Bill Bailey – Becoming a Lawyer

Bill Bailey – Becoming a Lawyer

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Hi, I’m Bill Bailey. I came of age in a time of political activism
and social change. It made me think of the law as a place to
make a difference. My heroes were the leaders of the civil rights
movement. The courtroom was where the action was and
I wanted to be a part of it. The lack of a defined path to my career goals
in law school was frustrating. While I visited the courthouse often and clerked
for trial practitioners, I was troubled. How little I knew, and how much I had to learn. I lacked confidence in my trial skills, so
I drafted civil rights legislation after graduation. The subject was important but the process
itself was too passive for me. I just was not meant to sit behind a desk. After two years it was time for a change. Now or never, and I plunged into being a public
defender. Representing clients everyday gave a strong
human focus to my work. Seeking justice for them was exciting and
challenging. The learning curve was steep. My first jury trials were full of rookie mistakes,
ones that a law school advocacy tract would have helped me avoid. Four years of being in court on a daily basis
finally led to a sense of belonging and competence. When the chance came to represent asbestos
victims in the civil justice system, I switched to toxic exposure cases. This led to making new law on evidence and
the burden of proof. Over the years in private practice since then,
I’ve had the chance to help protect the rights of citizens in a number of ways. Our new advocacy path at the University of
Washington law school is all that I could have wished for as a student. Our school is closely tied to the outside
legal community, regularly involving judges, lawyers and expert witnesses in our classes. We want you to get everything you need to
rise to the top, and work closely with you to make it happen. My own courses in pre-trial practice, forensic
evidence and trial advocacy have a real world focus, drawing on years of experience in practice
and writing on communication and examination techniques. There is no more exciting career than as a
trial advocate. If this is your passion, the University of
Washington School of Law is the place for you.

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