by Anthony Watson
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, Anthony Watson takes on the topic.As my time at W&L comes to a close, I have much to reflect upon. I could not have chosen a better place to spend my three years of law school. W&L afforded me an opportunity to have a truly unique law school experience. Its singular mix of stellar academics and genuine camaraderie amongst the student body, faculty, and staff is truly rare when considering the hyper competitive atmosphere prevalent at many of the nation’s top law schools.
Time truly does fly by. Sometimes it literally seems as if I just arrived in Lexington to start my first year. One of the reasons I chose to attend W&L was because of its setting. Nestled in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, Lexington is simply one of the most beautiful places in the United States. As a native of Fort Worth, Texas, I was not accustomed to seeing mountains on a daily basis and the beautiful scenery has been a wonderful bonus of my law school decision.
The thing I found to be most compelling and interesting about W&L, however, was the culture of the school. Over the course of its distinguished history, W&L has developed a national reputation for honor and trustworthiness amongst its student body. During my initial visit, I was somewhat shocked to see how seriously students take the honor system.
At one point during the visit, one of the students speaking to our group challenged us to leave a one dollar bill out on the exterior of our study carrel and to check within a month’s time to see if that dollar was still there. He even agreed to personally replace the money out of his own funds if it happened to turn up missing. That statement resonated with me on multiple levels. Because of the Honor System, I knew I would not have to worry about the loss of any of my personal belongings, but I was also convinced that it created an environment conducive to learning. As you know, law school is challenging, but I knew I could count on my colleagues, my professors, and the law school staff to be there to help me every step of the way.
There are many things I will take with me from my time at W&L, but perhaps the most indelible aspect I’ll take away is the lasting camaraderie of the law school community. When I think of this, I am reminded of a moment three years ago when I was first considering W&L. The school hosted an informational session for accepted students in the Dallas area. I was running behind schedule that day, but finally arrived with about an hour and a half remaining in the session. I spoke with the admissions representative for the remainder of the session and afterwards attended a dinner involving local alumni and other admitted students in the area.
At the dinner, I immediately struck up lively conversations with nearly everyone in attendance. It was a tremendous occasion, and I was extremely impressed. During the course of our conversations, it never dawned on me that I was actually the only admitted student who was able to attend the dinner that evening. However, not once did I feel out of place or alienated. In fact, I knew immediately after the dinner that I would be attending W&L for my legal education. The wonderful sense of community and friendship that was exhibited that evening is truly a tangible part of the W&L experience. I am thankful that I made the decision to become apart of this special community, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of it as an alumnus.