Jamie Butkus ‘20
Last Wednesday evening, the UVA Law Class of 2020 celebrated the halfway point of law school with a “Midway Toast” in Caplin Pavilion. And like most law school events serving complimentary food and alcohol, there was strong turnout. A handful of professors and other Law School faculty stopped by, along with Dean Risa Goluboff, who gave the event’s keynote.
After everyone settled in, Dean Goluboff spoke about the significance of the Class of 2020 being halfway done with law school. Dean Goluboff encouraged the 2L class to reflect on how much we have learned these past eighteen months, both inside the classroom and through legal internships.
Dean Goluboff also discussed how a solid legal education comes from three sources: traditional doctrinal classes, practical experience, and studying topics outside of one’s usual interests. The Dean stressed this third point: that engaging in a variety of classes and experiences makes for a well-rounded attorney. Dean Goluboff maintained that lawyers need to be flexible in their approach to the law and avoid specializing too quickly, since attorneys often shift the focus of their practice at some point in their careers. Accordingly, she encouraged the Class of 2020 to get out of our comfort zones the next three semesters, both academically and experientially.
A few 2Ls weighed in on their feelings after the Midway Toast. Lena Welch ’20 told the Law Weekly, “The next morning, I saw a fellow 2L who told me he did not attend the toast. He also expressed his thoughts that law school should only be two years. In response, I shook my head, explaining to him ‘Dean Goluboff said she hoped no one would ever say that.’ And I agree––if it were only two years, I wouldn’t have time to attend the Lego Movie 2 with my sectionmates after chatting with them at the toast!” Taylor Elicegui ’20 further remarked on the toast, “The 2L Toast was a lovely event. Dean Goluboff’s speech inspired me to think about all that I’ve learned and set some goals for the next year and a half. It was also great to get so many of my section mates all together in one place.”
As I reflect on my first three semesters at UVA Law, I realize that my experience has far exceeded what I expected when I moved to Charlottesville eighteen months ago. This isn’t to say that the road to this point has been easy. In the words of one of my friends during the Fall of 1L, looking up at me from his laptop while typing an LRW assignment the night before it was due: “Law school is hard.”
Orientation. The first cold call. Noticing that your classmates are way smarter than you. Keeping up with readings. The Civ Pro review session where you realize you know nothing. Finals. Applying to jobs. Journal tryouts. Cramming. Finals. Summer jobs. OGI. Lacking motivation after OGI. Not really doing the readings. Cramming again. Finals again. Rinse, Repeat.
And no, you shouldn’t make comparisons between the Law School and Disneyland. That is some Mickey Mouse heresy right there.
Still, I think that most of us have enjoyed our first eighteen months at UVA Law so far. As I flew back to Charlottesville a few weeks ago, I found that I had missed this place and I was looking forward to seeing friends and catching up with classmates again.
I feel incredibly grateful and privileged to attend this institution, and I think most of us feel the same way.
Cheers to that. Halfway done.
 Editor’s note: this is the fourth Lego Movie to be released since the series began.