Jennifer Commander '16L

Jennifer Commander '16L is from Auburn, AL. At W&L, she was a Sports Czar and Editor in Chief of the Law Review. After graduation, she will move to Birmingham, AL and start work as an associate at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.

As I reflect on the last three years spent in Lexington, I remain steadfast in my belief that I could not have chosen a better place to complete my legal education than W&L. I chose Washington and Lee because I believed other students and faculty when they touted W&L as a close-knit, collegial community that zealously took care of its own. Now, three years later, those statements have become true in my own life. 

Certainly, the past three years demanded even more of me academically and intellectually than I anticipated, but the community here at Washington and Lee made these challenges bearable and conquerable.  That sense of community began to expose itself before I even enrolled at W&L, for example, thoughtful and genuine conversations about my interests and hopes for my law school experience at admitted students weekend, hand-written notes from the Dean of Students to follow-up on my visit, and a long email exchange with a graduating 3L that resulted in finding our home in Lexington. Yes, W&L showed its true colors before it even had to, and I felt certain I had made the right choice.

My 1L year continued to reinforce those feelings of satisfaction and certainty about my selection of schools. Within the first few days of orientation, I knew I had found friends that I could depend on, and, over the year, those classmates became my community. When I had to leave Lexington ten days before my first ever law school final to go home after an unexpected death in my family, my classmates shared class notes and outlines and sent cards and flowers. My professors reached out via phone and email just to check on me and my family. Yet again, W&L had shown its true colors, this time in my moment of need.

I continued to experience that unmatchable W&L community my 2L year, as I secured my dream job via a connection with an alum and continued to learn from professors who cared about my intellect but also about my personal life. I got more involved in order to serve the community I had come to love; because of its intimate size, W&L presented me with many leadership opportunities that I took swift advantage of so that I could show others those W&L colors I had grown accustomed to.

This past year, my third and final, I continued to both benefit from and contribute to the Washington and Lee community via the unique experiential curriculum that aims to prepare students to be real lawyers. I worked in the Tax Clinic with my fellow student-lawyers and helped local taxpayers solve real-life problems. My husband and I co-coached the middle school golf team. I took challenging academic courses, including practicums that will inevitably give me an edge on other associates when I start practicing law in the fall.  All of this while under the friendly, and now familiar, guidance of the W&L faculty; all of this alongside those first-year friends that became forever friends and will be hard to say goodbye to at graduation.

So while I remain not unmindful of the future, I can't help but look back fondly on the past three years and feel grateful to W&L and its community that I now call my own.