamin Rigney

Lawyers are facing increasingly difficult questions about what it means to be part of the legal profession in the twenty-first century. How can lawyers navigate shifting generational dynamics in the workplace? What can lawyers do to adapt to the advent of legal tech and artificial intelligence? How should lawyers advise clients in an environment of rapidly evolving jurisprudence in a number of practice areas?

According to Benjamin Rigney, Assistant Director for Leadership and Character in the Law School at Wake Forest School of Law, lawyers can begin to answer some of these questions by cultivating character-based leadership practices within the legal profession.

Many lawyers view themselves as specialists and technicians – masters of black letter rules and standard forms whose contributions to the legal profession are defined by what they can do rather than who they are. Certainly, knowledge of the law is foundational to the profession. But Rigney suggests that leadership is an equally important component of lawyering: “Lawyers are influencers in the sense that so much of a lawyer’s work involves guiding people towards making a decision. People come to lawyers because they want advice – we are counselors at law.”

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A Letter to My Younger Self

Patti, a white woman with shoulder-length blond hair, wears a blue suit. In the background is blurred foliage. By Patti Ramseur

Dear Patti (age 26),

You just graduated law school, got married, and started your clerkship with Judge Walker. You will learn so much from Judge Walker! He is a great mentor and will continue to be an important part of your life for many years to come. You will enjoy your DINK (double income no kids) status, while you try to learn how to be a lawyer and focus on tackling the significant law student debt you incurred. Be diligent in paying down your law student loans, but always remember this is an important part of what makes you who you are. It makes you truly appreciate the opportunity to be a lawyer and part of this noble profession.

Are you sitting? You are currently the president of this amazing group of attorneys, the North Carolina Bar Association! I know that’s difficult for you to imagine. The NCBA will be critical to your growth and development, both professionally and personally. So jump in (soon!) and participate at every opportunity you get. The current Chair of the NCBA’s Young Lawyer Division asked me to write a letter to my younger lawyer self, so here are a few tips for you: Read more

Unlocking Opportunities: Duke Law Students Create Lasting Memories in Externships and Pro Bono Projects

John, a white man with brown hair and a beard, wears a white shirt, peach tie, and navy suit.Surya, a man with black hair, wears a white shirt, pale grey suit, and teal tie. Christina, a woman with short, dark brown hair, wears a black suit. By John Godfrey Jr., Surya Korrapati, and Christina Trepczynski

In the dynamic world of law, where traditional classroom learning meets real-world application, externships and pro bono projects play pivotal roles in shaping future legal professionals. This month, we had the privilege of interviewing three law students who are gaining experience outside the classroom, either through volunteering for pro bono causes or gaining course credit in legal externships.  By highlighting their work, we hope to provide some insight as to how you can secure an externship or find the right pro bono project — and the sorts of skills you may gain along the way.

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