Liberty Law Student Stories

The Student Experience

Discover what our students are saying about Liberty Law in the personally written stories below. Take a few minutes to learn about each student's journey here and why they believe Liberty Law was the best choice for them.

Hugh JacksonHugh Jackson
Class of 2015

Mission, Community, and Support

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a strong desire to pursue a career in the area of law. From the time I was a young boy, it has been my dream to attend law school. I desired to attain the skills and training necessary to help people who, for various reasons or circumstances, could not protect or represent themselves. Though I didn’t know what type of law I wanted to pursue, I knew law school would be in my future.

Law school is hard, time consuming, and expensive - so selecting the right school is key! However, when I decided to pursue law school, I didn’t realize how many different factors need to be considered to determine which law school is the right fit. For my wife and me, this process took some time. We sat down and considered what we wanted out of our law school experience. As we considered the pros and cons of different schools, several factors stood out that led us to Liberty University School of Law.

One of the factors we considered was the school’s mission and worldview. As a Christian, it is important for me to know what drives an institution to teach law. While most universities won’t provide the opportunity to sit under professors who fear and honor Christ, Liberty Law is an exception. It has been wonderful to have professors who challenge me to see law as a reflection of the Lawgiver. This mission and focus definitely caught my attention when I applied and has been the greatest blessing as a student at Liberty Law.

A Strong Sense of Community Is Important

Another important consideration was the law school community. I believe community matters! I wanted to attend a law school that created a learning environment that encouraged students to work together.

This can be challenging because law school is very competitive. Most classes are graded on a curve, so you are always competing with the other students in the class for the highest grade. Despite this challenge, Liberty has proven to be the family and community-oriented learning environment that I was looking for. It’s not perfect, but it’s been a blessing to work through the challenges of law school in a place that strives to make community a priority.

This community mindset has not only been a huge benefit to me, but also to my wife. It has allowed her to connect with other law student spouses who are going through the same challenges. In many ways it has created a support system that helps remind both of us why we’re on this journey when the late night studying and reading never seems to end.

Financial Support and Good Advice

Our third major consideration in the law school selection process was cost. Law school is a huge financial investment. While different schools provide different financial packages, most students will need to make a significant financial investment (via loans, savings, etc.) into their legal education. The last thing my wife and I wanted was to spend all this money and decide halfway through, that this wasn’t for us.

I made it a priority to speak with a financial representative at each law school I considered to find out ways I could ease the financial burden during law school.

Liberty Law financial aid office not only worked with me through the law school selection process, but has continued to work with me during my time in law school to help make this journey financially possible. Sometimes that assistance comes in the form of a scholarship, other times it comes in the form of good advice regarding ways to avoid unnecessary debt.

I look back on my legal training at Liberty Law, and I can confidently say that Liberty University has been an exceptional place to pursue a legal education. The training I have received has been the most rigorous and challenging academic work I’ve ever undertaken. But despite the difficulties that come with law school, the mission, community, and overall support at Liberty University has been what I needed to thrive throughout my legal education. 

 

Michelle ProtzmanMichelle Protzman
Class of 2017

Faculty, Friends, and Facilities

While I was attending Liberty University for my undergraduate degree, the campus was much smaller. I would listen in chapel as Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. would tell us how one day Liberty University would offer degrees in every educational field including medicine and law. I never imagined that 24 years later I would have the opportunity to attend Liberty University School of Law, and I certainly had no idea what to expect.

If I had to pinpoint one thing that I believe makes Liberty great, it would be community. There are three factors of community that made the first semester of my 1L year wonderful.

Faculty Take Time for Students 

They really genuinely care. They care about the law, they care about God’s Word, and they care about their students. They have a knowledge and passion and zeal for the law and want to help you master it. They are here because they are called by the Lord to be here. I remember sitting in my first week of classes with my jaw dropped as I listened to their wisdom and watched their enthusiasm. I never dreamed they could keep it up an entire semester, but they did. I was excited to come to class every day to hear what they had to say. 

I am so thankful for the benefit of their expertise and experience, but what means the most is that they not only know your name, but they actually want to get to know you. 

One professor invited the class for ice cream one evening (his treat), so he could get to know us better. We have another who comes to the library or sets up shop with apples to engage in conversations of any topic. The professors here pray for you. I had shared a request in class and had a professor follow up more than once to let me know she was praying about the situation. Their doors are always open. They live in such a way that reminds me of Paul in I Thessalonians 2:8, “so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well.”

Classmates Are Like Family  

It does not take long to figure out that you do not have much time for friends once you begin law school. Your classmates become your friends. This part of Liberty is extra special. Class feels more like community and family than it does a competition. 

