Left: Andrew Beyer and his family at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market.
I got accepted to Indiana Law the same day I found out my wife, Autumn, was pregnant. That was a good day.
Originally, I was going to go to the University of Richmond because it was closer to home. But both of us grew up in Virginia, went to college in Virginia, and ended up working in Virginia; neither of us had ever lived outside of Virginia. We thought of this as a chance to experience another part of the country. We decided on Indiana Law because it was such a highly ranked school and I got a generous scholarship.
Because my wife was pregnant and we wanted to stay near family initially, Indiana agreed to defer my admission for a year.
The Law School had some current students call me after I was accepted. Everyone I talked to from Indiana was nice and accommodating, and very much like ‘we want you to come to IU.’ Most of the other law schools I got accepted to sent an e-mail or a phone call: ‘You have a spot, here’s how much the deposit is.’ The attitude at Indiana Law fit my personality better. During my year of deferment they even called to see if I had any more questions.
It wasn’t difficult to find housing in Bloomington, and it was very affordable, which was another factor in our decision. I wanted Autumn to be able to stay home with the baby [daughter Madeline was joined by baby sister Mary in the spring of 2008]. We took out loans like any other student, but from those loans she could stay home and we could afford a house. When we bought the house, Jim Schutter [Indiana Law’s director of financial aid] sent a letter to the mortgage company in support of the loan.
When we got to Bloomington we were pleasantly surprised with everything it had to offer: affordable housing, parks for the kids, Indiana basketball games. My wife always seems to see someone she knows when she goes to the grocery store. And there are so many activities offered through the IU campus. My daughter has taken dance, swimming, and music lessons at IU.
The culture here is competitive only in that people want to move up and get the good grades, but they’re not doing it in a way that puts down their classmates. Anytime I need something, one of my classmates helps me out.
I applied to be a PRACTICE group advisor after my first year. You’re basically a 2L mentoring a group of six to eight 1Ls. There are certain things the school asks you to do with the students: personality tests, teaching them how to study, how to brief cases—but you’re also there to answer their questions or just help them feel more comfortable in law school. Some of my good friends actually started out as my PRACTICE students. I’ve enjoyed seeing where they end up, and I really liked being a part of helping them get through their first semester of law school.
The summer after my second year, the school asked me to be in this program run by the Dean Len Fromm [dean of students] and Catherine Matthews [director of student services]. It was similar to the PRACTICE group, only leading a few sessions throughout the semester where all 1Ls are invited to come if they want to. We gave presentations about studying, taking notes in class, how to prepare for law school, how to outline your classes and review material, and what exams are like. It’s geared toward first-years to help them keep everything in perspective and get through the first semester.
The Law School had a huge role in helping me find my clerkship. The professors here have always been great mentors, and most have an open door policy where you just walk in and if they have time, they’ll sit down and talk to you. Once I had decided to pursue a clerkship, I had support from professors—Professor [Charles] Geyh, Professor [Aviva] Orenstein, and Professor [William] Henderson. At the end of my second year there were quite a few events where current clerks come and talk about the process they went through and what the job is. They really walk through the steps: here’s what to do now, here’s how you apply, and here are the next steps you need to be taking. It’s quite a process. When it was time to send out information, the Office of Career and Professional Development printed out all of my materials. You need to stuff the envelopes yourself, but the office will print 100 resumes for you if you need them to. Administratively, they had a key role in helping me out. The judge I’m going to work for has a relationship with the school; he had a former Indiana Law student before me who worked for him, so the Indiana reputation definitely helped me get the job. The other clerks are from Columbia University and NYU, so I’m in good company.
I’m now at Arnold & Porter, a firm in Washington, D.C. I worked there during my 2L summer as an associate and really liked it. I want to be home, near our families, so I was very happy to get the job in D.C. It was definitely something that concerned me, coming out to the Midwest, thinking that the degree might not mean as much to people on the east coast, but I had nothing to worry about.
Getting my clerkship. I had an interview and the judge told me he wanted to make the decision very quickly. He called when I was driving through a tunnel. I came out of the tunnel saying ‘hello?’ and he said, ‘Do you have anything to say?’ Basically, he had offered me the job when I went through the tunnel and I just didn’t respond. It was like one of those commercials. Of course we laughed about it and I accepted the offer immediately.