Assistant District Attorney Lila Riley, L’10, works with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office to process around 50 cases in Court each day. Her work mainly focuses on prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence and child abuse cases. She is inside the courtroom almost every day, where she handles probation matters, bond hearings, plea bargains and trials.
“My work involves interacting with hundreds of people every week, including negotiations and the occasional testy situation with defense attorneys and judges,” Riley said. “Elon helped prepare me for the ‘people’ aspect of my job by hosting many opportunities to interact with the legal community: monthly receptions with attorneys from the region, panels and the preceptor program are some examples. Through these events, I became more comfortable with the kinds of people who are now my peers, colleagues and adversaries in the profession.”
Prior to her work as an Assistant District Attorney, Riley worked as a contract attorney with Premier, Inc. in Charlotte. At Premier, Inc, she reviewed contracts with member hospitals, conducted outreach seeking hospital participation in medical research studies and drafted internal and external policies and protocols to ensure compliance with federal regulations.
While in law school, Riley took advantage of internship and externship opportunities that allowed her to work with the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office; the Office of the U.S. Attorney, Western District; the North Carolina Court of Appeals and as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Frank Whitney, a judge in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of North Carolina.
“Through my externship opportunities I explored my interests, had exposure to different areas of law, made important connections and further developed skills that I use in my current position,” Riley said.
Before law school, she spent a year working as a paralegal at Bashyam & Spiro, LLP in Raleigh. Riley graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in music, specializing in cello performance.
Riley advises students not to feel obligated to take all the advice given to them, but instead figure out what works for them.
“Law students get so much advice from so many different sources,” she said. “Please know that you can't follow it all - you have to figure out what works for you. But, there are a few things I believe are important for everyone: go to your classes, work hard, seek out professors and ask for help when necessary, stick to a schedule - but don't beat yourself up if you have an ‘off’ day once in a while - and then watch TV, see your friends, work out or do whatever else you need to do to achieve balance in your law school life.”