A Louisiana native, Campbell Law School’s Kathrynn Johnston ‘25 often tells people she “stumbled” into the legal field.
Johnston attended Louisiana Christian University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies in 2015. Johnston then moved to North Carolina to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where she earned her master’s degree in Intercultural Studies in 2017. While in her master’s program, Johnston began working part-time as a receptionist for Rhodes Law Firm, a firm that primarily practices estate planning and estate administration. Unbeknownst to Johnston, this would change the course of her career journey in an unexpected way.Towards the end of her program, Johnston increased her work hours to full time and completed the last of her courses at night and online. Johnston thoroughly enjoyed her work with Rhodes Law Firm, and after completing her degree, continued working there. As time went on, Johnston took on more responsibility and was eventually promoted to paralegal.
Not having lawyers in her family, Johnston was initially unfamiliar with the legal field. As a paralegal, Johnston noticed that on a practical level the profession fit well with her skills and what she enjoyed: working with people, reading and drafting documents. Additionally, being mentored by a Christian woman attorney and seeing her compassion and insistence on serving clients was fundamental in shaping Johnston’s future professional life. Johnston saw that her mentor’s work “serves a practical purpose for people and that the law is unique in meeting clients in situations where nothing else can help them.” This deeply inspired Johnston and she was faced with evaluating what she wanted to do next. Her father challenged her to take the next step to advance in her career and become an attorney.As Johnston contemplated where to attend law school, she quickly determined she was not ready to leave Rhodes Law Firm and sought part-time law school programs. She chose Campbell Law’s FLEX J.D. Program because it is completely integrative and provides richer experiences and more opportunities than other similar programs she considered. In fall 2020, Johnston began attending Campbell Law part time through the FLEX J.D> Program while still working as a paralegal at Rhodes Law Firm. In 2022, Johnston was promoted to Lead Paralegal at Rhodes Law Firm. As lead paralegal, a big part of Johnston’s role involves assisting in training, hiring, quarterly employee evaluations and marketing. She also assists employees in preparing filings for probate and drafting estate planning documents, and drafts more complex estate planning documents. As a student at Campbell Law, Johnston’s responsibilities were also increasing as she took advantage of many opportunities offered at the school. She currently serves as a Campbell Law Review Publication Editor and works in the Bankruptcy Clinic. In the past, she has also served as treasurer for Women in Law, on the Lawyers and Leaders Steering Committee and as a Legal Research and Writing scholar. Johnston recognized how many opportunities have resulted from her Law Review membership.
“I encourage this year’s 1Ls to be bold and try for a spot on the journal this spring,” she said. “It is worth the hard work.”
In addition to continuing her work as a paralegal, Johnston has also completed two internships while a student at Campbell Law, one with the Office of General Counsel of Campbell University Main Campus and one with the Eastern District of North Carolina Bankruptcy Administrator. While interning at the EDNC Bankruptcy Administrator’s Office, Johnston went to court and observed bankruptcy proceedings, conducted research on the 4th Circuit policies regarding digital signatures in bankruptcy proceedings and reviewed petitions and filings for seeking out abuse of the bankruptcy system.Johnston said she anticipates completing her law degree in May 2025 and is eager for the next steps in her professional career.