College Columns May 2022 - Page 21

From the Perspective of a Law Student

This year , I had the honor of being chosen as the Distinguished Student from the Fifth Circuit . Of everything I have been involved in and all the opportunities I have been fortunate enough to have in law school , attending the annual meeting of the American College of Bankruptcy stands out . I knew that the bankruptcy community was close-knit but attending the events in Denver and getting to see some familiar faces and make some new friends exceeded expectations .
When I started law school three years ago , I had no idea what I wanted to do with my JD . As an English Literature major and former pastry chef , I had only a vague inkling of what bankruptcy meant – let alone any awareness of the professional community behind it . Once I developed the interest in pursuing a career in the field , the level of mentorship I received from practitioners and professors blew me away . My experience in Denver only amplified my perception of the bankruptcy community as one that fosters mentorship , camaraderie , and intellectual curiosity .
Seeing so many people I had met and learned from in different contexts ( summer internships , networking events , moot court , school ) all gathered in one place -- felt surreal . The experience was especially rewarding after spending two years mostly interacting with people virtually . At first it felt intimidating being surrounded by so many accomplished people who are recognized experts in their field , but everyone was so welcoming and interested to meet me and
Abigail Emery
the other students in attendance .
After speaking with my studentcolleagues from other circuits , I know they agree and share my sentiments about what a unique experience it was to attend the conference as a student . From what I gather , bankruptcy is a niche interest to develop during law school . I loved getting to meet other students who are as interested in and excited as I am about starting a career in this field . We bonded over the thrill of meeting talented professionals and sitting in on expert panels on the latest issues and we walked away feeling we had met people we would be in touch with – if not work with directly – for our entire careers .
The circuit lunch was especially exciting because I got to meet practitioners from my home circuit , where I plan on staying after graduation . Meeting people from other circuits was wonderful , and I am sure I will cross paths with them in the future . But to those of us planning on practicing in the same circuit where we attended law school , the circuit lunches felt like a way for us to get a taste of what the practice and legal culture will be like in our home-base .
Things move quickly in law school , and there is seldom time to take a breath and enjoy what you accomplish . I imagine that practitioners are no stranger to feeling you are always looking ahead to the next thing . The induction ceremony in particular was a unique opportunity to slow down and take stock of how far you have already come . Attending the annual meeting of the American College of Bankruptcy as a student was a privilege and highlight of my experience in the legal community to date , and I thank the College for the opportunity to slow down and take stock .