Me as a 1L (August 2008)
In October 2007, in the midst of what now seems like a mid-life crisis my wife and I concluded that I would apply to law school, so I went to Barnes & Noble to purchase an LSAT study book and signed up for the December administration and secretly began to imagine where we might end up.
Initially, there were two schools on the list. Ole Miss was a strong choice for a Mississippi resident, but I also had dreams of Pepperdine two thousand miles away. I had visited the breathtaking campus once for the Pepperdine Bible Lectures and spent time with my good friend, Mikey, who taught English there, and the idea of law school at Pepperdine was how I imagined it would feel to win the lottery.
Here I am, over nine years later, and I am pretty sure that I won the lottery.
My wildest dreams did include law school at Pepperdine, but nowhere in those wildest dreams did I think it would be my home for nine consecutive years. Well, during my first semester of law school, I did think that it might take nine years to learn enough to graduate (if ever) but once I survived that first semester it never occurred to me that I might have the honor to work in this special place for six years after law school.
Tomorrow, I hear there is some sort of farewell party as I transition into a new role as the preaching minister for the University Church of Christ here on campus. This is directly backwards. I should be throwing a party for the law school out of sheer gratitude for these past nine years.
I learned so much from the faculty, many of whom became close friends. I was a proud member of the staff and developed deep relationships as we worked together. But the students…well, I don’t even know how to begin to describe how special the students have been to me. From being a student to serving them, spending time with students has been my deepest honor.
Meetings with prospective students. Move-in days at the George Page apartments. Launch Weeks. Freak-out moments. Personal tragedies. “Is-law-school-right-for-me-after-all” conversations. Academic successes. Academic challenges. Final exams. A zillion emails. Facebook groups. Administrative announcements. Just for 1Ls/2Ls/3Ls. APIL auctions. Santa Anita horse races. Orange books. Dodgeball tournaments. Quiet gyms. Saturday morning runs in Santa Monica. Law school dinners. Student organization events. Open conversations. Global village days. Sack lunch Saturdays. Interfaith evenings. Sunday morning Bible studies. Wednesday nights at the Gashes. Thanksgiving dinners. Job searches. Moral character applications. Graduation celebrations. The dark days of bar summers. Bar lunches. Swearing-in ceremonies. Even officiating twelve weddings!
It is all too much to capture in words right now. I can just say that it has been a deep honor to walk alongside impressive human beings on an arduous journey.
We law school folks say that law school is a marathon, not a sprint. Mine took nine years. And it was awesome.