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!

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Kimberly Cain graduated from Old Dominion University.

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

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

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

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

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Emily Manbeck graduated from Georgetown University.

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

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Davis Pitts received his degree from Washington & Jefferson College.

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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!

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

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Morris Brailsford received his degree from Hampton University.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

Graduation Slideshow

by Faye Shealy

Today is the day that many of our recent graduates sit for the bar exam. We wish them the best of luck, we hark back upon the celebration of their accomplishments during graduation on May 12.

View the slideshow for a sense of the festive event.

Graduation continues to be one of my happiest memories each year. Spirits were high and smiles were everywhere. Many William & Mary graduates were recognized for outstanding academic, program, and service achievements during the Awards Ceremony.

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The sunshine and warm breeze were perfect at the Law School’s Exercises for the Presentation of Diplomas at Lake Matoaka and the reception that followed–yes, about 1,500 filled the Law School!

Chancellor Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense, drew applause and laughter with advice he gave to the Class of 2013 during the graduation speech. Graduates were urged to heed the “duties and responsibilities that come with citizenship” and reminded “Your own Thomas Jefferson believed that William & Mary was the finest school of manners and morals that ever existed in America.”

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After the ceremony  Chancellor Gates mentioned how impressed he was with the display of joy and affection by our graduates for their classmates, suggesting that we have a strong sense of community in which our students form close relationships and have a meaningful three years together. Those who share the rigorous study of law tend to be drawn together by their common experience. William & Mary law students are able to encourage one another and they do. They support each other during their challenges and celebrate each other’s successes along the way.

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Graduation is an important passage in life and significant celebration should be associated. It was for our 2013 graduates, their families, and their friends!

 

Congrats to the Future Class of 2016!

We are excited to welcome the Class of 2016 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 2016 on receiving their undergraduate degrees!

W  M mortar board UF sign

Hannah Needleman graduated from the University of Florida.

Kim Knipe - University of Maryland

Kimberly Knipe graduated from the University of Maryland.

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Samatha Sokoloff graduated from Hamilton College. She is pictured above (center) with her parents.

middle -Abby Riley graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga this May.

Abby Riley (center) graduated from the University of Tennessee in  Chattanooga.

Pat Sebastian USC

Pat Sebastian graduated from the University of Southern California.

Rachel Ginzburg poses for a photo with her nephew at her graduation from Binghamton University in 2013

Rachel Ginzburg (pictured with her nephew) graduated from Binghamton University.

Penn State Ben Waschler

Ben Waschler (right) graduated from the Pennsylvania State University.

Erika Larsen- Magna Cum Laude as an Honors student with a BS in Political Science and International Affairs.  FL State

Erika Larsen graduated from Florida State University.

Georgia Maclean just graduated from NYU

Georgia MacLean graduated from New York University.