Mary Lauren Kulovitz, a new Alabama Law graduate, is going home again.
After she passes the Alabama State Bar exam, she will be a trial attorney at Wooten, Thornton, Carpenter, O’Brien, Lazenby & Lawrence, a firm in Talladega, where she was born and raised.
Talladega has roughly 15,700 residents. It’s a place where residents who go to the store expect to see someone they know. Kulovitz’s father opened his dental practice in Talladega more than 35 years ago without any connections to the area, and the family quickly established roots in the city situated along the Talladega National Forest.
While some of Kulovitz’s classmates have accepted positions in large cities, she accepted a position in a city that is on the cusp of economic growth.
“It’s one of those places I feel like has so much potential,” she said. “If everyone leaves who sees that potential, it’s not going to get any better.”
Those who know Kulovitz are thrilled she is coming home.
Lynn Sims, who served as her ballet and pointe teacher, has known Kulovitz since she was born.
“Mary Lauren is one of those people who will work at something until she has it exactly how she knows it should be,” Sims said. “She is so self-driven, with grace and dignity.”
Barbara Lawler, who taught Kulovitz English at Talladega High School, echoed those sentiments. Lawler has been teaching for more than 40 years, and she has never met anyone like Kulovitz. In the classroom, she welcomed challenges and solved problems. At the same time, she was genuine and sincere.
“I was so impressed with her when I first met her,” Lawler said. “I couldn’t wait to get her in my class.”
Kulovitz has always adored the state of Alabama and all it has to offer. After graduating as valedictorian from Talladega High school in 2010, she received a full scholarship to attend Samford University, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She chose The University of Alabama School of Law because it offered an excellent education, small classes and the opportunity to develop intimate relationships with students and faculty.
“It’s highly regarded not only in the state but also across the nation, and so to be able to have that right in my backyard was something I really wanted to take advantage of,” Kulovitz said.
In law school, Kulovitz continued to excel. She served on the Managing Board of the Alabama Law Review, and she was tapped for the 2L Moot Court Fellows, which allows students to gain two years of moot court experience.
Kulovitz, along with Eunji Jo and Briana Knox, drafted briefs and prepared oral arguments for two competitions. They competed in a regional competition of the National Moot Court Competition in Oxford, Mississippi, in November 2015. There, they defeated teams from the University of Memphis, Vanderbilt University, Mississippi College of Law and the University of Tennessee, before advancing to the final round of competition. Then they beat Belmont University and claimed the Regional Champion award.
While training for the competition, Kulovitz bonded with Mary Ksobiech, Assistant Dean for Students and Professor of Legal Writing, who coached the team. Ksobiech met one-on-one with Kulovitz, helping her form arguments. The experience proved to Kulovitz that she had selected the best law school for her needs.
“Having a professor who sacrifices her time to work with you individually because she cares about you and wants you to succeed is both a rare opportunity and an honor.”
To date, law school has been Kulovitz’s most difficult endeavor. She tells anyone who asks that going to law school requires preparation. It’s a degree that has to be earned, and anyone willing to put in the work will find professors at Alabama Law who are willing to help.
“This may sound very cliché, but you have to work hard,” she said. “It’s very difficult to fly by the seat of your pants and also be a good attorney.”