Why I Chose W&L Law – Angela Kerins

A.KerinsWe asked several of our new students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Today, Angela Kerins, a graduate of The College of New Jersey from Westfield, New Jersey, takes on the question.

I’m sure we can all agree that picking a law school is not an easy thing to do. After my umpteenth pro-con list and multiple visits to each place, I knew that there wasn’t a way to quantify this decision. I had to go with my gut and my gut told me I was home at Washington and Lee.

As a proud Jersey girl, going to a New Jersey state school for my undergraduate education was a no brainer. I spent four years close to home, my family, and friends and I thoroughly enjoyed my life in the Northeast. When I started to think about where I would attend law school a similar decision seemed equally as obvious. I never expected to abandon my northern roots and head south of the Mason Dixon Line for school, but now that I’m here I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

When I first started my application process I didn’t know much about Washington and Lee. My advisor mentioned it because one of his students attended a few years earlier and suggested I look into it. From the beginning of the application process I could tell that this school was different. The members of the admissions staff promptly answered every single question I had. Many efforts were made to put me in touch with alumni, current students, and faculty in order for me to get a good feel for the school. This legitimate concern for prospective students became all the more apparent at the Admitted Students Weekend (ASW). It didn’t take very long for me to see that W&L was a special place. I know that sounds corny and cliché but it’s true. The sense of community is tangible even to weekend visitors. Throughout the ASW I had an opportunity to talk to both current students and alumni. Current students couldn’t say more wonderful things about the school, but what really stood out to me throughout the admissions process were the alumni. The fondness that each one held for their time at W&L was so apparent through their genuine desire to answer all my questions and share their own law school experience.

It’s hard to ignore the law school horror stories of book destroying and note stealing, but that could not be further from the academic experience here at W&L. It’s clear that every single student cares about their school work, but not at the expense of their classmates. Recently I had to miss a class, and many of my classmates offered me their notes.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a collaborative environment that fostered teamwork and communication. Professors’ hands-on approach only furthers this sense of community. I built strong relationships with my professors in my undergrad and it was important to me to have a similar experience in law school. Not only are their doors always open for students to drop in, but half of my professors have already required one-on-one meetings to track our progress and go over class material. The job market is so competitive that meaningful relationships and connections with professors are key, and it’s clear that they will be a natural part of my time at W&L.

I originally thought I wanted to be in a big city for law school, but I’m glad that I decided otherwise. It’s a whole lot easier to stay in the library on a Saturday night here in Lexington than it would be elsewhere. Don’t be misled though; we’re not always studying! The school does an amazing job providing us with excuses to leave the library. Every Friday afternoon Law school football brings the entire school out onto the lawn for friendly two-hand touch. Don’t worry if you’re not athletically inclined, I’m my team’s #1 sideline cheerleader. The Student Bar Association also plans a ton of fun activities, like pig-roasts and drive-in movies, which provide plenty of reasons to take a study break.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an adjustment period – law school is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before – but W&L has done everything in its power to make the transition as seamless as possible. Although I’ve only been here a month, I can already call Lexington my home, and I cannot wait to spend the next three years at Washington and Lee Law.

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