Graduation Profile: Alena Baker Mosier (JD ’16)
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Office of Communications and Public Relations
April 12, 2016
Student Profile: Alena Baker Mosier (JD ’16)
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor’s in political science and philosophy from Florida State University (earned in three years)
Past and Current Leadership Positions: Managing Editor of the Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy, Director of Student Outreach for the Pro Bono Project, 3L Class Representative of the Student Bar Association, two-time Public Interest Law Organization (PILO) Grant Recipient, Research Assistant for Professor Gregory Parks and Research Assistant for Office of Career & Professional Development
Past Work Experience: Judicial Law Clerk at U.S. Department of Justice’s Charlotte Immigration Court, Litigation Extern at U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina Circuit, Court Legal Intern for Montgomery County’s Major Crimes Division at (MD) State’s Attorney’s Office, and Judicial Intern for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Why did you chose Wake Forest University?
After attending an Admitted Students Day, I knew that Wake Forest Law was the right school for me. The students that I met were so well rounded and confident. While each one had a different passion, it was clear that Wake Forest Law had fostered their passions. The students also seemed to have a strong community with each other and the faculty. Coming from a big state school, those close relationships stood out to me.
During that visit, I also met Professor Beth Hopkins, the faculty adviser of the Pro Bono Project. She discussed the many ways that law students gave back to the community through pro bono legal work. I was in awe that a law student’s good work began during the first year of law school, but I was excited to hear that I could be helping people so early in my legal career.
Wake Forest Law never asked what I could do for the school or what I was bringing to the table. Instead, the administration continues to ask what they can do for me! The way that Wake Forest Law invests in its students makes it a step above the rest.
What has been your favorite course at Wake Forest Law?
My favorite course was Professor Carol Anderson’s Litigation Externship Clinic. My placement at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina exposed me to both civil and criminal cases. Only three semesters into law school, I presented arguments on behalf of the United States in federal court before real federal judges. The cases ranged from major white-collar prosecutions to tort claims against the United States. The work environment was fast-paced and challenging. However, the experts taught me how to act and think like a litigator. Through this experience, I conducted sentencing, supervised release revocation, and detention hearings that included witness examinations and evidentiary arguments. I also drafted Fourth Circuit appellate briefs. This practical litigation experience prepared me to pursue a career in criminal prosecution.
What is your most memorable moment at Wake Forest Law?
My most memorable moment is my first experience at the Pro Bono Project’s Expungement Clinic. Through the Pro Bono Project, Wake Forest Law students are trained to handle expungement intake cases. At these clinics, indigent clients with certain criminal convictions seek the removal of a charge from their criminal records. An expungement may open doors to pursue housing, state benefits, or professional goals previously unattainable. About six weeks into my first year, I volunteered at my first Pro Bono Expungement Clinic. As I prepared for the intake meeting at the Legal Aid Office, I remember my eagerness to help someone with my new legal knowledge. I will never forget the smile that crossed my first client’s face when I told her that she qualified for an expungement. Her expungement enabled her to pursue her dream promotion. That experience ignited my love for pro bono work, which remains a major part of my life at Wake Forest.
What are your career aspirations? How has Wake Forest Law fostered those aspirations?
To change the world! I want to use my degree to make the world a better place. Specifically, I plan to pursue criminal justice reform through criminal prosecution. Criminal prosecution will allow me to represent vulnerable communities to promote public safety. I plan to work as a career prosecutor at the state or federal level, while actively participating in criminal justice reform efforts on the national level. I may even pursue policy reform drafting. Immediately after graduation, I will be moving to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career in criminal prosecution following my judicial clerkship.
My Wake Forest Law courses pushed me out of my comfort zone, which led to my passion for criminal law. Evidence and Criminal Law taught by Professor Charley Rose were my favorite courses early in my legal studies. Wake Forest Law’s Trial Practice Program left me excited about the challenges of litigation. Through seminar coursework, Professors Margaret Taylor and Kami Chavis Simmons opened my eyes to the flaws of the justice system. These academic experiences have ignited my sense of justice and encouraged me to become a prosecutor who seeks fair and just outcomes.