CompuScripts enjoys introducing you to attorneys and paralegals who make a difference in the legal industry. Today, we introduce you to a young man at the very beginning of his law career, a University of South Carolina School of Law student, A. Elliott Barrow, III, who has just completed his first year of study.
CompuScripts: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Barrow: I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina. I received a B.A. from Clemson University in philosophy with emphasis on law, liberty, and justice; legal studies minor.
CompuScripts: Your father’s an attorney in the Lowcountry. What advice did he give you before you entered law school?
Barrow: He said that for every hour of class time, I should budget three hours to prepare. He also told me that organization and scheduling are both important to succeed in law school.
CompuScripts: Law school graduates say that the first year they scare you to death, the second year they work you to death, and the third year they bore you to death. Was the first year as scary as they say?
Barrow: My first year was not particularly scary, but I can understand why a new law student could find the first year to be uncomfortable, mainly as a result of how students are expected to perform in class. At Clemson, I was lucky enough to take three law-centered courses with Maribel Morey, who taught like a law professor: cold calling, high expectations, and heavy reading loads. My first semester with Professor Morey was frustrating. For weeks, it seemed like I was never able to answer exactly how she wanted, but as a result of my experience in her classes, I was used to what was expected in law school.
That being said, there were certainly days in my first year when I did not want to be cold-called. One day I was tired because my neighbor’s dog had barked all night, waking me up every hour. Sure enough, I got cold-called in every class that day. It wasn’t scary, but it was…unpleasant.
CompuScripts: What was the biggest challenge in your first year?
Barrow: The biggest challenge was time management. As an undergrad, I maintained a busy schedule, and as a result, I got very good at balancing competing obligations. However, the first year of law school required even more time-management prowess, and it took a little while to further develop those skills.
CompuScripts: What have you found useful in relieving law school stressors?
Barrow: I don’t feel like I found good stress relief this past year. At Clemson, one of my favorite ways to kill stress was through my participation in the Clemson Sports Car Club. Autocross racing with friends is a wonderful way to blow off steam! During my second year, I plan to join the Gamecock chapter of the Sports Car Club of America and get involved in some SCCA events, especially since Carolina Motorsports Park is only about an hour from USC’s campus.
I also enjoy playing ukulele and guitar, and it’s always more fun to play with friends. Towards the end of last year, I got to play with a couple of law-school friends, which was a great way to de-stress. And during the last month of spring semester, I started going to the gym at 6:00 am four or five days per week. It helped relieve stress and got me going in the mornings.
CompuScripts: What was your favorite first-year law school activity?
Barrow: My favorite was the oral argument experience we had in Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing. It was very exciting to get to argue in a real courtroom in the Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Federal Courthouse.
CompuScripts: Yours is scheduled to be the first class to graduate from the new USC School of Law building. What changes would you like to see?
Barrow: I would like to see additional study spaces in the library. Currently, there are not enough study rooms or carrels in the library to meet demand, especially around exam time. I also look forward to an environment at the new building that is overall more conducive to learning.
CompuScripts: What was your favorite torts hypothetical this past year?
Barrow: As strange as it sounds, I thoroughly enjoyed the torts exam, which came the day before winter break commenced. The fact pattern was about a Christmas party gone horribly wrong in the most preposterous fashion, and it was a lovely send-off to start the holiday season.
CompuScripts: Have you decided on a special area of practice?
Barrow: I have, but the area is only just now emerging. I want to deal with autonomous cars and the changes that they’ll bring about, which will allow me to combine my passion for cars with the legal world in an exciting, new area of the law.
CompuScripts: Aside from CompuScripts’ blog (obviously), what blogs do you follow as a law student?
Barrow: RoadandTrack.com, Autoblog, and CarandDriver.com. I get to follow what’s new in the world of cars day-to- day, and they all post interesting stories with legal implications. For example, in February, one of Google’s self-driving Lexus SUVs hit a bus while it was testing in autonomous mode. Though California has some laws governing autonomous vehicle testing, it’s very interesting to see new legal issues arising. And more recently, Tesla’s “Autopilot” system failed to detect an 18-wheeler stretched across a Florida highway and ran under the truck’s trailer, killing the Tesla’s owner.
CompuScripts: What are your thoughts about the role of court reporting in legal proceedings?
Barrow: Though I’ve only had one year of law school, I already understand that court reporters play a critical role. In keeping the vital transcripts of proceedings, court reporters make possible the work of other players in the legal system. From depositions to courtroom testimony, the records that court reporters create are critically necessary to ensuring the accurate and fair disposition of legal issues.
CompuScripts: Congratulations on your new status as a 2L! How do you plan to approach an increased workload in the fall?
Barrow: Essentially, I plan to take the lessons I learned last year and bring them into my 2L year. Though I’ll have an increased workload, building on the organizational and study skills I developed in my first year will allow me to deal with the increased workload.
CompuScripts: What tips would you give an incoming 1L?
Barrow: Exercise, organize, and cancel your Netflix subscription. Okay, you don’t have to cancel your subscription, but stay away from unproductive time-sinks. When you do indulge, limit your time; make a schedule and stick to it. That goes for social networking as well.
CompuScripts: After graduation, if you could influence one thing in your hometown, what would it be? Statewide? Nationally?
Barrow: Charleston and Mt. Pleasant have both been undergoing very rapid changes, especially in the last five years. Large population growth and a huge number of new construction projects have altered the community, not always for the best. After law school, I plan to move back to Charleston, where I hope I can help preserve the things that make Charleston great.
On the state level I would like to help with coastal conservation efforts and the preservation of South Carolina’s natural beauty as the state continues to welcome new residents and businesses. I would also like to work with Volvo, one of the leaders in autonomous vehicle technology, as it moves into Berkeley County to make South Carolina a hotbed of innovation for rolling out automated technology in a responsible manner. And in a similar vein, I would like to influence national policies that relate to automated and autonomous vehicles as such systems become increasingly prevalent.