School of Government Welcomes New Faculty Member into Social Services Law Field

Social Services Law Faculty Member Kristi Nickodem

The School of Government is delighted to welcome faculty member Kristi Nickodem into its ranks. Nickodem joined the School’s law and finance division in April 2021 as an assistant professor working in the field of human services law. In this role, she will advise on the organization and governance of local human services agencies, powers and duties of local agency directors, the confidentiality of social services information, and the administration of local child support enforcement programs.

Prior to joining the School, Nickodem practiced employment law as an associate at K&L Gates LLP, counseling employers on complex employee relations and compliance issues, conducting internal investigations, and defending clients in litigation. Before her work in private practice, she worked with an international non-profit organization as a case manager and employment specialist for newly resettled refugees in Greensboro, North Carolina. In this advocacy role, Nickodem witnessed the cultural and logistical barriers refugees faced when attempting to access social services and public health services. In her new role at the School, she said she hopes to bridge scholarship and policymaking to help communities better serve the needs of vulnerable populations across the state.

“As a faculty member, I have the privilege of serving public officials who engage in or oversee the provision of human services, while also getting to research the impact of various organization and governance models on human services agencies and the individuals they serve,” Nickodem said.

It is this strong desire to improve well-being in communities across the state that drew Nickodem to the School. As she begins her new role, she looks eagerly ahead to opportunities to guide, collaborate with, and improve the social services landscape of the state.

“I am excited to learn from the client groups I am serving in this role--to understand the concerns they share, the obstacles they face, and the legal questions that keep them up at night,” she said.  “I want to use that knowledge to inform and guide my scholarship, so that my work at the School will meet the needs of the North Carolina human services community.”

Nickodem is a member of the North Carolina State Bar. She earned a J.D. with high honors, Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers, from the UNC School of Law.

The School is pleased to welcome Nickodem and looks forward with great anticipation to seeing how her work will strengthen its mission to improve the lives of North Carolinians.