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.

A Farewell to the 3Ls

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

Just a few days ago, the members of the Class of 2017 donned their robes and walked across the stage to accept their diplomas. Hundreds of family members and friends gathered with the graduates at the Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheater at Lake Matoaka while “Pomp and Circumstance” played in the background. After three years of relentless hard work, it was a time of reflection and celebration for the graduating class. For the 1Ls and 2Ls, however, it marked a more somber occasion, because we know that William & Mary Law School will not be the same without them.

The 2Ls first met this year’s graduates when they were working on cite checks and writing their notes in the Fall semester of 2016. They were our Legal Practice Fellows and our TAs, and they kindly showed us where to go when we didn’t know how to get to the Cottage. Since the 1Ls have been here, they have seen the 3Ls excel as leaders in student organizations. The 1Ls have listened to their advice on tackling the job search and taking interesting classes. They’ve seen the 3Ls’ succeed as editors and staff members on law journals, and they’ve been encouraged to take part as well.

Class2017-475x265 (002)Apart from our memories of them, surely the 3Ls have fond memories of their own. They remember bonding with their new classmates during Law Week while everyone tried to figure out how law school works. They felt the stress of their first cold call, and the reassuring pat on the back they got from their neighbor when it was over. Thoughts of their first-year Legal Practice Sections, and the life-long friendships that came from them. Laughs shared over cheese fries at Bar Review. Fun nights spent dressing up for Fall Formals and Barristers’ Balls. Hanging out with professors after winning their packages at Auction. In spite of the stress of law school, memories such as these must make the end of their legal education bittersweet.

To the graduating 3Ls and LLMs: your fellow law students are proud of you and all that you have accomplished in your time here. You have shown an amazing work ethic and have helped make our organizations, teams, journals, and community what they are today. We thank you for being role models to us and for showing us what it means to be Citizen Lawyers. Most importantly, we thank you for being wonderful classmates and friends. You have done incredible things at William & Mary, and we know you will continue to make our school proud. Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

Recent Grad Looks Back

lizrademacherby Liz Rademacher, Class of 2016

Liz Rademacher graduated from W&M Law School this May with the class of 2016. Prior to law school she attended American University completing majors in Law and Society and Psychology. This fall, she will be starting a position with Davis & Harman LLP in Washington, DC.

It’s official: I’m done with law school! As a graduate of the Class of 2016, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my time at William & Mary and what I’ve learned from it. Here are a few things that I wish I would’ve told myself three years ago before starting my journey here in Williamsburg:

lizgraduation1Just because you’re wrong doesn’t mean you don’t belong. Whether you answer a question wrong in class, perform less than perfectly on a midterm, or don’t make it to the last round of try-outs for the moot court team, don’t let it get you down. No one’s perfect, and neither are you. There will be days when you might doubt if you’ve really got what it takes to be a real lawyer. It can be overwhelming learning all the knowledge and skills that go into becoming an advocate, and sometimes it might seem like everyone around you knows more than you. Just remember that everyone around you feels the same way as you, even if they don’t show it, and don’t let it get you down. I once heard a professor at W&M say, “Just because you’re wrong doesn’t mean you don’t belong.” You will make some mistakes, and that’s okay. Real lawyers do too. If you maintain a positive attitude, things that seemed like obstacles at one point will become easier with time.

Take every opportunity you can get. Whether it’s an externship abroad or helping to do research for a professor, there will be multiple opportunities that will appear before you at a law school like this one. If you have a passion for a certain area of law, pursue it! Talk to your professors and older students, utilize the Office of Career Services, and figure out how to make your experience here meaningful, both inside and outside of the classroom. I’ve learned more from working in clinics and meeting with professors than I have in some classes, and it’s important to remember that.

lizgraduation2Find your people. I can honestly say that the best part about my law school experience wasn’t the things I learned or the classes I took (those were all good too though!). Instead, the best part was the people I met along the way. W&M’s community of students, faculty, and staff is so tight-knit and supportive, and it is that community that will sustain you and grow you. I’ve learned so much about the law and about life from my professors and friends here, and those connections will continue to help me in the future.

Give back. At W&M, we learn that no matter what you decide to do with your law degree, it’s important to find a way to be a public servant. Whether that means running a 5k for the Bone Marrow Drive or participating in one of the Law School’s many clinics, we learn while we’re here how important it is to be a citizen lawyer. As professionals, we will have a responsibility to help improve our communities, and I’m grateful to have learned this lesson while I’ve been here.

