|8/26/2012 10:08:40 AM - Todd
Mr Byrd, I was wondering if you could tell me about your experience in law school. Reading about you has been a huge inspiration and was thinking about taking that path myself. For instance, what made you want to pursue law school, how did you start originally in undergrad, and what are you plans after completion? Sorry if this is beyond the traditional scope of this Q&A, but completing law school on top of the training you have done is huge in my mind and just goes to show the potential that most people don't believe they have.
Hi Todd, thanks for your question. I am glad to hear you have higher aspirations that may include law school or some other avenue of higher education. Lifting weights is great but there are very few making a living doing it, and even the ones who are cant do it forever- everyone needs a back up plan.
I really enjoyed law school. The hardest part about it was the long hours of studying and learning to manage my time effectively so could live a somewhat balanced life. I learned a lot during law school- not just about law, but about myself and finding balance; in what i could get away with in my training and most importantly, what i could do without and still progress.
My path to law school was more about figuring out what I knew I didnt want to do rather than knowing what I did want to do. I have always wanted to work with kids in some capacity, I just didnt know how. My interests ranged from youth counselor to athletic trainer. After I got out of the Marines I worked at my father's law firm while attending undergrad where i changed my major every semester until eventually settling on political science with a minor in legal studies. Growing up I detested the thought of being an attorney, although Im not really sure why. I guess I just wanted to do my own thing, but working there for so long softened me up to the idea. I realized the law provided a different avenue for working with or for kids.
While in law school I worked in the Child and Family Litigation Clinic working for kids in a variety of contexts. I acted as a Guardian ad Litim (which is where I was the child's attorney because the parents were not adequately representing the child's best interests)in abuse and divorce cases. I worked on helping families get special education benefits for special needs children. I also helped parents retain decision making authority over their kids with special needs who had or were about to turn 18 and could not make those decisions on their own due to mental incapacity.
I hope to continue doing that kind of work. I will be practicing mainly family law, which also includes divorce and child visitation, and family support issues. I will likely also do some low level juvenile delinquency and criminal law cases involving minors or young adults.
I am currently working with my Crossfit gym to start a non-profit mentor-ship program for underprivileged kids and kids from broken homes called UNBROKEN. We hope to mentor them through teaching them self-confidence, goal-setting, and resilience through exercise, nutrition, and school tutoring, and by surrounding them with positive role models. Sometimes all kids need is for someone to believe in them before they are able to believe in themselves. I hope to unlock the potential in them just as someone did for me.
That said, I think I have a very rewarding future ahead of me in the practice of law. I know lawyers get a bad rap and are the butt of many jokes, but it puts me in a position to do a lot of good and fulfill my goal of helping troubled kids. It is a lot of work, and endless learning, but I think its worth it.
Even if you do not want to practice law yourself, having a law degree opens many doors from politics to business management. We learned so much more than just law in school. All the lawsuits we studied involved all sorts of business, corporate, and practical real world problems. Consequently, we gained a large amount of practical knowledge as well. Many law schools now have dual-degree programs where you can get an MBA or M.Psy or something with your J.D.
If you enjoy learning and constantly challenging yourself you will likely enjoy law school. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.