Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
Major: English Literature
Ashley Vandevender is having a wildly successful career as a law student at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. She is one of just four Mercer students to have received a full-tuition George W. Woodruff Scholarship, she received a position on Law Review, and she is currently ranked #2 in her class. Vandevender earned a Blackstone Legal Fellowship which included a six-week internship in London in the United Kingdom where she worked for a public policy interest group that lobbies Parliament on a variety of social issues.
She sends the following update as she approaches her second year of law school.
Greetings from the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University, where I have completed the rigors known as 1L year, and it was indeed one "L" of a year. In my short-but-packed first year of law school, I briefed cases out loud to professors who are quick with the Socratic questions, survived the infamous fall semester exams (and survived well I might add), wrote my first memo, received a summer job placement (Woot!), attended Barristers Ball (Law School Prom), and participated in my school’s 1L Moot Court Competition (Yikes!). All in all it was a great experience. Although law school is stressful and unlike any other academic endeavor I have ever encountered, I can say with confidence that Maryville College helped prepare me for the arduous environment of law school in more ways than one. For example, my daily homework load is beyond heavy, but is in no way more substantial than the workload I was used to at Maryville. Also, even though the Socratic method utilized in the law school classroom is sharply different from the discussion-based or lecture environment in a Maryville classroom, I believe that Maryville prepared me well for being able to think from a variety of perspectives and to think on my toes—vital skills in a law school class where the professor drills you with questions you must answer as the plaintiff’s attorney and then flip the switch and ask you to response as the defense attorney. From a social standpoint, the social environment at Maryville taught me how to interact, work, and get along with people from all walks of life. This is crucial in law school where you not only have to work together with your classmates, but are also competing with them in a curve-grade system. The attitude of respect and compassion for others that Maryville encouraged has allowed me to be respectfully competitive, while at the same maintain a healthy social life. These are just simple examples, but the common thread is that Maryville taught me the skills to be flexible, and while law school is sharply distinct from Maryville, this flexibility has benefited me tremendously.
-- Ashley Vandevender