Why I Chose W&L Law, 2012 – #3

We asked seven of our new students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Today, Jasmine Brooks, a graduate of Baylor University from Memphis, Tennessee, takes on the question.

By Jasmine Brooks

Jasmine BrooksMany people have asked me this question: Why did you choose Washington & Lee Law School? My initial thought is Why would I not?

I knew that I wanted to become an attorney when I graduated high school. I went to Baylor University and settled on majoring in professional writing while minoring in Spanish and studio art. After taking the LSAT, my goal during my senior year was to apply to as many schools as possible. Washington and Lee captured my attention with an email advertising a “free application.” I vaguely remembered the name from a pre-law program advertised to high school students by the Rotary Club of Memphis, Tennessee. Thus, I began my research.

After viewing the materials of some of the schools that accepted me, I picked five to visit. Washington and Lee Law was the first law school that I visited. I knew from the moment that I entered the lobby of the law school that it was the best place for me. I was greeted with smiling faces of faculty, excited current students, and a hospitable environment. The lunch and dinner events were a great way to meet current students and gain advice and perspectives about the school. I also gained a best friend from the visit.

It was hard to visit other schools because of the high standard that W&L set during the open house event. I was constantly comparing certain factors to those factors at W&L. Finally, it came down to my decision. I had three schools from which to choose, and I had to make a list of the “pros and cons” for each.

For W&L, out of my many pros for the school—including ranking, location (close to great cities for opportunities in law), small class size, and classes and clinics for my specific law interests, job placement rate—there were two main factors that highlighted the decision: the admissions department and the third year program, respectively. The admissions department overwhelmed me with information about the university. They also added a personal touch with handwritten letters and directed emails. I felt like they really wanted me to be here and I was not just another prospective student. These factors were of high importance because it speaks volumes about the entire school. If the admissions department goes above and beyond, then it reflects the character of the faculty, staff and student body of the school.

The second important factor was the new third-year program. W&L places great value on this program, as it should. Prospective and current law students are discouraged by the current legal job market. Many lawyers complain of being “thrown into the field” without having much experience in an actual law firm. The third year program combats these issues. The practicums, clinics or externships, and skills immersion courses create practical experience for law students to feel comfortable and confident in their abilities to practice law. The school has live clinics, giving students the opportunity to work with actual clients and gain hands-on experience. During my research of law schools, several advisers emphasized to me the importance of that real-world experience.

Given all of these great factors of W&L, I made my decision to attend. Even during orientation, 1L students received positive words of encouragement and empowerment. We had the opportunity to network with alumni and professors before we began class. The professors were excited to meet the students and gain knowledge of their interests.

I believe that I made the best decision. I have met an amazing group of friends, kind and helpful professors, caring faculty and staff, and friendly citizens of Lexington. In the short time that I have been here, I have become more open-minded as I have been engulfed in the culture of W&L Law and the city of Lexington. It has been a great experience so far, and I am optimistic that it can only become better.

So again, if asked why I attend W&L Law, my answer still remains Why would I not?

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