BY: Antoine Wade
During my journey as an undergraduate student at the renowned Morehouse College, the following question was posed several times from colleagues, family members and close friends: “Why do you want to go to law school?” Although simplistic in translation, the answer to this question was deeper than mere fascination with the law, having a family background of legal practitioners or one’s innate ability to argue amongst an elite group of professionals. The desire to study the law comes as a result of self-reflection and understanding of who I am as a person, and my motives for wanting to pursue a law degree. My desire to study the law goes beyond an interest in law itself. I have a strong passion for serving others in general, and I intend to use the law as a tool to ensure the betterment of my fellow citizens.
Now that I am in my last year of law school, I can honestly say that my journey to this point has been nothing short of challenging. Although I am very proud to claim that I am the first person on both sides of my family to graduate from a four-year college and to pursue a professional degree, my academic experience hasn’t been an easy one. From a high school student to a third year law student, I have always felt as if I had a chip on my shoulder. At an early age, I remember my mother always stressing her desire of me having a private high school education. However, because of the work I produced as a middle school student, I wasn’t considered good enough for the high school that I was interested in attending. DeMatha Catholic High School, one the most prestigious academic and athletic schools in the country denied me admission in 2005. Which led me to enroll into my neighborhood school that year.
At the time, I was unbothered. Having the mentality that I can make my dreams come true no matter where I attended school. But there were some things that I experienced and witnessed during my Freshmen year in high school that no kid should have to experience, and it served as a wake up call and changed how I valued my education. There was no way that I was going back to my neighborhood school for my Sophomore year. During my Freshmen year, I made the Honor Roll every semester and reapplied to DeMatha for my Sophomore year. Ultimately, I was accepted and graduated from DeMatha in 2009.
During my Senior year of high school, I was accepted into Morehouse College. But even with the acceptance, I was still fighting another uphill battle. Due to my GPA and SAT scores, I was placed on academic probation during my first semester as a Freshmen. But I did not allow that circumstance to discourage me. While on academic probation, I still managed to receive a scholarship from Morehouse through a community service program known as the Bonner Scholars Program. My numbers as a student showed that I was not qualified to receive the scholarship. But, God had other plans and I was blessed with a scholarship for my 4-year matriculation. In 2013, I graduated from Morehouse College with Honors, with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. But it was also during my matriculation at Morehouse where I began to prep for the LSAT.
The LSAT was one of the most challenging academic experiences for me and until this day, I believe it should be replaced with another exam that evaluates students for law school admissions. I took the LSAT twice while a student at Morehouse. Both scores were not strong enough to apply for law school. Since my LSAT scores were not strong enough, I took a year off from school to prep for the LSAT and work as a legal assistant at a small firm in Maryland. During that year off from school, I learned a lot about what it takes to be a lawyer and had the chance to work under Attorney James McCollum, Jr., who is the only graduate of Howard University School of Law to ever clerk for a Supreme Court Judge. The third and final time I took the LSAT, I scored well enough to gain acceptance into NCCU School of Law. My lifelong dream of attending law school became a reality and I had no doubt that in 2017 I would be referred to as Antoine Wade, Esq.
My first year as a law student was one of the most trying times, not just academically but in my life. I knew that law school would be difficult but not as difficult as I experienced. After the first semester, I was on the cusp of not making it to the second semester. But with the help of some of my classmates and professors, I improved during the second semester. Now as a 3L, I soon will be able to boast a Juris Doctor with a Certification in Taxation law. The most important and most useful Rule of Life that I have carried with me for the last 11 years as a student, is to never ever get discouraged. No matter what may be working against you, just believe that you have favor over your life and every thing you work for will come to you.
In my capacity as an attorney, I hope the fruits of my labor are self-rewarding by seeing lives being changed instantaneously as a result of hard work and dedication. For me, practicing law is not solely about winning or losing. More specifically, practicing the law is being a powerful example of servant leadership, integrity, abasement, selflessness, and having a hand-up mentality as I sojourn through the legal environment.