The 2023 Meet and Greet Legal Professionals Day, sponsored by Judge Melynee Leftridge, is set to kick off this week. Legal interns at Superior and other courts will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with, judges, prosecutors, criminal defense and civil litigation attorneys, law enforcement, and court diversion programs.
Now in its second year, we had the chance to ask Judge Leftridge a few questions about how the event inspires college students, the success of the first year, and what inspired her to go to law school and continue to give back to those students now.
Q: What about the first year made you want to continue with this event?
A: “The “inaugural” Meet and Greet Legal Professionals Day (2022) was highly successful. It was very well attended, with over 50 interns from various classes of court, and 8 speakers/presenters. We also hosted several interns from local law schools. The feedback from the students inspired the need to launch another Meet and Greet Professionals Day this summer. The students thoroughly enjoyed the speakers; they learned so much from hearing the speakers’ respective professional journeys; and they appreciated the opportunity to interact with the speakers in our informal setting – which was extended over the lunch break. We saw that the program was very worthwhile and decided it made good sense to offer it for a second year. I believe it is important to note that most every speaker, this year and last, currently works in Fulton County or worked in Fulton County in the past. We wanted to highlight the brilliant legal minds our County has produced."
Q: Was there anyone that you heard speak in the past, perhaps as a college or high school student, that inspired you to go to law school?
A: “I was initially inspired to go to law school after taking a civics class in junior high school…our teacher assigned a project involving advocating for a point/position arising from specific lyrics to a song. I cannot recall the point/position or the specific lines in the song that informed my presentation. However, I do remember the song was “And the Beat Goes On” – by The Whispers. Still a very good song, I might add.”
Q: Last year, was there feedback from the interns or presenters that stuck with you?
A: “The students appreciated having an opportunity to interface with so many lawyers who were kind enough to offer both their time AND contact information. The students enjoyed last year’s program so much, they wanted the speakers to engage with them longer than the time slots allowed for each speaker. The students appreciated that the speakers, in sharing their paths, were authentic, sharing mistakes they made along the way; they loved that the speakers were honest and appeared to genuinely enjoy serving the public in the legal field.”
"The Meet and Greet Legal Professionals Day was the “brainchild” of Ms. Cynthia Chapman, my judicial assistant, and I have greatly enjoyed collaborating with her on its format and other varying aspects of it.”
Q: How do you feel that this inspires the interns? How does this event aid them in their educational and career choices?
A: “Most law students are trying to figure out what they want to do with their law degree. They are trying to determine what substantive area of the law will best suit them, as they make decisions about where to focus their job search. The Meet and Greet Legal Professionals Day gives the students a chance to hear from seasoned lawyers and legal personnel in a relaxed setting. The speakers share the paths that lead them to their current jobs within the legal field. Some of those pathways are straight and others are winding. I believe this program allows these “new, fresh, legal minds” to get a sense of the roadway ahead ---and it provides them with some degree of comfort that the varying professional paths selected by them will work together for their greater professional good.”