Tag Archives: American Bar Association

Alumni Spotlight: Stephen C. George, J.D., LLM

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“Let’s be honest – Charlotte Law (CSL) often has one of two types of reputations: a bad reputation or no reputation at all. My view on this is that as students and alumni, we can sit back and complain about how this makes our lives more difficult, or we can step up and build our own reputation as part of the CSL community,” CSL alumni Stephen George (George) shared. George likes to think that he has helped to either change or build many people’s opinions on CSL in a positive way. Evidenced by George’s tremendous efforts to network in the global legal market, admittance to practice in two states, the U.S. Court of International Trade, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, we decided to interview Mr. George to find out more.

Mr. George, can you provide us with a brief biography that illustrates your background, including but not limited to your educational background?

I am originally from Hickory, NC, and I lived there until I moved to Salzburg, Austria at the age of 14 to attend an American boarding school. After three years in Austria, I returned to North Carolina to complete my freshman year of college at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory. I then transferred from LR to Georgetown University, where I majored in German Language and Linguistics. Upon graduating from Georgetown, a friend and I opened a tour business specialized in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina, and our office was based in Charlotte. When the economic crisis began in 2008, I decided it was time to go back to graduate school, and I decided to try law school at CSL due to the convenience.

May you highlight some of your experiences at CSL. You are more than welcome to discuss faculty, classes, and student life.

My time at CSL got off to a rough start. Due to medical reasons, I missed almost the entire first two weeks of my 1L year. The highlight to that experience was the support I received from the faculty, administration, and fellow students that made sure I was able to catch up on all the material I had missed. I came out of CSL with trusted friends, a solid education, great internship experiences, and memories of a few top-notch professors that helped teach me a new way of thinking. Outside of school, I stayed busy as Chairman of what was then the Middle East Council of the Carolinas and an Advisory Board Member for the Magellan Society, which is the young professionals group of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte.

The experience during my CSL time that has left the biggest impression on me, however, was starting the CSL chapter of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, now the International Refugee Assistance Project. I was looking for an International angle to my pro bono hours, and I was lucky enough to find an ABA teleconference related to international pro bono work. After the call, I followed up with Becca Heller, the Director of IRAP, and we were soon on the path towards starting a Charlotte chapter. Although I feel that my contribution to IRAP was minimal given the short time that I was involved, I learned a lot through the process of starting the chapter and making multiple trips to Lebanon to meet with refugee families and aid organizations.

What was your favorite part about attending CSL?

My favorite part about attending Charlotte Law was the great group of friends with whom I ended up studying. I’m not sure everything my study group did qualified as studying, but we helped each other through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In terms of classes, I enjoyed Contracts with Prof. Pauling and Immigration with Prof. Miller. I would be lying if I said that Property or Civil Procedure were my favorite courses, but my law school experience would not have been complete without the support and education I received from Phyllis Craig-Taylor and Meredith Jeffries, both of whom have since moved on to other positions.

What have you been doing since graduating law school?

Since leaving CSL, I have continued in the field of academia. I enrolled at the University of Vienna in Austria for an LLM in International and European Business Law. After completing my LLM degree, I decided to continue my studies with a doctorate in European Law focused primarily on Intellectual Property Law and the Internet. Last summer, I also completed a Certificate in Corporate Compliance and Ethics at NYU.

While my studies are my main focus at the moment, I also opened a travel agency in Charlotte specialized in the luxury travel market, and I am a Certified Travel Associate through the Travel Institute. Additionally, I have held multiple leadership roles in the ABA Section of International Law over the years, and I am presently Co-Chair of the Section’s Law Student, LLM Student, and New Lawyer Outreach Committee, Member of the Section’s Working Group on Students, and Deputy Officer to the Chair of the Section.

I sat for the New York and Massachusetts Bar Exams concurrently, and I am admitted to practice in both of those states, as well as before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

If you could go back and give your law student-self advice, what would it be?

Work hard and be successful in your studies, but remember that your future outside of law school depends heavily on what you do outside of your books and exams. Take advantage of as many clinical programs, externships, and internships as possible, and network within your professional community and community-at-large as much as you can without sacrificing your grades. The ABA makes it as easy as reasonably possible for law students to get involved, meet people, learn new things, and get your name out there through volunteering or writing articles, so just do it.

Most importantly, take advantage of every bar prep program the school offers and find a system that works for you. If you fail the bar exam, take a moment to do whatever you need to do, and then pick up the pieces and move on because you’re not alone, and your value as a person is not determined by that exam. I failed the North Carolina bar exam twice, so deciding that I was going to continue with my plan to sit for the New York Bar plus add in the Massachusetts Bar was hard, but it all worked out in the end.

George is currently in his final years of his Ph.D. program in European Law at the University of Vienna. Additionally, George’s Masters Thesis on wine labeling in cross-border trade was published as part of Stanford’s European Union Law Working Paper Series, and George’s article on family governance documents was published by the Massachusetts Lawyers Journal. Most notably, George was recently awarded the 2015 Unsung Member Award by the ABA Section of International Law.

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Small Practice Center Spotlight: Issa Hall

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Congratulations to Small Practice Center attorney Issa Hall for being featured by the ABA as an outstanding incubator lawyer.  Charlotte Law is one of only 30+ law schools with incubators, and the only one in the state of North Carolina.

