Graduation Profile: Liz Vennum (’15)

Photo of Liz Vennum ('15)

Liz Vennum ('15) speaks at the Inaugural Advocacy & Awareness Dinner for Wake Forest OUTLaw in 2015.

Liz Vennum (’15) will have left a noticeable mark on Wake Forest Law by the time she graduates this May. A board member of OUTLaw, the American Constitutional Society, and North Carolina Advocates for Justice and Women in Law, Vennum has a long list of accomplishments throughout her three years in law school.

Vennum grew up in Lakeland, Fl. but lived in Chattanooga, Tenn. before attending Wake Forest Law. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with degrees in English and Secondary Education, she paid a deposit to attend another law school but was convinced by Dean Shively to try Wake Forest Law instead.

“I enrolled in Wake sight unseen and didn’t set foot in the law school until the first day of 1L orientation, but I’m so glad I chose Wake,” said Vennum.  ”It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Liz Vennum ('15)

Vennum has been involved in many organizations throughout her time at Wake Law, and helped to organize events such as the “Brown Bag Lunch” series that brings in local attorneys for networking and mentoring, as well as a panel discussion of women judges. She also worked with another student to revive Wake Law’s chapter of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and is on the board of Wake Law’s American Constitution Society. Through ACS, she received a scholarship to attend their annual conference in Washington, D.C., at which she was able to meet Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

During her 2L year, Vennum became involved in OUTLaw, Wake Law’s student group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied law students. After attending a conference at which she learned about an organization that held free legal clinics at Pride festivals, she decided she wanted to hold one herself.

“I became an OUTLaw board member and organized a legal clinic in about two weeks and it was really successful,” said Vennum. “We were able to help 65 people complete their Health Care Powers of Attorney at Winston-Salem Pride in 2013.”

Since then, OUTLaw to hold multiple legal clinics, including a joint event with the LGBTQ Committee of the Young Lawyers Division of the NC Bar Association, where they provided free wills and powers of attorney for the LGBTQ community in Winston-Salem.

Through her involvement in OUTLaw, Vennum found an internship in the summer of 2014 working with the Campaign for Southern Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy organization. She continues to work part-time for them and had the opportunity to help write an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the upcoming same-sex marriage cases from the 6th circuit.

“OUTLaw can make a huge difference in our community with our free legal clinics, and I think it’s crucial that we are visible as allies and community members in the law school, the university, and the city,” said Vennum. “OUTLaw can be a major draw for our law school.  I know that for some LGBTQ students, attending law school in a red state can be a daunting prospect, but knowing that Wake Forest has such a strong supportive organization will make Wake Forest the most welcoming school in the South.”