Alumni Spotlight: University of Virginia School of Law

Posted by Patrick Henry College on 9/28/16 9:56 AM

University of Virginia
Image via lawandpolitics.org

Learning doesn't stop once Patrick Henry College students walk across the stage and grab their diploma! Many of our graduates pursue higher education when their time at PHC comes to an end.  Over the past couple years, a high concentration of PHC Alumni found themselves at the University of Virginia School of Law. We asked them to share their experiences of the benefits a PHC education has given them in law school, and why they chose UVA.

Iain ArmstrongIain Armstrong: "At UVA Law, I've found that time management and careful planning can be crucial, especially during your first year. I was always really busy at PHC, which gave me a head start on figuring out how to balance school, work, and extracurricular activities without falling behind.

PHC also improved my writing immensely, which has been quite helpful for law school. Almost every law school class has a written exam, and much of what lawyers actually do involves writing. The heavy emphasis on writing at PHC makes a huge difference."    

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Sarah Crandall: "My participation in moot court, mock trial, and my discussion/reading intensive courses Sarah Crandallprobably prepared me most for the demands of law school. Students are often anxious about being "cold-called" at first, but cold-calling is really nothing more than being asked a series of questions about the reading, and PHC had already helped me overcome my insecurity about talking in class.

The hardest part of the first few weeks was not being automatically plugged into a Christian community. There are plenty of Christians here, and I am so grateful to be part of a vibrant Law Christian Fellowship and to have found a church family, but I've had to be much more intentional about my social life and taking time to connect with like-minded friends to balance being in-but-not-of the world."

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Ethan FosterEthan Foster: "The professors and students at Patrick Henry College showed me how one can work extremely hard without losing spiritual vivacity. As much as students are fond of groaning under the “burden” of mandatory chapel attendance at PHC—and I was no exception after pulling all-nighters the previous evening—it helped me to develop a habit of putting God first. PHC chapel forced me to realize that when I don’t fit prayer and scripture reading into my daily routine, the grind of law school actually becomes harder. When I set time aside for God, however, He makes the rest of my life manageable.

Many Christians lose their way in law school by wearing masks that eventually become their identities. Put Christ first and He will preserve you."

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 Katie Montoya: "It’s not an exaggeration to say that my education at PHC put me well ahead of my Katie_montoya_UVA.jpgclassmates when I started school at UVA Law. Two things were particularly important. First, ConLaw and four years of moot court gave me a good understanding of how to find the important material in a case. Second, my training in political theory classes made me comfortable with reading large amounts of dense material and honed my analytical writing abilities. This was all essential to success in my first year of law school.

On a day-to-day basis, I’m most grateful for the general atmosphere of UVA. It’s an academically rigorous place filled with extremely intelligent people, but students and professors alike are exceptionally amiable and interested in the well-being of others. But my favorite aspect of UVA—and I think the trait that distinguishes UVA from other top ten law schools—is the caliber of our Career Services and Judicial Clerkships departments. These offices are a huge part of why UVA is placing graduates in the country’s best firms and with the most elite judges. "

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Sam CordleSam Cordle: "PHC trained me to think critically and gave me the theoretical foundations to put the ideas I encounter in a broader context. In college, I learned to approach both academic and social situations from a thoughtful and God-glorifying perspective.

My philosophy and political theory classes at PHC taught me to make fine conceptual distinctions and to be very precise in my thinkinga habit of mind crucial to legal understanding and practice.

Throughout my UVA orientation, I became well-acquainted with the buzzword “collegiality.” Professors, students, and staff alike pointed to the collegial atmosphere as a unique strength of University of Virginia Law. I have found this to be completely accurate. UVA Law has a vibrant culture of diligence. Excellence is highly valued, but I have not gotten a “cutthroat” vibe at all thus far, something I have really appreciated. People genuinely care about each other here, and the community is strong and thriving. Combined with the incredible and thrilling instruction, this community has made my first month at UVA a wonderful experience."

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Patrick Henry College is proud to offer some of the best Pre-Law Advising in the country. If you're interested in pursuing a law degree, consider PHC for your undergraduate studies.  Want to learn more about Pre-Law at PHC? Click the link below! 

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Reporting by Savannah Petree and Rebekah Jorgenson.