RALEIGH -- Campbell Law School has announced the establishment of the Campbell Law Connections mentorship program. Ulmer Zack “Zeke” Bridges, III, a 2003 Campbell Law graduate, serves as program director.
With the establishment of Connections, Campbell Law becomes the first among all seven North Carolina law schools to designate a full-time staff member solely to directing and overseeing mentorship opportunities.
Connections, which will partner students with practicing legal professionals, aims to expose students to valuable learning opportunities and experiences. Students will develop meaningful professional relationships and a more thorough understanding of the responsibilities and ethics demanded by the practice under the tutelage of a mentor. Connections will build upon Campbell Law's professionalism focus that permeates the core curriculum of the school.
The program is a joint endeavor between Campbell Law and the Wake County Bar Association.
Bridges has laid the groundwork for the program, overseeing its development, implementation, and daily operation since joining the law school in January.
“We are excited to launch Campbell Law Connections after several years of internal research and exploration,” said Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard. “We have no doubts that this will prove to be a unique and beneficial addition to the well-rounded legal education that we already provide to our students.”
Connections will begin with a pilot phase during the Spring 2014 semester with 40 third-year students and 10 newly-minted attorneys from the Tenth Judicial District Bar serving as mentees. Beginning with the Fall 2014 semester, the program will be open to the entire third-year class, as well as more attorneys from the Tenth Judicial District Bar. Connections will also expand from one semester to the entire academic year. One hundred established and seasoned practicing legal professionals have agreed to serve as mentors for the pilot program.
All mentors have been selected from the Tenth Judicial District Bar and include representation from solo to large-scale law firms, government-sector attorneys, in-house corporate counsel, non-profit counsel, and other practitioners.
This past Friday, Nov. 15, Campbell Law hosted mentor training and a continuing legal education seminar for more than 60 of the program’s 100 participating mentors. Mentors will maintain regular contact with the program director to report on the development and status of the mentor/mentee relationship throughout the course of the program.
Bridges brings nearly 10 years of private practice experience into his role at the law school. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Campbell University’s Lundy-Fetterman School of Business.
“It has been exciting to return home to Campbell Law and help develop and oversee our new mentorship program,” said Bridges. “I know first-hand how beneficial experiential learning is to a law student, as well as the importance of building and maintaining strong professional relationships within the legal community. This program provides both opportunities to our students, and we are very excited to launch this effort for them.
“We are also excited to working alongside our friends and colleagues in the Wake County Bar Association as we work to mentor the next generation of attorneys.”
A native of Blakely, Ga., Bridges obtained an associate of arts degree from Young Harris College in 1997, followed by earning two B.A. degrees in political science and criminal justice from the University of Georgia in 1999. He then attended Campbell Law School, where he served as Campbell Law Student Bar Association President in 2003 and a law school ambassador. Bridges was also active with the Campbell Law Observer, Christian Legal Society, and Men’s Legal Caucus, and was a research assistant for Webster’s Real Estate Law in North Carolina. He collected both the Howard Christian Citizenship Award and the David Teddy Innovative Leadership and Service Award. Bridges was also named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.
Following graduation from Campbell Law, Bridges founded Bridges Law Firm, PLLC, in Cary, N.C. In October 2009 he co-founded Western Wake Law Group, focusing primarily on contract drafting, estate planning, and real estate while serving as managing partner at the firm’s principal office. He is active in the legal profession, holding memberships in the American Bar Association (ABA) and the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, North Carolina State Bar, Tenth Judicial District Bar, North Carolina Bar Association, Wake County Bar Association, The Susie Sharp Inn of Court, and National Legal Mentoring Consortium. He serves on the Wake County Bar Association & Tenth Judicial District Bar’s Professionalism Committee, and is co-chair of the Mentoring Subcommittee. Bridges is also immensely active in his local community, serving with Prevent Child Abuse N.C., the Cary Chamber of Commerce, Heart of Cary Association, New Waverly Place Board of Directors, and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.