It is hard to believe that I will be graduating from Widener Law Commonwealth in a little over two months. I echo the sentiment shared by my classmates in earlier blog posts, your time in law school will fly by. I have learned a lot about the law, obviously, and a lot about myself in the past three years. In August of 2019, when I began this journey, I was worried that law school may not be right for me.
Unlike most of my classmates, my undergraduate degree was in the sciences, specifically biochemistry. As a part of Widener’s 1L orientation you take a pass-fail course called Introduction to Legal Process. I listened to lectures and read materials on the Constitution, the three branches of Government, and so on. Topics I had not thought of or learned about since high school. I wondered if I was in over my head.
Three years later I can say that I do not regret my decision to attend law school. Frankly, I think it is one of the best decisions I could have made. There was certainly a learning curve, but there is a learning curve for all law students regardless of your background. You never know how your background may benefit you when it comes to learning the law.
I found that my laboratory experience gave me a trained eye for detail that I now use to analyze sets of facts. Also, a very important skill in the sciences is asking the right questions, which I believe is an equally important skill to have as a lawyer. Overall, I was able to use my problem-solving skills that I developed in math and science courses to solve legal problems.
Thanks to Widener’s Career Development Office I was made aware of different opportunities to combine the law and sciences. During my 1L year, I was encouraged by my professors and the Assistant Dean for Career Development to take the Patent Bar. I went out on a limb and took and thankfully passed the Patent Bar the summer after my 1L year. The following summer I worked for an intellectual property law firm and now work as a legal clerk for them. I have enjoyed the opportunity to combine my science background with what I have learned in law school by assisting with legal issues surrounding patents for a wide range of technologies.
I don’t know what I expected when I began my law school journey, but I am very happy with the ending destination. The journey by no means was simple, it was arduous and challenging. Something that has helped me along the way is to remember that it is a privilege to be in law school. Rather than viewing all the work as a burden I try to view it as an opportunity to learn, to grow, and accomplish something that will open doors for the rest of my life.
On a Friday during the Spring of 2019 instead of going to my classes at Penn State I left for Harrisburg to attend Accepted Students Day at Widener Commonwealth Law School. Upon first arriving at Widener Commonwealth I was struck by the stark difference in the size of the campus as opposed to the one which I had become accustomed to during my time at Penn State. At first, I was leery of the small size of Widener but by day’s end after listening to various students, professors and administrators speak of their fond regard for their small close-knit community, I realized the size and scale of the law school might be a welcome change. In fact, that brush with the Widener Community was the primary reason I chose to attend Widener Commonwealth. In particular I found what several Widener students had to say about their personal experiences most impactful. The students spoke of the relationships they had fostered with their professors and how influential those relationships had been in the early stages of their legal careers. On average I talk to a professor (one-on-one) at least once a week to discuss class material, ask for guidance with moot court, seek insight about internships and the list continues.
In addition, when I was a 1L the upperclassmen were willing to help in whatever way they could. They were not intimidating and were cognizant of the challenges of adjusting to law school. They inspired me to do the same. As a 2L I became an Academic Success Fellow for Contracts I and II. I hold weekly office hours to meet with 1L students. It has been a pleasure to provide whatever support they might need in a particularly challenging 1L year.
I am happy to say I have experienced all the benefits of Widener Commonwealth described at Accepted Students Day despite the pandemic restrictions. I feel the nature of our close-knit community that was so apparent to me at Accepted Students Day has been a true blessing during this pandemic. I believe our law school community’s already tight-knit nature allowed it to adapt as seamlessly as possible to a virtual format. The administration and staff provided all of its students with the flexibility and support needed. In addition, the Widener Commonwealth professors continued to impress me and went above and beyond to make sure we received the same legal education we would have if we were attending in person. Although I was no longer able to walk down the hallway and stop into a professor’s office, I could still meet with the professors just as frequently and with relatively the same ease. In some way the professors became more available. All you have to do is send an email and they are willing to jump on zoom to discuss something.
The relationships I have developed with the professors at Widener are something I never experienced during my undergraduate career. I can already sense the impact these relationships have had on my legal education and I am certain when I graduate their value will come into an even sharper focus. I will always be grateful for the support and direction from these dedicated professors. I only hope that they will not change their email or phone numbers because I suspect I may still have a few questions after my time at Widener is over.