Alumna Profile: Karen Knippenberg (MSL ’14)

Photo of students sitting outside the Worrell Professional Center

Wake Forest Law

Karen Knippenberg (MSL ’14) majored in Political Science at Appalachian State University with a concentration in paralegal studies. After graduation, she worked as a paralegal, mostly in real estate along with some work with mergers and acquisitions.

“I’ve always loved the ever-changing day-to-day tasks in commercial real estate,” Knippenberg said, “and combining that with my passion for law was perfect for my interests.”

Knippenberg had always wanted to pursue an advanced degree in law, and she started researching available programs. “I found the Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree at Wake Forest Law and it was a perfect fit for me at this stage of my life and my career,” she said.

Karen Knippenberg

Karen Knippenberg (MSL ’14)

In the MSL, Knippenberg tried to branch out from legal areas that she’d worked in over the years. She especially enjoyed classes in Tax Law and Family Law with Professor Rebecca Morrow.

“I had her for Family Law first semester and she is the reason I signed up for Tax Law second semester,” she said.

She also found Professor Chris Meazell an excellent sounding board for sharing her thoughts about the program and its direction. Meazell is also the Director of Graduate Programs and heads the MSL degree and its program.

When she was interviewing for jobs, many of the interviewers would ask, “What exactly is that degree and what do you do with it?” (Read more about this on the MSL website.)

“I took that opportunity to not only endorse the program,” she said, “but to explain to them how it had enhanced all of my years in the legal field.”

She finds that the knowledge she gained while pursuing her MSL helps her daily. In fact, her degree has helped her advance to the next level in her career.

She has some simple advice for those who are thinking about pursuing an MSL — “Just do it.”

“At this point in my life, the program presented a much welcome challenge,” she said, “and I’m grateful for every day that I spent in it.”