Though I don’t practice law, I’m a proud graduate of the University of Richmond Law School – it was an extraordinary three years of my life. It was there that I really learned how to think critically, learned how to argue (much to my wife’s chagrin), and learned how to be an entrepreneur.
Yeah, you read that right.
Law school is hardly where one thinks about being (let alone becoming) an entrepreneur. Yet along with a group of fellow students, I founded a law journal that was the first in the world to publish online – with the Dean’s active support and the encouragement of faculty. Publishing a scholarly law journal exclusively on the Internet was unheard of at the time, and represented a gamble for the law school. We (the students) received academic credit for our time – something up until that point only afforded to Law Review and Moot Court participants. The school’s brand was closely tied to JOLT’s, and it wasn’t clear in the early days that this was a venture likely to succeed.
But succeed it has – JOLT now counts more than 400 students as alumni, has contributed to the scholarship in the technology law space, and is very much an accepted outlet for scholars to seek out when looking to publish their work. And some of my best memories of my time at Richmond were those focused on the actual creation of the Journal – working with the administration, recruiting students to join our crazy idea, convincing professors around the country that we really would pull it off and they should submit their articles to us, evangelizing to the press and academia once we’d launched to generate buzz about the Journal. All of those skills I use today – because this was in a very real sense my first entrepreneurial endeavor.
It had never occurred to me before writing this post – but the biggest gift Richmond gave me was the environment in which it was possible to be an entrepreneur. Too often you hear about entrepreneurs who fail, and fail again, and fail a third time before they find the recipe for success. But Richmond created an environment in which it was quite possible to succeed – and that became an invaluable launching point for my career.
I write all of this because the Law School has produced a 10 minute video detailing the school, the surrounding community, and what the students mean to the Law School. It’s a great video, and if you’re thinking about going to law school, I think it’s a terrific introduction to a school that should be on your short list.
(Full disclosure: if you hang on long enough, you’ll see my mug for about 2 seconds.)