A Conversation with Gerard Anglade, Class of 2017
Gerard Anglade is about to embark on finalizing his three year journey in law school when he will walk during Commencement this May. In addition, he’s raising a family with his wife living here on campus. We wanted to learn a little more about this inspiring, bright young man, and we’re happy to share his insight with you.
You live on campus in one of the villas with your wife and children. We give you credit for balancing it all while going to law school full time. How do you manage everything? How do you find the family/life culture on campus while you are pursuing your career?
It is challenging balancing the roles of father and husband with that of law student, while at the same time developing and nurturing a professional network. One thing I quickly realized is that law school requires complete dedication and is very challenging. Essentially, I am a father and husband by day and a law student by night. I can honestly say that without the unwavering support of several of my professors, I would never have been able to achieve so much. I have learned to look at my professors not simply as teachers, but rather as role models, counselors, and (eventually), as friends. Probably the most challenging aspect of raising and supporting a family in the law school campus environment is that being a husband and father does not have a set schedule. Life can—and will—happen at any moment. Add the stress inherent in law school to the unpredictable nature of fatherhood, and what results can be both wonderful and chaotic. Is it difficult? Without a doubt. But is it worth it? Even more so. All this that I do, I do for my family. And they support me, too.
You are gearing up to graduate this May of 2017. What do your future career plans look like?
Following graduation, my family and I will be returning to New York. First on the agenda is to finish this marathon strong by sitting for (and passing) the New York Bar Exam this July. After I accomplish that, I plan to practice in a small- to mid-size law firm, where my talents will be most appreciated. Many have said to me that your initial years of work experience chart the course of your legal career. Prior to law school, I worked as a paralegal for several years in firms that specialize in Real Property Law. The field of Real Estate Transactions combines the art of negotiating and closing the deal with knowledge of the law, which I find immensely satisfying. Furthermore, practical courses like the Estate Planning and General Practice Clinic have shown me that I not only have an aptitude for Estate Planning, I love it! My work experience prior to law school left me with resources and opportunities for employment back home post-graduation. Ultimately, however, my goal is to open my own Law Firm within the foreseeable future.
What would you say is one of your favorite memories while attending Ave Law over the past few years?
This would have to be when I received the Fall 2016 CALI Award for the Estate Planning and General Practice Clinic. To be recognized by someone whom I respect for all the time and effort I put into everything I do is a momentous feeling. Not only is it a recognition of the effort I put into my studies, but also of the quality of my work, because we represent real clients in the Clinic. I came to law school to become a practicing attorney, not a law student, and I try always to keep that goal in mind. As a group, we law students tend to place undue importance on our grades. After all, “Law Student” is not only our job, but also our identity for three years. But I did not come to law school to become the best law student I could ever be. That would be missing the point, I believe. These three years are mere training for the years to come: first, to pass the Bar Exam, and second, to build our professional network. While I cannot say that I ended my first year of law school in the top 20% of my class, I am proud to say that by really buckling down and working both hard and smart, I am within three months of realizing my goal of earning my Juris Doctor and graduating in May.
Any advice for those prospective students thinking about law school?
As Shakespeare would say: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou Canst not then be false to any man.” Know yourself, and never compromise your core values. Although much about you will change throughout your years of law school, I recommend you embrace that change and do not run from it. God may have plans for you of which you are not yet aware. Keep your eyes and mind open, so that you may recognize and embrace those opportunities when they appear. Keep your eyes on the prize: have a goal in mind, even if it changes over time, and then do what it takes to achieve it. Make everything that you do be a step towards realizing your goal.
Keep in mind that there is no single recipe for success. What works for me will not necessarily work for everyone else, and that is why law school is a journey of self-discovery. On top of the academic workload, do not neglect to hone your skills and to build a professional network. I strongly recommend attending student bar association events, committee meetings, and engaging in as many clinical opportunities you can during your short years at Ave Law. Three years will go by fast, and that is something I can personally promise you, so gain as much practical experience as you can in an area of law you either enjoy or could potentially end up practicing in. It is easy to get caught up in the stress of academics; however, if you are like me you are here to begin a new and exciting career. That requires a professional network. Those who neglect this do so at their own peril.
Lastly, I cannot stress enough the value of improving your legal writing and analysis. This is an attorney’s stock-in-trade. Despite having a love/hate relationship with Research, Writing and Advocacy, I have come to respect its importance. If there is any one thing that is essential to lawyering, it is the ability to have great legal writing and research skills. What’s more, truly great legal writers are few and far between, and are much in demand.
I would like to congratulate my classmates who just sat for the February Bar Exam. Here’s to making it across the finish line. It is our responsibility to represent our law school with pride, and we demonstrate that through our efforts in learning the material, studying for, and then crushing the Bar Exam. I shall see you on the other side soon, my friends. We are all proud of you.
-Gerard Anglade, Jr. & Sharifah M. Clarke Anglade, 2017