Life Beyond the Classroom – Howard Wellons

WellonsHAt W&L Law, students benefit from the many experiences and learning opportunities both within and beyond the classroom.  We asked several of our current law students to discuss the activities and organizations they have chosen to devote their time and energies to.   Today, 3L Howard Wellons describes his involvement in Law News.

There can be no doubt that W&L Law is unique among the nation’s top-tier law schools. Its rural location, close-knit student body, loyal alumni, and powerful legacy combine to imbue the school with opportunities that are simply unavailable at other law schools. As is often true in things that are worthwhile, these opportunities may not be apparent at first. I have always believed that the first step any student, whether law student or undergrad, should take in a new institution is to learn about the institution they have just joined.

That’s where The Law News comes in. As the W&L School of Law’s Newspaper, The Law News is constantly connected to everything worth knowing in the school. We interview Alumni and professors; we cover events both on campus and in the broader region; and we spotlight exceptional students in every issue. Essentially, we serve as the ideal vehicle to get new students plugged into all that is going on and everyone that is worth knowing throughout the campus and community.

The Law News, however, is far more than simply a means to update the community on the “who” and the “what.” Our real purpose lies in the “why” and the “how.” Over all of its forty-one years of existence, The Law News has remained independent and entirely student managed. This independence gives us the freedom to offer objective analysis on the school, its events, and its community. This freedom has contributed to our extraordinary success in winning the 2013 ABA Law School Newspaper Award, making us the nation’s most highly awarded law school newspaper.

This all may sound great in theory, but how would you as an incoming student actually benefit from what The Law News has to offer?  In the past, our writers have covered our law school’s appellate advocacy competitions, critiqued speakers, interviewed our Dean, and written articles on our law school’s history. Nearly any time something notable happens that involves our school, The Law News is there to capture and analyze it.

There is also another benefit to serving as a staff writer, a benefit which I didn’t fully appreciate until I began to serve in the Editor in Chief role: ensuring that you can still communicate in a non-legal way. Throughout law school, you will be asked to learn a new lexicon, and to communicate in a manner that values technical precision in order to make an effective case in court. While learning this new form of communication is necessary when becoming an attorney, law students too often forget the value of other forms of writing. The Law News is the only organization at W&L Law which gives you a chance to practice the art of conveying information for its own sake, and to communicate using a journalistic style, rather than a legal style of writing.

The Law News offers an interesting mix of opportunities and possibilities to incoming students. While it has a long legacy, it is always being re-imagined to fit the needs of the students and Alumni it continues to serve.  Just this year, the newspaper  began the process of enhancing its web presence on Facebook, Twitter, and throughout the web. We are excited by the new possibilities these venues will open, and we look forward to seeing what you, as the next generation of Law News leaders, will come up with next! I hope you choose to attended W&L Law, and I hope that when you do, you will choose to become involved with the publication that can keep you better connected to the school than any other.

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