Campbell Law Spotlight: Marissa Dunsmore ‘24

Photo of Marissa Dunsmore '24

Growing up, Marissa Dunsmore ‘24 dreamed of becoming a professional dancer. As she transitioned through different phases of her life, however, her aspirations shifted towards finding a career that would allow her to advocate for others.

Dunsmore attended East Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance education in 2015. After graduation, she began her first teaching position as a dance teacher and dance team coach at her former high school in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her plans were to fulfill her North Carolina Teaching Fellows Scholarship requirements and then move to New York City or Los Angeles to pursue a career as a dance performer and choreographer. Dunsmore could not anticipate, however, how much she would love teaching and coaching. She found purpose and fulfillment working as a high school teacher and her goal of becoming a professional dancer slowly faded. Helping others follow their dreams became her new dream.

Dunsmore continued teaching for six years until the COVID-19 pandemic prompted another shift in her plans. Dunsmore sought a career doing meaningful work where she would have the voice to advocate for teachers and students, but she was not sure what would get her there. Her mother was the first to suggest law school, so Dunsmore began speaking with friends in the legal field to get a better insight into life as a lawyer. After speaking to a few Campbell Law alumni and researching her options, she realized this career path would offer her a platform to do the type of work she craved, so she applied to law school.

Dunsmore began attending Campbell Law in the Fall of 2021. For her 1L summer internship, she hoped to return to Wilmington, North Carolina, so she Googled real estate law firms and found the Humphries Law Firm, which is owned and operated by Campbell Law alumnus Justin Humphries ’07. Dunsmore reached out to Humphries to connect and secured an internship from there. While initially interested in real estate law, she discovered a passion for civil litigation during her internship.

Dunsmore further explored her interest in civil litigation during her 2L summer, when she interned with McAngus Goudelock & Courie in Wilmington. While there, she got a wide breadth of exposure to legal work including mediations, workers compensation, general liability and general litigation practice. Dunsmore said she truly appreciates all the wonderful attorneys who have provided her with support and encouragement, adding each of them was excited to help her grow as an attorney.

Upon graduation and passing the bar exam, Dunsmore will serve as a judicial clerk for another Campbell Law alumnus, Judge Jeffrey Carpenter ’03, at the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Her time at the Court of Appeals, however, began the spring of her 2L year when her fellow classmate, Jacob Bunting ‘24 connected her with Judge Julie Flood at the Court of Appeals. Dunsmore externed with Judge Flood during the spring 2022 semester and continued to intern in her chambers in the fall of 2023.

Dunsmore said she found herself drawn to working at the Court of Appeals because of her passion for writing and exploring new areas of the law. She also enjoys working in the heart of legal decision making. Another fellow classmate, Jacob Stewart ‘23 connected Dunsmore with Judge Carpenter who was seeking a clerk. This connection ultimately led to Dunsmore securing her post-graduate position with Judge Carpenter. She states how this experience is a testament to the connections you make with fellow classmates while at Campbell Law. Dunsmore explained that making friends with fellow classmates can lead to connections and career destinations that you did not even know existed.

Dunsmore added the opportunities provided to her at Campbell Law were invaluable to her success in securing post-graduate employment. At the start of her time at Campbell Law, her academic advisor, Professor Bobbi Jo Boyd, encouraged Dunmore to soak in as many opportunities as possible. She took that advice and participated in externship opportunities, worked hard in class, got involved on campus as a Torts scholar and became a member of the Campbell Law Review.

“I am thankful for these opportunities that have shaped my time at Campbell Law and in my future career,” she said.


Emily Sullivan '24 Writer

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