Head of OUTLaw student group represents Elon Law at national conference

Nic Parsons L’24 credits faculty and staff mentors for their support during her first year of law school – reassurance that led her to an all-expense paid scholarship from the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association to visit Chicago for the 2023 Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair. 

As an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community at Elon Law, Nic Parsons encourages friends and classmates, if they feel comfortable, to share their pronouns: for Parsons, those are “she/her.”

The second-year student at Elon Law has also established her leadership bona fides as chief executive director of OUTLaw, a student group that hosts events including “Love Your Identity!” Day, Denim Day, and name change clinics with the Guilford Green Foundation.

When an opportunity presented itself for students from every law school in North Carolina to apply for an all-expense paid trip to Chicago this summer to attend the Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair, Parsons completed an application the same day it was announced.

She’s now back from the Windy City where she networked and learned from accomplished lawyers at the nation’s largest annual gathering of LGBTQ+ attorneys and legal professionals, courtesy of the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association in North Carolina.

“I had a jam-packed schedule full of speakers I could not wait to hear and trailblazing attorneys I couldn’t wait to meet,” said Parsons, a graduate of Iona University in New York who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice. “I heard the stories of those who came before us and learned from them the challenges we still face as a community, and I hope that my being there shows that the LGBTQ+ community is growing in numbers and strength every day.”

Nic Parsons L’24

Parsons first learned about the Lavender Law Conference earlier in the year when OUTLaw was preparing for a name change clinic with the Guilford Green Foundation. Because of the expense, which is prohibitive for many law students, she said she decided to make attendance a future goal.

Then came the pleasant surprise. At the end of June, the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association announced it had raised enough money to support travel to the program for one student from each law school in North Carolina. Applicants explained their motivations for attending the conference and described current law school activities and future plans.

Parsons emailed faculty and staff as soon as she learned of her selection. She described her four mentors – Assistant Professor Bob Minarcin, Assistant Dean Stacie Dooley, Associate Director of Career Development Krista Contino Saumby, and Academic and Bar Support Specialist Haley Mendola L’18 – having each played integral roles with helping in the transition to Elon Law as a first-generation law student and a student from out of state.

“I am incredibly excited and wanted to make sure I told y’all because of all the help and encouragement you have offered me through my first year at Elon,” she wrote. “Without your support and guidance, I would not have even applied for such a great opportunity.”

The Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair took place July 24-26, 2023, with sessions and workshops for LGBTQ+ and ally legal professionals, plus programs for family law practitioners, transgender law advocates, corporate counsel and anyone interested in the judiciary.

An evening reception for law school students was held July 23.

“I was extremely pleased when Nic chosen for this scholarship and knew it would benefit her and Elon Law, the students, and the community at large,” said Minarcin, who taught Parsons – someone he described as “a fireball full of ideas” – in his winter and spring trimester legal writing courses. “What impresses me most about Nic is that she makes a plan, and nothing stops her from implementing it. I couldn’t be prouder of where she is and where she is going.”