Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
gregw8705
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Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:35 pm

I always see a few questions scattered in other forums about Washington & Lee—presumably because it's relatively unique in its location, 3L curriculum, and environment.

I have found that folks are generally confused or unfamiliar with the reality of W&L, and leap to assumptions about the social life, "townies", 3L curriculum, job prospects, etc. A lot of folks don't even consider W&L because of these often false assumptions, and that's unfortunate. W&L is a great option for the right student.

I'll answer any questions as promptly as possible, and I'm sure that some of my fellow W&L students will end up stepping in if I haven't responded yet or they feel like offering some more information or a complementary view.

So, any questions?

dakatz
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby dakatz » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:41 pm

Do you happen to know how good they are with scholarship money? I'm very interested in the school, but its very expensive. Would you recommend having a car on campus or is it easy enough to get around without one? How does the "honor code" manifest itself in your daily life as a student? Is it something they just use for brochures and you never even notice exists?

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missvik218
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby missvik218 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:53 pm

Is the location of the school really as rural as it seems? What is your social life like? How would you describe the "type of student" for whom W&L is a good fit?

getmetolawschool
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby getmetolawschool » Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:54 pm

I'm definitely interested in W&L -- did you go there with the intention of working in the VA/DC area, or do you feel like your degree will have some measure of portability (I'd like the option of coming back to NYC if I needed to, for whatever reason)?

If you're not from a small town like Lexington originally, how has the adjustment been?

rejectmaster
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby rejectmaster » Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:57 pm

I don't go to WL but I visited it for prior to undergrad and again a couple years ago for a Hampden-Sydney v. WL football game, and I can confidently say that it is the most verdant, refreshingly natural place I had seen in a while given my normal residence in a major city.

gregw8705
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:36 pm

dakatz wrote:Do you happen to know how good they are with scholarship money? I'm very interested in the school, but its very expensive. Would you recommend having a car on campus or is it easy enough to get around without one? How does the "honor code" manifest itself in your daily life as a student? Is it something they just use for brochures and you never even notice exists?


They tend to be good with scholarship money. Naturally, It's not something that comes up in conversation, but of people I've spoken with everyone's gotten something in the way of a scholarship. Apply early, though, as the money can dry up if you apply too close to the deadline. Ideally, you want to be admitted before January so that you can get in on the first wave of scholarship offers in January.

It's easy to get around without a car, but the grocery stores and fast food tends to be a bit out of walking distance. I'd recommend a car, but I'd recommend that anywhere you go.

The honor code is the most important part of campus life. It's constantly visible in one's daily life. For instance, we can take whatever we need from the "Brief Stop" (which sells chips, energy bars, OTC meds, drinks, etc.) anytime and we're on our honor to pay those IOUs at the end of the week. Professors, Deans, etc. all take you at your word without hesitation. Students feel comfortable leaving money, computers, phones, and other valuables unattended at their library carrels any time for as long as they want, and nothing ever happens to them. The SBA president or vice-president will usually make an offer to 1L students that if you put a $20 on the desk of your carrel and leave it their all semester and it's ever stolen, he or she will give you a $20.

The honor code also applies to things like sabotaging someone's computer at exam time (which has been known to happen elsewhere), hiding library materials (common practice elsewhere), etc.

The honor code just might be the best thing about W&L.

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MBZags
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby MBZags » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:42 pm

Someone told me that W&L is "really preppy." How true is that?

generals10
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby generals10 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:47 pm

gregw8705 wrote:
dakatz wrote:Do you happen to know how good they are with scholarship money? I'm very interested in the school, but its very expensive. Would you recommend having a car on campus or is it easy enough to get around without one? How does the "honor code" manifest itself in your daily life as a student? Is it something they just use for brochures and you never even notice exists?



The honor code just might be the best thing about W&L.


+1000

gregw8705
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:49 pm

missvik218 wrote:Is the location of the school really as rural as it seems? What is your social life like? How would you describe the "type of student" for whom W&L is a good fit?


The school is set in a small town. The campus ends where the downtown commercial district of Lexington begins. The law school is within walking distance of coffee shops, good restaurants, bars, sub shops, pizza places, various shops, etc. It's more small town than rural, but I imagine a law school surrounded by farms with no businesses for 5 miles or more when I think of rural.

My social life is great. There is always something going on. People going out for drinks, people getting together for dinner, house parties, apartment parties, and the law school puts on a ton of social events with beer, wine, or whatever. Every Friday in the fall the SBA rolls out the kegs and the whole Law School community gathers for the Law School Football League to play and drink. I can only think of 1 or 2 weekends this semester where I did not have the option to attend at least one social event centered around the law school that featured drinking for free. If drinking's not your thing, there's plenty of outdoorsy things to do and the class size is small so you make friends very quickly. There's another thread on here where a W&L Law student who was in a fraternity in UG claims to have partied more this semester than in undergrad. Social life is really not that bad in Lexington, unless you require swanky martini bars or dance clubs.

