by Patrick Barthle
With graduation less than a month away, we asked several of our third-year students to reflect upon their time at W&L Law. Today, Patrick Barthle, takes on the topic.
Apart from marrying my wife Katie, coming to W&L was the best decision I’ve made in my life. My time here in Lexington has been filled with friends, fun, and formation for my future.
W&L was a polar opposite experience from what I had as an undergraduate at a big state school. In four years of undergrad I think two professors actually knew my name. Here at W&L, nearly every professor knows my name, even some I’ve never taken a class with. An “open door policy” isn’t just a saying here, professors’ doors are, quite literally, always open—just walk by Professor Murchison’s office on any given day.
What sold my wife and I on coming here was our visit. I got in off the waiting list in mid-May and literally had a couple of days to make a choice about W&L. We happened to be on a road trip checking out some other schools and had to quickly readjust our travel plans. When Katie and I came to campus and took the tour, it felt like home, and it has been ever since. I cannot emphasize enough the value of visiting Lexington. It was literally the deciding factor in my choice to come here.
The memories from my time here at W&L are many. I met my closest circle of friends on the first day of orientation—we all shared a fanaticism for college football, SEC style, particularly that of our shared alma mater, the University of Florida. During our 1L year, we got together every Saturday to watch the games. Weekly football meetings quickly grew into cocktail parties, surprise parties, and just about any other excuse to get together: from the Kentucky Derby to the celebration of engagements.
Fall of 1L year also brought one of my favorite aspects of life here at W&L: the Law School Football League (LSFL). The LSFL is a co-rec, touch-football league. Teams are divided up by class (i.e. there are 1L teams, 2L teams, etc.) and there are multiple teams per class (and some years, there’s even a faculty team). Games are played on Friday afternoons and practically everyone in the school participates. As you might imagine, it is great way to unwind after a long week of classes.
I’ve played with the same team for three years: the aptly named, in our opinion, LSACK. After two years of frustrating playoff losses, offensive implosions, and a few, how shall I say, team disagreements, we finally brought home a championship as 3Ls. That was a great day, and it was shared with even better people.
However, if I had to pick one law school memory I’ll probably never forget it would be the blizzard of 2009. Coming from Florida I had never even seen snow before moving to Lexington. As I went into my Contracts exam (the last exam of my first semester) the snow had just started to fall. When my classmates and I reemerged three hours later, nearly a foot of snow had fallen. Suffice to say, no one was leaving Lexington that night, but the impromptu end-of-the-semester/blizzard party more than made up for any imposition on travel plans.
I’ve studied for more hours than I want to remember, written more pages than anyone would care to read, and learned more law than I thought possible. But in the end, what separates the W&L experience from any other is the people. My classmates are some of the smartest and kindest people I’ve ever met. Through the Law Families organization I gained not only a support group, but also a mentor. While I might someday forget the blizzard or my LSFL stats, I’ll surely never forget the people who made my W&L experience worthwhile.