I began my legal education as part of KU Law's Summer Start Program in 2007. Essentially, it's a way for a small group of first-year law students to ease into the study of law by taking a handful of five-week courses for credit that they would otherwise take during the fall semester. Admittedly, I was hesitant to start in the summer. Doing so meant studying in the library while my friends were out on the golf course. But the benefits of a slow-paced introduction to law school made sense to me after being out of school and working for two years.
At the time, I thought those benefits were limited to the first-year experience. By the time the fall semester began, I had developed a proficiency in reading and interpreting case law, I had become comfortably acquainted with seemingly foreign legal vocabulary terms, and I had taken and survived the dreaded law school final exams. But beyond the academic advantages, I was able to quickly find a circle of new friends from all over the country. I started the fall semester confident in my ability to take accurate notes and organize information in an effective way.
But now that I'm a 3L, I realize that the benefits of the summer program continue even today. Some students who started with me took advantage of the Accelerated Program and have already graduated. Others are in their final weeks at KU Law and are set to graduate this December. But while I had the option to graduate early with my friends, I chose instead to finish in three full years, take a relaxed course load and develop flexibility in my schedule that allows for other opportunities. This semester I'm in class three days a week and I spend the rest of my time as an editor for the Kansas Law Review, serving on various campus committees and working part-time. I also have time to travel to KU football games and fulfill my goal of attending a game at every Big 12 school.
All in all, it's a great way to spend my last year in law school.
Chris Kaufman, 3L and Student Ambassador