After earning his B.S. in business at the University of Connecticut, Ricky Hernandez agreed to manage a friend’s band, now known as Parsonfield, while studying for his CPA exam. His six-month stint as a band manager included a trip to Nashville before he started his permanent job as an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston. The following year, when Hernandez realized he wanted to pursue a career in law rather than accounting, he applied only to law schools in ‘music towns’ where he could develop an entertainment law practice. He chose Vanderbilt for its strong academic reputation, its strength in intellectual property law and its Nashville location.
Hernandez was the 1L representative and is now the president of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, a student organization with ties to local attorneys in the entertainment industry. “It allows me to network with attorneys in the area who are receptive to mentoring people who are just starting out,” he said.
He also joined the Black Law Students Association as a 1L. “BLSA does a really good job of bringing in attorneys and upper-level students to give pointers about law school at the most relevant times, and they serve the best food at their meetings!” he said. For a study break, he joined the Fulbol Club, which organizes weekly soccer games.
Hernadez particularly appreciates Vanderbilt’s collegial environment. “Everyone here works really hard; everyone’s really smart, but people here are really friendly,” he said. “Your peers legitimately want you to do well.”
As an entering 1L, he recalls having the biggest sense of nervousness about the amount of writing law school would require. “As a business major focusing on accounting, I hadn’t written much,” he said. But in his Legal Writing course, taught by Professor Jason Bates, “I found that legal writing employed the same methods of problem solving I’d learned in my business classes seeing a set of data and applying it in the right context.”
Hernandez also found The Life of the Law, the week-long introductory course all Vanderbilt Law students take during Orientation Week, extremely helpful in placing his first-year courses in context. “I went from working fulltime at PwC to law school within a month,” he recalled. “The Life of the Law helped orient my thinking so I got more out of my first-year classes.”
As a 2L, he joined the staff of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, and he is serving as its Senior Development Editor in 2016-17. He spent summer 2016 in Nashville, working as a summer associate at both Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and at Bass Berry & Sims. “I really enjoyed the breadth of the work!” he said.