Why I Chose W&L Law #7

by Anna Knecht

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, second-year student, Anna Knecht, takes on the topic.

My final choice of where to attend law school came down to a decision between W&L and a school in New York City, and it was one of the more difficult choices I have had to make—between a small town in rural southwest Virginia and the Big Apple; between a school a third of the size of my high school and a school where I could continue to be a number (which was a plus at that time); between monthly rent of $400 and triple that, for a closet-sized space; between the daily grind of law school in a small town and the same in a bustling city.

I had loved my time living and working in DC over the previous couple of years, and that along with my travels in Central and South America had me inclined to make the move to New York.  I was also interested in doing transactional work at a large firm, and thought that New York might be the place to go.  However, the incredible time and financial commitment was one that I was taking on independently, so I knew it was not a decision to be made lightly.  And, while law school is ultimately a means to some end, my priority was in picking the school where I would be happiest, because “sacrificing” three years of my mid-twenties was not something that I was willing to do.

A wonderful friend of mine in DC grew up in Lexington, and talked it up so much that he convinced me to go to one of W&L’s admitted students weekends.  I was immediately drawn to the tight-knit community, the strong alumni network, the serious, yet laid back vibe at the law school, and the wealth of things that Rockbridge County has to offer (despite the apparent absence of any vibrant bar scene).  The students seemed really happy, and not a contrived happy as if they were putting their best foot forward for the prospective students, but a genuine excitement about being at W&L.  After the events of a gorgeous Spring admitted students weekend—as well as a drive along the Maury River to Goshen and a local fundraiser with oysters and live bluegrass—my decision was made.

With nearly two years having passed, I can say I will be forever grateful to my friend Brennan for his prodding to go check out W&L Law.  Personally, I cannot imagine being happier anywhere else.  My first impressions during that admitted students weekend were spot on:  The students are hard working and down to earth; the professors could not be more accessible; the alumni network is strong; the community is built on a deeply rooted honor system; and I am now getting a solid foundation that will undoubtedly serve me well when I start my career in the very near future.  I am also looking forward to the advantages that W&L’s unique third year program will bring to me next year.  I worked in a large DC firm prior to attending law school, and my boss was the partner in charge of the summer associate hiring committee.  After witnessing the frustrations brought on by new law graduates lacking any sense of how things operate in the real world, the value of W&L’s third-year program is especially apparent.

It would be misleading for me to fail to admit that I need my city fix when vacation time comes around.  But, I am always stoked to return to Lexington.  When the weather is nice, my study space is on the bank of Buffalo Creek; when the snow occasionally piles up, we go downhill skiing and sledding in my backyard; when afternoons are free, we drive out to Goshen to rock climb, fish, or just lay out in the sun along the river; once in a while someone even comes through town and we get some good live music.  So, while traditional nightlife may leave something to be desired, I have found that the students here quickly learn to take advantages of what Lexington has to offer.  I have also found that the lack of certain temptations is probably a good thing for me—without constant distractions, I have been able to keep my eyes on the prize, while managing to have a great law school experience.

I still cannot seem to get enough of New York City.  That being said, I could not be more grateful for the gentle urging of my friend, and my decision to come to W&L.  Law school can be overwhelming, and there are certainly times when it makes me feel as if I just might go CRAZY!  I am pretty sure that would be the case at any school.  But, when I look back on this experience, I am certain that it will be a good memory.  Not only is W&L proving to serve as a means to the end I am seeking, but it has also been a wonderful ride.

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