Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
I interviewed Kimberly Pellini about her career as a lawyer for the benefit of students who are considering a career in the law. Mrs. Pellini works for the state of North Carolina as an assistant district attorney. She is also a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association and the National District Attorneys Association.
While Mrs. Pellini has always been fascinated by the law, it was only after taking a constitutional law class as an elective in college that she chose to pursue a career as a lawyer. During law school she decided to become a criminal prosecutor in order to get justice for crime victims.
Mrs. Pellini described how the duties of her current position as an assistant district attorney vary between court days and office days. During her office days, she spends the majority of her time reviewing criminal cases and discussing those cases with the defendants’ lawyers and law enforcement officers. She also interviews witnesses and prepares for trials. On court days, she resolves criminal case through plea agreements or trials.
There are several aspects of her job that Mrs. Pellini enjoys. She likes trying cases, getting justice for victims, and helping crime victims navigate the court process. The aspect of her job that she least enjoys is negotiating plea agreements with defense attorneys.
Mrs. Pellini offered advice for prospective lawyers. She said that to be successful, lawyers must be logical thinkers and strong communicators. Lawyers also must be able to think "fast on their feet."
She advises prospective law students to complete a related internship to see what being a lawyer involves. She explained that being a lawyer is very different than it appears on television.
Mrs. Pellini also wanted to be certain that students knew that there is no required undergraduate major for prospective law students. Mrs. Pellini suggested that students select majors that they enjoy and in which they excel because a prelaw student’s GPA is an important aspect of their law school application. It is also important to select a major which will hone analytical thinking skills.
Image provided by Kimberly Pellini. All image rights belong to her.