Why I Chose W&L Law #5

by Brandon Hasbrouck

As previously noted, over the next few weeks, we will feature a number of blog posts by current students in which they discuss why they chose W&L Law. Today, third-year student, Brandon Hasbrouck, takes on the topic.

There are many reasons why I decided to attend W&L, but for me, the most important one was the people.  The people here are truly extraordinary.  I would like to highlight one of my experiences with a law professor to give you a glimpse of just how unique the W&L experience is. 

During my admitted students weekend, I had the great fortune to meet Professor Murchison.  I was interacting with both prospective and current students when my father came over and said “You need to meet this professor, he makes me want to go back to school!”  
I thought, Dad, stop exaggerating.  

As I approached, I saw this tall, gangly man with a smile of honesty.  I introduced myself, and he said “We are excited that you could join us on this beautiful weekend.”  After talking with him for about five minutes, he said “I told your father that I would look out for you.  If you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me.”   So, as ambitious as I was, I said, “Well, tell me everything you know on how to do well in law school.”  He said, “Shoot me an email, and I have an excerpt I would like to share with you on how to read a case and write a brief.”  I sent him an email the following week, and, sure enough, he attached the excerpt, which I used throughout my 1L year.  These are materials that are now provided to all first-year students as part of Orientation, but, to me, it meant so much to know Professor Murchison went out of his way to help me and would therefore be someone upon whom I could truly rely during my time in law school.   

True to his word, Professor Murchison has looked out for me during my three years at W&L.  As my American Public Law Process (APLP) professor, he welcomed all of his students to stop by his office to discuss any substantive issues.  At W&L, APLP is the first code-based class for every 1L—the Administrative Procedure Act becomes your best friend, at least for a semester.  For most of us, learning how to navigate a code was a challenging experience.  Professor Murchison not only gave us the tools to learn how to read a code, but also provided additional support outside of the classroom should we have any questions.  For example, many of us had interpretive questions as to what “adjudication” meant in the context of the code.  He, like always, did not necessarily tell us the answer, but pointed us to resources that would allow us to think about the issue more closely.

Professor Murchison has also been one of the great friends to the Washington and Lee Law Review.   As editor-in-chief of the Review, I would often discuss with him how we might make the Review better.  Every Staffwriter (2Ls) on the Review is required to write a Note on a timely issue with the goal of making an original contribution to that area of the law. He and I would discuss potential issues on which Staffwriters might want to research and write.  

During these conversations, we would also discuss our families and my future plans. Professor Murchison would always ask, “How is your father doing?  We need to grab some coffee next time he is in town.”   Also, we would discuss my career path.  He was always willing to give me advice on personal statements and writing samples. He is and will always be one of my great friends. He, along with several other faculty members, has inspired me to be a great lawyer.

Professor Murchison interviewed Brandon after Brandon was named Editor-in-Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review. Click here to watch the interview.

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