The type of student who would fit W&L is the kind of student who doesn't absolutely need the big city. If you couldn't imagine living without a Chipotle, tons of ethnic restaurants (although we do have a sushi bar), an extensive calendar of fine arts events, or whatever else draws people to the city, then W&L is not for you. If you're social, like mountains, find small town life enjoyable or even tolerable, don't mind going to the same bars regularly, and are interested in the 3L program or honor code, W&L would be a good fit. This is just my perspective, obviously, so I may be missing some other concern that's particularly important to you. I'd suggest coming for a visit. It can't hurt, and a trip to the Shenandoah Valley is never a bad thing even if you decide W&L is not for you.

gregw8705
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:57 pm

getmetolawschool wrote:I'm definitely interested in W&L -- did you go there with the intention of working in the VA/DC area, or do you feel like your degree will have some measure of portability (I'd like the option of coming back to NYC if I needed to, for whatever reason)?

If you're not from a small town like Lexington originally, how has the adjustment been?


I am originally from Virginia, so I am mostly interested in DC, VA, and the southeast in general. I get the impression a W&L JD is easily portable up and down the eastern seaboard including NY, Philly, and Atlanta. I can't speak to portability to the west, but NY is definitely an option. In fact, New York is the third most common destination for new W&L grads behind DC and VA.

Unfortunately, I can't give much of an answer to your second question. I come from a small town like Lexington, so any adjustment was minimal. I wanted to enjoy living in a small town a little longer considering I'll probably end up working in and around cities the rest of my life.

gregw8705
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:00 pm

rejectmaster wrote:I don't go to WL but I visited it for prior to undergrad and again a couple years ago for a Hampden-Sydney v. WL football game, and I can confidently say that it is the most verdant, refreshingly natural place I had seen in a while given my normal residence in a major city.


What would bring you to a Hampden-Sydney v. W&L game? I'm a Hampden-Sydney alum, so this caught my eye.

Anyway, back to questions...

gregw8705
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:05 pm

MBZags wrote:Someone told me that W&L is "really preppy." How true is that?


It's kind of true, but much more so for the undergrads. The law school has a decent mix of folks. On the other hand, law school is a professional school so no one's going overboard with alternative styles of hair or dress. I'd venture to say this is probably true at every law school.

Also, preppy means different things to different people from different places. This might put it best: No one will judge you on the basis of your clothing or upbringing. Guys in the law school wearing salmon colored pants and loafers are more the exception than the rule, if that gives you any indication.

tebow4president
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby tebow4president » Tue Dec 01, 2009 3:01 am

bump bump bump it up.

how important was visiting before you went? I went to a large state school (obv) and 90% of my HS friends went to a small private college that appears virtually identical to W and L. Having visited there 20+ times over the last 4 years as well as multiple times as a high schooler, I loved the atmosphere. 1600 undergrads, pretty rural town (a bit more than even Lex, VA) and the whole historical vibe - anyone that did not live in Lex or the town I am thinking of wouldnt be able to tell the respective downtowns apart. I was planning on applying next cycle, but I am just getting more and more sold on W and L. The biggest issue is, to have a decent shot at $$$ from what I can tell, I would need to get all of the app stuff taken care of ASAP and im not sure that would leave much time for a visit. Better off just waiting a year? Too late to get in and get money?

fwiw I have absolutely NOTHING app-wise completed as of the writing of this post.

oh edit for: expand on your experience with the honor code? is it easy to follow once you get into the swing of things, or are you constantly/ever tempted to break it (without actually doing so). not gonna lie i cheated pretty liberally in HS, but only because the material was so pointless. havent done it a single time in college, but at the same time in college we dont have take home closed book exams. im confident that i wouldnt break it, but not confident that it wouldnt be in the back of my mind pestering me on some huge final exam, which could get annoying.

2nd edit: rate the girls. W and L got relatively high marks there on collegeprowler, but so did the small college I used to frequent, and I would DEFINITELY not say that it was accurate.

underwhere759
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby underwhere759 » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:20 pm

tebow4president wrote:bump bump bump it up.

how important was visiting before you went? I went to a large state school (obv) and 90% of my HS friends went to a small private college that appears virtually identical to W and L. Having visited there 20+ times over the last 4 years as well as multiple times as a high schooler, I loved the atmosphere. 1600 undergrads, pretty rural town (a bit more than even Lex, VA) and the whole historical vibe - anyone that did not live in Lex or the town I am thinking of wouldnt be able to tell the respective downtowns apart. I was planning on applying next cycle, but I am just getting more and more sold on W and L. The biggest issue is, to have a decent shot at $$$ from what I can tell, I would need to get all of the app stuff taken care of ASAP and im not sure that would leave much time for a visit. Better off just waiting a year? Too late to get in and get money?

fwiw I have absolutely NOTHING app-wise completed as of the writing of this post.

oh edit for: expand on your experience with the honor code? is it easy to follow once you get into the swing of things, or are you constantly/ever tempted to break it (without actually doing so). not gonna lie i cheated pretty liberally in HS, but only because the material was so pointless. havent done it a single time in college, but at the same time in college we dont have take home closed book exams. im confident that i wouldnt break it, but not confident that it wouldnt be in the back of my mind pestering me on some huge final exam, which could get annoying.


