Brandon Sapala

Brandon Sapala
3rd Year
University of Alabama
Chattanooga, TN
Area of Interest
Real Estate, Business Law

What advice would you offer to a new incoming 1L law student?
Do the reading and remember that everyone is going through the same thing that you are. The amount of work that you have seems very overwhelming, but it is manageable if approached correctly. If you made it into law school you clearly have succeeded as a student, so I think the key is using that success to transition into the new demands of law school. Remember that you would not be here if you were not capable. 

It is also important to remember that there is life outside of law school. Make sure you get some exercise, and as convenient as it is, fast food for every meal probably is not the best idea. Make an effort to introduce yourself to everyone, and it will not take long to find that the communal atmosphere everyone talks about is as bright as ever. 

What do you feel is unique about being a student at the College of Law?
The community. Many law schools have the reputation of being hypercompetitive, therefore students do not interact with one another. This could not be further from the environment at FSU, which was one of the largest factors in my decision to attend. For the most part, everyone is incredibly approachable and upperclassmen are more than happy to help out 1Ls with their transition. Something else that is really unique about FSU Law is how much people spend time with one another outside of class. It is commonplace here for 1Ls to be friends with 2Ls and 3Ls, something that is very unique.

What makes our alumni network special?
I have attended many networking events with alumni in the time that I have been here, and I have been blown away by how receptive and inviting they are to students. There are meetings and lectures with alumni multiple times per week and I highly recommend attending as many as possible. The alumni really are looking out for current students and I feel very comfortable speaking with them without feeling intimidated. Our alumni giving rate is in the top 10 in the nation, which speaks volumes about their desire to give back and continue building the College of Law.

Which College of Law student organization stands out to you and why?
The Student Bar Association. During my 1L year, I served as one of the representatives for the 1L class and I currently serve on the Executive Board as Treasurer. As a 1L Representative, I have had the opportunity to get to know not only the majority of the 1Ls, but also a large number of upperclassmen as well. The social events that SBA puts on are integral to the communal atmosphere and they are fantastic ways for students to get to know people that are not in their section. In addition to the social aspect, providing professional headshots and events like our mental health week initiative help students in various ways.

What has been your favorite course or who has been your favorite professor since starting your legal education?
Professor Landau, Civil Procedure. I thought that this would be my least favorite class of 1L year because of the subject matter, but Professor Landau was able to break it down into very manageable pieces. Throughout the semester he was incredibly approachable  and he encouraged us to speak up in class without the fear of being shot down. I am very lucky to have him for Constitutional Law this semester as well, and I am looking forward to his approach to this course.

Which student services office has been particularly helpful to you during your time at the College of Law?
The Career Services Center. Before meeting with Career Services, I felt very overwhelmed by the prospect of summer employment and life after law school. After meeting with Lisa Duke, I felt like I had concrete steps to approach those issues, and I feel much more comfortable looking toward the future. I plan on taking a nontraditional route after law school and she was incredibly receptive to that idea. This eased an immense amount of stress that I did not even know that I was under and I feel incredibly comfortable speaking with her about any questions that I have.

Give one fun fact about yourself.
I have been to 20 national parks. Weeks before I came to law school, my brother and I took a trip to Yosemite and Sequoia, and this allowed me to start this new phase in my life with a clear and open mind.