One recent law graduate says attending networking events and participating in student organizations helped prepare him for life beyond the classroom.
And he says his alma mater - Campbell Law School – provided a solid launching pad.
“Campbell Law does a great job of preparing you,” says Durham native Evin Grant, who graduated in May 2016 and passed the bar exam that same year. “Aside from the required courses, there are electives in nearly every aspect of the law.”
Evin graduated from N.C. State in 2007 with a degree in Applied Criminology. This led to what he calls a “whirlwind” career that included stints at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, an engineering firm and the Administrative Office of the Courts, where he worked as a Wake County Magistrate.
Oh, and he also owned and operated a photography business.
Recently we checked in with Evin to see what his life is like a year after law school. Here are excerpts from our discussion:
What are you doing now? “Currently, I work at a law school advising the dean and various departments on initiatives and developments in legal education. It is a yearlong position that will be ending September 2017.”
What are your professional interests? “What I’m interested in most now is the use of technology in the law. I studied IP law and do a lot of reading about social media and its implications. Other than that, I have the freedom to dive into all areas that interest me since I’m not tied down to a certain field. Politics, criminal law, civil rights. It’s all open to me.”
Tips for law school success. “First I’d say be involved. Law school is the development of your professional career. The more you open yourself to opportunity, the more opportunity will present itself to you. Go to networking events. Be an active member in student organizations. Join trial teams. Be a peer mentor. Get on law review. Do something beyond studying and watching Netflix.”
Advice for surviving as a 1L. “[T]ry to figure out what is important to you, and let that guide you. While in school you will have different perspectives pulling at you about where you should focus your attention. Grades, organizations, trial teams, internships, family. Before that gets overwhelming, sit down and candidly with yourself or a close friend/mentor write down what you value, how those values influence your goals, and the steps to accomplish those goals. Then go into law school making decisions that are best for you, based on what is important to you.”
Was law school what you expected? “Coming from a professional career, I didn’t have any expectations. I knew it would be hard. And it was. Other than that, I just had to finish. That was the goal. No expectations.”
Interests outside the law. “I mentor youth in the community. I also volunteer as a judge for the Capital Area Teen Court, but I suppose that is law related. Something that probably takes up more time than it should is video games. I like to cook and try new recipes. Outdoors I like to venture out and explore, travel when I can.”
Books or movies you’ve recently enjoyed. “My favorite book is one I had to read for work, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” As far as movies, “Henrietta Lacks” with Oprah was great. Very insightful and informative about the development of medicine in a time where African-Americans were discredited for their contributions to society. It was released a month or so ago on HBO.”
Do you hang out with lawyers after hours? “I hang with a few attorneys outside of work, but I also don’t work in a firm where we hang out after a long day in court. The friends that I do have that are attorneys were friends in law school or [we] met shortly after graduating. We were friends first, lawyers second. And that’s how our friendship remains. My longest group of friends are engineers I attended NC State with. We pretty much talk daily in a group chat. I also have good friends who are small business owners, fashion connoisseurs, event coordinators, corporate marketers and administrators. A good mix of friends is necessary to keep me grounded in the world outside of law.”
How many neckties are in your closet? “I own around 40 ties, not counting bowties. Just bought two new ties last week. This is after getting rid of about 10 ties I don’t wear anymore. I have over 60 pairs of socks and just over 10 suits. Presentation is important. I was always told: ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’”