Ember Eyster '15L

Ember Eyster '15L, from Bonita Springs, FL, is a graduate of the University of Florida. She is a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. After graduation, she will join the Metropolitan Public Defender's Office in Nashville.

It is hard to believe that at about this time three years ago I was submitting a seat deposit to attend W&L Law. 

My first real encounter with W&L, aside from numerous helpful e-mails and phone calls, was my visit to Lexington for Admitted Students Weekend.  I fully intended to attend a different law school, but was excited to get away for the weekend, and W&L provided me that opportunity.  I truly had no idea how that weekend would change the course of the three years that followed.  Now, here I sit, just days from graduation.

One of the main factors in my decision to attend W&L was the quality of the professors.  While I have been astounded time and again by their intellect and ability to convey what I imagined to be even the most boring of subjects interestingly (contracts), it was their enthusiasm in helping and connecting with students that really drew me in.  An "open-door policy" does not begin to describe the support and accessibility of W&L's faculty and staff.

In my first year, as I learned to navigate the law school seas, my professors were invaluable.  It was the little things, really.  On the days when I was the most stressed, I had professors who would listen to me vent, tell me about their personal law school horror stories, or otherwise put things in perspective.  When I began internship hunting, a professor (whom I met at Admitted Students Weekend, but whose classes I never had the opportunity to take) would invite me on walks to get out of the law school and discuss job search strategies.  If I had to miss class or found myself terribly confused, my professor was willing to chat by phone during his commute to Lexington to discuss questions I had regarding the material.

In my second year, as I settled in to law school life, I had meaningful and authentic conversations with these amazing people from whom I was fortunate to learn.  My viewpoints were challenged, and I was forced to think critically.   I remember vividly a tear-filled conversation about mental illness, death penalty volunteers, and paternalism.  I had the opportunity to debate the merits of criminal charges for vice crimes and examine the protocol for lethal injection.  On a lighter note, I'd receive e-mails about local events or news articles that professors thought may be of interest to me.

Finally, in my third year, these professors I had grown to admire have readied me for my career.  While I have much to learn, I do not believe any law school could have better equipped me for the road ahead.  This year, I tried criminal cases.  I met with clients in jail, at their homes, or at McDonalds.  I interviewed witnesses and issued subpoenas.  I conducted direct examination, cross-examination, gave closing arguments, and argued for lesser sentences.  This year I practiced law, and I could not have imagined better support and guidance.

I will miss the great professors, great friends, and great community.  I will miss running on the Appalachian Trail and drinking strong Brief Stop coffee (I've tried to replicate the strength-it can't be done).  I will miss Sweet Things ice cream and drive-in movies.  I am unbelievably excited and ready for what lies ahead, but believe it or not, I think I'm going to miss law school.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have spent (nearly) three years at W&L Law and in Lexington, VA.