A commitment to service, community and leadership

Elon Law student Daniel Watts L'15

Summer 2014 experience:

SAS Institute Inc. Legal Department

Other experience:

  • Extern - Appellate Division- United States Attorney’s Office, Raleigh, NC
  • Summer Clerk - Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt, Raleigh, NC
  • Pro Bono Intern - Office of the Federal Public Defender, Raleigh, NC

Hometown / Undergraduate background:

Cary, N.C. / Elon University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing; Bachelor of Science in Sociology—May 2011

Law School Memberships:

  • Presidential Scholar
  • Leadership Fellow
  • Elon Law Review
  • Elon Moot Court Board
  • NC Advocates for Justice (student org.) President/Co-founder of Elon chapter

Why I became a lawyer…

No other profession lets you experience the full texture of humanity. In my experience, you deal with people on some of the most important days of their lives: when they buy a house, if they face criminal charges and their liberty or life might be deprived or if they’ve been wronged in some way. It’s a hands-on way to deal with humanity and experience just how interesting people are.

Unique experience…

I played basketball at Elon University and worked at the Federal Public Defenders office in Raleigh for one year as an unpaid intern. After my first year, I clerked for Senior U.S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Why Elon Law?

I like Elon’s level of investment in its students. When I think of Elon Law, I think of a very sincere school, a very hands-on school where people take an interest in you whether they’re your classmates, your professors or even the staff. 

My favorite ground level experience…

The externship with Judge Britt last summer was huge. Being in Judge Britt’s chambers and seeing how a judge actually works on the ground level, makes decisions, and how they balance everything was very beneficial to me because they’re just decision makers doing the best they can with a ton of cases.

Where I’m going…

Ultimately I would like to pursue a judgeship, possibly at the federal level. So having prior experience in the judge’s chambers and a strong mentor like Judge Britt is invaluable in my development both as a lawyer and as an aspiring judge.

Serving the community through law…

The greatest lawyers I have listened to and talked to all focus on being a good person first and being a good community member first before you’re a good lawyer. You have to be interested in serving people and fixing their problems because at the end of the day, that’s what lawyers do – we’re problem solvers and we generate ideas for difficult situations. At a higher level, lawyers serve on boards, give direction, and prevent problems for different organizations and people. That takes a selflessness that is uncommon, and that’s one of Elon’s strengths – commitment to service, commitment to community, being a leader, and being self-accountable.