Law school can be daunting, challenging, exciting, and rewarding. You can easily become distracted from the path you initially intended, instead, gravitating towards a path influenced by others’ perceptions of what you should be doing. Throughout your experience it's essential to stop and ask yourself what you want out of your law school experience, what will help you grow as an attorney, and what excites you, those three questions will help you tremendously.
Your activities and how you spend your time and energy should not be a checklist in your efforts to become a model law student. Rather, it should be tailored to your interests, passions, and overall development. The latter can only be accomplished by carefully curating your experience. For me, I focused on courses and activities that required me to step outside my comfort zone. These were courses with subject matters that piqued my interest and allowed me to take affirmative steps in preparation for the moment I must advocate for my client and myself.
As an introvert, stepping beyond my comfort zone means participating in activities that push me to work on my oral advocacy skills. This semester my participation in a mediation competition and the Education and Health Law Clinic has helped me grow as a young professional and are two of my most memorable experiences in law school.
The International Chamber of Commerce Competition is a worldwide mediation competition with schools from over 48 countries. The four-day competition allowed me to work on a mediation plan, prepare opening statements, advocate for my client, but also work to collaborate with the opposing side. My partner and I worked diligently to present creative solutions to issues that mirror Brexit, international business disputes, intellectual property issues, and more. Meeting students and professionals from Poland, Spain, Nigeria, and the UK were a bonus. I walked away from that experience confident in my ability to advocate, collaborate, and communicate. Your voice is the most valuable tool in your box and as a lawyer, you cannot be afraid of it but should understand when best to use it to the benefit of your client and yourself.
Similarly, having the opportunity to participate in the Education and Health Law Clinic as a Clinical Law Student has been one of the best experiences. Clinic allows you to represent clients under the supervision of a practicing attorney. Having this hands-on experience working with and for clients has been invaluable. I’ve had the chance to represent the parents of students in need of special education services in meetings with the school district and opportunities to work on an Amicus Brief.
Both the ICC Competition and Clinic have left a pivotal impact on my law school experience.
When you enter law school everyone starts from ground zero but in a short three years, the growth as an individual and public servant is immense. Take that sports law course, fashion course, or even participate in an arbitration competition if you are even remotely interested! I urge you to be intentional with how you craft your curriculum and choose your extracurriculars.