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A “Thank You” to William & Mary Law School

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017 

After periodically contributing to the Get Wythe It! blog during my first and second years of law school, I am happy to take some time post-graduation to reflect on my entire experience at William & Mary Law School. Where do I begin?

I suppose I can start with the fulfillment of my expectations. When choosing a law school back as a college senior back in 2014, I knew that I wanted to go to a law school that would get me to my ideal legal job. That was my number one priority. For me, that was doing large law firm work in Washington, D.C. With that outcome-focused goal in mind, I chose William & Mary Law School due to its record for placing students in the very type of job that I wanted.

My expectations were met, and then some. Not only will I be heading to the D.C. office to work for an international law firm after graduation, I will also first spend a year clerking for a federal judge in the D.C. area. Coming to law school, I did not even have clerking as a goal, or know much about it, but the resources at William & Mary Law School both informed me of the opportunities that come with clerkships and then helped me secure one.

But my time at William & Mary Law School is made up of much more than the outcomes, despite outcomes being my goal when coming to law school. I have always liked school, and I was very happy to find enjoyment in almost all of my classes. While some topics resonated with me more than others, each class helped me to pinpoint exactly what type of law I would like to practice. The same can be said for extracurricular activities. While I was more heavily involved in some groups than others, each of my involvements helped me improve the necessarily skills I needed to succeed in law school. Hopefully, those skills will continue to serve me well into the future.

While classes and extracurricular activities were aspects of law school I expected to enjoy, I was a little anxious to start law school and meet my classmates. But upon starting classes, I was pleasantly surprised at how kind and friendly my classmates were, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with them, made up of attending classes, working diligently in study groups together outside of class, and participating in extracurricular activities. I have since learned that great classmates are the status quo at the law school, thanks to getting to know not only my own classmates, but students that came before me through connecting with alumni, and students that are coming after me through volunteering with the Admissions Office.

While I am excited to move on to the next stages in my life, I know I will look back fondly on my time at William & Mary Law School. Part of me thinks that I will miss the certain charms of Williamsburg the most. For example, where else in the world will you see off-duty colonial reenactors using modern day amenities like cell phones and cars? But I know that I will most definitely miss being in a challenging, but rewarding, educational environment with friendly, talented, and hard working classmates.

And I will forever be grateful to William & Mary Law School for molding me into a legal professional and sending me on my way into the world.

Read John’s contributions to Get Wythe It! here.

Watch the graduation slideshow here.

Moot Court: A 2L Team Member’s Perspective

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

Last year, I made the decision to try out for the William & Mary Moot Court Team, and I ended up making the cut! This past week, I have been helping to judge and select new members for the Moot Court Team, and the experience has had me recollect on my experience with Moot Court over the past year. So far, as a second-year member on the Moot Court Team, I have been able to participate in a few different experiences thanks to Moot Court.

The first has been being involved with the Bushrod T. Washington Tournament. Each year, the Moot Court Team holds the intra-school Bushrod Tournament as a tryout competition for new members to join the Team. The tournament releases a problem over winter break about either a First Amendment, Second Amendment, or Fourth Amendment issue. The problem consists of a fact pattern and two mock court opinions that lay out a particular legal issue with two very compelling arguments on either side. Competitors are then tasked with formulating a 15-minute oral argument for each party in the case, and then the competitors present their arguments to justices (current team members) who interrupt them with questions—just like a real appellate argument. After presenting, the justices judge the competitors’ oral arguments, and after two or three weeks of competition, the top twenty competitors or so make the team as first-year members. I have had a blast being a justice for the tournament, because I have been able to help grade competitor’s arguments and presentation style while still being able to give them feedback to encourage improvement. Plus, it has been great to see so much interest in joining the Moot Court Team!

Moot Court

After making the team, each Moot Court member is required to take the Advanced Brief Writing class during the Fall semester following their selection to the Moot Court Team. Advanced Brief Writing helps to prepare oral argument and appellate writing skills, and the class is currently taught by Professor Benjamin Hatch, who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Needless to say, Professor Hatch is well aware as to what makes an appellate argument persuasive. During my time in the class, we wrote briefs and gave oral arguments on the case Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which the Supreme Court actually heard arguments on while I was in the class. While I knew absolutely nothing about election law going into the class, I feel like I learned a lot of substantive material on election law along with improving my general knowledge of appellate practice.

Right now, in the early part of the Spring semester, I am preparing for my assigned tournament for the year. Each team member is required to compete in at least one inter-school tournament a year. My teammates have traveled pretty far to compete in places such as Chicago, Louisiana, and New York, or if they are do not want to travel that much, there are a variety of other tournaments in Virginia and Washington, D.C. My upcoming tournament is at West Virginia University and focuses on law that implicates energy, environmental, and sustainability issues. While writing the brief has been challenging, as I know very little about that topic, I am looking forward to traveling to Morgantown, West Virginia, with my teammate and experiencing my first inter-school tournament. Wish us luck!

The Moot Court Team does a variety of other events as well, such as hosting its own inter-school William B. Spong Tournament, which is now in its 45th year. The tournament is student-run, so as a team member, I have been required to help out with the tournament in some capacity since I joined the team. Also, we have an annual banquet to celebrate the successes of the team at the end of the Spring semester. While being involved with Moot Court takes up a lot of time and is quite a bit of work, I do feel as though I have learned a lot from the experience. I am excited to welcome the new team members soon!

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