Why W&L Law: Chi Ewusi on How a Whim Became a Sure Thing
We asked several of our 1L students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. Chi Ewusi, a graduate of the University of Phoenix from Moorestown, NJ, writes about how the innovative curriculum and personalized approach won her over.
I began my law school applications with very little idea of what I was doing and what to expect. I grew up all over the country with a very liberal and creative arts-heavy education and was afraid that law school would be too cold and black-letter for me. I think that the law admissions process was especially daunting to me because I didn’t have key points of reference, such as lawyers who I could consult or any pre-law classes from college. Because I was the first person in my family to pursue higher education, they couldn’t give me insight about what to look for in a graduate school or what my deciding factors should be.
Despite this, my experience with W&L Law admissions was anything but scary. The admissions office took the time to always answer my emails – oftentimes within 24 hours. They connected me to as many resources as I wanted to help me make this major life decision. Over the months, I spoke directly to successful local alums, at least a dozen current students with similar backgrounds and career goals, and even professors who – fun fact – remembered my name when I started school in the fall.
Like many potential law students, I started the application process by consulting guides, online forums, and other cursory sources and applied to W&L pretty much on a whim. It wasn’t until later in the admissions process that I really narrowed in on what was important to me in a law school and how I should evaluate schools beyond what a publication like U.S. News and World Report could tell me.
I applied broadly to many schools and quickly found out that it was hard to distinguish among most of them. From my research and visits, I realized that most of them seemed to be disappointingly similar and antiquated in their approach to curriculum and student engagement.
Something that distinguished W&L for me was the fact that the 1L experience was different than other schools, mostly in that first years take a basic transnational (international) law course. Growing up multicultural and also having worked in international development, I knew that my interests were already international law-inclined. That an institution thought so much of growing globalization to make this course mandatory for first years greatly appealed to me. I would soon come to learn that a significant amount of professors at W&L practiced internationally, and so I knew I would have incredible resources on hand to help shape and guide my career. Learning that W&L’s unique and modern approach to making students practice-ready would continue through 2L and then culminate with the distinctive 3L program made me feel confident that I would leave law school more than ready to enter the “real world”. Beyond the course offerings, I knew that factors like personal carrel spaces, a 10:1 student to faculty ratio, and an emphasis on legal writing would only further benefit me.
W&L stood out to me as a special place to be a student as well. Before my attendance at one of the Admitted Students Open House weekends, I had never encountered a group of people who were so genuinely excited to talk about education and were able to make me excited as well. These were no dead-end small-talk conversations – every student or faculty member knew somebody who they referred me to based on my particular interests and goals. It was made immediately clear to me the people at this law school were incredibly intelligent and yet so…genuine. This sort of easily-given helpfulness and enthusiasm went a long way in not only helping me make my decision to attend W&L, but allowing me to feel confident in making such a big move to Lexington, VA.
While law school is a definite adjustment, no matter your background or amount of exposure to the legal profession, W&L as an institution aims to make the transition as easy and natural as possible. It was very important for me to feel like “more than just a number”. With my small 1L class, I feel like I already am on such friendly (almost familial) terms with many of my classmates. This is especially true of my small section of classmates with whom I attend all my classes, share meals, and look to for encouragement after tough cold calls. While this may not seem like an important factor, please believe that once thrown into that swift and sudden law school workload, it will be nice to have a built-in support system.
I realized that I wanted a law school that would nurture my ambitions and leave me with more than just a degree. I had purposefully taken a non-traditional route through undergrad by working full-time and taking online classes. When choosing a law school, it was important for me to feel that my continuing education would be effective yet meaningful. I have definitely found that perfect balance at W&L Law.