Students: Forging their legal paths

Noah Nix: Finding Success in the courtroom

Noah NixRecent graduate Noah C. Nix was deeply involved in the School of Law’s varied offerings as he worked toward his dream of becoming a lawyer.

After graduating from Fordham University in 2018, Nix decided he wanted to attend law school to learn how to make a difference in civil rights issues that troubled him. He found the right fit at UGA and began his legal education in the fall of 2020.

Once in Athens, Nix sought involvement in activities around the law school and won the law school’s first-year closing argument competition. He also competed in the first-year moot court competition and completed the tournament as one of the top eight students. Due to this success, Nix was invited to join the moot court team during his second year.

As an upper-level law student, Nix continued to participate in advocacy competitions. In his third year, he and his classmate Nicholas R. “Nick” Lewis won the regional title at the National Trial Competition and earned a trip to the national championship, where the pair finished as a top-10 team in the nation.

While participating in moot court was time consuming, Nix did not stop there. In fact, he said he was inspired to explore more opportunities and enrolled in the school’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, which quickly became a standout activity for him.

“The [Appellate Litigation] Clinic represents real clients in real appeals around the country,” he said. “It has been my favorite and most rewarding experience in law school.”

Nix argued before two federal courts while participating in the clinic. The first argument occurred in September 2022 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the case Santiaguez v. Garland. The second case, Harris v. The Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, was argued in January 2023 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He won the first case and said the clinic’s client was “released instead of being deported to a life-threatening situation.” Note: The outcome in the second case was pending at press time.

Nix’s advocacy experience also earned him an invite to the Order of the Barristers during his final semester of law school.

Through his participation in the law school’s advocacy program as well as his work with the Appellate Litigation Clinic, Nix said he wants to pursue a career in appellate litigation.

“I love the process of preparing for and arguing appeals. I enjoy talking about the law with incredibly smart people with different perspectives from my own while brainstorming arguments,” he said. “What excites me about appellate litigation is the prospect of correcting a wrong from the trial court and, perhaps most of all, the opportunity to develop or reshape the law.”

His first steps toward that goal are his judicial clerkships, both in appellate courts. He is currently clerking for the Colorado Supreme Court. The following year, Nix will clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Nix said he is excited about these new judicial experiences and how they will help him achieve his ultimate career goal of becoming a household name in the appellate space. “I will do a lot of legal research and legal writing [in the clerkships],” he said. “These skills are an appellate lawyer’s bread and butter, so it will be great training.”


Millie Price: Making the world a better place

Millie PriceRecent graduate Emily M. “Millie” Price was inspired to embark on a legal career after witnessing firsthand what life is like for incarcerated individuals.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Price taught creative writing classes at the Arlington County Jail.

Price had many meaningful interactions while tutoring at the facility, but she was particularly moved by one participant in the program. One day during class, one of her students presented a 20-page business plan based on his future dreams to Price, who was studying finance and marketing at the time.

“I found that to be really motivating that – even here in these terrible conditions – he was thinking forward and wanting to get advice from me to be able to start something when he got out,” she said. “I always noticed the disparity between the warmth and happiness of our [incarcerated] students and the conditions they lived in, and it made me want to pursue law school.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Price moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to participate in a program for recent college graduates at Venture for America, a nonprofit focused on training young people to work for startups. After three years with the organization, she felt it was time to begin her legal education.

An Alpharetta, Georgia, native, Price returned to her home state to pursue her dream of helping people who were in similar situations to her former students at the Arlington County Jail. She was accepted to the School of Law and dove into the wealth of opportunities for aspiring public defenders at the law school.

For two semesters, Price was able to build relationships with individuals in Athens-Clarke County as she participated in the Criminal Defense Practicum. Led by former public defender and current Clinical Assistant Professor Elizabeth Taxel (J.D.’09), the program gave Price the chance to work directly with attorneys, visit clients in local jails and sit in on trials.

Price said it was invaluable to be taught by someone with experience in her desired career. She added that she has learned many essential skills from Taxel, such as how to perform a cross examination and conduct a preliminary hearing.

During her second-year summer, Price held the inaugural Bool Simkins Summer Fellowship, which is the law school’s largest annual public interest fellowship. She used the funding to work for the Eastern District of Virginia Office of the Federal Public Defender.

When back on campus, Price sharpened her skill set serving as the editor in chief of the Georgia Law Review, where she focused on creating a welcoming community.

“We’ve been working really hard to make [the Georgia Law Review] more accessible to new law students, especially for those who don’t come from a family background of lawyers,” Price said.

These experiences helped Price build connections with members of the law school and the Athens area. After a mainly virtual first year of law school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these interactive opportunities were a meaningful part of Price’s experience. This engagement also solidified her career choice as she gained tactical practice in arguing in court and leading others.

Price is now serving as an assistant public defender in Seattle, Washington. “I wanted to be a public defender to fight a system that is broken,” she said, “and I think the most meaningful way to do that is by forging connections with clients.”


Michael Reynolds: Taking a new path 

Mike Reynolds and OliveAs a military veteran, recent law school graduate and father, Michael S. Reynolds is motivated by his desire to be a positive role model to his children.

Reynolds, who served 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, said he was drawn to the School of Law because of its exceptional support for student veterans. His decision was further solidified by the receipt of a Veterans Distinguished Law Fellowship and a Weathersby Family Scholarship.

Reynolds medically retired from military service in 2017 and began to pursue a new chapter in his life with higher education. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, he began law school in 2020.

While his family remained in Texas, Reynolds came to Athens and began balancing school with his personal life. A significant part of Reynolds’ law school experience has been the assistance provided by his service dog, Olive.

“Olive comes with me everywhere,” he said. “She comes to class with me, as well as to my jobs and even to negotiation competitions.”

Reynolds joked that Olive may have attended more classes than some law students.

Even though he traveled to see his family regularly, Reynolds was able to participate in a variety of experiences in Athens and Atlanta while earning his degree. During his first summer of law school, Reynolds worked as a fellow for the Veterans Legal Clinic.

“Being able to have a paying job while helping other veterans at the [Veterans Legal Clinic] was an amazing experience,” he said. “It was an eye-opening [moment] in terms of how to intake clients and hear their stories.”

Reynolds said he also learned essential legal skills through his participation on the law school’s negotiation competition team. Although he did not possess much extra time as a “non-traditional student,” he said the negotiation team was a valuable addition to his education as he learned about a variety of legal issues and traveled to tournaments, including the Tulane Professional Basketball Negotiation Competition in New Orleans.

In his second year of law school, Reynolds had an externship at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Atlanta.

“Through that externship and the hard work, I was able to land a job,” Reynolds said. “Having the position at Nelson Mullins gave me that foot in the door needed for a huge opportunity I may not have gotten without my externship.”

While he is proud of earning his law degree and securing a full-time position as a mergers and acquisitions associate at Nelson Mullins, Reynolds said his proudest accomplishment will always be serving as a father of four. He said it was very special to be able to relate to his daughter as they applied to attend college at the same time. They talked to each other about their experiences and worked together on ways to be successful in their respective academic programs.

“Going back to school has been a great way for me to set a really positive example for my children,” he said. “I wish I could tell you I earned some huge award but, really, helping my kids understand that if you set goals you can achieve them [was the award]. By allowing them to see their dad do just that has been a huge part of my educational journey.”


— All profiles by Jordan Ross