Why I Chose W&L Law #8

by Tyler Laughinghouse

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, Tyler Laughinghouse, takes on the topic.

As a prospective law student, I remember poring over law school statistics, from class sizes to employment figures. I remember visiting law school websites at an almost alarmingly high rate. I read blog posts, articles, and spoke with any person who might know anything about law school. Finally, after exhausting all available resources, I finalized my list of preferred schools and set out to visit each school on my list.

Despite having mastered all available law school statistics, my decision ultimately turned on my campus visits. I’m not sure if it was the picturesque setting or the charm of the historic downtown, but from the moment I arrived in Lexington, I knew this visit was going to be different. While I had not always imagined myself going to law school in a small town, my time on campus ultimately solidified my desire to attend.

When I arrived on campus, a current law student gave me a tour of the law school building. While most schools I visited had student guided tours, W&L’s tour guide stood out, as she seemed genuinely excited to gush about W&L. However, this excitement was not limited to my tour guide. As we walked around campus, fellow students kept coming up to say hello and offer their perspectives on life at W&L Law.

From their comments, it was obvious that the current students actually enjoyed their time at W&L, and they felt a real sense of camaraderie with their fellow students as well as faculty members, an attribute I did not expect to see in law school. I had read about the darker side of law school, from the cut-throat competition to the over-stressed students, and I knew I wanted to be in an environment where I wouldn’t have to deal with these sorts of things. While law school is undoubtedly stressful, W&L seemed to have removed a lot of the unnecessary stressors of the law school experience.

Continuing on, the tour guide pointed out several qualities distinct to W&L. From discussing professors’ open door policies, to the honor system, which allowed students to leave laptops and belongings around the school, I quickly realized that W&L Law offered an environment in which I knew I could do my best work.

After four years at my undergraduate university, with classes ranging from 500 to 5, I knew that I performed best in smaller classes and, consequently, wanted an intimate law school experience. Moreover, I wanted a law school experience that would push me academically; I did not want to be able to sit in the back of a classroom and be just a number. As we walked around the building, I realized that I would not only have smaller classes, but I would have a more personal law school experience and that this personal feel extended to all facets of life.

While I’d already read of W&L’s small student-faculty ratio and the close-knit community, my visit really brought these qualities to life. As I drove out of the parking look and took my final driving tour around Lexington, I knew that W&L would provide me with my ideal law school experience. Now, with the perspective of being a part of this community, I can confidently say that W&L Law has lived up to my visit.

Over my two years here at W&L, I have experienced first-hand many of the qualities I heard about and noticed during my visit. I cannot begin to even recall the number of times I’ve taken advantage of professors’ open door policies. I visit my professors, current and past professors alike, to discuss both assignments and my future career plans. Without reservation, I can say that W&L Law’s professors are some of the most approachable mentors I have ever encountered. However, the open door policy doesn’t stop with professors. Both administrators and career services professionals (the Office of Career Planning doesn’t even have a door) have been tremendously helpful and always willing to drop whatever they are doing to assist me with questions. In short, while law school is hard, I have found W&L an incredibly easy place to be a student.

Lastly, allow me to leave you with one piece of advice as you continue in law school decision making process: visit the schools in which you are interested in attending. The visit to W&L Law made my decision an easy one.

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