Posted: May 17th, 2011 | By: Mary Giunca
Charlie Mellies (’11) believes in setting his sights high. Heʼs known since childhood that he wants to be a lawyer and an Army Reserve JAG like his father, but thatʼs only a start.
After getting a job with the public defenderʼs office or district attorneyʼs office in Forsyth County, Mellies hopes to get into politics. He has his eye on N.C. District 5 in the U.S. House. But he does not intend to stop there.
“I will become the President of the United States one day,” he said.
Mellies graduates this month from the law school at Wake Forest University, where he was also an undergraduate. The former baseball player and youth coach has found a place that lets him be both a strong competitor and a team player.
Along with Kelly Beth Smith, Mellies recently received the Robert Goldberg Award in Trial Advocacy, which honors the memory of Robert Goldberg, a student at the School of Law, who was killed in World War II. The annual cash award in the amount of $3,000 is given to students showing the highest aptitude and ethics in trial advocacy.
From an early age Mellies enjoyed public speaking and arguing his points. He honed those skills over the two summers he has spent in the Forsyth County public defenderʼs office.
“I got my first jury trial this past fall in which I successfully defended a man that was wrongfully accused of embezzling from his employer,” he said.
His twin brother, who is now a police officer in Huntsville, Ala., used to talk about becoming an officer when he grew up.
“We would always joke that he would arrest them and I would convict them,” Mellies said.
While at Wake Forest, Mellies decided to pursue work in the Army JAG reserves so that he could stay in Winston-Salem.
His favorite experience in law school was being a member of the National Trial Team, which competed in the national finals the last two years. Practicing for six hours a day, three days a week felt like playing college baseball again.
“We learned how to put a case together from the ground up and received constant feedback from our three coaches and visiting judges,” he said. “I have been part of a team my entire life and it was great to get back into the team environment.”
Mellies fell in love with Wake Forestʼs beautiful grounds as an undergraduate majoring in political science and sociology. He used his training runs for baseball and ROTC to explore the campus.
He had heard horror stories about the cutthroat nature of law students, but he has found Wake Forest to be a supportive community.
“Everyone I have met and worked with at Wake has been more eager to help others than themselves,” he said, “and that is what makes Wake special.”