The Journey: Caroline Lista

Mention the word “journey” to Caroline Lista and her eyes will light up and she will inch forward in her seat.

“I’m a big travel junkie,” she said. “I’m just a big outdoors person.”

Throughout her law school journey, Lista has balanced work and school with extensive travel including visits to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Tennessee, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee.

“The past couple years we started going to national parks,” she said. “They’re huge. It’s a completely different landscape.”

Lista will graduate on May 14 as a member of the Charleston School of Law Class of 2022. Suffice it to say, her student journey has not been a straight line from Point A to Point B, and you certainly couldn’t have planned it out.

“The January start program was really enticing to me because I could just jump right in and not have to take a break and forget how to learn, how to study,” she said. “The fact that it was here with family, and I could do the January start program was a really big thing for me.”

But Lista had no idea what was about to happen when she arrived in January 2020. Just two months into her studies, COVID-19 came calling and the traditional method of education had been flipped on its head.

“It was very different experience than anybody else, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she said. “You know, whether it be online or in person, it was great. The faculty adjusted so well.”

The pandemic did not slow down Lista from getting the most out of her experience. She served at the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Office of Coastal Resource Management. Her pro bono work consisted of drafting orders, discovery, and trial motions.

“It was nice to get some legal experience and do what I’m passionate about,” said Lista. “Especially growing up here. I’ve seen it developed so quickly. When I was a little girl we didn’t have all the traffic and big highways, so it was good to be able to feel like I was helping learning something at the same time.”

Lista also served on the Moot Court and Transactional Law Team during her time at Charleston School of Law. The opportunity allowed her to develop deeper relationships with her colleagues and law school faculty.

“Professor North has been my mentor throughout my law school experience,” noted Lista. “I was able to talk with her with that. I did my upper-level writing paper and two years in Moot court with her. We got close. I’ve gone to her with every kind of question you can think of just career advice, personal advice.”

“When Caroline was a 1L, she stood out in my legal writing class because she asked thoughtful questions, managed her time well, and sought me out for critique,” said Professor Jennifer North. “These are all qualities that lead to becoming a great lawyer. I foresee that she will be a lawyer that embodies everything we hope for – diligent in her search for knowledge, ethical in her approach to advocacy, and dedicated to clients and to the law.”

Lista, a James Island native and College of Charleston graduate (accounting major), thrived in the intimate community during law school saying, “I really have enjoyed how small the school is. I mean, it’s not super small, but it’s small to where I know a lot of people. I love that because there’s connections and that’ll be good for when we get out and start working to show how those connections. I feel like I’ve got professors and colleagues and I can lean on.”

The Externship Program at Charleston Law allowed Lista to gain practical experience. She worked at Cockrell Law Firm and more recently Cobb, Dill & Hammett (CD&H), where she serves as a law clerk and 18 of its 20 employees are Charleston School of Law graduates.

“The CD&H team knows what you’re going through,” said Lista. “They’ve been in our shoes and know exactly where you’re at. They know what we do and don’t know. It’s nice to have that experience.”

Lista looks back on her experience at Charleston Law and remembers a different Carolina Lista. She credits her growth in part to her law school experience.

“I’m a lot more confident,” she said. “I don’t shy away from conflict. I’m confident in who I am and what I believe. So, I’m able to communicate better in that sense. I’m not afraid of it.”

Now, with just a handful of days remaining before Commencement, Caroline Lista, a first-generation law student in her family, faces her greatest challenge of all: Putting her regalia on the correct way.

“That’s funny you asked because I was trying to figure out how to put the hood on,” she laughed. “We don’t have any lawyers in our family, so I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’”

The Charleston School of Law will host its Spring 2022 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14 at the McAlister Field House on the campus of The Citadel. Doors to the auditorium will open at 12:30 p.m. with the ceremony starting at 2:00 p.m. The Citadel is located on 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston. A reception to follow the commencement ceremony on Summerall Field.


The Charleston School of Law is an ABA-accredited law school nationally recognized for its student-centric culture. Our faculty and staff are committed to preparing you for success both in the classroom and in the legal profession.

  • The Princeton Review ranks Charleston School of Law professors second in the country for faculty accessibility (2021)
  • Charleston School of Law faculty ranked among the top of The Princeton Review’s list of Best Professors in the nation (2016-2018)
  • Experiential Learning: Charleston School of Law students have access to more than 150 externship sites, creating opportunities for experiential learning in the legal field.
  • Community Service: Charleston School of Law students have performed more than 241,000 community service hours (2004-current).
  • Students have won the National Tax Moot Court Championship for seven consecutive years (2012-2018)

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