Elon Law welcomes the Class of 2020
The newest class at Elon University School of Law in downtown Greensboro is the largest and one of the most diverse in school history, crafted from a record number of applicants drawn to a 2.5-year program that emphasizes learning by doing.
Described as “talented and pioneering,” the 149 students who comprise Elon University School of Law’s Class of 2020 bring with them to law school a wide array of personal and professional experiences.
They have served their communities as law enforcement officers and volunteer firefighters, as mentors and tutors in public schools, as volunteers with Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Teach for America. Six have served their country in the armed forces.
Dozens interned or worked full time in the legal field for law firms and judges, with District Attorney’s Offices and Public Defenders’ Offices, as guardian ad litem, or as paralegals or legal assistants. Others worked for the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Office of Inspector General, or worked on political campaigns.
And they’ve excelled in the classroom, making Dean’s Lists, President’s and Chancellor’s Lists, and graduating from their undergraduate programs with honors. Several have earned graduate degrees in areas such as business administration, legal studies, library sciences, and publishing & writing.
The Class of 2020 is one of the most diverse in school history – and it’s also the largest, having been selected from a record number of applications to Elon Law over the past year, as Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman and Senior Associate Dean Alan Woodlief shared Tuesday morning in a welcome program in the law school library.
Elon Law received 1,019 applications for the Class of 2020, the first time since opening in 2006 that the number of applications topped four digits for a single admissions cycle.
“We’re happy that you are here and that you have chosen to join us. You are pioneers!” Bierman said. “You will do things here at Elon Law that no other law students in the country will do, and that starts today.”
Among the Tuesday activities scheduled for the Class of 2020 was a writing exercise led by A. Brennan Aberle, an Elon Law alumnus who serves as an assistant public defender in Guilford County. Aberle introduced students to the nuances of writing bail bond applications. The program reinforced for students the experiential nature of Elon Law’s curriculum.
At Elon Law, students graduate in 2.5 years, saving time and money with the opportunity for students to take the bar exam in February and get a head start on their careers. Experiential learning is anchored by a full-time, course-connected residency in the practice of law during the second year of study.
The Tuesday morning welcome program brought the Class of 2020 together for the first time during a week of orientation activities that include a Convocation program on Elon University’s main campus and a day of service known as “Elon Law Reaches Out.”
Woodlief shared additional information about the class and some of its members during the Tuesday gathering:
- Female-to-male ratio: 59:41
- 29% of the class are students of color.
- 56% list North Carolina as their permanent state of residence, with the remainder hailing from 22 other states, including Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Nevada, and California.
- The class attended 88 colleges and universities across the United States
- The most common undergraduate major was political science, followed by criminal justice, business and finance, psychology, and history.
“To be sure, this is just a partial list of all of your accomplishments, and we look forward to getting to know you more and to learning more about your backgrounds,” he said. “We look forward to witnessing first hand your accomplishments to come - over the next two and a half years and throughout your careers as Elon lawyers – as you channel this energy, focus, and commitment to excellence and service in your new chosen profession as pioneering lawyer leaders.”
The Class of 2020 also heard from representatives of the North Carolina Bar Association. Jacqueline D. Grant, the NCBA’s president for 2018-19, welcomed students to the legal profession and encouraged them to utilize the resources made available by the organization.
The Hon. Marcus Shields, a district court judge in Guilford County, also presented to new students about the structure of the judiciary.
- "I've been so excited for this process. I moved across the country from Phoenix and today has reinforced everything I was excited about while opening up new opportunities. We have a diverse class and I'm eager to hear different perspectives from classmates who all have something to bring to the table." - Krystal Harvey L'20
- "Today showed me that Elon Law cares about building me up as a student before throwing me into the fire of an accelerated program." - Travis Poulos L'20
- "Contrary to many other orientation programs, this one has been very purposeful. In undergraduate and even graduate school, they just talk the school. We've done actual work - and that's beneficial." - Lechetze D. Lewis L'20
- "I enjoyed hearing from speakers in the profession who have recently been in our shoes. They showed that the path we're all taking is tangible... hearing from them, to me, makes all of this more relevant." - Hunter Cornelius L'20