When Sean Thomas visited the WVU Law last year for Admitted Student Day, it did not take him long to decide that he would be coming back in the fall as a 1L.
Thomas, who is from West Chester, Pennsylvania, had never visited campus, let alone West Virginia, before that fateful day. He had even decided to accept admission to another law school. However, on a gut feeling, he decided to give WVU Law a chance.
It was a good call.
“I had gone to similar events for admitted students at other schools, and I had actually already sent in a deposit to another law school before visiting,” Thomas said. “But none of the other schools even compared to how welcoming people were when I came to WVU Law. The staff and professors just came together and really showed how invested they were in the students and our education here. I had spent maybe five hours in West Virginia at that point, but it just seemed like the right decision for me to be here. I just kind of went with my gut.”
Thomas’s LSAT score qualified him for a scholarship from the Kanawha County Class Action Settlement 2009 Charitable Trust, aka the Bloom Scholarship. It paid his entire tuition and allowed him to focus on doing well in law school instead of finding ways to pay for it.
“Getting the Bloom Scholarship is something I am extremely thankful for and honored to have been given. During my first year of law school, at a time when stress can run high, being able to just focus on my studies and extracurriculars has been invaluable. It has allowed me to focus on setting myself up for the job I want to have and less with the job I might need to have in order to pay off my debt.”
By any standard, Thomas’s first year of law school has been successful.
He won the 1L Lugar Trial Competition when he and teammate Mitch Moore argued their final round case before the Honorable Russell Clawges of the Monongalia County Circuit Court.
“The Lugar Trial Competition was an excellent opportunity to get a small taste of what it’s like to argue a case. While competing, I discovered that I enjoyed everything that went into preparing our case. It really solidified that law school, and WVU Law specifically, was the right choice for me,” he said.
Thomas was also fundraising chair for the Class of 2019, and he became involved with several intramural sports. The collegial attitude among the WVU Law community made it easy to get involved, and the 1L class quickly became a tight-knit group, he said.
“There is a great sense of community among my classmates. I remember thinking back in fall semester, ‘We have been here for only three months, but it feels like we have known each other for three years.’ Often intramurals or a trivia night bring us together during the week, but many of us also find time on Friday afternoons and the weekends to meet up,” Thomas explained.
Thomas’s greatest challenge in law school was adapting to the demands of his law classes, but his professors, like his classmates, were always there to lend a hand.
“The phrase ‘know your judge’ begins to apply on day one at WVU Law. Learning what your professors expect from you is crucial to excelling in your classes,” he said. “But they are always willing to help. At any time, I feel like I can approach a professor no matter what the reason, from a question relating to class to advice regarding summer job plans.”
Now that Thomas has tackled his first year of law school, he will take on his first summer job in the legal field at Jackson Kelly’s Charleston office.
During his free time, he plans to take advantage of West Virginia’s natural beauty and resources by getting outdoors to fish and golf.
“I did not have a clue what to expect, moving to West Virginia for law school. But I owe a lot to my professors and staff who will do anything to make sure things go alright for students like me - and things have gone great. Moving here couldn't have gone smoother, and I’m glad I trusted my gut and came to WVU Law.”