Posted: December 18th, 2019 | By: Lisa Snedeker
Julia Adams-Scheurich (MSL ’21) is a contract lobbyist and policy consultant in North Carolina’s capital city. That means she spends much of her time researching proposed legislation and meeting with lawmakers.
It also means finding herself in the rooms where it happens, working on complicated bills full of technical language and legal terminology.
“I love the process and I love working in politics,” Adams-Scheurich explains. “But the more I do within the legislature, the more I wanted to study what is behind the laws. I was truly thinking of going to law school, but I knew I didn’t want to practice law. I was really looking for something in between, a program that would challenge me professionally and intellectually while giving me a strong legal background.”
That’s when Wake Forest University School of Law’s online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) in Health Law and Policy hit her radar.
As President of Oak City Government Relations, LLC, Adams-Scheurich has worked on legislation that has helped shape the Old North State on key issues — from school vouchers for kids with disabilities, to improving public education outcomes for students with special needs, to advocating for access for people with disabilities in the changing health-care system, and ensuring voting access for all citizens.
Ranked as one of the most influential lobbyists in North Carolina in 2013-14, this Meredith College alumna has spent more than 12 years in state politics. She says her focus is providing her clients strong representation at the General Assembly while guiding them through an ever-changing political landscape.
“I want to emphasize the importance of what is said in statutes and the importance of each word,” she explained. “I want to be able to ask legislators, ‘Is that what you really meant to say?’ By taking this program of study, I am able to better understand the implications of choice of words in legislation and how those choices dictate policy implementation. I want to be able to understand legal cases and how new laws impact those cases.”
Adams-Scheurich’s policy focus is in health care, Medicaid, special education, representing the needs of advocacy organizations and providers of health-care services, social justice for people with disabilities, and voter rights.
She began the online Wake Forest MSL’s dedicated Health Law and Policy track in January 2018.
“From the first class, you feel like you are part of the university,” she explained. “And you are encouraged to be part of the law school. You grow here to become a legal professional.”
Part of what attracted Adams-Scheurich to the Wake Forest Law online master’s program is that it offers the option to come to campus periodically for residential classes and symposia. “The MSL residential programs offer an excellent opportunity to connect with our peers and build our professional networks.”
“I had the opportunity to participate in an excellent symposium about the legal implications of quarantine during a public health emergency,” she explained. “The ability to have access to these symposia to grow my understanding of policy implications in public health really adds benefit to the online program.”
Adams-Scheurich says she has enjoyed exploring law in a new context taught by professors who are fully engaged in the MSL program and very invested in all of their students. She credits her solid legal foundation to Professor Steve Garland’s introductory Legal Foundations course, which provides overview of the legal system in the context of today’s workplace and mentions the variety of electives available from industry to policy specific classes such as Professor Chris Coughlin’s Bioethics and the Law.
“The MSL program at Wake Forest Law School is the most important career decision I have made. It makes me a more competent lobbyist and that provides me with the critical skills I need to represent my clients at the legislature. I have found my passion in the law.”