Mentoring Program Connects Students and Attorneys of Christian Faith

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The inaugural class of McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows gathered with their mentors for dinner on April 12, 2017 to celebrate the program’s first year.
The inaugural class of McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows gathered with their mentors for dinner on April 12, 2017 to celebrate the program’s first year.

UNC School of Law students recently joined with local attorneys to celebrate the culmination of the first year of a mentoring fellowship program aimed at connecting students with practicing lawyers who share a Christian faith. The McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows Program was founded by Andrew Simpson 3L, president of the UNC Christian Legal Society, and Madison Perry ’13, executive director of the North Carolina Study Center, a Christian study center near campus.

The program is named in honor of two prominent alumni, former U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre ’81 and former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard ’65, both of whom serve as mentors in the program.

Andrew Simpson
Andrew Simpson 3L

“Justice Whichard and Congressman McIntyre exemplify what it means to apply faith and a Carolina Law education to a lifetime of public service to the people of this state,” Simpson says. “In the spirit of that legacy, the McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows Program was established to foster a new generation of leaders by building relationships between law students and attorneys who have excelled in public and community service, as well as private practice.”

The program paired 20 students with legal professionals for a year-long mentorship focused on professional and spiritual growth. Among the diverse group of mentors were some of North Carolina’s top trial attorneys, transactional lawyers, solo practitioners, district attorneys, legislative staffers and former members of the state judiciary and legislative branches. Over the course of two semesters, mentors met monthly with mentees to offer their experience and guidance on topics including job applications, work-life balance and maintaining a robust faith life while practicing law.

Jasmine Jennings 2L
Jasmine Jennings 2L

“Being surrounded by a community of believers who have excelled in the legal field was inspiring and empowering,” Jasmine Jennings 2L says. “My mentor encouraged me to remain steadfast in my faith throughout my law school journey, and I could not be more thankful for her and for CLS.”

The fellows program also provides an opportunity for attorneys to build relationships with their Christian peers in the legal profession. Over the course of the year, the group gathered three times to share a meal, discuss questions of faith and law, and offer lessons learned from a diverse array of legal careers.

Retired Superior Court Judge Susan Taylor ’78 served as a mentor to a 1L student this year.

“Recalling the excitement of first year law school, I also recall the sense of unfamiliarity that goes with such an experience,” Taylor says. “Having a mentor to ‘break the way’ can be very helpful to a new student. I encourage our attorneys to participate in mentoring law students, as well as young lawyers in our communities.”

Mentees are selected from a group of applicants and matched with mentors who share common interests, vocational tracks and personal backgrounds.

“Thanks to the support of the participating mentors and generous donations made to the mentorship program through the UNC Law Foundation, the McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows Program was financially self-sustained during its first year,” says Simpson. “Nearly all attorneys who participated have expressed interest in returning to serve as mentors, and we look forward to welcoming a larger group of fellows into the upcoming class.”

Carolina Law students interested in participating in the 2017-2018 class of the McIntyre-Whichard Legal Fellows Program should apply by September 15.

-August 31, 2017

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