Posted: November 10th, 2020
Remy Servis (JD ’22) is pursuing a JD/MA in Bioethics at Wake Forest Law. She is a health law and policy fellow as well as the managing editor of Awaken: The Creative Journal of Contemporary Bioethics.
Where do you call home?
Longport, New Jersey
Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?
Washington University in St. Louis
What year will you graduate from Wake Forest Law?
Describe any experiences prior to law school that influenced your decision to go to law school. Why did it inspire you?
I’ve always known I was interested in working in or adjacent to the health care industry in some way. During my time in undergrad, I developed a passion for the field of bioethics – particularly clinical ethics – while studying philosophy and neuroscience. However, it wasn’t immediately evident to me upon graduating college that law school was the right path. I moved to Nashville after undergrad to work at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in clinical trials research, and it was there that I had the fantastic opportunity to get to know the faculty in the VUMC Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society.
By attending the Center’s clinical ethics case studies and participating in discussion with doctors, nurses, academics, lawyers, and others, I was first exposed to the important role that lawyers play in regulating the worlds of hospital policy, medical research, and patient rights, just to name a few. As I reflected on this potential career path, I realized that not only was I drawn to where a law degree might take me, but I was fascinated by the study of law itself. It felt like the perfect application of the philosophical discourse I had enjoyed so much in undergrad, while also being a fast-paced, interpersonal learning experience.
Why did you decide to attend Wake Forest Law?
Wake Forest Law initially came to the forefront of my mind as I began to research law schools that offered a JD/MA in Bioethics dual degree program. While I was living in Nashville and applying to law schools, I was lucky enough to have the personal mentorship of Catherine Hammack (JD/MA in Bioethics ’14), a Wake Forest alumna who did the JD/MA in Bioethics program and was now a faculty member working in bioethics research at Vanderbilt. She shared such encouraging and candid stories about her time at Wake Forest, and how doing the dual degree was the best decision she had ever made.
After I visited Wake Forest for one of the Accepted Students Weekends, my heart was sold! Not only did I fall in love with Winston-Salem, but every Wake Forest student and faculty member that I met that weekend was an exemplary model of the school’s earnest culture. On a tour of the building, I remember noticing that the 2L student leading our group had a photo of Edinburgh, Scotland as her phone background – turns out we had both studied abroad there, and we ended up sitting in the Commons together for 20 minutes after the tour ended just to swap stories.
I remember how then-Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) went around and introduced herself to every prospective student, spending meaningful time with each of us to get to know more about our lives and interests. Later that night, at a student-faculty dinner, I got a crash-course about all things London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) from an incredibly passionate professor. I didn’t know anything about LIBOR before then, but he made it sound so interesting that I was ready to sign up for his class right then and there! I now know that all of those experiences were truly and perfectly representative of the Wake Forest experience. I find that students and faculty here value equally the development of lasting interpersonal bonds and the cultivation of academic curiosity.
Describe the Wake Forest community. Provide specific examples if possible.
The Wake Forest community really feels like a family. Students here are not just academically talented but are humble, collaborative, personable, and so charitable. And the Wake Forest faculty leads with that same tone of approachable and personable confidence. Everyone is really invested in everyone else’s success. And to have that much momentum and support behind you is an incredible thing. I think everyone here recognizes that we’re all stronger students, thinkers, and lawyers-to-be when we come together and encourage discourse of ideas and perspectives. A perfect example of this selfless mentality: at the end of my 1L year, as my section prepared for our Constitutional Law final exam, there was one particularly hard concept that most of us were struggling to clarify. On his own accord, one of our section-mates put together a two-hour-long voiced-over PowerPoint presentation on that topic for us to use as a resource. The fact that he chose to use his time during a busy finals period to make that for our section really spoke volumes.
What is your most memorable experience during law school (thus far)? What makes it so memorable?
I reminisce fondly about the seven months I had as an in-person Wake Forest student before the pandemic hit! Honestly, I had a great 1L section, and though it’s not one “experience” per se, I love how supportive we all were of each other on a daily basis. Some of my fondest memories are of us cheering each other on through Professor Parks’ Civil Procedure podium on-calls or occupying the basement of the library en masse to study together during finals. On my birthday (which unfortunately fell during finals week), I was surprised with over forty handwritten birthday notes – each of my classmates had written one! And in the spring semester of 1L, the night after we all turned in the Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research (LAWR) II brief, our entire section went out together for Mexican food. The restaurant had to push like, four long tables together to fit all of us – it was fantastic.
What are you involved in outside the classroom? How does this add value to your overall law school experience?
I am a staff member for the Wake Forest Journal of Law & Policy, a coordinator for the Healthcare Advocacy Pro Bono Project, the managing editor of Awaken: The Creative Journal of Contemporary Bioethics, a health law and policy fellow under the guidance of Professor Chris Coughlin, a research assistant (RA) for Professor Tanya Marsh, and a teaching assistant for LAWR I.
I value how these experiences have allowed me to work with members of the Wake Forest Law community – many of whom I might not have otherwise met outside of my class or section – to actually use our burgeoning legal skills to contribute to the field. It’s invigorating to implement the tools we’re being equipped with in our foundational classes to produce journal scholarship, or to help the local community through pro bono.
Recently, the Healthcare Advocacy Pro Bono Project teamed up with the Wills Pro Bono Project to give a virtual presentation about Wills and Advanced Directive forms to a local senior resource center here in Winston-Salem. Although we certainly would’ve loved to do the event in person, we were encouraged by the fact that the virtual set-up did not seem to detract from the enthusiasm we felt from the senior community members on the call. It was rewarding to be able to communicate the value of having these estate-planning forms completed, and successfully clarify any questions the community members had.
Also, I’ve enjoyed how these extracurricular opportunities have exposed me to areas and topics within the law that I was previously unfamiliar with. For example, this past summer, I worked with Professor Marsh on funeral and cemetery law, researching the right of sepulture, and the many ways it can be illegal to interfere with the burial rights legally bestowed upon a decedent’s next-of-kin. Fascinating stuff that I had no idea existed prior to assisting Professor Marsh with her research!
Do you have a faculty mentor? If so, who and why? How does it add value to your student experience?
Let me say that I am immensely grateful for every member of the insightful faculty at Wake Forest – truly, each of my professors has provided enduring personal guidance, excellent academic stewardship, and invaluable professional advice. However, I am particularly indebted to Professors Chris Coughlin, Gregory Parks, and Tanya Marsh, who have each been outstanding mentors for me, and have given me opportunities to engage with the law in new ways. They’ve each furnished me with the space to grow in my identity as a professional in the legal landscape, and encouraged me to ask deep and thoughtful questions about the topics that interest me most. Each of these professors have also provided incredible moral support and much-needed real-world perspective when law school gets hectic. I know I can always shoot any of them an email or hop on a Zoom call to pick their brain. Really, grateful is an understatement.
What do you do for fun in Winston-Salem when you aren’t studying?
I’m a big foodie, so my roommate and I love to explore the Winston-Salem restaurant scene – our favorites places to try are Thai restaurants and bakeries. I also enjoy going for walks out at the Salem Lake trail – it’s a perfect length to put on a good podcast and clear my head for a few hours!
Where do you want your law degree to take you?
I’m looking forward to joining the always-evolving field of health care law, and working to solve issues on the precipice of development and change!