Success on the field to the courtroom

Success on the field to the courtroom
April 19
12:07 2018

You could ask every high school football player entering college what they aspire to be after graduation and you probably could count on one hand the number of players who want to become lawyers.  Back in his playing days at Wake Forest University, Jimmy Quander did not hang his hat on making it to the NFL but instead used his time there to lay the foundation of what would become a successful law career.

Entering Wake Forest in the early 1990s he initially wanted to become a math major but upon seeing what that entailed he decided to switch majors to political science and minor in sociology.  On the field he came in as a safety but wound up playing all three levels of defense as he also played linebacker and rush defensive end.

“Law school was something that was a thought early on but not really until the end of my career as I had to figure out what I was going to do because I was going into my last year,” he said.  “I wasn’t going to grad school for politics and I wasn’t ready to go out into the work world because I didn’t know what a politics degree would get me.”

Quander was raised in an atmosphere where education took priority over athletics.  He said he received offers from a number of schools but he wanted to make sure the school he chose had a strong academic component as well.

“I never really had that thought of ‘man I can’t wait to get out of here to play on Sunday,’ to be honest,” he said.  “I always had other things that I had going for me and my parents did not let us go around the house thinking we were going to play Sunday football, and that’s all there was.”

Going to college to play football at a major Division I college was a means to an end for Quander.  He says he loved playing the game but did not want to put all his eggs in one basket with the dream of playing on Sunday.  He said if it worked out that he had the opportunity to play on Sunday he would have been happy doing that as well because of his love for the game.

Upon graduation from Wake Forest, he had a major choice to make: playing professional football in Canada or the Arena Football League or go to law school, where he had just been accepted.  He chose the latter.

“I just knew my football career was over because it did not mean enough for me to go play arena or bounce around in Canada,” he said.  “If it did not end with me playing on Sunday, then I wasn’t interested in pursuing it from that angle.”

Once enrolled in Wake Forest Law School, Quander says it was both harder and easier than he first thought going in.  He says Wake’s undergrad studies prepared him academically for the rigors of law school.  He also stated the additional free time he had now that he wasn’t playing football allowed him to focus solely on his studies.

He passed the bar exam in 1998 and began working under the tutalage of local attorney Carl Parrish, who he credits with a lot of his early success.  He found his calling in law as a defense attorney and continues as such to this day.

“When I finished the internship, I said to myself ‘this is what I want to do’,” he continued.  “I wanted to be in court all the time representing people and to change the perception of criminals and criminal conduct.”

“It was in God’s plan for me to fall into where I am and I still feel that way to this day,” he went on to say.  “I feel blessed to be in this position of doing what I thought of 20 years ago and build something right.”

Quander now has his own practice with Stacey Rubain in the Winston Tower in downtown Winston-Salem.  He has been there since 2005 and is still committed to assisting those in the community with their legal matters.

For Quander the goal for him is not just to explain to younger males how to get to college but how to get there and excel in the classroom as well as on the field. 

“The message I try to get across is that you need to try and seek excellence in everything that you do while you’re there because you’re there not only as an athlete but a student athlete, which means you have to be a student first,” he said. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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