Friday, November 16, 2018

Alex Verdegem: The 1L Story Begins

The path toward law school is unique for everyone; I realized that within 10 minutes of my first day at Loyola. Prospective law students might think that they need to know a ton of attorneys, that they need to have years of experience in legal work, or that they need a degree in legal studies. I know it sounds cheesy but, that first day, the single common element that I discovered in every single person I met was passion. Whether that passion was personal, professional, academic or something in between, every student at Loyola had their own story of inspiration. I wish I had one crystalizing moment that made all the difference but, honestly, my own path to Loyola was not so straightforward.

I graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Politics and Certificates in German and Theater but, to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I really wanted to do with my life. I considered moving on to law school directly after graduation but I really didn’t know if it was a lifestyle to which I wanted to commit. I didn’t really know any attorneys and my only relevant experience was one summer internship in a bankruptcy law office. I decided I needed to find out what it was like to work in the legal field.

I began work at Panda Restaurant Group in the Legal Department. First, what an amazing company to work for! My first project was updating the company’s property management information with certain relevant lease provisions like term lengths, options to revenue, rent amounts and increase schedules. I was surprised how much I loved reading through the leases, comparing the variations in language and how those variations impacted real-world business decisions like improvement and renewal requests. I was able to take on bigger projects and greater responsibilities but discussing real estate leases and amendments with the property managers and landlords was always my favorite part of the job.


There are so many other sources of inspiration in my life, both personal and professional, but I cannot talk about my decision to go to law school without mentioning my wife, Claudia. We married in February 2017 and she has been an enormous inspiration in my life. She speaks four languages, has two degrees, is an amazing nurse and a wonderful person. When you have a job, you’re earning a living and life is going well, it is easy to discard a dream. Things are fine, why mess it up by going to law school? Claudia never let me believe that. Before we got married, I told her that I wanted to go to law school and her reaction was nothing but positive. The only passion you need for law school is your own, but the unwavering support of family sure doesn’t hurt.

These experiences are just a part of who I am and what brought me to Loyola, but each member of the class of 2021 has a story of their own. Now we’re all sharing a story as we charge headlong into our legal careers. We’re two months into classes now and we’ve already been through so much, from learning to brief cases, to Prof. Levenson’s fantastical criminal-law-based musical numbers, to midterms, and more. I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences with you so that you have an at least a glimpse of what law school and specifically what Loyola’s class of 2021 is like.