Darryl Walton, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Community Business Clinic at Northeastern University School of Law, visited Laura Rosenfield’s advisory group at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science as our final Pathfinders visit for the academic year. Laura shared in a note afterwards, “Thank you so much for an utterly fabulous experience! My heartfelt thanks goes out to BPIE and Darryl for creating such an incredible opportunity for our students. Students ventured beyond our classroom walls, all without leaving their seats. Students came away from this experience learning about academic endurance and the world of law, making this a truly unforgettable day of learning and inspiration.” Clearly, the Pathfinders visit made a profound impact on her students. 

As Darryl unfolded his journey with the class, he shared pivotal moments in his life such as switching from a college major in engineering to political science, and emphasized that at each point in his career path, he learned something new, and those experiences got him to where he is today. 

One student asked what Darryl thought was the biggest misconception about law school, and he said it’s the idea that being a lawyer is all based on arguing. “There’s a common idea that oh, you’re good at arguing, you’re good at debate, you should be a lawyer.” In fact, when you think of what percent of legal matters go to trial, it’s only around five percent; the field of law is diverse, and litigation is just one small part of the field. Darryl emphasized that he does a lot more than argue. He candidly shared that taking the bar exam was very stressful. “You’ve spent 15 years in school, you’re six figures in debt, and your future livelihood depends on a two-day exam. You spend 10-12 weeks studying, and if you don’t pass, you can’t take it again for six months.”

Another student asked if he had a plan for the future or what comes next. Darryl shared that while a logical next step might be going into law school administration, he’s not really interested in that, but does see himself perhaps being an Executive Director of a nonprofit focused on equity for small business opportunities. 

Ms. Rosenfield noted that her students were preparing for final exams, and asked Darryl to share what “studying” looks like for him. He shared that most people purchase a study program specific for the bar exam they’ll be taking, and it includes videos, practice problems, outlines, writing prompts, and then you rotate through all of those skills six days a week for ten weeks. 

In closing, Darryl urged students to always be curious, be determined, and have perseverance. He went on to say “I learned that despite planning your life, it will not end up exactly how you imagined it. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. And that’s ok, keep pushing, a test doesn’t dictate your ability to succeed, success comes with hard work and determination.”