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Inside the 1L Year with Jeremy Thompson ’26L Law student Jeremy Thompson reflects on the challenges and successes of his first year at W&L Law.

jeremy1-800x533 Inside the 1L Year with Jeremy Thompson '26LJeremy Thompson ’26L

Jeremy Thompson is a member of the Class of 2026 at W&L Law. Prior to law school, Jeremy worked for a federal agency in Washington D.C. for three years. During Jeremy’s first year of law school, he participated in the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) mock trial competition in Baltimore, Maryland and this next year will serve as a Law Ambassador. While he is outside the walls of the law school, Jeremy enjoys playing chess, watching sports, and working out. He also serves as a board member on the mental health advocacy not-for-profit organization called, “Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center.” For the 2024 summer, he will join McGuireWoods for their 2024 Summer Associate Program in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Something that surprised you about 1L year?

What has surprised me about 1L year is largely divided into two components. First, I was surprised with the genuine and caring character of my classmates at W&L. Everyone understands the rigors of law school and here at W&L, we use friendships and hard work to overcome academic obstacles together. Secondly, I was surprised with how much public policy factors in when determining law’s impact, repercussions, and creation.

Favorite classes from fall and spring semester?

My favorite class from fall semester was Torts. At first blush, torts can be intimidating and a difficult doctrine to get a good grasp on. However, once you understand the foundational elements of torts, you can quickly start to see how applicable it is in daily life and how you can use your own creativity to help form the best case for your client.

My favorite class in the spring semester is Criminal Law. I enjoy criminal law because it pulls back the curtains on the history of criminal law, its process to where it is today, and the trajectory of where it is headed. Learning concepts like “mens rea,” calls for you to try to understand the mind frame of someone at the time of a crime, and I find that intriguing.

Biggest takeaway from 1L year?

My biggest takeaway from 1L year can be summed up in one word–uncomfortable. Law school is challenging in all respects, and it forces you to be positively uncomfortable. You are constantly around smart and talented classmates, learning tough legal doctrines, in tight timelines, and it makes you uncomfortable. I have learned that figuring out how to navigate and harness that uncomfortable feeling is the key to not only success in law school, but success in life. It is okay to be uncomfortable, that is where you learn your true potential and grow the most.

Things you are looking forward to in 2L year?

I am most looking forward to getting involved with more extracurriculars with the school like moot court competitions and negotiation competitions. I find those to not only be helpful in growing as a legal professional, but it also breaks the monotony of just learning inside a classroom.

Advice to students going to law school in the future?

My biggest piece of advice for perspective law students would be to figure out their “why” for wanting to go to law school. I would urge them to find out what is the driving factor for wanting a legal career, embrace that reason and hold on to it, because that will be the one piece of motivation that will push them through the long nights.

The last thing I would add is always to remain humble. Be thankful for the opportunity that God has provided and give thanks to God for that. It is a tough but rewarding process and remembering that God, your family/friends, and mentors are a large reason why you have been successful so far.