We asked seven of our new students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Today, Hannah Shtein, a graduate of The University of Wisconsin – Madison from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, takes on the question.
By Hannah Shtein
I chose W&L Law because I feel at home here, and because I truly believe that this is a unique place.
I went to a large state school for undergrad, and while I had a great experience, the large class sizes and inaccessibility of some professors in my first two years sometimes felt overwhelming. While I enjoyed my time at a large institution, I wanted something more personal from law school. I wanted an environment that engaged me academically and socially, and I wanted to feel like something other than a point on a curve. W&L Law has exceeded these expectations tenfold.
My first glimpse of the W&L Law experience came when I moved to Washington, DC right out of college. My first roommate had just graduated with the W&L Law class of 2010, and I met several other alums in my two years in DC. The enthusiasm with which W&L alums recalled their time here was completely unparalleled by any other law school graduates I spoke with (and I gave every lawyer I knew the third degree). Most were still in touch with professors, had formed close friendships that remained years later, and fondly recalled Friday afternoons spent playing law school football. I wanted in.
Shortly after I was accepted, admissions staff put me in touch with a student who could answer my questions about the W&L Law experience, and made it clear that I could also raise my questions with the Office of Admissions itself. All of my questions (I ask a lot!) were answered immediately (most within no more than two hours), with thorough, personalized answers and a willingness to respond to any of my inquiries or concerns.
My Admitted Students Weekend (ASW) visit further confirmed all my good feelings about this school. The Dean of Admissions greeted me by my first name, despite the fact that I had never before visited, and my tour guide stopped to say hello and introduce our tour group to other students and professors as we explored campus. We also had a chance to have dinner and a night of live music with other prospective and current students, which was a perfect opportunity to ask the current students questions in a casual environment. Shortly after ASW, I returned home from work to find a handwritten note in my mailbox from my tour guide, thanking me for coming and letting me know that I could contact her with further questions.
As I get into the rhythm of my classes and meet more people, the congenial and supportive environment here is even more apparent. My professors are always willing to answer questions after class, during office hours, or by appointment, and have made a point of stressing their willingness be accessible to us. On my first week here, a second-year student noticed me with my clunky Contracts book at Lexington Coffee and asked me how I was settling in. When I went downstairs to find my carrel for the first time, Lawanda, one of the employees at the school’s Brief Stop café, stopped me to ask if I was new and introduced herself. I remember calling my mom and saying, “I can’t get over how friendly and forthcoming everyone is!” And we’re from the Midwest, so we know friendly.
It’s only been a little over a month, and I’ve already forged a connection with this school, Lexington, and, more dangerously, the amazing peanut butter cookies at the Brief Stop. It’s a good thing I still have almost three years here.