Reflections on 1L Year: Part Two in a Student-Authored Series

By: Shameka Rolla (WFU Law ’20)

“You must always have faith in people. And more importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”– Elle Woods

1L Shameka Rolla

If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to listen to my inner Elle Woods and always have faith in myself. On a Wednesday afternoon in early August, I received an email stating that I had been accepted to Wake Forest University School of Law. Classes started in two days. I was overwhelmed by self-doubt. Was I prepared for law school if I got off the waitlist two days before classes started? Was I good enough? Would I do well? Ultimately, after      some hard nudges from my parents, and despite my self-doubt, I decided to go to law school. Continue reading “Reflections on 1L Year: Part Two in a Student-Authored Series”

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Reflections on 1L Year: Part One in a Student-Authored Series

By: Drew Winslett (WFU Law ’20) with a brief introduction by Professor Abigail Perdue

I’m a strong believer in the popular saying, “Don’t ever look back except to see how far you’ve come.” That’s why at the conclusion of each semester, I invite my Legal Writing students to complete a reflection, considering which academic strategies worked well and which did not.

This year, I did things differently. During our final Legal Writing class, I provided students with a ten different prompts from which to choose. Each prompt invited a different kind of focused reflection. One asked students to discuss their favorite exercise, while another asked them to consider five things they would have done differently this year if given the opportunity. Students had the remainder of our 1.5 hour session to reflect, write, and revise. I invited the authors of the most insightful pieces to publish them here in a student-authored series. So without further adieu . . .

1L Drew Winslett

If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to know that you deserve your spot in law school. The first day of law school was more stressful to me than my first cold-call or my first final exam. This was the day that I realized law school was more than just an answer to “what are you doing after graduation?” Law school had officially begun, and all the horrors and bad experiences that I had heard from others came flooding into my mind. More than anything, the burning questions that had always been in the back of my mind suddenly came to the forefront – “Do I belong here? Can I handle the pressure and the high stakes of law school? Will I succeed?” Continue reading “Reflections on 1L Year: Part One in a Student-Authored Series”

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Jury Duty Serves Double Duty: How an Experiential Jury Simulation Reinforces Classroom Content and Teaches Practical Skills

By: Rachel Pender (Wake Forest Law ’20)

For many law students, Criminal Law can be a difficult first-year course.  It is less like a Law and Order episode and more like a philosophy class focused on abstract ideas like the purpose of punishment and the meaning of intent. Criminal Law professors can use experiential learning to help students connect these abstract ideas to tangible cases. One excellent example is a jury simulation that several Criminal Law professors at Wake Forest jointly developed to use with their sections. While this activity involved a criminal case, many of the practical lessons learned apply with equal force to all jury trials, whether criminal or civil, and similar experiential learning exercises can be used in other courses. Continue reading “Jury Duty Serves Double Duty: How an Experiential Jury Simulation Reinforces Classroom Content and Teaches Practical Skills”

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Fostering a Positive Learning Environment: A Law Student’s Perspective

By: Rachel Pender (WFU Law ’20)

The first year of law school can be challenging. In my experience, most law students were the best and brightest at their undergrad and now have to compete against other, equally qualified candidates. Most 1Ls do not have any legal experience and are easily intimidated by professors who are titans in their fields. Despite these hurdles, my first-year professors have established warm and inviting classroom environments that put students at ease while still challenging us to improve. As a teacher turned law student, I wanted to share the following strategies that may help create a more positive learning environment in your classroom: Continue reading “Fostering a Positive Learning Environment: A Law Student’s Perspective”

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Field Trip

By: Mike Garrigan, WFU Law ’19

When I was eight years old, I went on my first field trip. The entire third grade class traveled in five yellow school buses from Fort Sam Houston to the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas. Earlier that month our classroom lessons had showcased state government civics. Now at the Capitol, we enjoyed a tour and got to see where the Texas legislature did its work. While eight-year-old minds aren’t known for expansive abstract thinking, seeing the concepts we learned in class come to life made those civics’ lessons stick.

On September 20, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (“Fourth Circuit”) held oral argument at the Worrell Professional Center at Wake Forest University. The Fourth Circuit brought the “field” to us. Seeing the Fourth Circuit in action was a valuable learning experience.
Continue reading “Field Trip”

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