Why I Chose W&L Law, 2012 – #6

We asked seven of our new students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Today, Brian Buckmire, a graduate of Queens College – CUNY, from Toronto, Canada, takes on the question.

By Brian Buckmire

Brian BuckmireI do not know if my decision-making process to come to Washington and Lee Law was similar to that of other students, but when I did choose to come to W&L, I was sure that it was the right choice.

After graduation I will be a first-generation attorney in my family, and other than an uncle who lived in Florida, no Buckmire has ventured this far south in the United States. I did not know much about Washington and Lee and I knew even less about Lexington. So when the opportunity came to apply, I needed to do a lot of research on both the town and the school.

My first year of law school was at Hofstra Law, and I enjoyed many aspects of the law school. However, Dean Demleitner and Dean McShay, two of the reasons I loved Hofstra Law, were moving to this “foreign” law school named W&L, and I felt a need to look into this school a little more. Immediately W&L’s rank and prestige jumped out at me from every page I read, and obviously that was a big factor to me. But I was not sold. I am a city boy through and through, so when I read that Lexington had a population of 7000 people, I cringed a little. As a Torontonian and an adopted New Yorker my first thought was, “Where can I get a good bagel in this town?” Thankfully, my second thought was to apply and see what happened, and so I did. Then I toured the school to see what it was about. I was greatly surprised by everything and everyone I met. From private carrels to study in, to community-building events like the Law School Football League, W&L offered many unexpected touches that allowed me to envision myself here. And while there isn’t a subway system or a nightclub in Lexington, I did quickly find a good bagel spot called Sweet Treats. The people were welcoming and genuine, and Lexington has a little bit of everything, enough to keep even this city boy entertained.

The second and most important thing I needed to investigate when making my law school selection was the law school’s curriculum. In my first year of law school I attended a number of alumni events and interacted with many practicing lawyers as well as politicians. At every event there was always a consistent theme in critiquing law schools, “law students are not actually taught how to be attorneys.” This was usually followed by, “you learn more from your first internship than from your first year of law school.” After my first internship, I realized that there was some truth to that idea. I began to continually question why so many attorneys could have this criticism without law schools trying to address it. Then I came to W&L, and the 3L program seemed to be the answer. W&L integrates and infuses practical skills throughout the third year clinics, externships, and practicum class options for all students, not just of the top ten percent of the class. This helps to educate and prepare the whole student body to be practicing attorneys in a wide range of disciplines.

This was the tipping point for me. In Lexington, I found a small town where the majority of people my age were focused on a similar goal. I found a place that may not be large in population, but is large in opportunities. Lastly, I found a  law school that was focused on transforming students into exceptional attorneys upon graduation. That is why I choose W&L Law.

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