Remember to have fun! Law school isn’t just for boring, serious people. In the three years I’ve been in Williamsburg, I’ve been taken road trips to beaches and wineries, gone on all the rollercoasters at Busch Gardens, seen the Grand Illumination fireworks show in Colonial Williamsburg, and tasted the best Vietnamese food that Newport News has to offer. Ultimately, you have to balance work with fun, and there are ample opportunities to do that here.

lizgraduation3Liz was also a Student Admission Ambassador and student blogger. Read more about her William & Mary Law School experiences:

 

 

 

Graduation Slideshow

Graduation continues to be one of the happiest days each year. Spirits were high and smiles were everywhere. U.S. Senator Tim Kaine drew applause and laughter with advice he gave to the Class of 2016 during the graduation speech. He shared what his first clients as a lawyer taught him about empathy, insight and compassion in his address.

Graduation is an important passage in life and significant celebration should be associated – just as it was for our 2016 graduates and their families and friends!  View the slideshow below for a sense of the festive event!

Michael Collett J.D. ’16 Honored for Outstanding Service to the Law School Community

georgewythe475x265Congratulations to Michael Collett, one of our Student Admission Ambassadors, on this honor! View a blog post written by Michael here.

by Jaime Welch-Donahue, Blog post reproduced with permission of the Communications Office.

Michael Collett J.D. ’16 received the George Wythe Award at the Law School’s Diploma Ceremony on May 15. The award is named in honor of George Wythe (1726-1806), William & Mary’s first law professor and one of the most remarkable attorneys of his time, and is given each year to a graduating student in recognition of his or her outstanding and selfless service to the Law School community.

Collett graduated with merit from the U.S. Naval Academy and currently serves as an active-duty Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He attended William & Mary under the U.S. Navy’s Law Education Program and will continue his service after graduation as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Among his endeavors while at William & Mary, Collett served as Chief Justice of the Honor Council, participated in the Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic, and competed as a member of the National Trial Team, where he won two regional trial competitions and a competition award for excellence in trial advocacy.

At the Awards Ceremony for the Class of 2016, held on the eve of graduation, he was inducted into the Order of Barristers, a national honor society that recognizes student advocates who have excelled in written and oral advocacy competitions and activities.

Dean Davison M. Douglas presented the award and read from two of the recommendations from Collett’s classmates.

One wrote: “Mike truly exemplifies the best qualities of the citizen lawyer. His integrity, commitment, and devotion to the greater good are unsurpassed in the Class of 2016.”

Another classmate contributed this observation: “All who know and encounter Michael at the Law School know that his character is steadfast and is complemented by his sense of humor, his kindness, and his spirit of giving.”

Congrats to the Future Class of 2018! (Part 2)

We had so many submissions from our proud 2015 graduates that we broke the Congrats to the Future Class of 2018! into two blog posts.

Congratulations to members of the future Class of 2018 on receiving their undergraduate or graduate degrees!

cain

Kimberly Cain graduated from Old Dominion University.

cone

Stephanie Cone graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of Florida.

Caroline Drinnon_grad photo

Caroline Drinnon graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a BA in Political Science.

hopkins

Kristin Hopkins graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Government and Theatre.

koballa

Kasey Koballa graduated from NC State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

manbeck

Emily Manbeck graduated from Georgetown University.

mcmullen

Anna McMullen earned her degree from the College of William & Mary.

pitts

Davis Pitts received his degree from Washington & Jefferson College.

smith

Ethan Smith graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

Congrats to the Future Class of 2018! (Part 1)

We are excited to welcome the Class of 2018 to Williamsburg in August! Many of members of the incoming class graduated from college this past May, and we want to highlight some of them–those who sent in their graduation photos to the Admissions Blog!

Congratulations to members of future Class of 2018 on receiving their undergraduate or graduate degrees!

alanko

Nicole Alanko graduated with a BA in International Affairs from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

morris

Morris Brailsford received his degree from Hampton University.

cuda

Grace Cuda earned her degree from Texas A&M University.

dangelo

Alyssa D’Angelo graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA with a double major in Government and History.

forsyth

Samantha Forsyth received her degree from the College of William & Mary.

lovell

Molly Lovell graduated with her MA in Political Theory from the Catholic University of America.

melton

Kameron Melton graduated with a BA in Public Policy from the College of William & Mary.

monastra

Maria Monastra received a degree with BA in English, minor in Finance, and a concentration in Women’s Studies from Cabrini College in Radnor, PA.

rosendahl

Matthew Rosendahl earned his undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary.

wilkins

Chelsea Wilkins graduated from James Madison University where she had a double major in Justice Studies and Anthropology.

