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  • Shila Richard

Taking Another "First Step"

I cannot believe that I survived my first year of law school! Undergraduate was a total breeze for me, I guess being that I finished with both of my degrees early, I forgot how challenging school can truly be. Law school is a total different story. I completed my first year of law school at Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina. I didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped, but I just take it as a lesson learned. First semester of law school, I wasn’t very hard on myself because the transition from undergrad to law school was a huge difference. Not only is it a different way of thinking, but also a different way of learning. From writing to study habits, everything is just different. Law school is very competitive, especially first year in my opinion. Everyone is trying to be at the top of the class, and really establish themselves as young professionals. Second semester, I tried sought out to utilize my resources a bit more, by going to academic success and office hours. Again, there’s always room for more improvement it’s just really all about how you apply yourself. But don’t let law school scare you, it is definitely a challenge but it is not unbearable. Not performing as well as I thought has provided me with motivation to do even better and to push harder. I would strongly encourage everyone to keep pushing, despite any obstacle or hardship. Obstacle are a test of strength, not character.

After finals, I was selected by the American Federation for Children to sit on their panel “Voices of Hope” regarding a scholarship that I received in high school at their national summit in New Orleans, LA. I sat on a panel with three other scholarship recipients, and we spoke about a wide variety of things, mostly about how we endured obstacles but was still able to obtain success. What I enjoyed the most was the aftermath, and being recognized for everything that I have achieved this far. Not to mention a lot of people reached out to me about connecting on many projects. Before law school, I worked on a child psychiatric unit counseling suicidal teens. I was sad to have to leave that behind, but I knew that more opportunities would avail itself. Currently, I have an amazing paid internship at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as a Law Clerk. Outside of the typical research and writing memos, I get real world experience. I am most grateful for this experience because I learn more hands on and practical knowledge than what was being taught in school. It is one thing to read something, but to actually live it is another. The Attorney General has nineteen sections, as in nineteen areas of law. A lot of my assignments are very diverse and the attorneys are very helpful in assisting with research. Not only are they helpful, I get a chance to actually witness depositions, summary judgement hearings, trials, etc. It is truly a great experience. I am still very active in my community, and just focused on being successful so that I can assist with the betterment of my community. My primary goal is to practice law as a Civil Rights attorney, to engage in economic development, and to use that as a resource to help teens at risk by creating a program that would decrease the number of crimes and incarcerations amongst the youth.

What’s next….well just establishing myself, my brand and furthering my education. I just want to utilize all of my strengths, my education and my legal career to make a difference in the world. As I anticipate my second year of law school and a career as an attorney, I look forward to embracing the responsibility and difficult, unexpected obstacles that will undoubtedly arise. I know that this is just the beginning of my success story.

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