From Classroom to Courtroom: Carolina Law Hosts N.C. Court of Appeals

April 23, 2024

The University of North Carolina School of Law  hosted a special session of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, showcasing the strong ties between the court and the law school. The event featured a panel of three judges, including Carolina Law alumnus Hon. John Arrowood ’82, who was joined by Hon. Allegra Collins and Hon. Carolyn Thompson.

The session provided a unique opportunity for students to observe real-life oral arguments, an invaluable experience for aspiring lawyers. “It is always great to see how bright and engaged the current students are,” Judge Arrowood remarked. “I always enjoy coming back to the law school, whether it is to speak to groups of students on panels, which I do on occasion when invited, interviewing graduating 3Ls as potential law clerks, or conducting formal court sessions.”

Following the arguments, the judges took questions from students during a reception, offering an extraordinary chance for direct interaction and connection with these distinguished legal professionals. This event not only provided an invaluable educational experience for students but also highlighted the diverse career paths available to Carolina Law graduates.

Several clerks who graduated from Carolina Law in recent years were also present at the event, serving as inspiring examples for current students. Among them was Rachel Allore ’23, who currently serves as a clerk for Judge Arrowood. Other alumni clerks included Marcus Brown ’23 and Sam Spalding ’20.

The event also included on-site interviews for potential judicial clerkships, further emphasizing the strong relationship between the Court of Appeals and Carolina Law. “Carolina prepares it’s students for a wide range of careers, from working in small towns to the largest cities throughout our state and indeed in any major metropolitan area in our country,” Judge Arrowood noted. “It provides a great education, whether you want to start out as a judicial clerk, practice public interest law, or pursue a career in ‘big law’ at our nation’s largest firms.”

Beyond the classroom, Judge Arrowood stressed the importance of civic engagement for aspiring judges. “If a student wants to eventually pursue a judicial career, my advice for them would be, in addition to becoming known as a really good attorney and becoming involved in their various bar groups, they should also become active in the civic life of their community,” he advised. “A license to practice law, while well-earned, is also a privilege that I believe comes with a responsibility to give back to the community at large.”

The Court of Appeals event not only highlighted the strength of the Carolina Law community but also underscored the lifelong connections formed at Carolina Law. “Each time I return to Chapel Hill, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have been able to get a good legal education for such a reasonable cost and to make lifelong friendships at the same time,” Judge Arrowood reflected. “I would encourage all the students to become friends with as many of their classmates as they can because one day, they will be worthy adversaries in the courtroom or across the negotiating table but also valued colleagues as well.”