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MCB VLP Volunteer Spotlight

Charlotte School of Law - 3L Students, Wills Clinic

 

Natalie Boyd   Lindsey Houk    Matthew Schrum

Natalie Boyd           Lindsey Houk        Matthew S. Schrum

 

April's spotlight features three Charlotte School of Law students who are spending part of their final semester in Professor Camille Davidson's Wills Clinic.  Professor Davidson is collaborating with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and the Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program  to allow students to take two cases a semester and to provide speakers at this semester's Habitat for Humanity Homeowners classes.  We thank Professor Davidson for her initiative as well as the students who are so willing to serve the Charlotte community!

 

Natalie Boyd

Current Year in Law School: 3L

 

Favorite Law School Class:

Wills, Trusts and Estates

 

From where did you receive your undergraduate degree and in what was the degree:

University of California, Riverside Major: Political Science

 

What drew you to the Wills Clinic:

I loved the Wills, Trusts and Estates class and after participating in the family law clinics, I discovered I loved helping people, especially the underserved.

 

What is a typical case like?  

There really is no typical case. Every person is different. Some people do not really dare what happens to there property, as long as, the government does not get, while others plan for every trinket in their possession. I think it just depends on if the person has come to grips with death and the fact that they can't take it with them.

 

How many of these type of pro bono cases  will you be handling?

This semester each student will take on two clients because this is the trial run with the wills clinic at Charlotte School of Law.

 

How do you prepare for handling such cases?

I think the best way to prepare is to understand and appreciate that every person is different and, no matter what respect their wishes and try to give guidance that will follow their intentions.

 

What is a typical class session like in the Clinic?

 A typical class session is training. We have had different practicing attorneys come and speak about the realities of practicing estate planning, which has been a great help. The Charlotte legal community has been so supportive of the school.

 

What is your hope for the future with regard to these cases / issue?

I hope that the clients are pleased with the results, most of all. But also, I hope that it is a great learning experience for me. Overall, I hope this client is a great reflection on the good the law school will bring to the community in serving the underserved, one of the school's mission pillars.

 

What is the best advice you've received during your law school career? 

The best advice I received during law school is to always seem competent but to admit to your client that you do not know the answer off hand, but that you will get back to them.

 

What advice will you remember as a practicing attorney?  

That first and foremost we are counselors at law, and to be the best counselors, we must gain the trust of our clients.

 

What do you see to be the most challenging part of law school? 

The most challenging part of law school is realizing what works best for you, may not be what everyone else is doing. I remember the first day of law school, everyone typing away and taking notes feverishly. And, not knowing what I was doing I followed what everyone else was doing. But after a couple of weeks I learned that I needed to do what worked best for me, and that did not include taking notes feverishly on a lap top.  Law school is so different than any other learning experience, and the sooner you become comfortable and confident in yourself, the better off you will be.

 

What would you say is your favorite part of law school? 

It's a tie. I love the camaraderie that I have with my fellow classmates and I love helping clients. Law school is a very competitive place, but the facility at Charlotte School of Law strove to make our law school different. They instilled in my class the idea that we were colleagues and in a short three years we would be turning to one another as fellow attorneys needing advice and support, from one another. I also love that the school has made me practice ready and given me the opportunity to help the underserved in the community through a variety of different programs.

 

Any other pertinent things you would like to share with the Mecklenburg County Bar and legal community? 

Yes, thank you for all the support you have given to the school.

 

 

 

Lindsey Houk Frye

Current Year in Law School: 

Third Year

 

Favorite Law School Class:

Family Law and Wills of course

 

From where did you receive your undergraduate degree and in what was the degree?

Lenoir Rhyne College

 

What drew you to the Wills Clinic?

I wanted to do something I enjoy for my last semester and, of course, working with Prof. Davidson is a real treat.

 

What is a typical case / issue like?

One where I feel like I have genuinely helped someone.

 

How many of these types of pro bono cases / issues will you be handling?

2

 

How do you prepare for handling such cases / issues?

Mainly talking to the clients and doing document prep

 

What is a typical class session like in the Clinic?

Going through documents and making sure we can explain everything to the client

 

What is your hope for the future with regard to these cases / issue?

That they will give me the practical experience I need to practice in this area

 

What is the best advice youve received during your law school career?

You never stop learning- as a result, never think that you know everything!

 

What advice will you remember as a practicing attorney?

You are always being watched and representing the profession- there is not a lawyer switch. You are a lawyer 24/7

 

What do you see to be the most challenging part of law school?

All of it.

 

What would you say is your favorite part of law school?

The challenge.

 

Any other pertinent things you would like to share with the Mecklenburg County Bar and legal community?

I feel so honored to even be a student in this organization and I am so excited about being a part of this legal community.

 

 

 

Matthew S. Schrum

Current Year in Law School:  3L

 

Favorite Law School Class: 

I've enjoyed all of my classes, but I have a special interest in Elder Law.  Professor Nikki Melby teaches the subject with passion and intensity.

 

From where did you receive your undergraduate degree and in what was the degree? 

I attended UNC-Wilmington, and I graduated in 2001 with BA in English.  I was a public school teacher for several years before working as a paralegal.

 

What drew you to the Wills Clinic? 

I was drawn to the opportunity to help real clients.  The intellectual challenges of law school are stimulating, but I find that helping others is the most satisfying aspect of the law.  The ability to work with an actual client gives a tangible value to the endless hours of studying.

 

What is a typical case / issue like? 

I don't think there is such a thing as a typical case.  Each individual client is profoundly unique.  However, one of the recurring challenges is trying to find out what the client actually wants.  Many people have not given much consideration to their estate plans, and are facing important decisions for the first time. 

 

How many of these type of pro bono cases / issues will you be handling? 

Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont has agreed to provide two pro bono cases to each student taking part in the Wills Clinic.

 

How do you prepare for handling such cases / issues? 

The process begins with a questionnaire which provides a basic snapshot of the client's estate planning needs.  Then we meet with the client to discuss the details particular to their case.  As issues arise, they are documented, researched, and discussed with a supervising attorney.

 

What is a typical class session like in the Clinic? 

The Clinic provides a very practical and hands-on experience.  In addition to the learning the legal aspects of estate planning, local attorneys present us with relevant practice tips and advice.

 

What is your hope for the future with regard to these cases / issue? 

I hope the clients we serve will enjoy the peace of mind that is achieved through proper estate planning.

 

What is the best advice you've received during your law school career? 

The best advice I've received during law school is to make time for personal reflection.  With so many assignments and deadlines, it is easy to neglect your personal development.  Some of the most important lessons in law school can only be realized by looking away from the statutes and looking within.

 

What advice will you remember as a practicing attorney? 

Never do anything your mother wouldn't approve. As a paralegal, my supervising attorney used this maxim to guide his conduct when faced with any question of professional conduct.  After practicing for four decades, it has served him well.

 

What do you see to be the most challenging part of law school? 

The most challenging part of law school is finding time for family, friends, and oneself.

 

What would you say is your favorite part of law school? 

I enjoy the rapport with the Charlotte School of Law students.  Although law school is competitive, we are all invested in helping each other succeed.  CSL has developed a culture that is overwhelmingly supportive. 

 

Any other pertinent things you would like to share with the Mecklenburg County Bar and legal community? 

I would like to thank the Mecklenburg County Bar and the legal community for its continued support.  I appreciate all of the good people who have donated their time and talent to the Charlotte School of Law.


 

 

 
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