2nd edit: rate the girls. W and L got relatively high marks there on collegeprowler, but so did the small college I used to frequent, and I would DEFINITELY not say that it was accurate.






I am also a 1L at W&L so I'll try and answer your questions. I would absolutely 100% recommend visiting Lexington before deciding
whether to come to W&L or not. I personally love it here and dont mind that there are only a few bars and that it is a small town. But it is definitely not for everyone.
As far as the honor code goes its not something you are going to break unless you plan on stealing or cheating. At the same time I was walking through the library and saw money on the floor and figured it was best to leave it there since it would probably be a violation to have taken it.
Usually if you find a buck on the floor you would just grab it and think oh wow my lucky day. But I thought whoever dropped it might come back and then it would be there for them.
IT definitely makes for a comfortable expereince if I go grab water or food or go to the bathroom I dont worry about leaving my laptop on my desk.
Some people feel even more comfortable than that and leave them there all the time.

As far as girls go I am one so I might not be the best judge, but Id say there are plenty of good looking people here.

gregw8705
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby gregw8705 » Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:05 am

tebow4president wrote:bump bump bump it up.

how important was visiting before you went? I went to a large state school (obv) and 90% of my HS friends went to a small private college that appears virtually identical to W and L. Having visited there 20+ times over the last 4 years as well as multiple times as a high schooler, I loved the atmosphere. 1600 undergrads, pretty rural town (a bit more than even Lex, VA) and the whole historical vibe - anyone that did not live in Lex or the town I am thinking of wouldnt be able to tell the respective downtowns apart. I was planning on applying next cycle, but I am just getting more and more sold on W and L. The biggest issue is, to have a decent shot at $$$ from what I can tell, I would need to get all of the app stuff taken care of ASAP and im not sure that would leave much time for a visit. Better off just waiting a year? Too late to get in and get money?

fwiw I have absolutely NOTHING app-wise completed as of the writing of this post.

oh edit for: expand on your experience with the honor code? is it easy to follow once you get into the swing of things, or are you constantly/ever tempted to break it (without actually doing so). not gonna lie i cheated pretty liberally in HS, but only because the material was so pointless. havent done it a single time in college, but at the same time in college we dont have take home closed book exams. im confident that i wouldnt break it, but not confident that it wouldnt be in the back of my mind pestering me on some huge final exam, which could get annoying.

2nd edit: rate the girls. W and L got relatively high marks there on collegeprowler, but so did the small college I used to frequent, and I would DEFINITELY not say that it was accurate.


You should visit. I'm originally a small-town Virginia native, so I like Lexington because it feels like home. If you're from a more bustling area, you should visit and make sure you can see yourself here for 3 years. Lots of my classmates are from various cities and college towns, and their reactions range from enjoying the unique feel of Lexington to frequently lamenting the absence of Chipotle, Qdoba, or whatever else the hip crowd is eating these days.

You're not tempted to break the honor code. Even if you wanted to cheat, exams are typically timed and structured so that you can't finish in the allotted time, anyway. Thus, if you're spending your exam period secretly reading through a hornbook, you're wasting time and only doing yourself a disservice. I think that fact is even part of the reason why I've got some exams where the professor has said we can bring anything we want to the exam — commercial outline, hornbook, whatever. It's not like undergrad where exams mostly test recall and having a book would greatly improve your grade. Unless your professor lifted the exam question from an E&E, you'll never have a book around that would show you how to apply the law to the facts on your exam, so cheating is really fruitless. So, Honor Code+No point in cheating anyway=No temptation to cheat. The only people who might really have problems with temptation to violate the Honor Code are thieves.

As for the girls and college prowler rankings: College prowler ranks undergrad girls, and in my limited interaction with undergrad girls there are plenty of attractive ones around. The law school is adjacent to the undergrad campus, but law-undergrad interaction tends to be pretty limited.

englishfire3
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby englishfire3 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:37 pm

Hello all! I am in my last semester as an undergrad and am researching a lot of law schools. I was initially attracted to W&L and their fairly new 3L curriculum. However, is there much for the environmental law student? Also, how does the atmosphere and surrounds help or hurt you during your studies? For example, does the scenery/outdoors provide a nice place to study, or is it tempting for you to just go out and throw a frisbee around? (weird example, I know!) \ I've never been to Lexington before so I'm a little unsure of what to expect if I go and visit. One last thing, how are your professors? Are they boring and monotone, or do they inspire you and make you think about deep things? Any thoughts/insight would be greatly appreciated! :)

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femme
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Re: Washington & Lee 1L Taking Questions

Postby femme » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:39 pm

How are the race relations at W&L? I reapply next cycle and I'm very interested in the answer to this question. My girlfriend said there is a lot of racial tension at this school. Is she off-base?




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