Tell us about your work.
I am an assistant attorney general to the North Carolina Department of Justice. I also serve as special counsel to the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory, which examines evidence associated with criminal investigations for public law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina. In that role, I work on a wide variety of legal issues, including discovery; testing and preservation orders; courtroom testimony training and evaluation; review of laboratory protocols; legislative drafting; and multi-agency collaboration on multiple criminal justice initiatives.
There are talented and dedicated people working in crime laboratories, and I enjoy learning from them as I practice law. It is a privilege to help them navigate the complexities of the legal world on a daily basis while also learning about the complex scientific work they conduct daily.
Why did you choose to get this LL.M.?
The LL.M. in Forensic Justice was a perfect fit for my role at the North Carolina Department of Justice. It has transformed me from a lawyer who happens to work at a crime laboratory into an integral asset within the executive leadership of my client agency. In my role, I need to be effectively bilingual – I must have a working knowledge of forensic science practices so I can assist in translation between the laboratory and the courtroom, and vice versa.
How will the LL.M. in Forensic Justice help advance your career?
WVU Law’s LL.M. in Forensic Justice has helped me understand the most litigated points of my clients’ various disciplines. The program’s specialization in expert testimony law has directly supported my work as a criminal appellate attorney for the State of North Carolina. The breadth and attention to big-picture discussions in forensics has also given me a leg-up when advising North Carolina State Crime Laboratory on policy-level considerations.
What would you say to other working attorneys who are considering WVU Law’s LL.M. program in Forensic Justice?
Whether you work in litigation or in a less common public agency role like mine, you will undoubtedly come away from this program with a better foundation in forensic science and expert testimony. Forensic legal issues will continue to garner attention in the public imagination and in the courtroom, and this LL.M. will help attorneys in all phases of their careers enhance their legal knowledge and skill set in an online setting.