How To Survive Law School


By Sarah Cansler

As soon as you get your acceptance letter into law school, you will start to receive all kinds of unsolicited advice. You should always take such advice with a grain of salt, because everyone’s experiences in law school are different, and you know (or will quickly learn) what you need to do to succeed and stay happy and healthy while you do it.

With that said, I am about to provide—you guessed it—some unsolicited advice about how to survive law school. I’m not here to tell you how to get good grades or your dream job, because there are plenty of people wiser and more experienced than I am who can help you accomplish those worthy goals. Instead, I’m here to give you my thoughts on how to make your three years in law school a tolerable, and perhaps even enjoyable, experience.

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WFU Law School Mom: This Is How She Does It

 By Ashley Oldfield

“I don’t know how you do it!”—that’s the response I usually get when I tell someone that I’m in law school and a parent.  I’m never sure how to respond because, frankly, I don’t know how I do it, either.  Law school is stressful and demanding for anyone, and it’s no surprise that having a family doesn’t make the experience any easier. In the end, I managed to effectively navigate through my first year, and I’d like to share a few of the lessons that I learned along the way.

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NCBA Law Student Reps Experience the Power of NCBA Membership Firsthand

By Brandon McPherson

The NCBA Young Lawyers Division created its Law Student Representative program to empower law students to serve their schools and the NCBA through programming and networking. Law Student representatives serve as the “boots on the ground” at each North Carolina law school, providing information to their colleagues about the NCBA and creating opportunities for themselves and others to interface with the NCBA through different events. As you will read below, the YLD’s Law Student Representative program benefits the representatives in a multitude of ways, while also providing outstanding service to NCBA. Every summer we seek new reps from each school to serve in this leadership position and get connected to the profession. It’s my hope that all of our law student members will consider this opportunity at their respective schools.

All Law Student Division Members are eligible to be a rep. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to Amy Kemple by June 30, 2018.

Avery Barber
Wake Forest University School of Law

I’ve been a student rep for the NC Bar Association at Wake Forest for about a year. I wanted to get involved with the Bar Association because I’ve loved living and working in North Carolina for the past several years. I’ve found that the legal community is full of some of the most intelligent, passionate, and helpful individuals. I wanted to be in a position to leverage my love of networking and North Carolina to help push other law students outside of their comfort zone, to really connect with other people and try new things.

One of the most rewarding opportunities as a student rep was organizing the Legal Feeding Frenzy at Wake Forest. Wake has won the competition for several years, and the bar was set quite high to keep the streak going. While I tried to do my part – sending out emails, collecting food and money donations, reminding people to give – the level of generosity I saw from faculty, students, and alumni left me feeling amazed and grateful. I had the chance to reconnect with previous professors during the collection process and heard from several of Wake’s graduates who participated in past years working in the area looking for ways to keep giving. The Legal Feeding Frenzy tapped into the giving spirit of the local legal community, and I am thankful to have been part of the experience.

Nisel Desai
Campbell University School of Law 

The Young Lawyers Division of the NCBA gives a handful of law students this incredible opportunity to serve their schools, student organizations, build meaningful professional connections, and pay it all forward by serving as a liaison between the law school and our professional association. I’ve learned what it truly means to be part of a profession because of the NCBA: That although our work as lawyers is inherently adversarial, the NCBA enriches the professional development of all lawyers through fellowship, CLEs, and a robust offering of pro bono programs. During my two years of service as a Student Representative, I focused my efforts on encouraging classmates to take ownership of their development as young lawyers by attending CLEs, networking events, and reaching out to leadership in the sections and committees. As a student rep and a member of Campbell’s Student Bar Association, I was uniquely positioned to identify student organizations and Clinical Programs that would benefit from section and committee events. Although I’ve graduated, I hope that the Student Leadership Council at Campbell Law and the North Carolina Bar Association can become further integrated, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve made!

Matthew J. Meinel
University of North Carolina School of Law

Being a student representative for the NCBA at UNC was one of my most rewarding experiences of law school. I enjoyed facilitating connections between law students and the legal community by both bringing practicing attorneys to the law school and getting students out into the legal community.

Because NCBA members practice almost every conceivable area of law, it’s easy to organize events on whatever topic you like. For example, I coordinated a Careers in Privacy & Data Security Law panel to raise awareness of this niche but growing practice area. Additionally, I was uniquely positioned to help other student organizations at UNC connect with attorneys and bring in speakers for the organization’s events, such as an education law panel and a national security law panel.

Furthermore, I participated in and promoted many networking events and other engagement opportunities for law students. Whenever an NCBA section hosted an event or needed volunteers, I would promote that activity to students on campus. By attending these events and otherwise being actively engaged in the NCBA myself, I built a strong professional network during law school and helped other students do the same.

