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Walt Johnson ‘14 put his law school deposit check into the mailbox on the same day that a mile-wide tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., this past spring. When the tornado had passed, he looked outside to see that the mailbox had been blown away, along with his check.
“It took a while to truly grasp the magnitude of the disaster. Once I began to see the full extent of the damage, I was more concerned with locating numerous friends whose entire homes had suffered the same fate as my mailbox,” recalled Johnson.
Now, four months later, the missing check has been sorted out, and Johnson is one of Albany Law School’s newest students.
“Law school is a necessary prerequisite to many of the things I want to do in life,” said Johnson, who grew up in Montgomery, Ala., and graduated from the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa this past May with a degree in political communication.
“I’ve seen the opportunities that living in a capital city can provide, whether in government, business, social work, etc. But I also wanted to diversify my background by attending law school in an entirely new region,” he continued. “Not only is Albany Law in the state capital, but it’s also close to the largest legal market in the world.”
Well before college, Johnson knew that he wanted to pursue law, government and public policy as career options. In high school, he travelled around the country competing with his school’s debate program, ultimately earning a scholarship to debate for the University of Alabama. When funding for the Policy Debate program was cut after his sophomore year, Johnson helped initiate a program to mentor rural Tuscaloosa County middle school students in speech and debate, while also serving as the assistant debate coach for his high school alma mater, the Montgomery Academy.
Johnson recently completed the three-day orientation session for the Class of 2014 and is now in his first week of classes at the law school.
“Initially, choosing Albany Law School was based solely on tangible attributes like studying law in New York’s capital or possibly attending one of the school’s unique study abroad opportunities,” said Johnson. “But after meeting professors, administrators and most importantly my fellow classmates, I quickly realized that the intangible characteristics— an historical prowess that makes you feel like you’re part of something much larger than yourself, the passionate and brilliant professors, and a genuine and welcoming student body—are the most important traits a school can have, and Albany Law has them all.”