Like so many VLS graduates, I’ve been able to help my community. I owe so much to VLS.”
Alma Walls had a career as a bodily injury specialist for Allstate Insurance when she discovered she had a calling in the courtroom. "I was good at thinking on my feet when I had to testify in court, and I loved it," she says. Already equipped with a bachelor's and master's in business, Alma followed that feeling to law school. "I thought, what's three more years of schooling to do something you really love?"
She leased out her home, bought winter clothing foreign to a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and moved to Vermont where she knew no one and was older than most of her classmates. And she loved it. "Coming to VLS was one of my most profound decisions," she says. "I was a nontraditional student in my 40s, and VLS was a tranquil place where I could concentrate on my studies. The professors were outstanding and had a wonderful "open door" policy. It's the kind of place where you make lasting friendships and the dean of the law school knows you by name." She even gave skiing a shot. "And," she laughs, "I learned my high-heeled boots didn't work in the snow."
A highlight of her VLS experience was working at the South Royalton Legal Clinic. "I was handling actual cases, representing real clients," she recalls. "For someone who wanted to be a trial lawyer, it was fantastic!" She also took advantage of a Semester in Practice back in Jackson, assisting the Office of Capital Post-Conviction. She wrote appeals for death row inmates, searched trial materials and inmates' backgrounds for mitigating evidence, and learned the valuable lesson that she didn't want to practice criminal law.
After graduating, Alma founded Walls Law Firm LLC, handling plaintiff, civil litigation, personal injury, and wrongful death cases. Originally in Jackson, she relocated to the delta city of Clarksdale, and proudly attended the ribbon cutting of her new building in 2005. "It takes hard work, but I've been really fortunate with the success of my cases," she says. "I'm now handling medical malpractice and wrongful death cases from other states, where I have pro hoc arrangements. In 2008 my firm settled over $1 million in cases, and I have appealed decisions published on Westlaw. Like so many VLS graduates, I've been able to help my community. I owe so much to VLS."