Two NC Law Schools Send Moot Court Teams To National Finals

Moot court teams from two North Carolina law schools continued their successful seasons with strong showings at the 68th Annual National Moot Court Competition last week at the New York City Bar Association.

Both Campbell School of Law’s team of student advocates and Wake Forest University School of Law’s National Moot Court Team competed after Campbell topped Wake Forest in the title round of the Fourth Circuit Regional in Richmond, Va.

Campbell School of Law’s team consisted of Chris Moore, Morgan Pierce and Ellen Williams.

Wake Forest’s team consisted of Emily Lagan, Kelsey Mellan and Alex Teixeira. The trio earned the eighth best score out of the top 28 teams in the country at the National Finals. At the National Moot Court Region IV tournament, Wake Forest held won all five of its oral arguments, tied for the second-best brief and finished as runner-up to the Campbell team.

How I Emerged Refined: My Moot Court Experience

By Nnenna N. Olu, Esq.

As I reflect on my time as a student at North Carolina Central University School of Law and the wholesome academic experience that I gained, I am forever grateful for all the pieces that came together to make me the well-rounded attorney I am today. One piece of the puzzle was my membership in the Moot Court Board.  I seized the opportunity to try out to join and was accepted into the prestigious Moot Court Board during my 2L year. The idea of arguing appellate cases was interesting, and I excitedly awaited the opportunity to fully experience what being a member of the Moot Court Board entailed. Competition season finally arrived, and my team and I were registered to represent our school. I quickly realized that we had lots of work to do: legal research, brief writing, more legal research and preparation for oral arguments.

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Internship Experience: Learning From the Ground Up

By Rachel Procaccini

Living in the state of North Carolina — home of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains, a coastline over 300 miles long and approximately 50,000 farms in operation — it is important, for both North Carolina’s economic stability and for the future health of North Carolina’s natural landscape, to utilize the land, water and natural resources, all the while conserving, replanting and replenishing the resources we use.

Upon completion of my first year of law school at the University of North Carolina School of Law, I spent my summer serving as a legal intern with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ’s OGC attorneys appreciate that farmers, fishermen, hunters and educators depend on the use of the environment for their economic livelihood and for their recreational and educational enjoyment of the state’s natural resources. DEQ’s OGC attorneys utilize the laws and regulations of the state to ensure that commercial, recreational and educational interests can reap the benefits of the environment while still conserving those resources for their continuous bounty.

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Extra Credit: Five Things I Wish I’d Learned In Law School

By David G. Omer

Law school is a strange creature.  You spend three long years sacrificing your sleep, your credit rating, your relationships, and your sanity.  In return, you get the opportunity to take the bar exam and start a career where you get to challenge yourself every day, help countless people, and maybe even make a little money along the way.  As you’ve (hopefully) learned, law school is all about filling your brain with points of law and forcing you to think your way around the gray areas.  For all the substantive information you pick up during your time as a law student, however, there are some important things that get left along the wayside.  As a recently licensed lawyer in North Carolina, I appreciate the opportunity to fill you in on a few things I didn’t learn until I made it out into the “real world.”

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Ask Not What You Can Do for Pro Bono; Ask What Pro Bono Can Do for You

By M. Rebecca Hendrix

Everyone should do pro bono work during law school.  While I could discuss at great length the merits of helping others, the focus of this article is how pro bono helps law students themselves.  Pro bono opportunities strengthen students in the classroom and eventually in a career.   Practical skills, networking experience, and a broader perspective are three things that students gain from pro bono work.

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There’s No Place Like Home: Job Searching from an Out-of-State Law School

By Aaron Lindquist

When attending an out-of-state law school, the stress of job searching can make you wish you had the ability to click your heels three times to return home like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” As a recent law school graduate and licensed North Carolina attorney, I can say that there are options and ways to ease the stress of job searching from an out state law school. After leaving North Carolina to attend law school in Virginia, I knew that I would need to be intentional with my job search if I wanted to return to North Carolina.

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Practice Series: Question and Answer with a Civil Litigator

Matthew D. Quinn is a 2009 graduate of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University.  He practices with the Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice Jr. in Raleigh.

Q:  What kind of law do you practice?

A:  I have a general civil litigation practice.  I typically, but not always, represent the plaintiff.  Over the years, I have developed a niche practice of representing individuals and families injured by mold contamination.  In fact, I have found that the best way to build a practice is to find a discreet type of case and build up experience in that area.  There are not many mold litigators, so I receive a lot of those cases.

Q:  What do you like best about your practice?

A:  The diversity of duties.  I might spend one day reading, writing, and researching.  The next day I could spend in the field at a property inspection, or perhaps learning about a scientific issue at an expert’s office.  Then twenty-four hours later, I could be at a court hearing.  There is never a dull moment in civil litigation.

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