Published November 16, 2022
When you attend the University at Buffalo School of Law, you are joining a community that supports you from day one and continues that support throughout your education and into your career. That’s part of the reason why UB Law has such an active and dedicated group of alumni! To get a better feel for the culture at UB Law, we reached out to four student ambassadors to get their thoughts on what drives UB Law’s culture and how it shines.
Olivia, the current SBA President, is interested in General Practice, Estates and Trusts, Family Law, Intellectual Property, and Contracts. She attended undergrad at SUNY Geneseo for English Literature and Biology.
Haley is a native of Batavia and is interested in Education/Corporate Law, Family Law, Employment and Labor Law. She attended undergrad at UB for Communications.
Paige is a JD/MBA dual-degree student, a Peer-to-Peer Advocate, Co-Director of Buffalo Health Law Society, and a previous TA for Undergraduate Sports Law. She attended undergrad at UB for a BS in Business Administration and BA in Psychology with a Minor in Law.
Christian is a LAWR Writing Fellow, Student Wide Judiciary-Hearing Representative, and member of the Public Health Law Society, Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, and International Law Students Association. He attended undergrad at Baylor University for Biology and post-grad at George Washington University for a Master of Public Health.
Olivia: In my opinion, law school is half about academics and half about building connections you need to succeed in any career. I try to avoid getting lost in my schoolwork by doing something non-academic, but involving the law or my classmates, once a week. UB Law has so many extracurriculars to be involved in and those in the student organizations are especially welcoming. You never know how an hour of your time spent with your peers, especially 2Ls and 3Ls, could help you to learn how to successfully navigate law school and/or build a meaningful relationship that could change your life.
Haley: As a local student, UB was my top choice, but I wanted to make sure it was the best decision for me. I attended events here and at other schools to learn more about them. When listening to students and alumni talk at open house events, they only had the best things to say about UB and how it was not a very competitive environment, but instead an encouraging one and that is difficult to find in law school—which was exactly what I was looking for. I was lucky that I had a very tight class section so I was able to make friends my 1L year with great people who were very supportive!
Paige: In general, UB law faculty and students are willing to help you! I did not feel a strong sense of competition, which you tend to hear from most law schools. We acknowledge that law school is challenging and come together to support each other through our coursework and personal lives. Also, UB law has a space for everyone – whether it is through organizations and clubs, clinics, or other extracurricular activities. These experiences have allowed me to build stronger connections with my classmates.
Christian: Often, incoming law students worry about the competitiveness of the classes and how that translates to how students treat others. This was similarly a great fear of mine. However, UB students are welcoming, kind-hearted, and understand the difficulties inherent to law school. From passing out home-baked banana bread in the library to simply checking in with each other, UB students care.
Olivia: It’s the networking capability! Whether you are seeking a network of students to study with or who share a common interest/hobby, or a network of alumni who are starkly devoted to helping other UB Law students and graduates succeed in the legal field, UB Law is unparalleled. Community building is so important in law school and everyone wants to see you succeed.
Haley: Along with the supportive environment UB Law has, it also has a great connection to the equally supportive Western New York (WNY) legal community. There are so many opportunities in Buffalo and Rochester and being the only WNY law school is a huge advantage to find quality internship and job opportunities. I chose UB Law because I like how welcoming this area is and it's the place I could see myself having a great career.
Paige: I was first introduced to UB law through the undergraduate law minor, where I had the opportunity to meet and learn from several UB Law faculty members. This experience made me feel much less intimidated to begin my law school journey. When I officially began that journey, I was met with faculty who were welcoming, supportive, and genuinely cared about my success.
I chose to attend UB law for several reasons: networking, cost, and familiarity. I am from the Buffalo area and plan to remain here, so I wanted to attend law school where I would be able to maximize networking and experiential learning opportunities in the same community that I intend to work post-graduation. Certainly, the cost of attending law school is a significant factor for most students, and UB law school provides an excellent education at an affordable price, especially with so many scholarship opportunities. Finally, I attended UB as an undergraduate student, as well as a master’s student, and found comfort in the familiarity of the university community.
Christian: My favorite thing about UB Law is that, if you are willing to engage in them, the school offers learning and experiential opportunities in a wide range of disciplines. The legal community is especially focused on developing and engaging students, and the result is a lot of support from community lawyers who are always willing to share their expertise and converse about their career paths.
Olivia: Please try to ignore imposter syndrome. Every law student has had it at some point and it is by far the most useless thing about law school. The faster you realize your worth and that you deserve to be here, the faster you will feel that you belong. A sense of "fitting in" can be the difference between burning out and succeeding.
Haley: My best advice is to not be scared to go out and talk to people! Definitely get to know your professors and teaching assistants by going to office hours, they can provide a lot of help in your classes and they just appreciate getting to know the students as well. And talk to 2L and 3L students if you have the opportunity! They are a wealth of knowledge in regard to classes and other opportunities.
Paige: You likely know how you learn and study best from your prior educational experiences, so stick to what you know! It is most important that you put a system in place for yourself from the beginning, but don’t be afraid to make alterations to your study and preparation tactics throughout the semester until you find what works best for you. Remember, just because another student is successful using a completely different strategy, does not mean you won’t be successful with yours. You know yourself best!
Christian: It is easy to believe that you don't belong whether it's because: you doubt your ability, you're a first-generation student, you had a negative experience on an exam, or because you belong to a minority group. This is a trap, a fallacy. The truth is that the only common thread between law students is that we all struggle at some point in the course of study. If you are willing to do the work, put in the effort and pursue your interests, then you fit in. I would also urge students to seek out mentors and mentorship opportunities to learn how others approached their challenges and then impart that experience to other students.
Doesn’t that sound like a culture and community you want to be part of? These Student Ambassadors have their UB Law pride written plainly on their sleeves and we thank them for the time they took to share their experiences and advice with us.
Learn more about the University at Buffalo School of Law directly from current students.