For all law students, time management is a necessary skill. But that is even more true for Brandeis School of Law 1L Austin Conway, who is balancing law school with baseball practice.
Conway is a pitcher with the University of Louisville’s baseball team. He played baseball during his undergraduate career at Indiana State University, where he injured his shoulder in his junior year and sat out the majority of that year. After playing his senior year, he learned that he would likely qualify for a medical hardship waiver. He applied for that waiver, which was approved in July 2017, granting him one last year of eligibility to play.
By that point, Conway had committed to attending the Brandeis School of Law, and the powerhouse baseball team at UofL also was attractive to him. Coach Dan McDonnell spoke with Conway’s summer league coach and a few of his former teammates, who were able to speak to Conway’s skills and commitment.
Conway decided to spend one more year as a student-athlete.
“I keep getting to play the sport I love,” he said, adding that he also saw a position on the team as a networking opportunity. “Dan McDonnell just was the Coach of the Year, so having the opportunity to work with him throughout Louisville when I want to practice law in Louisville and being able to have him vouch for me on a professional level would be extremely beneficial when it comes time to apply for jobs.”
As a double major in legal studies and political science at Indiana State, Conway had his eye on law school for years.
“I like challenging myself. Obviously, physically with athletics, but also academically,” he said. “I wanted a career that wasn’t the same every day. The law is always changing, and every case is different. I felt like I could challenge myself every day — and I like to argue.”
Balancing life as a student-athlete is a challenge, but Conway credits support from both the law school and the baseball team in helping him maintain his hectic schedule. Conway’s law professors have been supportive, as has Jennifer DiSanza, Brandeis’ assistant dean for student services and law chief of staff. And McDonnell has told him that academics are a priority for all his players.
McDonnell praised Conway’s commitment to success as a baseball player and as a law student.
“Austin has displayed impressive maturity and focus in the way he’s managed both baseball and law school since he arrived on campus. From the moment we first talked about the challenges of balancing those demands, his excitement for embracing the opportunity has helped him in the process. He did his own research on how many Division I student-athletes have been able to also attend law school and that has helped him have a realistic set of expectations,” McDonnell said. “He has respected the challenge and has never felt a sense of entitlement. At this point in his career, he fully understands college academics and athletics and he knows he has to earn everything he gains in the classroom and on the field.”
Conway is thinking of pursuing a career in corporate law and is looking forward to becoming more involved with law school extracurriculars when his baseball career ends this year. In the mean time, he is spending this year working hard.
“It’s not easy for the people who aren’t into it. I really, really want to practice law and it’s something that I enjoy doing, so it’s easier for me to open the book,” he said. “It’s hard, but it’s easy because I enjoy it.”