On December 13, 2021, Kline Law welcomed its new Director of Bar Support Nicholas Shalosky. Originally from Conway, South Carolina, Shalosky moved to Philadelphia in May 2015 when his husband matched for a fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. That same year, Shalosky started working at Kaplan, Inc., where he’s most recently been the Territory Director for Kaplan Bar Review and Senior Regional Director.
“We are thrilled that Nick Shalosky is going to be joining us as our director of bar support,” said Professor Deborah Gordan, with whom Shalosky will work closely. “Nick spent the past six years working for one of the three major bar companies, first as a regional director, then a senior regional director, and most recently a territory director. Nick has overseen all aspects of the bar exam, including working directly with and mentoring students, guiding law schools, and managing relationships with state and national bar associations. He is intimately familiar with the various state exams and with strategies that will help our students succeed. He’s also a really nice, thoughtful, and friendly person. This combination of leadership skills, attention to detail, and approachability are certain to make him a key partner in Kline Law’s future bar success.”
Recently, Shalosky answered a few questions about what led to his passion for legal education, what he’s looking forward to in his new role and his love of gardening.
Was there a moment or experience that led you to the study of law?
I think the two things that really set my law journey (and more specifically my desire to make a difference in people’s lives) started when I joined the mock trial team in high school coupled with coming out in a small town at a young age and wanting to have the power and knowledge to help clear a path for young kids that didn’t see that path as a possibility. I really loved mock trial in high school, and I have since taught mock trials in an undergraduate setting and coached trial advocacy teams in law school. For me, it was the mix of the drama, the competitive environment, and the comradery that I really enjoyed, plus I walked into law school knowing the rules of evidence.
What was your experience in law school like?
I really loved law school and the dynamics of the classroom. I really enjoyed the debates that happened in law school classrooms, learning from my peers, and becoming close with the faculty at my law school. I still stay in touch with many of them. It all culminated when I camped out on the streets of D.C. (when there was still a little snow on the ground) in March 2013 to get a seat for the oral arguments on the gay marriage cases that were happening that year. It was something I’ll never forget.
In terms of bar prep, my law school did a really great job of marrying bar prep within the culture of the law school, without making students feel that was the design. It didn’t always work, but above all else I felt incredibly supported by my Bar Director and Director of Academic Success. The bar exam is a high stakes exam that makes everyone nervous, but having a team of folks that I knew would put everything aside to help me as much as they could gave me the confidence to know that if I put the work in, I was going to pass, and I did! Twice!
After graduating from law school, you started working in legal education fairly quickly—was this always your goal or did you find your passion for higher ed later?
Yes, as you can see, I’ve really never left law school since I entered as a 1L. I’ve gotten to know many law schools in the last several years and have seen them from many different perspectives. I really love hearing what law students’ aspirations are and trying my best to use my experiences to help make that happen even if it’s just a nudge in the right direction. Although I wanted to work in higher education, the focus on the bar exam came later.
After I took the bar exam, I never wanted to think about the bar exam again, but here I am now thinking about the bar exam every day, and I really enjoy being the person students can lean on right before the highest stakes exam and the final exam that they will likely ever take. I get to see them off one last time before they enter their working lives, unless they are like me and come running right back!
What are your goals for your role at Kline Law?
I’m really excited to meet the students and start to learn how I can meet them where they are. My biggest goal is to gain the trust of the students, and I hope that they know that they can come to me with anything and I’ll do my best to help. I want students to know that they aren’t alone when they have anxiety about the bar exam, and they have someone that will be there to work with them through those anxieties.
In a nutshell, my role is to help as many students at Kline Law pass the bar exam as quickly and painlessly as possible, and I’ll be right there celebrating with every student as their name appears on the pass list, and they become an attorney.
How do you plan to support students in your role?
I find that many law students reach their last semester of law school not knowing how the bar exam works, what is tested, and how to study for this particular type of exam. Thus, I hope to create an environment at the law school where students are introduced to the bar exam before they even begin their first day of classes, and become increasingly more prepared for the bar exam as they move closer and closer to the exam. I’ll try to do this through many methods, including individual student counseling, workshops and presentations, working with the faculty at the law school, and talking to any student that will listen to me about how best I can help them walk confidently as possible into the bar exam. Knowing that they’ve done everything they can to prepare.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
I really enjoy getting to know people and building trust with students. I love to know what motivates them to get up in the morning during the summer and study for hours for a test. Is it that big law job that’s waiting for them? Is it that their family is rooting for them every day? Is it that they are the first person in their family to go to law school, and they are ready to take on that final last step and be admitted to practice? Is it that they are ready to fight to end the injustices people face every day? Then, the best part is sitting in my office on the day the list of names comes out, and knowing how triumphant the students feel when they see their name. I remember that feeling too, and I often get to be the first person to welcome them to the other side of the bar.
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer Kline Law students?
Really the two biggest things that I hope that I can impress upon Kline Law students is that the bar exam isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of hard work and motivation to beat the bar exam game, and it’s okay (in fact very encouraged) to ask for help. Come see me in my office, I can’t wait to meet you all and help you pass the bar exam.
What’s something outside of your professional role that you’d like the Kline Law community to know about you?
I’m a very enthusiastic amateur gardener and house plant collector. I also garden in the Pemberton community garden in Center City. If you walk by on a spring morning or evening, you may catch me with my Golden Retriever tending to my flowers and veggies. I also really love to cook and will gladly share any recipes that I’ve recently tried.
I also have the distinction of being South Carolina’s first openly-gay elected official in the history of South Carolina. I was elected to the Charleston County Constituent School Board in 2008 for a four-year term, which earned me that distinction.
This interview was edited for brevity, style and clarity.