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Why W&L Law: For 1L Clint Williams, It Was All About the Visit

We asked several of our 1L students to discuss their decision to attend W&L Law. First up is Clint Williams, a graduate of the University of Utah from Salt Lake.

As a native of the Western United States, I am often asked why I chose to come across the country to W&L Law. For me, the answer is simple; W&L just felt right. Don’t misunderstand me– I engaged in my fair share of research, which included several pros and cons lists, law school blogs, law school rankings, campus visits, etc. My decision was made clear, however, after visiting W&L and experiencing the truly unique atmosphere of Lexington, Virginia.

Since I know most readers don’t make it through the entire article, I will cut to the chase: visit W&L in person and experience it for yourself. There are only so many things you can learn and assess on a school website, but by actually visiting the campus you can experience far more!

I first visited W&L during the spring of 2014. I will never forget driving into Lexington and feeling as though the sites and scenes of the town were directly out of a painting. It was gorgeous! I remember experiencing a feeling of reverence and inspiration in knowing that W&L dated back to our nation’s founding, and that some of our country’s most brilliant legal minds received their education therein.

After soaking that in, I made my way toward the law school, but not before getting lost along the way. I asked the first person I saw for directions and instead of making something up, she personally walked me there. Acts of kindness and hospitality, such as this, are the norm in Lexington. If you don’t believe me, try it. Once I made it to the admissions office I was welcomed and given the “prospective student” rundown, as you would receive at any school. What set this visit apart, however, was my meeting with Dean McShay. Now, at this point in my law school research I had met with several admissions representatives from various law schools, all of who were very kind in answering my questions. The unique thing about this meeting, however, was that Dean of Admissions Shawn McShay had as many, if not more, questions for me as I had for him! He made it clear to me that W&L seeks to truly know their students so they can not only assess what would be best for the school, but also what would be best for the student.

After my meeting, I was able to sit in on a Transnational Law class taught by one of our school’s prominent professors. I was surprised by not only the fact that I was deeply engaged in a subject about which I knew absolutely nothing, but also by the small, intimate setting in which the class took place. Coming from a large school, I was used to seeing classes taking place in large auditoriums filled with students, many of whom browsed Facebook and ESPN. Not at W&L, however. The class sizes are small, giving you no choice but to be involved in class and conversation.

After the end of my official W&L visit, I spent the remainder of the day wandering down the streets of Lexington. As a young (broke) husband, father, and soon-to-be law student, I couldn’t help but notice how affordable rent in Lexington was, even for a two bedroom house! It may sound somewhat insignificant, but to be able to live in a nice, affordable place and still be close enough to walk to town and to school was a big deal for my wife and me. Lastly, the community feel was rich and genuine. Even though Lexington is rather small, there is something for everyone. Whether it’s hiking a trail, a drive-in movie at Hull’s, floating the river, a night on the town (sort of), or a barbeque at school, something is always happening in Lexington.

Though I’m only a few months into my law school experience at W&L, I have been extremely pleased with my decision. Law school isn’t easy no matter where you choose to attend, but there are other factors that can make the experience much more enjoyable. W&L Law offers many of those “other factors” that will make the law school experience one worth remembering.