The Elon Law pioneer from Guilford College
Travis Poulos L'20 is the first person to enroll at Elon Law as part of an agreement with Guilford College that provides students with an accelerated pathway to earn their law degree as they finish the requirements for their undergraduate studies.
Two things happened to Travis Poulos as a freshman at Guilford College that, looking back, directly led him to Elon University School of Law.
First: He enrolled in a spring semester criminal procedure class on a whim, curious about a topic that differed from his original interest in environmental studies.
Second: Around the same time, he stopped by an information session about Elon Law where students talked up the value of a legal education and how Elon Law was a great fit for them.
So what do you do if you fall in love with the topic of criminal law, you appreciate the benefits of Greensboro’s downtown law school, and you discover that your college has an agreement with that law school that provides an accelerated path to practicing law?
If you’re Poulos, you work with professors and advisers to plan an aggressive course schedule that prepares you for Elon Law after your junior year - and then you finish your requirements for criminal justice as a first-year law student and Elon Law Advocacy Fellow.
“Elon Law is the perfect school for this program because of how individualized it is,” Poulos said recently, reflecting back on his journey to law school. “I’m also fortunate to have support from family.”
It’s an ambitious plan for the native of Boone, North Carolina. Guilford College students must earn at least 92 credits toward the minimum of 128 required for graduation to qualify. In order to be admitted to Elon Law, they must demonstrate superior academic ability and potential for leadership. LSAT scores must meet Elon Law’s standards for admission.
Similar opportunities exist for N.C. A&T State University and Salem College students. Elon Law also is exploring partnerships with other regional institutions.
“Travis has excelled in the classroom and been an active member of the student body during his first year, which is consistent with his academic success at Guilford College and the maturity and focus he showed in finishing his undergraduate major requirements there in just three years,” said Alan Woodlief, senior associate dean for admissions and associate professor of law. “We’re excited about the prospect of other students from Guilford, as well as North Carolina A&T and Salem College, following in his footsteps.”
A wide receiver for Guilford College’s football team, Poulos had already developed a work ethic that made the accelerated program at Elon Law a natural choice. He’s also inspired by the many ways in which the law influences culture and society.
“Because of football and sports my whole life, I have this will to be the best person I can be. I’m always challenging myself to achieve a higher level of success,” he said. “And that criminal procedure class threw so much new knowledge at me that I just wanted to keep learning more.”
His advice for other Guilford College students with an interest in the accelerated program? Be sure you want to study law. Know it without a doubt, he said, since the planning that goes into meeting graduation requirements from Guilford leaves little opportunity to pursue other academic or career interests.
If you’re not sure, take your time, and discover what Guilford College has to offer before committing to a rigorous curriculum. You can still go to law school after giving yourself the flexibility to explore other topics.
“The way you set yourself up in this program is by having everything done by the end of your third year,” Poulos said. “Guilford and Elon Law offered me opportunities that no other schools currently do.”
About Elon Law:
Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the preeminent school for engaged and experiential learning in law. With a focus on learning by doing, it integrates traditional classroom instruction with course-connected, full-time residencies-in-practice in a logically sequenced program of transformational professional preparation. Elon Law’s groundbreaking approach is accomplished in 2.5 years, which provides distinctive value by lowering tuition and permitting graduates early entry into their legal careers.