My Time at W&L Law: Jessica Unger

ungerWith 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, Jessica Unger takes on the topic.

It’s hard to believe that I am now at the point in law school when I am being asked to reflect on my time here at W&L Law. There are only a few short weeks left in the Spring 2013 semester, and with that, only a few short weeks left at W&L for my 2013 classmates and myself. I am extremely excited about graduating and moving on into my career as a lawyer, but I must say the feeling is bittersweet. I have had an incredible time at W&L.

My experiences in the third year program this year have truly embodied what W&L has come to mean to me. I am so thankful to have been a part of the third year program, and can confidently say I believe it has better prepared me to practice. My third year program experience started with a desire to intern at the United States Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, DC, along with two other 3Ls. Unfortunately, the dates when we had to be at the SEC and the dates when we had to be at W&L for other classes conflicted. I was worried my opportunity to intern at the SEC had been halted. But then I remembered-I don’t just attend any law school, I attend W&L Law. We approached Dean Mary Natkin about the issue, and she assured us she would find a solution. Within a few days, Dean Natkin had agreed to form and hold a separate class specifically for my fellow SEC interns and myself. The other professors involved also agreed to alter the curriculum for us to accommodate our internships. We got to do our internship, which was an incredibly rewarding experience. This is truly characteristic of W&L: the faculty wants us to have the experiences we desire, and will bend over backwards to ensure that we get them. They are invested in our well-being, and a true part of the W&L community. I have noticed this as a trend in the faculty stretching back to my first semester of 1L year, and everywhere in between. Having an accessible, interested, and high caliber faculty has truly made my experience at W&L special. And it’s not just the faculty-this sense of community stretches across the entire law school, including the student body, across to the undergrad, and even in to much of Lexington.

The third year program has also prepared me to practice in an incredibly unique way. Many people say that the third year of law school can be superfluous, and should even be done away with. Well, that’s not going to happen. So what did W&L do? They transformed it into something useful-something that will build our knowledge and skill sets. Over the course of my 3L year, I have now drafted a complex LLC operating agreement, negotiated an asset acquisition from start to finish, and presented to a mock Board of Directors. Even better: I did it all in the safety of a classroom with constructive criticism from a mix of professors and practitioners. Additionally, this semester I am participating in the W&L Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, under the guidance of Professor Michelle Drumbl. In the clinic, I have gained meaningful, hands-on experience working with real clients. It has been extremely rewarding knowing that I am assisting the local southwest Virginia community. These are experiences I will carry with me and remember long into my career.

It’s this simple: it is something special to attend W&L. I am so glad that I attended this school, and cannot wait to join the ranks of loyal alumni who remember their time at W&L fondly, and visit Lexington often.

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