What is your best advice to current pre-law students about the LSAT, law school applications, and undergraduate work as a pre-law student?
Crush the LSAT! Seriously. So many good things will happen if you have a baller LSAT score—admittance to top schools, large scholarships, and so on. I cannot over-emphasize this: the LSAT is the number one most important part of your law school application (unless you cure Zika, singlehandedly overthrow the North Korean government, or do something else on par with the Dos Equis guy’s accomplishments).
If you rock the LSAT, the rest will pretty much take care of itself (within reason). Have decent grades in decently difficult classes. Be involved on campus. Join clubs/groups and be a well-rounded human. But especially, have fun and grow in your love for God and others.
What is your best advice for recent graduates who are about to enter law school?
Take some time off and have fun. This is your last chance to have fun and be a real life human being before 1L abruptly and rudely hits you in the face. Visit your grandma. Go on that trip you’ve been wanting to take. Spend time on that pet hobby. Get into shape and eat some green veggies. 1L is a grueling grind that will push you to the limit emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually, so rest up while you can.
When you were at Baylor, what activities, clubs or internships helped you in your application process to law school and finding solid community?
This is in no way meant to be a snarky response, but the LSAT controls your application destiny far more than any student org/club or activity. Beware of doing things just because you think they will look good on a law school application: the people looking at your resume care WAY more about your LSAT score than anything else (GPA comes in second; all else is a very, very distant third).
So, do things because you want to do them. I did Baylor Men’s Choir and loved it. I was also a CL in the HRC (go Alexander!), a Line Camp leader, a casual member of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club, and an avid intramural participant. These were all great because I liked them and enjoyed participating. I never did these things because I thought they’d look good for law school (I didn’t even decide to do law school until after graduation anyway).
Find a church where you can grow in your love for God and your neighbor and get plugged in. You are so tremendously blessed to be in Waco where there are great churches and parishes, so get involved!
What are three books that have significantly impacted your life (besides the Bible)?
Lord of the Rings! Go read this book now! I feel like I could name far too many books, so in no particular order, here are two more: Montaigne’s Essays and Alan Jacobs’ The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (bonus points if you go to Dr. Jacobs’ office and get him to sign your copy). These aren’t the only three, but they are all pretty darn fantastic.
How does your faith factor into your work as a law student? How would you encourage Christian pre-law students to enter the field of law and law school?
Law school is generally a very spiritually dark place. Think Dante’s Inferno; specifically, the circle of hell where everyone is devouring one another. Ok, slight hyperbole there, but the fact remains that law school is hyper competitive. Most people are insecure overachievers who justify their existence and life’s meaning by whether they make law review and get a clerkship with the Honorable So And So. People talk badly about each other, covet the skills and abilities of others, and will often step on each other to get ahead. Pride, envy, greed, selfish ambition, gossip, and slander feel almost ubiquitous at times. I exhort you to follow St. Paul’s instruction: do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
To be perfectly candid, I grew very slack in prayer and hardly went to church the first half of 1L. This was a huge mistake. 1L spring went pretty well, however, and I chalk that up to praying daily and going to mass every Sunday, even in the midst of finals. Be prayerful. Find other Christians and spend time with them. Law school is fraught with spiritual hardship, but you can bloom where you’re planted.
I would encourage pre-law students to enter prayerfully and examine their motives. The world is full of good lawyers, but there are precious few lawyers who are good.
What type of law would you like to practice in the future?
An excellent question, and one I hope to know the answer to by the end of law school. Ok, I’m being a bit facetious, but I simply want to point out that you don’t really need to know the answer to this question before or during law school (heck, the answer can still change after law school). Like any cliché law student, I think it would be neat to do appellate litigation. But since that is a hyper competitive practice area with pretty low client demand, I will likely end up practicing something else (and that’s okay).