We still have class rankings and want to strive to be the best; it is just not at the expense of someone else. There is a mutual respect and camaraderie. I have already made friends here that I know I will be able to count on throughout life.

Facilities Give You What You Need 

The School of Law not only has its own law library, it is located in a building that also includes a food court, the post office, health services, and a state-of-the-art recreational facility complete with swimming pool, basketball courts, soccer courts, and rock climbing walls. Once you arrive in the morning everything you might need is just a few steps away.

I am so thankful for the community at Liberty University and cannot imagine being anywhere else!

 

Erika LukenbillErika Lukenbill
Class of 2016

Hands-on Learning and Mentoring Professors

Trying to decide which law school to attend is one of the hardest decisions to make. My decision to choose Liberty was a little bit of a surprise to me. As a Canadian, I fully intended to attend law school and practice in Canada. A newer American law school wasn’t even on my radar when I first started looking for my dream law school. But after my first year at Liberty Law, I am absolutely convinced that it was the right choice for me.

After taking the LSAT exam, I started getting emails from Liberty University School of Law, which prompted me to start investigating the school.

I was immediately interested in the school’s hands-on Lawyering Skills program.

Although most of the schools I considered had similar programs through the first year, I was really interested in a program that continued on through all six semesters. I knew that those skills were ones that I would learn through internships or practice, but I liked the idea of learning these skills in law school and then further developing them through internships. So far, I have been able to draft briefs, motions, statutes, and operating agreements, while also completing moot court tournaments, negotiations, a client interview, and oral arguments for a motion.

Professors Care About Student's Lives

The biggest reason that I chose Liberty Law is because of the amazing faculty. After applying, I was contacted by a professor. The professor was actually interested in learning about me and about my interests.

When I visited the campus, I was able to meet more professors. Each professor took the time to talk to me individually. The professors at Liberty Law truly care about each and every student. Although they do have scheduled office hours, the professors make time to meet with students even outside of office hours. Additionally, the professors care about more than your performance in law school. They ask questions about life outside of law school (though its practically non-existent) and they try to help you adapt to the rigors of law school. Moreover, these professors are world-class. They have practiced and done extremely well in their fields, and they teach because they truly believe in mentoring the students to become excellent lawyers.

I have heard from friends in law school about the tense and competitive atmosphere they experience. But the atmosphere at Liberty is different. The students are more like family and constantly want to help each other. In my first week of law school I was struggling with a case. A 3L noticed and came over and helped talk me through it. Students leave their belongings all over the law school, fully trusting that no one will take them.

Opportunities to Socialize and Grow Spiritually

The Student Bar Association also puts on events for the students to relax and get to know each other. My favorite event is the annual Turkey Bowl, a touch football game against the divinity students followed by a chili cook-off. The various student groups also bring in distinguished speakers on a variety of topics. Additionally, as a Christian school, there a daily devotionals, chapels, and weekly Christian speakers, which helps create a warm and supportive atmosphere.

Liberty University School of Law had everything I was looking for in a law school.

The professors, communities, and opportunities for students are amazing. Even the city of Lynchburg is a great place to live for the next three years. There are many reasons that I chose Liberty, many of which I don’t have time to touch on. I know that I have made the right choice. The law school felt like home and the students and faculty feel like a family. I couldn’t imagine attending law school anywhere else. 

 

 

Ian LamontIan Lamont
Class of 2016

Classes that Honor God and Practical Study

When people ask me how law school is going and whether I am pleased with my choice of schools, I always tell them that my experience has far exceeded my expectations. That would be faint praise if it were not for the fact that I entered law school with high expectations. I had two primary reasons for choosing Liberty initially, but now, at the halfway point of my legal education, I can add many others.

My first reason for choosing Liberty was the school’s firm commitment to a Christian philosophy of law. The rule of law makes no sense unless there is a transcendent Lawgiver, so I wanted to study law at an institution where that foundational truth would be embraced and applied. Unlike so many other schools, Liberty does not ignore the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

It is refreshing to be at a school where the goal is to unabashedly honor the Lord in every sphere of life. But that commitment is not a shallow moralism either. Rather, the professors here are dedicated to being experts in their fields and to putting their faith into practice even in supposedly neutral areas of law such as tax and business.

When several popular casebooks cite your professor’s work on a subject, you know you are in good hands.

Classes That Prepare You for Your Career

Second, it was important to me that my legal education involve more than theories and abstract principles; I wanted to be trained to practice law in the real world.  Because the faculty at Liberty is composed of practitioners from a wide range of legal specializations, the Lawyering Skills program reflects the experience and priorities of seasoned lawyers. Even the substantive courses are presented in a way that reminds students that this is knowledge that will be essential to faithfully serving our future clients.

