As my law school admission process comes to an end, I am left to make an important life decision – what law school do I want to attend? Essentially, I made part of this decision when I was applying to law schools back in December, but being accepted to the majority of them really hasn’t narrowed down my options.
On a good day, I have it narrowed down to my top two schools, while on a more insecure day it increases to my top five. Most schools require a seat deposit by the first week of April, so I’ve set myself a personal deadline to have a seat deposit turned in by April 1. Yes, that leaves about two weeks to make a decision and get a check in the mail – and it’s not stressful at all. Not. :/
Anyhow, I’ve tried to schedule a school visit to my top choices to get a better feel for the amenities, the professors, students and overall school culture. It’s no surprise that each school had it’s pros and cons, making the decision at times harder, not easier.
I’m a gut feeling person, meaning that I trust that God puts a feeling in your heart when you just know what is right and what isn’t. But, if we don’t keep that connection clear with God and don’t trust Him enough to follow His advice, then that gut feeling can be pretty useless. I’m working on this part, so this whole life-changing decision may be a good place to test this connection and work on my trust issues.
One of my top two choices is the University of Missouri School of Law, aka Mizzou, in Columbia, Mo. I have never visited the law school so I drove down Friday with two friends of mine from the Drury Pre-Law Club who are also working through this whole process for the admitted student day.
The day’s events consisted of the usual introductions, and half a dozen break out sessions on everything from financial aid, diversity in the law school, study abroad opportunities to career development.
We also got to sit in on a 1L Property class and that was all sorts of interesting. Although this was not the first law school class I’ve sat in on, the whole intimidating idea of learning by Socratic method is always interesting to see. From observing these classes, it’s really not that scary, but I guess I may change my mind in a few months when I’m on the receiving end and am utterly not prepared to answer the professor’s question.
The law school school was also hosting the 2013 Law Review Symposium: “Bombshell or Baby Steps?” that day, bringing in legal experts from across the country to lead discussions and present on constitutional and legal issues of sentencing juveniles.
I attended the panel on open constitutional questions of juvenile justice, featuring Douglas A. Bernan from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, William W. Berry III from the University of Mississippi School of Law, Frank O. Bowman III from the University of Missouri School of Law and Michael O’Hear from Marquette University Law School. You can read their bios in the symposium brochure – there are quite a few brilliant legal minds in there!
Since I arrived like an hour into the panel, it took me some time to focus on the presentations and discussions, but towards the end, I could follow everything quite well. In my personal insecurities, I always expect not to be able to follow legal discussions or news, so am always surprise when I can. Yet another thing I’m working through!
Anyhow, I thought the panel discussions were very insightful and I learned a lot. Most of the discussions leaned against the idea of death penalty or life without parole for juveniles, especially in non-homicide cases. This seems reasonable, but one of the panelists mentioned a figure in the 2000′s of juveniles currently serving life without parole in the U.S., a number grossly inflated compared against the rest of the world where it’s rarely even in the double digits.
What do you think – should juveniles be sentenced for life without parole? Maybe just certain cases like murder? It’s an interesting debate to follow!