What started as a sibling rivalry for former Middle College High School student Parker Shelton turned into a race towards possibly becoming the youngest practicing lawyer in California.
Shelton is only 19 and has already managed to test out of high school, study a couple years at Delta and complete law school – all before many students his age start their second year in college.
Shelton grew tired of the high school experience at Middle College, and by 16 he had found a way to test out of his requirements.
He took the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE), which allows those who pass early exit from high school to continue education in college.
“While I was in high school for those two years I was taking Delta classes, and I was almost done,” said Shelton. “That was another big motivator of why I wanted to finish early, because I would have had three Delta classes to take for my last two years of high school there. So, I was 16 when I got out, and then I was taking 18 units at Delta and studying for the law school admission tests.”
Humphreys College Lawrence Driven School of Law accepted Shelton through a special admission policy that has allowed a few before him early entry into law school, including his brother.
“Realistically, my biggest driving factor was my brother Connor,” said Shelton. “He did the whole Delta thing, just not at Delta Middle College. I just saw what he was doing, and I guess it was that sibling rivalry that made me want to do better than him in everything.”
His brother, Connor Shelton paved a similar path through his education. He was able to enter law school at the age of 18, while Parker Shelton managed to make it in at the age of 16.
Ultimately, Shelton’s determination for studying was the major contributor to his success in reaching law school.
“I was waking up every morning at 6 a.m. and I studied all day and then took classes in Sacramento to prep for that,” said Shelton. “I got home at like midnight, so it was like six hours a night of sleep. I really worked my butt off during that time but then I got a really good score on the law school admission test, the LSATs.”
Shelton has already delved into attorney work at the Stockton DUI and Felony Drug Collaborative Courts where he helped give defense advice to those who had violated probation.
“I had to argue why they should not send back to jail and to let this one slide. I did that on various factors like how they’d been performing recently and what their life was like, and sometimes I would bring in legal arguments. It was mostly a sentencing phase so it wasn’t that much of legal arguments, but it was still really interesting, and I still got to help a lot of those people in poorer situations,” said Shelton.
Having already finished law school, Shelton is now gearing up to take the State Bar exam to become a fully licensed attorney.
If he passes the exam in late February, he will be the youngest practicing attorney in California.
However, his path into law may take him through more rigorous studies as he decides between becoming a criminal defense attorney or a patent lawyer, which requires undergraduate study in engineering.
“Patent attorney seems really interesting and there’s a lot of money in it. On the other hand, there’s criminal defense, which is really interesting. Although there’s not as much money in it, there’s a lot of potential to help others, which is a big driving factor for me on that one,” said Shelton.
In the meantime, Shelton will continue an aggressive studying schedule for the 16 law subjects he has to know to pass the BAR exam.
He receives continued support from his family who has helped it become possible to make it this far.
His advice to Delta students who would follow his path into law is this:
“Take everything really seriously. Study your absolute hardest whenever you get the chance to,” he said. “Obviously, slow down to enjoy life so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you put the time in, you’re going to be successful.”