Students of the night 

For love or money, law school appeals.

Graduates of the Class of 2002 at the UALR School of Law found jobs in private practice (55 percent), as counsel to a company or in business (11 percent), in state, county and local government (13 percent), as judges' clerks (17 percent) and academics (1 percent). About a third of those earned their degree in night school, over a several-year period. One of those night schoolers, Jonathan Warren, hopes to create a particular niche when he graduates in 2005: As a lawyer/screen writer. The radio, television and film graduate of UALR worked at KATV, Channel 7, as a video editor for eight-and-a-half years. But burnout and hopes for a more lucrative career turned his thinking to law school. He is typical of the night school students at the School of Law in that he's worked, and brings that maturity - and a desire to change jobs - to his class. Warren said his mother, Judge Joyce Warren, was "shocked" at his decision to apply to law school, but apply he did - three times. "I was arrogant the first time" he took the LSAT, Warren acknowledged, thinking the test wouldn't require any studying. The result? "I didn't do that well," he said, and was turned down. But Warren forged ahead, enlisting a friend to tutor him and taking the LSAT two more times. Finally, in 2001, he was thrilled to see that fat envelope from the law school in the mail. Warren, 32, now works at the law office of Gary Green during the day, taking calls, writing motions and doing research. "I've actually learned more working here than in school," Warren said, and he hopes to stay there for a time after he graduates. But Warren has relished his law school classes, especially mock trials. He got to travel to Washington, D.C., for moot court competition where "we did well, but we suffered from a little East Coast bias." He has since been named the Moot Court chair and was awarded a scholarship sponsored by a Little Rock law firm. Warren's interest in film is only one distinguishing characteristic; the other is the fact that he's African-American. "My parents raised us that people are people, but I can't help but look around and think, 'I'm the only black guy in this class' " at times, Warren said. However, he's noticed the steady increase in black students since he first enrolled. "When I first came in, it wasn't even 10 percent," he said. Today, 48 out of the school's 400 students are minority, most of them African-American. Now, Warren looks forward to fall, when he's enrolled in a class he couldn't turn down: Law and Film. "I'm hoping we have to write papers and film," he said. Grif Stockley, John Grisham, look out. Bonnie Johnson is another part-time student who had a career before deciding to get a law degree. She started law school "just a couple of weeks before my 50th birthday," and said though it was difficult at first getting back in study mode, she would encourage other middle-agers to try it. (The average age of law school students at the Little Rock school is 38.) She ascribes the late entry to her era - when women weren't encouraged to pursue a professional career - and to the fact that she was a working mother, holding various jobs in the non-profit sector for 20 years. Johnson was working to get a master's degree in public administration from UALR when a joint program with the Law School was created. "By May, I will have been in school for six years and have both degrees," she said. Law school has been a rich experience, she said, her fellow night students "interesting" people who've worked in various jobs, her professors "top notch." Night students, she said, defy the stereotype of cutthroats who'll do anything to come out on top, Instead, they are "so supportive of each other." Johnson's not cutthroat either, but she is on top - number one in her class her first two years in school, with a 3.9 GPA, and now ranked third, with a 3.8 GPA. She's on full scholarship. She's made her mark on campus another way, too: Everywhere she goes, she hauls a pullcart loaded with two legal briefcases, her laptop and her lunch. Johnson, who works full time as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Annabelle Imber, is not sure where she's headed with her new degrees. She enjoys law in the abstract as well as the "chess game" of civil procedure. But she'll bring a new perspective to that new job: "In the past, I had a liberal outlook. As I've gotten older, I'm interested in how justice [works] for everybody … how rights and interests of different peoples can be balanced, and how to do that as a society. It's part of the maturing process."


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Coming to McLeod: Hursley and Simmons, land and dreamscapes

    Heads up for Thursday, Oct. 27: Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery opens "Landscapes/Dreamscapes: At the Crossroads of Observation and Memory," an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Little Rock artists Jeanie Lockeby Hursley and  Dominique Simmons. 
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • Good Weather, outdoors and in (Elliott Earls)

    If you read this week's Arts and Entertainment feature on Good Weather Gallery, you are probably wanting to know a little bit more about the show opening tomorrow, Oct. 22: Elliott Earls' "Death of a Salesman."
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • White Water gets Southern Salted

    Lauren McCants, the Southern Salt Co. food truck founder and chef, is now serving food at the White Water Tavern Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. On the menu: hamburgers and cheeseburgers (of course) as well as deep fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, deep fried chicken sandwiches, a smoked bologna and over-easy egg sandwich (real good, she says), chicken nachos and a special, like coconut curried chicken. There are vegetarian options, as well: Deep-fried tofu sandwiches, prepared with avocado and like a fish taco; and sweet potato and avocado tacos.
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Casting out demons: why Justin Harris got rid of kids he applied pressure to adopt

    Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • A child left unprotected

    State Rep. Justin Harris and his wife adopted a young girl through the state Department of Human Services. How did she, six months later, end up in the care of a man who sexually abused her?
    • Mar 5, 2015
  • The two faces of Mike Huckabee

    Medicaid expander, Obamacare opponent. Man from Hope, mansion in Florida. Child health proponent, Duggar apologist.
    • Jun 4, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Cover Stories

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation