Elon hosts ABA Fourth Circuit Law Student Division Meeting
On February 9, Elon Law hosted the spring meeting of the ABA Fourth Circuit Law Student Division. Three Elon Law students contributed significantly to planning this event:David Lambert L'14, who served as a Lieutenant Governor of the Fourth Circuit Division in 2012 and was elected Governor of the Division at the spring meeting, Jenifer McCrea L’13, who served as Elon Law’s student representative to the ABA this year, and Bill White L’14, who served as Elon Law’s associate student representative to the ABA.
“Elon is a law school that has built its reputation on educating students as leaders in the legal profession, and this conference is evidence of that initiative taking flight,” said law student Ben Kempton L’14.
The meeting included presentations by Elon Law faculty and North Carolina attorneys in areas such as social media as a prosecution weapon. Elon Law Professors Enrique Armijo and Michael Rich, joined by Gabrielle A. Pittman, an attorney with the law firm of Sharpless & Stavola, P.A., challenged meeting participants to think about how criminal prosecutions could be changed in light of social media influences and the possible problems with the use of social media in the criminal field.
"All the feedback we received from the other ABA members and student representatives was extremely positive,” McCrea said. “The morning panel on the influence of social media in criminal prosecutions was informative and presented the theoretical and the practical application of social media in the investigation of both clients and opposing parties. Everyone who attended was surprised to learn how far both prosecutors and private attorneys can go in their use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Of particular interest was the different standard that applies to prosecutors as opposed to defense attorneys in what they can access ethically online.”
Additional speakers at the meeting included: Elon Law Professors Scott Gaylord and Howard Katz; Greensboro attorney and Elon Law preceptor Karen McKeithen Schaede; T. Greg Doucette, Law Offices of T. Gregg Doucette and Executive Director, North Carolina Small Practice Incubator and Collaboration Environment; Craig Hensel, Hensel Law; Frankie T. Jones, Jr., Counsel, Lincoln Financial Group; Maureen Krueger, District Attorney, Moore County, NC, Judicial District 19D; and, Kerri Sigler L'09, Wait Law.
In addition, the ABA meeting highlighted Elon’s close relationship with the legal community. Elon Law’s Preceptor Program was highlighted by a “Lunch with Experience,” in which students had the opportunity to meet individually with attorneys in an informal way, providing not just networking opportunities but a chance to understand how best to participate in and lead the legal community in which they live and work.
“This year we decided to have an interactive lunch between attorneys and the students who attended,” McCrea said. “We placed name placards for the participating attorneys at different tables in the commons, and students could choose to sit with a single attorney, or move from table to table. We had attorneys who represented a variety of practice sizes, solo practitioners, small practices, as well as types of practice, prosecutors, civil litigators and transactional attorneys.”
The keynote address was given by James G. Exum Jr., Elon Law's Distinguished Professor of the Judiclal Process. A former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Exum is also a member of Elon’s Law School Advisory Board.
“The practice of law is a special privilege granted by the people to us in the profession. It is not a right. It is a special privilege,” Exum said. “In return for this privilege, and because of their special skills, lawyers we believe have a special obligation to look beyond their professional lives to the larger community and be leaders in that community. Consequently the law school here not only teaches the skills lawyers need to practice their profession, it also has special programs designed to help those students who are interested develop the skills needed to be good lawyer-leaders.”
Reporting for this article contributed by Ben Kempton L’14.