Last first day of school

I began my last year of law school twenty-nine years to the day after I started Kindergarten. My journal work ebbed and flowed throughout the summer, and my work with Vanderbilt’s Appellate Clinic started in mid-August, but my last year of formal education officially began on August 19, 2013. This was the first year that I could start classes knowing–not simply hoping–that law school had been a good decision for me and for my family.

I began previous years with hope–hope that OCI would lead to a firm job in Nashville, hope that I would attract the right attention from my professors, hope that I would spend my time on the right things, hope that I would get a lucky break or two. Those breaks came slowly, but they came. My professors invested their time and reputations in me. My summers with the Public Defender in the 21st District and Justice Koch at the Tennessee Supreme Court gave me great experience. They taught me that I enjoy the work that lawyers do. While my 1L and 2L job searches stretched out for months, my clerkship search ended successfully in May.

One year from today, I will be preparing for a challenging clerkship in my hometown of Nashville. I get to spend a year assisting an extraordinary judge. I will have a steady paycheck that will allow me to start paying my loans and keep paying my mortgage. I get to stay close to my family. I get another year to find a long-term home in the Nashville legal market. My path through law school was not exactly what I expected, but I am thrilled with where it leads.

I start this year with a clear sense of what I need to accomplish between now and May 9, 2014. I am excited to spend my final year at Vanderbilt Law focusing on my clinic and journal obligations and my school work. I look forward to spending part of my last year of school participating in The Law Launch Project.

–Jeff

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