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 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
“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