Today is Day One of the North Carolina bar exam in Raleigh.
The two-day “event” pits law graduates’ brains (and a bit of brawn) against the somewhat notorious and arduous test used to accept or deny admittance to the legal profession.
Those who succeed with a passing score of 350 points will soon be duly licensed attorneys at law, deemed competent to represent clients, to join a law firm or hang a shingle, to become a prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer, and so on.
We wish everyone taking the bar exam today and tomorrow the best of luck.
On that note, we announce our July bar exam scholarship winners – Chris Faircloth of Wilmington and Josh Winks of Winston-Salem – who had great answers to the question:
- What is the most pressing or interesting criminal justice story of 2016/17?
Chris Faircloth of Wilmington
Chris gave us the story of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. The FBI wanted it unlocked for purposes of its investigation, but Apple refused to comply. As Chris wrote on our Facebook page, this was “another rendition of the classic ‘terrorism’ vs. privacy/liberty debate,” an unsettled case that “continues to loom over the practice of criminal law.”
In his cover letter to us, Chris wrote that he took every class on criminal law, including one that we at Roberts Law Group think should be part of every law school curriculum – an advanced seminar based on the HBO series The Wire.
A cum laude graduate of Campbell University School of Law, Chris served on the Campbell Law Review and won “Book Awards” in Evidence and Professional Responsibility, among other subjects.
During his time in law school, Chris also gained a breadth of direct experience with the criminal justice system, including as a clerk for the Hon. Judge Fox in federal court.
Josh Winks of Winston-Salem
Josh gave us the story of our underfunded indigent defense system – the public defenders – because everyone under the Sixth Amendment has the right to a criminal defense lawyer, even those who cannot afford one.
Another cum laude graduate, Josh attended Wake Forest University School of Law, where he became a member of the Order of the Coif for graduating in the top 10 percent of his class.
While in law school, Josh (like Chris) gained direct experience with the criminal justice system. As an intern for the Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office, Josh learned one of the most valued tenets of criminal defense practice: “Whether I was writing a brief, reviewing a file, trying a case, or counseling a client,” Josh wrote, “I did my best job despite the client’s actual guilt or innocence because everyone deserves a just outcome.”
Not one to be content sampling just one side of the table, Josh also interned with the Bladen County District Attorney’s Office, where he tried assault cases and DWIs as a student prosecutor.
“No matter if I end up working in prosecution or criminal defense,” Josh wrote in his cover letter to us, “I relish the opportunity to work in a field where you get to make a difference to someone’s life.”