The Leadership Program

Leadership Fellow Capstones

Elon Law skylightLeadership Fellows are expected to undertake a capstone project  in their third-year of study. Each project includes a written plan with defined goals, a description of methodology, an assessment of how undertaking the project will meet community needs and engage specific leadership skills, and identification of benchmarks to measure progress on the project over time. Students participating in capstone projects reflect on what they learn, both about the project and about the application of their leadership abilities in pursuing the project.

One Class of 2013 capstone project and four Class of 2012 capstone projects are summarized below through descriptions provided by the fellows involved in each project.

Class of 2013 Capstone Project

Student Organization Leader Development Program

Chantelle Lytle and Andy Jones

In accordance with Elon Law’s mission to develop strong student leaders, our Capstone Project seeks to create a leadership development program for student organization leaders. Our goal is to create and provide the platform for student organization leaders at Elon Law to receive the training and information essential to their success as leaders and the success of their respective organizations. This semester, the Program takes the form of three separate events, with topics ranging from Event Logistics to Organization Sustainability and Officer Transitions. Our final work product will be a project guide to ensure the sustainability of this Program.

As a result of our Capstone Project, we hope to strengthen the student organizations at Elon Law by broadening the leadership knowledge base of organization leaders, making organizations aware of available resources, and ensuring the organizations will be sustainable long-term.

Family reunification for refugees and asylees

Shoshana Fried

For my capstone project, I am working on a policy project with the Elon University School of Law Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic involving refugee and asylee family reunification. The Clinic provides many services to immigrants, one of which is working with refugees who wish to bring dependent spouses and children to the United States. Both refugees and asylees can apply for family reunification by filling out an I-730 through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A recent report by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration shed light on the possible discrepancy of successful I-730 applications between refugees and asylees. We have some hypotheses on why these discrepancies exist and what could be done to fix the problem. The application process is very non-standardized from country to country, and it is tough for practitioners to navigate the system and predict outcomes. My project will consist of a research project and final report that will be sent to the State Department and USCIS. The goal of this report is to encourage the State Department and USCIS to work to create a more consistent process for refugees and asylees applying for family reunification.

Class of 2012 Capstone Projects

Pro Bono Board

Ashley Clark, Marina Emory, Melissa Westmoreland

The word "Pro Bono" at Elon University School of Law serves different meanings for different people. This Capstone Projects plans to introduce a common understanding of this word to students, faculty, alumni and the community. To do so, this project involves the creation of the Pro Bono Board, on which students and a faculty adviser will serve. This Board will be the governing body surrounding pro bono work by Elon students and will market and publicize pro bono activities. The Board will also ensure that students are aware of the Pro Bono Certificate that they can earn should they meet certain requirements. Students who engage in 75 hours of pro bono work while enrolled in law school will earn a Certificate of Recognition from Elon University School of Law and the North Carolina Bar Association. Currently, there is a lack of understanding surrounding this certificate, specifically, what qualifies as pro bono service. Within this Capstone Project, Elon's definition of pro bono will be assessed and re-defined to ensure that the requirements of the certificate are explicit to all students and faculty. There will also be a forum in which students can ask questions in order to better understand how they can meet these requirements.
The goals of this project include recognizing students who are excelling in the pro bono field, as well as anticipating future work within the pro bono world of law. We want Elon to recognize students who are completing pro bono service throughout their time at Elon, specifically those students who may not have financial resources to engage in summer internships because of the type of public work they are doing. There may also be pro bono activities that operate alongside the Student Bar Association. By facilitating communication between students, student organizations and our faculty, we believe this project will be a positive addition to the Elon community.

Conference on Leadership and the Law

Carrie Johnston, Collin Cooper, Richard Munday

For our Capstone Project, we will be helping Dean Johnson plan and execute an Elon Law symposium related to leadership and the law. We will be doing much of the planning in the fall, and the conference is scheduled to take place at the law school in the spring of 2012. Specifically, our team will handle logistics, scheduling panel discussions, extending invitations to speakers, and publicizing the event.

The goal of our project is to help Elon Law host a successful conference on leadership and the law in the spring of 2012. We aim to attract nationally and regionally-recognized panelists and speakers to the conference. We also aim to have practitioners, lawyer-leaders, and possibly law students attend. Specifically, we want the conference to begin to highlight Elon Law as a leader in the area of leadership in legal education. We also want to highlight the importance of leadership education in law school and in practice. By hosting this conference, we want to help Elon Law become more well-known and recognized for its focus on leadership in legal education. We also want to promote the importance of leadership education among other law schools and its importance for legal practice.  We hope that Elon will hold a similar conference on a regular basis—possibly annually.

Protecting and caring for wildlife through legislation restraint

Julie Stainback, Jim Stanton

This Capstone project seeks to provide The Conservators’ Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization located in Caswell County, North Carolina, with guidance, information and suggestions to help the center confront a legislative threat. The Center is dedicated to preserving threatened species of wildlife though the rescue of animals in need, captive breeding of certain species and educational programs. The Center maintains a facility where they care for a number of endangered species including 10 tigers, 21 lions, and a large number of smaller endangered cats, wolves, and other animals. Recently the Center's director mentioned one of the biggest looming threats faced by the facility was the possibility of legislation which could jeopardize the continued existence of the Center. Several states in recent years have tightened restrictions against people and organizations who keep and care for certain types of wild animals. The Conservators’ Center is well regarded in the community of animal rescues and care and has safety measures in place that far exceed the requirements set by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, an organization who certifies almost all of the well-known zoos in the United States. The Center is not registered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, because doing so would be a crippling financial burden and is not necessary at the present time to carry out their mission. The problem we will explore regards legislation that has been passed in other states restricting the keeping of certain animals, many of the type kept by the Center, to organizations approved by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

The goals of this project are to:

  • Provide a summary of pertinent statutes that already exists with a focus on surrounding states and particularly North Carolina.
  • Provide a summary of any pending, or previously proposed legislation that could impact the organization.
  • Draft sample legislation and instructions of how to introduce the legislation that might protect the organization but still allow the state greater regulation of housing exotic animals.
  • Draft advocacy letters to submit to various representatives in support of the newly proposed legislation.

Explorer Post in Law

Mark York

This Capstone project involves working with a student from North Guilford High School who is starting an Explorer Post in Law through his Scout Troop. The Explorer Post in Law is designed to allow students of all genders from age 14-20 years of age, who have complete the 8th grade, to  explore their interest in careers related to the law. The plan will be executed in two phases. During the first phase, students will be introduced to the broad spectrum of roles (public interest, elected office, civil servant, and private practice) that lawyers take in our community. Additionally, emphasis will be placed on the leadership and pro bono contributions made by attorneys.  During the second phase, students will have the opportunity to participate in a mock trial with the assistance of local counsel.

The primary goal of this Capstone project is to assist a young leader in the community to understand the many considerations to make his project a reality. The secondary goal of this project is to lay the ground work so that the Explorer Post will be able to continue into the future.