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Bethan Eynon '12: A Career in Public Service

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A fall break trip to write wills in some of the poorest communities in North Carolina cemented 3L Bethan Eynon’s commitment to apply her legal education in North Carolina. The 26-year-old envisions a career in public service and says the merit scholarship she received to study at Carolina Law will make that possible.

“I feel that I should use my talents to do good for society, and, for me, that means helping those who would otherwise have no legal representation,” Eynon says. She receives the UNC School of Law Scholarship, the Kirby Law Scholarship and the North Carolina Bar Association D. Staton & Maude B. Inscoe Scholarship.

The Ohio native says her scholarship initially reduced the burden of out-of-state tuition and then, once she qualified for in-state tuition, has played a role in helping her pursue her dream of public service without an excessive financial burden.

“I'm dedicated to staying in the public interest sector after graduating, and, in fact, came to UNC with that intent. Any reduction in my debt load eases the personal financial sacrifice that comes with working in the public sector,” she explains.

In addition to public service, Eynon says she enjoys and seeks out leadership roles. She is currently director of the Pro Bono Program Board, which keeps her extremely busy outside of classes.

“In the future I can see myself holding a bar association officer position or something similar,” she says.

Helping people through pro bono service is rewarding, Eynon says, and has provided an unexpected benefit – she feels more grounded in North Carolina, her new home state. She and her partner prioritized moving to North Carolina in part because of the high employment rates, quality of life and vibrant community.

“I have learned so much about North Carolina through my pro bono work, and often find myself with more knowledge about rural areas of the state than those who are natives,” she says.

Her volunteer work has connected her to local attorneys, firms and non-profit organizations. Two externships, one with the North Carolina State Attorney General’s office, and the second with a judge on the Orange/Chatham District Court, further strengthened her ties to the region.

“I look forward to being established in my career enough so that I can give back to the law school, whether financially or through coming back to network with and support students,” Eynon says.

This story is an excerpt from the Fall-Winter 2011 issue of Carolina Law .

-November 30, 2011

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