Having been out of school and in the workforce for three years prior to coming to law school, my first question when I set foot in the University of Idaho’s Menard Law Building was, “How am I going to succeed?”
We have all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Based on my experience, it takes an entire community to support a law student. I know I made the right choice in attending the University of Idaho College of Law, because the faculty and staff here pride themselves in helping students succeed.
In April 2010, I visited the beautiful campus for the first time. I met the Director of Admissions, Carole Wells, who was a professor at the time. She was the first person I got to know at the College. I sat down with her for over an hour and discussed my background, dreams and aspirations. She sat and listened, gave me advice, and encouraged me to apply to the College of Law. She introduced me to the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), a program designed to help minority students get admitted into law school, graduate and gain admission to the state bar.
Soon after my visit with Director Wells, I did my research and realized that the College of Law provides their students with the opportunity to practice in clinics long before graduation and they offer a Business Law Emphasis. That was exactly what I was looking for! So, I applied for admission in 2011 and was accepted for the entering class in 2012.
Once I arrived at the University of Idaho, the staff continued to offer me their support. Even before orientation, the College provided all of us students with workshops on how to be successful. The Early Welcome Program is a tool to help incoming first-year students (1Ls) become familiar with the College, their professors and the curriculum. It also provides students with an opportunity to meet their peers.
Once the school year began, the Academic Success Center continued to offer us more support by hosting weekly workshops on keys to success. For example, Academic Success Director, Nancy Luebbert, presented and continues to present first-year student success workshops every week. The topics range from briefing a case, to reducing stress during finals.
At one point during my first year, I reached out to Nancy to report that my stress level was higher than it had ever been, and I was not sure how to handle it. At that moment, she walked me through a relaxation exercise. Later that semester, she started a daily student and faculty meditation session. I can honestly say that my first year was a very positive experience thanks to the support of the Academic Success Center.
At the beginning of my second year, I sat down with Anne-Marie Fulfer, the Assistant Dean of Career Development, and we developed a strategy for me to approach potential employers for my summer internship. She encouraged me to seek a paid internship, but all the while, I just hoped for an unpaid externship. With Fulfer’s help, I created a stellar résumé and cover letter. I also connected with new contacts and reached out to attorneys in Idaho and Washington. Just after Christmas break, I was offered a paid internship with a small firm in Nampa, Idaho.
My second-year summer internship has spanned through my third year, and I have received a job offer with plans to begin as an Associate Attorney soon after the bar exam. To acquire this job, I must pass the bar. Luckily, the College of Law offers, as part of their curriculum, a course titled Applied Legal Reasoning, which is designed to prepare students for the bar. Thus, I am confident that the College of Law has prepared and continues to prepare me to meet this final goal.