By Mary Watson Vergnolle | Reporter
Many Baylor undergraduate students who applied to law school are now eagerly planning the next steps in their education and career.
Although uncertainty still lingers surrounding COVID-19, many seniors are finding comfort in being able to take charge of their future upon graduation in the spring. Columbia, S.C., senior Madison Hoover said she went through a lengthy application process and is now feeling the excitement of planning her future.
“Receiving my first law school acceptance letter was a moment of joy and relief. The application process can feel cumbersome, and I poured over my application documents for months, so I was delighted to see that all the work paid off,” Hoover said. “So many aspects of our daily lives are uncertain right now, so knowing I’ll begin my legal education in the fall gave me a great sense of security as I finish my time at Baylor.”
Hoover said she realized she wanted to become a lawyer after spending time at the Waco Lone Star Legal Aid office throughout her undergraduate years.
“Volunteering and interning at the Waco Lone Star Legal Aid office solidified my interest in practicing law,” Hoover said. “From observing the inner workings of this office and greeting clients, I intimately observed issues of access to justice.”
Hoover said her passion for justice and serving others also led her to pursue a career in law.
“Each year, the amount of clients denied by legal aid centers throughout the United States is astounding, but these centers often do not have the staff or resources necessary to effectively handle every case,” Hoover said. “I learned from this experience that I can implement my time and talents to problem solve and positively improve others’ lives in positive and immediate ways through a career in law.”
Although she has heard back from institutions regarding her applications, Hoover said is still weighing her options about where she wants to call home next fall.
Las Vegas senior Paige Houston-Hencken shares a similar experience to Hoover in her motivations to become an advocate for the law.
“When we would argue policy and language in class and the implications of how it affects people, it always was so much more impactful to me,” Houston-Hencken said. “The way the law impacts people’s lives is something I’ve always cared about.”
Houston-Hencken recently received her acceptance into the Baylor Law School, although she hasn’t received decisions from other institutions yet.
“My first reaction upon being accepted was immediate relief,” Houston-Hencken said. “Knowing I have a choice for my future has been really exciting.”
Houston-Hencken said she didn’t always know she wanted to pursue law but that her interest grew over time.
“Governing law and how it relates to people and their lives has always fascinated me,” Houston-Hencken said. “I didn’t see myself in law for a long time, and it wasn’t until one of my friends started studying for the LSAT and I was her study buddy that I really started to enjoy it.”
Looking ahead, Hoover and Houston-Hencken both said they are seeking a law school with an uplifting atmosphere.
“One of the things that is really important to me is a healthy culture and a learning environment where students are building each other up,” Houston-Hencken said. “I have enough self-drive where I know I don’t need a culture that encourages contentious competition.”
Hoover also said she is eager to pursue volunteer efforts that remind her why she decided to seek a career in law.
“I hope to continue volunteering in the local community throughout law school, specifically with Communities in Schools and food banks,” Hoover said. “Additionally, I intend to dedicate significant time to pro bono work and to work in a public interest related clinic.”
Hoover said her experiences at Baylor have instilled in her the belief that she can use her career to help her neighbor.
“Baylor’s emphasis on community involvement and hands-on learning has enriched my understanding of the legal field by helping me see that being an attorney is not just a career, it’s a service-oriented vocation,” Hoover said.