Kathleen Miller wasn’t content with just “attending” law school.”
The third-year law student — who will earn her juris doctorate Friday at the school’s spring commencement in downtown Raleigh — instead immersed herself in various leadership roles, advocacy groups and competitive trial teams during her three years at Campbell University.
She was president of the school’s Black Law Students Association. She was a member of the school’s Women in Law organization. She was a group leader in the Peer Mentor Program and active in the Innocence Project, the Re-Entry Pro Bono Project and the Hispanic Law Students Association. And in her final year, she was a member of the four-student team that made it to the final four of the National Black Law Students Association Mock Trial Competition.
“My mentality going in was to just be super involved,” said Miller, who earned her undergraduate degree in political science from N.C. State. “I was that way in high school and as an undergrad as well. The word I use to sum up my time at Campbell was ‘challenging’ — both on a personal level and as a student. But it was also really rewarding and inspiring.”
One of the more rewarding experiences for Miller was her time as BLSA president in 2020-2021. Her tenure began in the middle of 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement, and the organization has taken on a more active and vocal role at the school and in Raleigh in the past year and a half. Miller said she feels like the group’s voice was heard in meetings with school administration, and the work it did mattered.
“We also started education programs and even hosted ‘decompression’ events,” she said. “Law school is hard, and sometimes we need to step away and seek relaxation and therapy.”
Miller also touted the group’s work creating pandemic care packages and its focus on the needs of Raleigh’s homeless community, which has been hit hard in the past year-plus.
“Kathleen is a rock star,” said Evin Grant, assistant dean of student life and pro bono opportunities. “She’s led the charge through some tough times for our students of color.”
Miller also took part in the last few years in her favorite Campbell Law tradition, the annual bike ride to raise funds for the school’s many clinics.
“I’ve personally participated in the senior law clinic and have friends who have participated in the community law and restorative justice clinics,” she said. “We have seen first hand the amazing work the clinic directors and student interns do for the local community and just how meaningful of an immersive experience it is for future legal professionals.”
After graduation, Miller will study for the North Carolina Bar Exam in July, then practice employment law in the government sector. She said the last three years have been “eye-opening” for her, and she feels Campbell Law has prepared her well for the next step.
“I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and did things I never thought I was capable of,” she said. “I’ve always thought of myself as an underdog. I was never the top of my class or the perfect student. But I’ve never backed down from a challenge, and I’m seeing now that my hard work is going to pay off.”