Farewell!

leckyby Phillip Lecky, Class of 2015

A few short days ago, God will bless me to achieve the pinnacle of the law school experience, graduation. Reminiscing, these were, by far, the most challenging years of my life academically, and perhaps in a lot of other ways too, but I found ways and means to persevere through adversity. I came out the better for the experience, and not just because I received a Juris Doctorate.

My journey taught me so much and stretched me in ways that I couldn’t even anticipate. I found strength in the extracurricular activities that I participated in, such as the Black Law Students Association, America Reads, Student Legal Services, and Student Admissions Ambassadors, to name a few. I found strength in the various relationships that I was able to develop with my fellow classmates, faculty and staff, and other legal professionals. I continued to find strength in the knowledge that many had already preceded me and graduated, and thus, I could too.

I am so grateful for the times that I had while in law school, both the fun times,as well as those where I felt overwhelmed (it happens to everyone, but it isn’t all that bad I promise). All of these experiences matured me, and as a young professional, maturity is imperative. Now I look forward to entering the real world of law and using what I have learned to make a perpetual and definitive mark. Thank you William & Mary Law School for the preparation and congrats to the Class of 2015!

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

A Recent Grad Looks Back

by Laura Vlieg, Class of 2014

Laura Vlieg graduated from W&M Law School this May with the class of 2014. Prior to law school she attended Loyola University Chicago completing majors in Political Science and International Studies, and then worked for a year with an aviation law firm in Washington, DC. This August, she will be starting a position with Obadal, Filler, MacLeod & Klein in Alexandria, VA. 

GraduationPicWell, three years have passed, and I am now the proud owner of a very fancy piece of paper conferring my J.D., and a pretty cool hat to boot.

My time at William & Mary Law was both challenging and rewarding, and I think I will always look back with a little bit of nostalgia, and a lot of relief that I not only survived law school, but thrived. My successes were due largely in part to the wonderful people and the support offered here at W&M, and I will always be happy that I chose such a supportive environment to spend these past three academically intense years.

I am now in the thick of studying for the bar exam, and there are certainly days where my fellow graduates and I throw up our hands and say “Why am I doing this to myself?!” However, I quickly remember the reason when I look ahead to August, when I will be starting my new job in the DC area. I came into law school hoping to work toward a career in aviation law, even though I knew it would be difficult to break into such a niche field in a tough economy. I can happily report that come August, I will be starting a job with a small firm in Alexandria, VA specializing in regulatory work in the field of aviation.

In addition to giving me a solid education and opportunities that helped me lock down my dream job, W&M enabled me to have some fun along the way as well. In my time here I was able to sing alongside some fellow recreational musicians in Law Cappella; teach eager middle and high schoolers about the Constitution through both Constitutional Conversations and the Constitutional Literacy programs; perform primary source research on constitutional history and documents for a nonprofit called ConSource for academic credit (yes, I consider that very fun); and of course participate in myriad social events hosted by student groups such as Barrister’s Ball, the PSF Auction, and so many others.

As I look back fondly on my time here at W&M, I hope you are looking forward to an equally rewarding three years!

Read Laura’s first semester reflection and her experience as a Graduate Research Fellow.

Graduation Recap

We celebrated the Class of 2014 at graduation and the diploma ceremony one month ago today on May 11, 2014. The Law School ceremony was held at Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre, . Degrees were conferred to approximately 270 students in the J.D. and LL.M. programs.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the commencement address. To read more about Justice Scalia’s address, click here. Student speakers included Student Bar Association President Sean Radomski J.D. ’14 and Qian (Lindsey) Ling LL.M. ’14.

Additional awards were bestowed to:

  • Latoya C. Asia J.D. ’09: Taylor Reveley Award
  • Jeffrey Bellin: Walter L. Williams, Jr., Teaching Award 
  • James Booth J.D. ’14: Thurgood Marshall Award
  • Chris Creech: John Marshall Award
  • Kevin S. Elliker J.D. ’14: I’Anson Award 
  • William E. Hoffmann, Jr. ’67, J.D. ’77: Citizen-Lawyer Award
  • Sean J. Radomski J.D. ’14: George Wythe Award

If you have two minutes and 35 seconds to spare, watch the video below for an overview of the ceremony.

Recent Grad Wins Prize in Intellectual Property

Congratulations to Jarred O. Taylor ’13 for winning an award in the American Intellectual Property Law Educational Foundation’s annual Jan Jancin Award Competition!

Jarred Taylor

The award is sponsored by the Virginia State Bar and honors an outstanding law student, either from Virginia or attending a Virginia law school, who has excelled in the study of Intellectual Property law and intends to pursue a career in that field.

Jarred will soon be joining the Palo Alto, Ca., office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Congrats Jarred!