Student Spotlight: Starr Rayford '11

Author: Susan Good

When I decided to attend Notre Dame Law School, I knew I would be receiving an excellent education. Thankfully, I have received so much more: Notre Dame Law School has challenged me, inspired me, and encouraged me.

Challenge. Law school is not easy: there is an incredible amount of material to cover and to understand. It would be a rigorous program to simply end there. However, I am fortunate that my professors refuse to allow classes to focus on the nuts and bolts of black letter law or merely memorizing the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or Evidence. I am constantly challenged to examine the policy underlying a particular set of rules or the societal implications of judges’ decisions. These classroom experiences have prepared me to practice law with an understanding of the incredible power our profession has to positively impact society.

Inspire. One of my favorite things about Notre Dame Law is that I am constantly inspired to give back and to support causes I am passionate about. Through my involvements with the Student Bar Association, I have been able to help host a week of programs dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness, raise almost $2,000 to help find a cure for breast cancer, tutor high school students who hope to become the first in their families to attend college and assist undergraduate students with their law school applications. This holiday season alone, the law school provided Thanksgiving dinners for 124 families, adopted a Marine platoon stationed in Al Asad, Iraq, collected over 200 children’s books for a local elementary school and donated suits to a woman’s shelter. It truly shows that Notre Dame Law School is a special place when no matter how busy our schedules, we always make time to give back.

Encourage. A community of one is no community at all. At NDLS, you know that you are never alone, which is an incredibly encouraging thought when you are studying for exams or trying to decide on career options. Finals can be an incredibly stressful time. It is an incredible relief to know that while everyone is focused on doing the best they can, no one is interested in achieving good grades at the expense of others. In the career arena, many law school students and graduates are unsure about employment opportunities owing to the current economy. It is such an encouragement to know that the Notre Dame Law School alumni network is one of the strongest in the country and our alumni are interested in helping us navigate post-graduate options.

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