On Thursday, January 25, Lyon College’s Director of Career Services Annette Castleberry led a Career Immersion Trip to Little Rock where 14 students interested in law could observe the lives and work of practicing attorneys. The trip started with a visit to the Justice Building where Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood greeted and advised the students. Following Justice Wood’s talk, students witnessed oral arguments in a capital case. Upon leaving the courtroom, four of the State’s justices were kind enough to chat with students and pose with them for a photo. Afterwards students energetically discussed each litigator’s arguments and each justice’s questions.
Then they dined with local attorneys from different fields, many of them Lyon College alumni and board members, and discussed what life as a lawyer might be like, how to succeed in law school, and other topics. Between conversations, Annette Castleberry showed a short recorded interview with a Sarah Greenwood, a trial lawyer at Munson, Rowlett, Moore & Boone who discussed the best ways to prepare for law school.
"It is reassuring that you want the students to learn more about the good as well as the bad/realities involving law school and the legal profession so they can make more informed decisions about their futures," said attorney for the Arkansas Judiciary and Lyon alumna Caroline Bednar.
Of the chat-filled lunch, Lyon College senior Jared Self said, “Getting to meet with and talk to alumni who are in the profession I want to be in was amazing. It was a great opportunity to draw on their wealth of knowledge.”
After that, the students visited the Attorney General’s office thanks to Lyon alumna Devyn Young. Deputy attorneys general and administrators from each department detailed their work to the students. Through these representatives, students learned about the duties of lawyers in the Civil, Criminal, Crime Victims, Medicaid Fraud, Opinions, State Agencies, and Public Protection departments.
Junior Hannah Smithee most enjoyed this part of the trip, saying, “I had no idea there were so many different options for legal students to pursue. When I decided to go into law, I just saw myself in a court room, but today showed me that there are so many other things I could do.”
Finally, the group heard from three deans at the William H. Bowen School of Law, which had reached out to Castleberry in hopes of participating in this event. There a panel of Bowen students who were also Lyon alumni hosted an FAQ about law school and the transition from undergraduate to graduate studies.
“I believe reading about professional school isn’t enough for today’s undergraduates,” said Castleberry. “To find the best path, it’s helpful to consider as many sources as possible, and that’s where the Lyon family comes in. It’s one thing to hear about the benefits of earning a law degree from parents, professors and the like; it’s another to learn about them from the very people pursuing those degrees.”
In the near future, Castleberry plans to offer more career immersion trips for students interested in other fields. If you or your organization would like to host or speak with students as part of a trip, please contact her at email@example.com.
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