Did you always want to be an attorney?
It was always in the back of my mind because my dad was an attorney and he’s always been a big role model in my life. He’s someone I could talk to about anything and bounce ideas off of. When I went into college, though, I was a biology major and was pretty undecided about what I wanted to do in life. I kept getting drawn into oral advocacy and eventually changed my major to industrial labor relations, which is a subset school at Cornell that sends a lot of people to law school.
What is your favorite area of the law so far of the cases that you’ve worked on?
My favorite so far has been employment law, which was a surprise to me. Two of the cases I’m working on are employment cases and they are very interesting and I feel I’ve been able to advocate for clients that need help.
What do you like about practicing law?
I like helping clients solve their problems. You never know what’s going to happen when you first sit down with a client or what kind of issues they might be dealing with. Many times, they have no idea how to solve their problem because they are not familiar with the legal process. I really like helping them get to their final goal.
In my Community Law and Business Clinic, [Wake Law School] Professor Steve Virgil taught me a lot about client relations. He explained how essential it is in your first meeting with a client to figure out where they want to get to and whether that’s a realistic goal. He also taught me how to not only manage expectations, but put a plan in place and let them know what we can accomplish.
Is there anything you enjoy about litigation in particular?
I really like being on my feet in the courtroom. That actually started in law school. I had done some oral advocacy before then, but in law school, I was really involved in moot court. Now, I enjoy the whole hearing process where I research and study the law and then make arguments to the judge. It’s not dissimilar to what I was doing in law school with moot court.
How do you view your relationship with clients?
I really like that I’m able to have a one-on-one relationship with our clients in a way that can only be achieved at a small firm like this. I also enjoy building that relationship over time. I’ve only been with some of my clients for a few months, but already, we have a relationship and I’m building trust with them by explaining our process. They have confidence in what I’m doing and what I’m going to present to the court to advance their cause.
If you were a client, what would you look for in your attorney-client relationship aside from experience and intellect?
I think it’s important to have an attorney that will take the time to explain the steps they are taking to achieve the client’s goals and break those steps down into easily manageable, bite-sized portions. Many time, our clients have never dealt with the legal system before. We want to take some of the uncertainty out of the equation, whether it’s explaining the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit or that we are conducting discovery in order to get the opposing side to turn over documents to us. Most importantly, we explain why we need to take one step or another in order to accomplish our clients’ end goals.
What do you like most about working at a small firm?
I really like that I’ve already been able to get into a court room. I’ve argued a few motions in front of a judge in the first couple months of my career. I have peers from law school that work at much bigger firms who haven’t had the opportunity to leave their cubicle yet. They haven’t had any interaction with clients and have to stay within the structure of their practice group. On the other hand, I am able to email with clients every day, formulate plans with them, prepare for their hearings, and then get into the courtroom to argue their case.
What do you like to do outside the office?
I was always into sports growing up and I love being outside. In the past year, I’ve gotten really into mountain biking. I enjoy biking all over Charlotte and it is a great way to meet new people in Charlotte. There are a couple groups that ride out at the [U.S. National] Whitewater Center every week. There are some great mountain biking trails there. These same groups also go on social rides where we ride to breweries or restaurants and hang out.
After only about six months in Charlotte, what do you like most about it?
My favorite part of the city is the Whitewater Center, which I mentioned earlier. It’s just a weird location with a lot of fun events. I also live uptown, so I like being able to walk to whatever is going on throughout the city. Sometimes, I’ll take the light rail down to SouthEnd and meet up with friends down there. I like the size of the city and being able to meet new people.
What organizations or community events have you been involved in?
I’m involved with the Young Lawyers Division of North Carolina Bar Association and am planning on getting involved with one of the committees of the Young Lawyers Division of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association. Over the past couple of weeks, though, I was asked to help organize the 2017 Ask-A-Lawyer Day here in Charlotte. The event took place in seven cities across North Carolina and I was the coordinator for Charlotte. We found volunteer attorneys to offer pro bono legal counsel to anyone in the city that wanted to come in with any legal questions. Our primary role was not to provide direct legal representation, but rather connect them with more legal resources and give them more information about how to address whatever legal problems they were having. It was a great opportunity to meet some other attorneys who are at the beginning stages of their legal career and also involved with pro bono work. It was a great experience and I hope to get involved in more programs like that in the future.