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Charlotte School of Law Student Recognized by ABA Student Division

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Charlotte School of Law student Maritza Adonis was awarded the American Bar Association (ABA) Student Division Silver Kay Award for Leadership on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at the ABA Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas, NV.

The Silver Key is the highest recognition given by the American Bar Association Law Student Division annually.  The Silver Key award is to the board member who has assured law students a greater opportunity to become involved with and participate fully in the mission and activities of the Association, has strengthened law student participation in the programs and activities of the Division, has encouraged the educational and professional development of law students.

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The Law Student Division is concerned with legal education and works with the Section of Legal Education on issues of mutual concern. The Division also has an impact on practical and professional skills development and provides assistance in the search for jobs, both during and after graduation from law school. Additionally, the Division offers leadership training, public service opportunities, career development programming, and practical skills competitions.

Adonis has served as Fourth Circuit Governor for the past year which consists of serving as a regional representative for seventeen law schools from four states and sits on a national ABA board.

According to Michael Farley, Associate Dean of Students at Charlotte School of Law, “We are proud to have one of the largest and most active ABA Law Student Division chapters in the nation, and Maritza’s excellent leadership on the national level is a testament to the talent and motivation of CSL students.”

Maritza T. Adonis, native of Miami Shores, FL, is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Most recently, Maritza obtained a Global Arbitration Certificate from the Center for Commercial Law Studies in London. This training has sparked a new-found interest in International Arbitration and Investment Disputes. Maritza’s ultimate goal is to discover, develop and implement practices that will narrow the achievement gap; eradicate barriers impeding access to health care for medically underserved children; and increase rehabilitation, prevention and retention for juveniles in the juvenile justice system, eliminating retributive practices.

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Administration Spotlight: Dean Conison

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Jay Conison, Dean of Charlotte School of Law and Reporter for the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education, recently had an article published on the North Carolina Bar Examiners website, “The Report and Recommendations of the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education: Its Significance for Bar Admissions and Regulation of Entry into the Legal Profession.”

Congratulations, Dean Conison!

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — November 10, 2014

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ABA’s Grit Project Aims to Help Women Advance in the Profession

Alarmed by persistent evidence that women still are failing to enter the leadership ranks of the nation’s largest law firms in adequate numbers, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession has launched a project to teach female lawyers about some things they surely never studied in law school—grit and a positive mindset. Some researchers say those two traits applied simultaneously can play a crucial role in helping women advance in the profession.

How to Network without Feeling Slimy [podcast]

Lawyers are often told how important professional networking is. But many find it so uncomfortable they feel physically dirty. Why is professional networking so distressing to so many? And how can you overcome it and be successful?

The Privacy Lowdown on Verizon and AT&T’s Smartphone ‘Permacookies’

This week, researchers discovered that smartphone carriers have started inserting a unique code into their customers’ network activity so that their customers can be tracked as they browse the Web and use smartphone apps

The Bridge Builders: Connecting Solos to Clients

We are going to talk about the new bridge-builders, the companies that are acting like Japanese fishing trawlers with their marketing prowess (and investment dollars) sweeping the many oceans for consumers with legal needs. These companies realize that in order to ensure their own survival and deliver on their promises to legal consumers (and their financial benefactors), lawyers have to not only survive, but actually thrive using their platforms.

Long Shot: Charlotte Photographers Capture Tryon Street

When the subject of your picture is 246 years old, it’s worth making a bit of a fuss.  Saturday evening, about 130 photographers did just that. They spread out along historic Tryon Street – laid down in the colonial era as Charlotte’s main drag – and at precisely 6:15 p.m. they took a portrait of the venerable avenue, one that when developed and stitched together will stretch for 100 feet and stand a mere 4 1/2 inches tall.  In all, they captured a mile of uptown within the Interstate 277 loop.

Signing and Singing: Sign-Language Karaoke

For the deaf and hard of hearing in North Carolina, sign-language karaoke is a way to stay connected to music.

Mac’s Speed Shop

A cross section of the Queen City gets its fix here at Mac’s Speed Shop. And if a motorcycle could run on barbecue, it’d fill up here, too.

Four Law Libraries that Fit in Your Pocket

On-the-go legal research is an important aspect of any law professional’s career. A firm might subscribe to any number of research services, each with different features. The following comparison of popular services’ mobile apps shows how to make the most of each one, whether you’re using a smartphone, a tablet, or even a PC or Mac.

America’s Star Libraries, 2014: Top-Rated Libraries

We are very pleased to announce the results of the seventh edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index is a measurement tool that compares U.S. public libraries with their spending peers based on four types of output measures of their per capita use.

The Science of Smiling

What can you accurately and reliable interpret from another’s smile?

To Feel Meaningful Is to Feel Immortal

Our existential lives have always fascinated philosophers and theologians. But now scientists are jumping into the fray, using empirical methods to ask questions that were once considered off limits to them. Specifically, empirical psychologists are exploring questions such as: Why do people seek meaning? What is it that makes life meaningful? And what are the mental and physical health consequences of finding (or not finding) meaning?

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