A gift from the Kathrine R. Everett Charitable Trust has allowed law students to work in the district and superior courts of North Carolina this summer.
This summer, five UNC School of Law students have an opportunity to witness the practice of law in local courts as part of a new initiative. The Robinson O. Everett Sr. Judicial Fellows Program aims to expose students to litigation through working with judges and observing the attorneys appearing before them. Each student will attend proceedings in both district and superior court over a period of six to 10 weeks. The summer jobs are funded by a gift from the Kathrine R. Everett Charitable Trust.
The initiative began two years ago with a presentation from the law school’s Career Development Office to the resident superior court judges at the UNC School of Government.
“We thought a program focused on state trial court judges throughout the state would give our students, many of whom will practice in state court after graduation, litigation experience at the local level,” says Shawn McKenna, director of employer outreach at UNC School of Law.
Because of that presentation, Judge Martin McGee hired a student in Cabarrus County last summer. To build upon this experience, the law school has set aside funding for five students to pursue their interest in litigation as judicial fellows this summer in Wake, Alamance, Guilford, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties. Judges reviewed applications, interviewed and hired the following students:
- In Alamance County, Evan Hockenberger 2L is working with Senior Resident Superior Court Judge David Thomas Lambeth Jr. ’85 and Chief District Court Judge Bradley Allen.
- In Cabarrus County, Brian Webb 3L is working with Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Martin McGee and Chief District Court Judge William Hamby.
- In Guilford County, Charles Plambeck 2L is working with Senior Resident Superior Court Judge John O. Craig ’82 and Chief District Court Judge Tom Jarrell.
- In Mecklenburg County, Michael Sheehan 2L is working with Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Robert Bell and Chief District Court Judge Regan Miller ’78.
- In Wake County, Hunter Stag 2L is working with Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway and Chief District Court Judge Robert Rader.
“With the majority of our graduates entering private practice in cities and towns across the state, this program will allow students to gain a fuller understanding of trial practice and the hands-on experience needed to succeed as a member of the N.C. State Bar,” says McKenna.
Fellowships like these give students the experience needed to be practice ready upon graduation.
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch excellent litigators arguing before the bench in a wide variety of cases, from simple civil matters to first degree murder,” says Hockenberger, who is working in Alamance County. “Crafting jury instructions for a murder trial wrapped all the theoretical knowledge from Criminal Law into a real-world application. I highly recommend a clerkship at the trial court level to anyone who plans to practice law.”
The gift from the Kathrine R. Everett Charitable Trust supports For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the University’s history. The gift also reinforces Carolina Law’s commitment to provide experiential learning opportunities for students early in their legal education, so they are equipped to be practice-ready and principled advocates of justice once they graduate.