Danny Nappier '15L

Danny Nappier '15L received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University. During his 3L year, he participated in W&L's residential program in Washington, D.C., where he was a law clerk to Royce Lamberth, Senior U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Danny is headed to the Dallas, Texas office of Vinson & Elkins.

As I prepare to leave Lexington, I have been thinking deeply about this question: If I could go back and choose a school all over again, would I have made the same choice? As I contemplate this question, I have come to answer it with a resounding YES. W&L has given me everything I could have wanted out of a law school and I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this institution. I originally decided to come to W&L for several reasons: I wanted to complete law school in a town free from the distractions of a big city; I wanted to attend a school that emphasizes helping students find jobs through faculty, staff and alumni; and I wanted to be part of W&L's hands on third-year program.

In my time here, I have grown close to both the students and faculty. I have forged lasting relationships with the people here, and that is largely a function of being at a small school in a small town. Sure, a small town may seem less exciting at first thought, but I have found that it fosters lasting friendships. Having so many close friends around makes any town entertaining. Additionally, all of my professors have kept an "open door" policy, encouraging students to seek their help with coursework, the job search, or to simply chat about NCAA football. I feel as though I am truly a part of the W&L family.  

Before I came here, I heard stories of the W&L alumni network. I heard stories of strong alumni networks from other schools as well, which made me think that this was just a marketing point. I can personally attest that W&L alumni have been integral figures in my job placement for both summers and post-graduation. During my first semester, I reached out to several alumni in the region where I wanted to practice, Dallas, TX. I asked them if we could discuss their law practice and the legal market in Dallas. By the end of the semester, I had spoken and followed up with five or six alumni. One of them had been the roommate of (and put in a good word for me with) another alum at the law firm I worked for during my first summer-a small law firm that was started by a group of alumni. I am still in contact with all of these people to this day. The following year, I was interviewing at larger law firms in Dallas. I had interviews with all of the firms that my alumni contacts worked at because each of them had offered to put in a good word. A professor who I had become close with even emailed a partner at one of those firms-the firm I am now joining after graduation-with whom he had attended law school to explain why I made a great candidate. Never in my life have I been supported in an endeavor quite like this, and it was all because of the connections I had made through W&L. I have heard countless stories of alumni helping students in my time here. This alumni support makes current students excited to help the next generation of students in the same manner.  

Finally, in my third year W&L has provided me with the opportunity to apply what I learned in my first two years to actual practice situations. I was afforded the chance to work for a federal judge in Washington, D.C. during my third year. I experienced the work of a judicial clerk and learned what trial techniques the judge found to be persuasive. While in D.C., I took a practicum course on International Business Negotiations taught by two attorneys at a large international firm. In my second semester, I took other transactional law practicums such as Leveraged Finance. These practicums teach how to structure a deal as well as how to draft and negotiate a contract. I have always been the kind of person who "learns by doing" and having the opportunity to complete transaction simulations was simply invaluable. I was able to practice the kind of legal work I will be doing after gradudation with the guidance of a professor so that I may be prepared for my first weeks of actual practice.  

I sincerely believe that every moment, every experience, and every opportunity at W&L has prepared me as well as possible to enter the legal profession. If I could choose again, I would still choose this small town, I would still choose this alumni network, and I would still choose these experiences. I would choose W&L.