Furthermore, I have had the privilege to be involved with two very active student organizations, which provide further occasions for discussion and activism, as well as interactions with nationally recognized jurists, thinkers, and policymakers. These events are another way in which my studies break out of academia and intersect with the broader legal world.

Students Share Camaraderie

Next to legal training, the most valuable aspect of my experience at Liberty has been the relationship I have with my colleagues.  I always imagined that law school would be a place where students could enjoy vigorous debate and thoughtful discussion of serious issues, where people could disagree heartily and yet maintain respect and even affection for each other. At Liberty that is not an ideal, it is reality.

As fellow students, we share a strong sense of camaraderie that spurs us on to work hard and strive for excellence.

I am confident that the friendships I have formed with my classmates will last for decades.

While law school demands a tremendous amount of time and energy, there is more to life than law school.  I have been amazed by the recreation opportunities that Liberty offers. Nothing relieves the stress of final exams like ice-skating or rock climbing!  Likewise, I have found Lynchburg itself to be a beautiful and generally convenient place to live; I’m especially fond of the historic downtown, the stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the church that has become like family to me.

Law school is one of the greatest challenges that I have ever undertaken, but I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I thank God that He brought me here.   

 

 

Whitney RutherfordWhitney Rutherford
Class of 2017

Dedicated Professors, Integrated Faith, and a Growing Legacy

Walking up to Liberty University School of Law on a viciously sunny, windy day in Spring 2014 to deliver my seat confirmation deposit, I shook my head at the irony of making a final decision I never thought I would reach, yet one I was dizzyingly excited to finalize. My decision to attend Liberty Law brought me one step closer to earning my J.D., but also pushed me further toward becoming the type of lawyer and woman I would like to become as I enter this profession. However, for me, that decision was not an automatic “yes,” but rather a journey of experiencing Liberty Law students’ approach to their education, witnessing professors’ dedication to investing in their students, and understanding that Liberty Law offers the chance to participate in a growing legacy.

After polishing my resume, writing admissions essays, taking the LSAT, and reading all the materials I could find on a variety of law schools, I had a specific list based on ranks, school characteristics, bar passage rates, and employment statistics. My mental bottom-line at that point was choosing the most rigorous law school that presented the next atmosphere where I could thrive. My approach to applications emphasized my mindset that “rigorous” and “thrive” were synonymous with “best ranked” and “long history.” While Liberty Law was on my list, I was unsure that it was the place for me given its unusual, not always welcome among professionals, concentration on a solid Christian foundation and its short history.

A Faculty That Invests in Students

However, during the application season, I had the opportunity to spend time with a Liberty Law moot court coach and Moot Court Board member as my partner and I prepared for American Collegiate Moot Court Association regional and national tournaments.

Before I had applied, much less accepted a seat at Liberty Law, they invested in me. Their willingness to invest rang in my ears as I spoke to other law schools.

Moreover, I saw personal dedication to excellence and joy in tackling challenges in several of the students that fought against the negative stereotypes clouding descriptions of law school. These students confirmed that law school would be an arduous experience, but that it could also be an opportunity to engage my abilities in studying the law in a way that glorified God. Discussing law schools with former employers, friends of my family, and networking contacts compounded my observations as each person was quick to mention how well the ethics Liberty Law emphasized would serve its students in the workplace and how impressed they had been when interacting with Liberty Law supporters and students.

While I reasoned that law students anywhere had that same drive and potential, the engagement I witnessed in Liberty Law’s professors belied what I had seen investigating other schools. Speaking with professors, I heard frank, proud stories of why they made their own decision to bring their talent and resources to Liberty. 

Legal Education That Integrates Faith

Their questions challenged me to think beyond what a school could offer in education and employment opportunities to fully integrating my faith with my legal education and where I could best apply myself to reaching my potential both in law school and personal pursuits.

Ultimately, though, the tipping point in my decision revolved around one beguiling idea: the opportunity to be a part of building and shaping a school’s history instead of being just another name enveloped in a long-established legacy. I was wary of releasing my vision of a top tier, historically known law school. Slowly though, the mission of Liberty Law to send grounded, capable Christian lawyers into the field of law began to claw through my insistence. Whether through law school competitions, the positions students have secured while in school, or the opportunities students have received after graduating, it became apparent that an inspiring work is happening at Liberty Law and my personal ideal could not measure up to being honed through and being a part of this community.

Though my decision required stepping away from what I felt was a pristinely planned path, in doing so, I seized the opportunity to join a law school that not only fits my education and professional growth goals, but also challenges me to fully integrate and grow my faith through each step of the journey.