Alumni Profile: Marcus Fields (BA ’10, JD ’16) finds career in elder law very rewarding
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Office of Communications and Public Relations
July 7, 2017
As a student working in Wake Forest Law’s Elder Law Clinic, Marcus Fields (BA ’10, JD ’16) watched a client struggle to balance his full-time job with overseeing his mother’s care in a local nursing home, while also selling her home in another part of the state. The man made a common error that could have put his mother in danger of being dropped from the Medicaid rolls.
“Being able to help him out of a tough spot was really rewarding,” Fields said. “I was providing expertise that the general public doesn’t have.”
Fields’ experiences in the Elder Law Clinic, which provides free legal services to clients with few financial resources, pointed the way to a career that allows him to channel his long-time passion in advocating for those without a voice. He’s now an attorney with the Rockville, Maryland, firm of Ron M. Landsman PA, which specializes in elder law.
A philosophy major, Fields always planned on going to law school, but didn’t want to go right away. He spent his first three years after graduation working as day camp director at Camp Kanata, a coed residential YMCA summer camp for children in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Fields enjoyed helping young campers forget the injustices they faced back home, though he was frustrated that this was a short-term solution. He began to realize that law school was a way to give voice to injustice and bring change to the system.
Becoming a Double Deacon was natural to Fields. The list of Wake Forest alumni in his family include his father, Rob Fields (JD ’84), his fiancee Langley Lease (’14), his brother Robert Fields (’15), and his older sister, Elizabeth Fields (’06).
He entered Wake Forest Law with the idea of serving children. Fields initially volunteered for Teen Court, an intervention program to keep children out of the juvenile court system. His experiences with the Elder Law Clinic, as well as his own grandparents, nudged him in a different direction.
Fields saw how some of his older relatives in the extended family were feeling shut out of an increasingly digital society. He realized that in many ways children and the elderly both feel helpless and are sometimes viewed by society as useless.
“The Elder Law Clinic was the perfect place to explore what advocacy for the elderly looked like,” he said.
Professor Kate Mewhinney, director of the Elder Law Clinic, says, “In working with clients, Marcus displayed caring and confidence. I recall one court case in which he was assisting a man who had experienced substance abuse problems, among many other challenges. The man was living in a halfway house for people in recovery. Marcus was able to build a rapport with this man and elicit the information he needed to know to best handle the case. He explained the legal issues clearly and with great patience, so that his client fully understood the legal process we were handling.”
Mewhinney adds, “I am thrilled that Marcus has joined Ron Landsman, PA, a firm of the most experienced and highly-respected attorneys in our field of practice. Ron Landsman has told me how much the firm has enjoyed having Marcus as part of their team.”
Mewhinney pushed students out of their comfort zone and gave them real life experience that was invaluable in finding a job, Fields said.
“Most of our older citizens, even well into their 80s and 90s still have something to offer, even if it’s just sharing their stories,” he said. “There’s so much wisdom and stored knowledge that’s important.”