The Charleston School of Law recently sat down with Professor Erica McElreath to talk about her passion for teaching the law. Professor McElreath teaches Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing at Charleston School of Law.

You work full-time. You have two boys. You have a husband. You’re a wife. You’re a mom. You’re a teacher. You have two dogs. What are your passions beyond that? 

Erica McElreath:  I truly love teaching and reading about pedagogy, but you have to have balance. I love interior design. I love just hanging out on the beach. My husband is a huge music fan, so we go see a lot of live music around town. 

When you listen to music, what do you listen to? 

Erica McElreath: I love anything from the 90s. Hip hop. I might go from hip hop to the Grateful Dead. I’m a big Phish fan. I also love gospel music. It’s so random, you know? There is no telling what I’m listening to at any given time. 

You graduated with a degree in elementary education. What led you to pursue a law degree? 

Erica McElreath: I knew that I wanted to teach, but when I went into the classroom to teach fourth grade students it was a whole different experience than what I had expected. I quickly realized that while I loved teaching, it takes a very special person to spend five days a week with thirty fourth graders. I simply do not have that gift.  I did all the classroom management things. All the incentives. But no matter what I did, my students were not learning and I was stressed out and defeated. I quit half-way through my student teaching. As a Type-A perfectionist, that was a very difficult decision.  

Is that when you pursued law school? 

Erica McElreath: Yes. But first I worked as a project assistant at Nelson Mullins. I wanted to make sure that the legal profession was a good fit. 

I learned a lot about the litigation process, and I absolutely loved it. One of the attorneys there, a mentor and dear friend, brought me to her advanced legal writing class here at Charleston Law. I enjoyed the class, and when she had me complete the assignment, I had fun with that too. At that point I knew the law was for me, and I was excited about the possibility of attending Charleston School of Law. 

You practiced law and then you had an opportunity come back into the classroom as an adjunct. Were you anxious about teaching after your first experience with elementary students? 

Erica McElreath: They were completely different experiences. Of course, everyone has that little bit of doubt, but I was excited to teach my favorite subject, legal writing, and excited to teach law students. 

I loved it so much. My students in that first class were amazing.  were hard workers, and I was so proud of all they accomplished. I’m so fortunate to continue to work with so many great students. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.  

Professor Erica McElreath

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