Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Blog

Samantha Pepprock: It was eye-opening how much more I knew

I was admitted to WMU-Cooley Law School and only two other law schools. I had a very high GPA in college and a very strong resume of volunteering and leadership, but my LSAT score was average. Many law schools judged me based solely on my LSAT and said goodbye.
 
Not WMU-Cooley. They admitted me – a woman from a small town, whose parents barely graduated from high school. It was clear to my law school that I had strong academic skills, despite an average LSAT score, and that I was someone who cared deeply about my community.
 
One quick story

During my externship, in my last term in law school, the law firm I was externing for also had another intern working for them from a different law school. This intern was a 3L, just like me. It was really eye-opening to me to see how much more I knew than her, and how many more legal skills I had. I discovered that she really didn't have a clue about what she was suppose to do. 
 
Samantha Pepprock-Freeland
She was constantly seeking me out for help. It wasn't her fault. She had never learned those skills from her law school – practical things like conducting legal research or writing a legal memo. One day, she came to work and was talking to me about her recent final exam. She shared with me that it was four hours long and open book.

I thought to myself, wow, they gave you four hours to answer an exam AND you could look up the answers? The law school she attended was very highly ranked and prestigious. I had to laugh. No wonder everyone who goes there gets good grades!

The exams I took were three hours and were NEVER open book. I can only imagine what my grades would have looked like had I been given an extra hour to write and the go ahead to look up my answers.

So what was I able to accomplish after law school? I not only passed one bar exam, but two, on the first try, in Wisconsin and Michigan.

I continue to have the UTMOST respect for all of the professors at WMU-Cooley. They knew me by name. I learned so much, and they were always there to help and guide me throughout law school. In my opinion, the professors teach at an exceptional level. The 
professors also taught me how to be a lawyer outside the office and courtroom.

I was involved in the WMU-Cooley Volunteer Corps, a humbling experience when you get to help low-income clients in several different areas of law. Lawyers learn the necessary emotional intelligence to help our clients. You need to be professional and have the communication skills to interact with clients from all walks of life. 

I've met several clients throughout my career who told me flat out they didn't like how their previous lawyer spoke to them or how they made them feel. It was enough to make them hire a different lawyer next time they needed legal services.

My law school not only taught me the knowledge needed as an attorney, but the practical skills and professionalism necessary in a legal career. It's more than just learning the theory. I am so grateful because I apply those skills every single day. Clients of mine have thanked me for how I always treat them with respect and dignity.

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My name is Samantha Pepprock, and I graduated from WMU-Cooley's Grand Rapids campus September 2012. #FromwhereIstand, I am a proud WMU-Cooley graduate and dual-licensed attorney. 
 
May 11