INTERVIEW: LINDSEY CLOUD MERVIS, LEGAL COMMUNICATIONS TRAINER AND COACH, KNP COMMUNICATIONS
Lindsey Cloud Mervis grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was heavily involved in the performing arts from an early age. An avid singer and actor, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduating in 2001, Lindsey moved to New York City where she acted in a number of theatrical productions and also performed, toured, and recorded a full-length album with Jeff Harris and the Super Casuals as a vocalist and keyboard player.
In 2008, Lindsey was called for jury duty in Brooklyn and served as a juror on a manslaughter trial. That experience was a turning point in her career. During that trial, Lindsey was fascinated with the courtroom so much so that it led her to attend law school at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. In law school, she was an active member of the Moot Court National Trial Team and was a finalist in a national trial competition. She graduated cum laude and was elected Student Commencement Speaker for the Class of 2012.
Upon graduation, Lindsey was admitted to the Maryland Bar and completed a constitutional law fellowship at the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Virginia. In 2014, she was appointed an adjunct faculty member at The Columbus School of Law, where she directs and leads the Moot Court National Trial Team.
Lindsey currently works as a Legal Communications Trainer and Coach with KNP Communications, leading presentation skills trainings at the most reputable law firms in the United States.
What was your most memorable day on the job?
No question, it was my first day on the job, leading a presentation skills workshop at an international law firm in D.C.
I realized early on in law school that there was a great need in the legal profession for the skills I learned as an actor – awareness of effective body language, vocal delivery, and storytelling. I wanted to find a way to fill that need while marrying my two passions, acting and the law, so I started a company called Persuasive Performances with a business partner. On the day of our first big training with our first big client, I remember sitting in the conference room in complete disbelief that it was actually happening. One of the attorneys I worked with that day remarked, “see, THIS is what they don’t teach you in law school!” and I remember feeling energized and excited to see what would follow.
What attracted you to this field?
When I served as a juror on that manslaughter trial back in 2008, I was fascinated by everything about the trial process. But even more than that, I was struck by the camaraderie in the courtroom. The attorneys on opposing sides were zealous advocates for their clients at the same time as they were exceptionally professional with one another, the judge, the court clerk, etc. The legal profession is full of smart, dynamic people working together in a wide range of settings, and I am proud to work among them.
Do you have any advice for an undergraduate interested in pursuing a legal education?
While you’re in law school, listen out for potential experiences that excite you. Often students begin their legal education with a well-thought-out plan and risk missing opportunities along the way that could lead to unexpected career fulfillment. For me, it was sitting in my 1L Lawyering Skills class when a student came in to tell us about upcoming tryouts for the Moot Court National Trial Team. I hadn’t known about national trial competitions going into law school and hadn’t planned on doing anything like it. Still, everything about it sounded like fun to me. Trying out for that team turned out to be a life- and career-changing choice.
It’s great to set goals and plan for achieving them, but don’t become so wedded to any particular path that you miss out on interesting diversions that could become an even better plan for your career.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can answer any questions you might have.Tags: 2017, Newsletter, pre-law