Meet Ariell Bratton, 2L

Author: Lauren Love

Originally from Mesa, Az., Bratton earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Arizona in 2013. As an ambassador for the Admissions Office, Bratton will be present at many Admitted Student Weekend events this weekend and will sit on the student panel Saturday morning.

I asked Bratton to reflect on her experiences at NDLS.

Why did you chose NDLS?

“I chose NDLS because after visiting numerous other schools, this just felt right. What “feels right” will be different for everyone. It will be a combination of what resources they have, the type of law you want to go into, location, finances, and more. NDLS checked all the boxes I was looking for, but what ultimately won me over were the people. Everyone I spoke to seemed to genuinely care about my law school experience and future as a lawyer. I knew that I was entering a community whose goal was for me to succeed. Because of that, I knew that I would be facing any challenge with a great support team. With that resource at hand, I knew NDLS would help me become the best lawyer I could be.”

How would you describe the community at NDLS?

“Friendly and inclusive. There are 200 people in my class, and that may sound like a lot, but it feels like a small, close-knit community. I know everyone’s face and most of their names. Since we do not have “cohorts” or “sections,” 1L year it is possible to meet and see every other 1L in your classes. The fact that NDLS does not rank students also adds to the friendly community. Even more influential is NDLS’s location. Being at the “crossroads of America,” my classmates and I plan to spread out all over the United States and even internationally after graduation. This means we aren’t competing for rankings or jobs. This has helped to foster a community where your classmates want you to do well, and there are no hard feelings. I have made strong friendships here, with people that motivate me.”

What type of law do you want to practice? Where do you want to practice?

“I plan to do patent litigation in San Diego after graduation.”

What extracurricular activities do you/have you participated in at NDLS? What clinics, externships, and/or internships have you completed?

“I participate in the Intellectual Property Law Society, Student Bar Association, and ambassador program. I also am less involved, but attend meetings for, numerous other clubs as they bring in speakers or discuss current legal topics over lunchtime meetings. Next year I will serve as the treasurer for the Student Bar Association. After my 1L year I worked at Lathrop & Gage in its Chicago office doing patent litigation. Thus upcoming summer I will be working in patent litigation with Paul Hastings LLP in San Diego.”

How would you describe the faculty at NDLS? What has been your favorite class?

“The faculty at NDLS has the primary goal of helping you. Each of my teachers have put maximum effort into crafting their lesson plans. They are also available to meet with you one-on-one outside of class to help you better grasp the material. But their desire to help goes beyond the classroom setting. They want to help you find jobs. A number of my professors have given me contact information to help me find a job, or even job offers as a research assistant. Most important, they want to help you learn how to be the best lawyer you can be. They are equipped with practical advice about the legal field, and freely give it. They not only teach you the law, but how to best utilize it. NDLS has a higher caliber of faculty than I could find elsewhere. My favorite class was Criminal Law with Professor Gurulé. He took his time making sure we understood the relevant law, but also gave us skills to carry into our other classes, and future career. He expected a lot out of us, holding us to the standard of other legal professionals. As a result I learned a lot about the criminal justice system, and how to be an effective advocate.”

What advice would you give an incoming student?

“I would tell an incoming student to be confident and work hard. Being accepted to NDLS means you have the skills to succeed. Keep in mind what works for you as a learner, and apply that to your legal education. Be confident in your ability to do well. Especially as a 1L, at any law school, there is a learning curve and it can be hard to feel like you are doing well at first, but keep in mind that none of your classmates know what they are doing either. None of them have been 1L’s before either. As long as you work hard, you will succeed. Especially given the resources that surround you at NDLS.”

What did you find the most surprising during your 1L year?

“What I found surprising was how much I learned. Not just about substantive law, but about being a lawyer and the legal field. In one short year I felt immeasurably more prepared to set foot in the workplace. Which was good because I worked at a law firm that very summer. As long as you work hard, and try your best to absorb all that you can, you will be shocked at how much the year will transform you for the better.”

What are your 2L summer internship plans?

“My plan for 2L summer is to work in San Diego with Paul Hastings in patent litigation. I will be there for 10 weeks this summer.”