My Time at W&L Law: Joanna Heiberg

With less than a month left in the 2012-2013 academic year, we asked several of our third-year students to reflect upon their time at W&L Law. Today, Joanna Heiberg takes on the topic.

Joanna Heiberg

Joanna Heiberg

I first visited Lexington in the summer of 2009.  Although I was just passing through, I remember that afternoon clearly. I strolled through historic downtown and the undergraduate campus, past the colonnade and Lee Chapel.  I finished my visit with ice cream at Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe. I was immediately drawn to Lexington’s tight-knit community, picturesque scenery, and deep-rooted history.

As a result of that initial visit, W&L Law quickly became a frontrunner when I made the decision to go to law school.  W&L Law provided a stark contrast from my undergraduate experience at a large state school, a change I welcomed given the difficulty and significance of law school.  I desired to attend a law school with a collaborative and collegial atmosphere and professors that knew my name and were invested in my future.  To top it off, I knew that the convenience and comfort of a town like Lexington would provide the perfect antithesis to the stress and long hours that are an inevitable part of any law school experience. At the end of the day, it was an easy decision.

My time at W&L Law has been an unforgettable one, filled with great memories, lasting relationships, and preparation for my future.  The transition into 1L year was easier than I could have hoped and during these past three years the school has provided many opportunities to relax and have fun in an effort to counterbalance the stress of law school.  These activities included Friday afternoon law school football league (LSFL) games, the annual pig roast, band parties on the patio, Barrister’s Ball, Dean’s Cup softball tournament, and many others.  I was also thrilled to find a group of classmates who shared my enthusiasm for SEC football and with whom I could spend Saturdays in front of the TV cheering for my alma mater, the University of Florida.

While I learned a great deal my first two years of law school, it has been my third year experience that has best prepared me for my future practice.  Due to my interest in pursuing corporate transactional work, I choose to take W&L’s Cross Border Transactions Practicum and Business Planning Practicum.  In these two courses I learned to read and understand complex agreements, negotiate business deals, and respond to various clients’ needs and concerns.  Additionally, I had the opportunity to draft a limited liability company agreement, a letter of intent for a biotech joint venture, and numerous memos to senior attorneys and clients recommending a course of action. Through these classes I have learned how to actually practice and apply the law I spent so many hours studying.

I have accomplished many things I never dreamed possible in my three years at W&L. I was published in the Washington and Lee Law Review. I argued in front of a three-judge panel for my Foreign Sovereign Disputes Practicum. I drafted bankruptcy court opinions as a part of my judicial externship program. I survived three winters of snow. I even made friends with not one, but several, University of Georgia Bulldogs. I am incredibly thankful for these experiences and, even more so, for my classmates, the W&L faculty and staff, and the greater Lexington community for making my time at W&L both memorable and rewarding.

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