Recently, a book edited by Nancy Levit and Allen Rostron, both associate deans at UMKC School of Law, has been published. Beyond One L: Stories About Finding Meaning and Making a Difference in Law is inspired by Scott Turow’s One L, the classic account of a first year law student’s experience at Harvard Law School.
With an introduction by Turow, this book follows the theme of One L by offering contemporary stories of the first year of law school at a wide range of schools across the country. Beyond One L then picks up where One L left off with stories of law students and lawyers from 2L and 3L year through bar studying, entering practice and changing directions in legal careers.
The years spent in law school are often daunting, challenging, bittersweet, and magical. The authors in this volume of stories attended a wide range of schools, from the Ivy League to the big state universities, and from the east coast to the west coast and in between. Those in law school faced a barrage of Socratic questions, some sat on the back bench and watched their classmates, one had six children under the age of seven, and another sent out 1,600 applications searching for a federal clerkship. Beyond One L then moves beyond law school to tell the stories of taking the bar, searching for judicial clerkships, practicing law, and leaving practice to become a professor or judge. Story authors include celebrated trial lawyer Gerry Spence; Cait Clarke, who went from serving meals in a soup kitchen during law school to serving as the Chief of the Defender Services Office of the U.S. Courts; David Lat, the editor of the largest legal tabloid, Above the Law; and Marilyn Skoglund, a Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court who never went to law school. The stories are about the moments in life that were game-changers— ones that changed the course of the authors’ careers or brought them extraordinary meaning.
Several of UMKC School of Law’s own have stories featured in the book. Federal district judge Fernando Gaitan’s story centers on being a black student in law school and entering the profession in 1974. Professor Wanda Temm, who runs one of the best bar preparation programs in the country and who wrote the book on how to pass the bar, Clearing the Last Hurdle, has written the stories of years of bar applicants’ tribulations, methods and mantras for success in “Conquering the Elephant.” UMKC graduate Jon Little, a former qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon and now one of the most widely known plaintiffs’ athlete abuse lawyers in the country, contributed the story, “Hustle,” about his early days of opening a small law firm.
About the editors: Nancy Levit is the Curators Distinguished Professor and Edward D. Ellison Professor of Law and serves at the Associate Dean for faculty at UMKC School of Law. Allen Rostron is the William R. Jacques Constitutional Law Scholar, a Professor of Law and serves as the Associate Dean of Students at UMKC School of Law.