Charles Bush, A Current 3L Student, Shares His Experiences at Valparaiso Law

ON DECIDING TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL:    “As an adolescent, I was introduced to law through my father who served as an Assistant District Attorney for 12 years. Additionally, he was elected the first African-American Judge in Clarksville, Tennessee. While his example inspired me, I decided to pursue business studies in undergraduate school and then worked for a while before deciding to go to law school.  After about 4 years in logistics and supply chain management at several different companies, I wanted, as my father had, to have a “higher purpose” professionally than personal material success provides, and decided to pursue the law.”

ON CHOOSING VALPARAISO LAW: “I was impressed with Valparaiso’s clinic opportunities. Most of the other schools I considered did not offer opportunities to have hands-on experience through their clinic offerings.  I also chose Valparaiso because of the increased writing and research requirements. Writing is a very important aspect of a legal career, and the opportunity to become a great writer while attending law school influenced my decision to enroll.”

ON RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER 5 YEARS:  “Among other experiences, my professional career helped me become a well-rounded individual and a proven leader. As a manager, I was faced with many intellectual challenges that required quick reactions and precise decision-making abilities: these are also critical skills in the practice of law. My work experience gave me the opportunity to develop skills at collaborating and connecting with people from different environments, which have been essential in law school and will continue to be in my career as a lawyer.”

ON THE ACADEMIC CHALLENGES AFTER 5 YEARS:  “I knew I needed to take a whole new approach to law school than I had in undergraduate.  I was admitted to the ICLEO fellowship program, which began with a six-week summer boot camp just prior to entering law school. The ICLEO summer program helped me get into the groove of reading dense materials and taught me how to study for and take law school exams.  I knew that law school would be intense and wondered if I would feel isolated. But, when I started feeling pressure during my first year, I found the professors and other students were personally supportive in ways that I did not expect and had not experienced in undergraduate.”

ON YOUR 1L EXPERIENCES:  “No matter how busy I became, I made the time to join student clubs, attend events and meet speakers.  As a 1L, I was involved in the Sports and Entertainment Law Association, the Black Law Students Association, and the Indiana State Bar Young Lawyers Section —all these activities helped me feel part of the community and offered a relief from studying.  I’ve formed friendships that will last my whole career—not just a network (which is important) but relationships that enrich my personal and professional life. The spring of my first year, I worked with the Career Planning Center and was offered a great summer clerkship in Indianapolis working with Judge Pratt, the federal judge for the Southern District of Indiana.  The experience offered me the opportunity to author draft opinions, research relevant legal issues regarding current cases and work closely with the Judge’s licensed judicial clerks.”

ON YOUR 2L EXPERIENCES:  “After my first year, I felt more comfortable about taking on extra-curricular responsibilities and was honored to serve as the President of the Black Law Students Association.  Every year, our Association is involved in a number of law school and community service and outreach projects, including tutoring school kids, working with several local bar associations, and hosting, along with the Latino Law Students Association, the Welcome Dinner for the new 1L class.  I was also a member of Moot Court which gave me an opportunity to be coached, practice, and develop my oral advocacy skills.”

ON YOUR CURRENT 3L EXPERIENCES:  “In addition to a full academic course load, I am one of eight 3L students who is practicing in the Sports Law Clinic this year, 1-2 days a week.  We each work directly with actual clients, who are amateur and professional athletes.  We interview clients, write briefs, and engage in team-based advocacy. I chose the Sports Law Clinic because of the hands-on writing experience it offers.  It also offers a unique opportunity to work with USADA in preparing briefs and arguments, and presenting arguments before arbitrators.”

ON YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION IN MAY:  “This past fall, I was offered and accepted an Associate Attorney position with Ice Miller, LLP, in Indianapolis, that begins in September.  So, I plan to study for and take the bar in July, take a vacation and see family, and then begin my new life and job in Indianapolis.”