Bonnie Stinson (J.D. ’22) likes to say she took the long route to attending Georgia State Law. It was the only law school she applied to after earning her master’s degree in political science also from GSU. Her career wasn’t panning out the way she pictured, and after taking a step back to evaluate what she wanted, she decided attending law school would be the best next step.
Stinson is hoping to have a career where she’s able to work with people individually and make an impact on their lives. While she’s still figuring out exactly what type of law will best allow her to achieve that goal, she knew Georgia State was the right school to get her where she wants to be.
Now in her second year, Stinson is taking advantage of every opportunity presented even with added challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, she discusses her externship experience and her biggest takeaways from Georgia State Law so far.
Where did you have your externship?
This summer, I had a virtual externship at Fulton County Superior Court where I clerked for Judge Kimberly Adams. The great thing about everything being virtual, is that even when she wasn’t in court, I was able to witness other court proceedings because Fulton County has a YouTube streaming channel. So, even though we weren’t doing full trials, I was able to see all different types of motion hearings. That gave me a broader view of how Fulton County Superior Court works as a whole.
What was the biggest highlight during that experience?
I would evaluate motions as they were submitted to the court, and my supervising attorney told me the order that I drafted was almost exactly how the judge was going to rule and nearly verbatim how it was going to be entered. I went from finishing my 1L year being stressed that I wasn’t ready for this experience to having my work validated by another attorney. That was extremely rewarding.
So far, what area of law are you interested in?
Right now, I am leaning towards family law. It’s funny because I always said that I never wanted to be a divorce lawyer, but family law is so much more than just doing divorce cases. You can do a lot of things to be an advocate and help change people’s lives. Family law is just so diverse and there are so many different avenues, so I think it’s a specific niche in law I won’t ever get tired of practicing.
Are you happy with your decision to attend Georgia State Law?
I’ve never felt so supported by not just all my professors, but the entire faculty and all the staff. Everybody is very invested in helping you pass the bar, helping you find a career path that you not only like, but you love and helping you find a job afterwards, which is so important. You can get a degree anywhere, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can pass the bar or get the job. I found all of those factors at Georgia State, so I am very happy.
Interview by Mara Thompson