When Katrinnah Harding was seven years old, her father gave her a photo of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery, Alabama. The weathered photo, printed on an oversize canvas, was nearly the same size as Harding.
It might seem like an odd gift for a child, but Harding adored it. Harding, now a sixteen year old law student at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, still proudly displays the photo in her room.
Little did she know that her hard work and determination would pay off. She recently had the opportunity to volunteer for a weekend inside the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Alabama. There, she served as a witness in the Mockingbird Challenge mock trial, hosted by Faulkner Law.
“I served as a volunteer witness with Jones School of Law students and to them it may have seemed ordinary to go inside the courthouse, but I was in awe!” Harding said. “It was the first time I had been inside one and it was like a dream come true. I feel like part of being successful is being able to grab hold of our dreams and pursue them while we still have our drive and youthful optimism.”
Harding recalls when she first told her parents she wanted to be a lawyer. They didn’t laugh because of her age. They didn’t talk her out of her dream. Instead, they encouraged her. They supported her. Her dad went out and immediately found the oversized photo and a set of old law books in order to further fuel her desire to study law.
Harding is one of nine children in her family to start college at a young age, and her youngest sibling is on the path to be the tenth.
Harding’s parents, Kip and Mona Lisa, did not intend for all their children to pursue an accelerated education, but did allow them the freedom to pursue their personal interests at their own pace. Harding and her siblings credit their parents’ method of child-led homeschooling, free-form education and their support as key ingredients needed for anyone to achieve accelerated and successful learning.
“I’m so grateful for my family letting us pursue our dreams so young,” Harding said. “All I can do is see myself in a courtroom and I think the sooner you are able to achieve your dream, it’s all the more exciting. Of course law school can be stressful at times, but I was prepared for the challenge and embraced it.”
The family’s faith is one reason they desire to perform to the best of their abilities and they give God the glory for their accomplishments.
“Neither of my parents thought I would never be able to do it. They just listened and encouraged me every step of the way,” Harding said.
Harding graduated from Huntingdon College in December 2018 with a degree in political science. She is now the youngest member and first female member of Faulkner Law’s Blackstone and Burke Center for Law and Liberty’s Sir Edward Coke fellowship.
As a fellow, Harding has the opportunity to travel to conferences, network with law professionals and have specialized advice in job searches, internships and career plans.
“Being a part of the fellowship has been a great opportunity for networking. We get strategic advice about summer jobs and career plans from our advisor, Associate Dean Allen Mendenhall who makes us feel supported,” Harding said. “In fact everyone at the law school, our professors and peers want me and my class to succeed. We all push each other and that has been very inspiring.”