Meet Dakota Baccus (JD ’21)

portrait of dakota baccus

Dakota Baccus (JD ’21) was looking for a law school where pro bono work and student collegiality were big parts of the academic experience.

Where do you call home?

Minneapolis, Kansas

Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?

Kansas State University

Where are you working your 1L summer?

Intern at the Ottawa County Attorney’s Office

Are you working in a specific area of law?

This office does a variety of work. They not only act as the District Attorney for the County, but the office also provides legal advice for county officials who need legal consultation.

What do you look forward to learning and experiencing in your summer position?

I look forward to seeing what the every day life is like for an attorney. I am also really excited to see how everything I have learned this past year ties into the real world practice of law.

Why did you decide to attend Wake Forest Law?

I loved the school’s focus on pro bono and using legal experience to help the surrounding community. I am also interested in a variety of clinics that Wake Forest offers and look forward to being able to participate in them. Finally, the school has two very prestigious trial teams and very strong criminal and trial advocacy programs.

Describe the Wake Forest community.

The community is very caring and friendly. Everyone is genuinely so nice and wants to help you succeed. The friends I’ve made are so supportive of one another and are there whenever I need them. Every time one of us is competing in one of the law school competitions, like Trial Bar and Moot Court, we make sure to go watch one another and help each other prepare for the next competition.

The academic relationships with your fellow students is not competitive at all, which is something that I was looking for. If someone misses class for an illness people are more than willing to send you notes and help explain the topics you may have missed.

Your professors also truly care for you and will go out of their way to help you be successful. They also support you in everything outside of the classroom that you participate in. One of my professors came and watched my friend compete in one of the knockout rounds of the Zeliff Trial Bar competition. After any competition, organization election, or try out, professors will email you and congratulate you, showing you just how much they care.

What is your most memorable experience during law school (thus far)? What makes it so memorable?

My most memorable experience so far was winning the Kilpatrick Townsend 1L Trial Competition. My team was one of three Wake Forest teams to compete against 40 other North Carolina law school teams. This tournament was a fun opportunity to actually get into a courtroom and feel like your practicing law. It really provided a reminder for why I went to law school in the first place.

What are you involved in outside the classroom?

I am involved in trial bar, the National Trial Team, and the Pro Bono Project’s Prison Letters Project.

What do you do for fun in Winston-Salem when you aren’t studying?

I go fishing, volunteer with my church on the weekends, and spend time hanging out with friends.

Where do you want your law degree to take you?

I want to use my law degree to make a genuine impact in the community around me. My major goal is to become a Navy JAG and at some point I’d like to work in criminal law either as a public defender or as a prosecutor.