KLJ Editor-In-Chief Kyle Schroader Thrives at UK Rosenberg Law
University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law graduate Kyle Schroader of Hartford, Kentucky, recently recalled how out of place he felt when he started law school.
“I didn’t know how it all worked,” he said. “You’re entering a world where there are a lot of people whose entire families are lawyers. There are a lot of people who understand the system. So, it was hard for me, coming from a pretty blue-collar family in rural Western Kentucky, to enter this world of big law firms and clerkships and old money and things that I didn’t know a lot about.”
Kyle said the culture shock was his biggest obstacle because he felt like he was entering a foreign world. Soon, Kyle didn’t just fit in; he thrived. He got summer jobs working for Stites & Harbison PLLC in Louisville, and he became editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Law Journal.
Now, as a law graduate, Kyle will complete a federal clerkship before moving forward with a job in the torts group at Stites & Harbison.
“It’s weird because criminal law is a personal interest,” Kyle said. “But I feel like tort law, that area, is what I professionally enjoy doing.”
Kyle’s mother was murdered in a domestic violence incident when he was very young. As he got older, he started thinking about careers as a criminal law attorney. Kyle said he took a class in high school that included a mock trial and it seemed like a natural fit. He loved history, social studies and government classes, and he wanted to help people.
“I was really interested in the events that affected my life even though I didn’t really remember them,” Kyle said.
In college at University of Louisville, Kyle studied political science and history with a minor in women’s and gender studies.
Kyle said a session with representatives from the Career Development office during an open house at UK persuaded him to come to Lexington, Kentucky, for law school. In addition, Kyle had family in Lexington.
“I felt like no one was giving me a charade or anything,” he said. “It just felt like everyone was there to help the student, and it seemed like all the professors cared about their students and were invested in my future.”
Kyle said he took several criminal law classes and enjoyed them, but his favorite class during his first year as a law student was torts. He ultimately decided that was his professional calling.
“It’s the type of class where you can actually start seeing the law in real life,” he said. “You’ll be walking down the street and you’ll see something and think, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s potentially negligent.’”
When asked what he’ll remember about his time at UK Rosenberg Law, Kyle said he would remember taking classes in various buildings on campus during his first two years while the law building, which opened in August 2019 after a two-year renovation, was under construction.
Kyle said he got to know his class well over those two years. But it took him a long time to get to know students in the 2L and 3L classes and others in the law school community.
One of his fondest memories from law school was becoming editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Law Journal, overseeing more than 50 students and working with authors from across the country.
“That was a great experience,” he said. “I didn’t really know exactly what I was getting into when I decided to run for that. But once I got it, it was a great leadership experience.”
As KLJ editor-in-chief, Kyle oversaw the first KLJ Symposium – an annual event – in the renovated building. The symposium explored diverse perspectives on controversial American monuments and statues.
“That was a really cool experience to get all those scholars in and hear about a topic that has been such a big deal in Kentucky, especially in Lexington with the monuments that were removed downtown.”
Finally, Kyle said he would never forget the hours he spent studying with the same two classmates. He said it was one of the hardest things to give up when classes went online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I did group study a lot. It was what worked for me, and it’s how my brain works,” Kyle said. “It was really difficult to have that taken away. We could study over Zoom, but it’s just not the same thing as being in a room and getting through all your problems together and making sure you completely understand the class.”
Kyle said a lot of his 3L friends left Lexington when the university closed buildings on campus.
“I got through it, but it was definitely a big disruption,” he said.
Kyle was disappointed that he didn’t get to say goodbye to his peers, professors and others at the college. His family celebrated together but there was little to mark this summer as being different from other summer breaks.
“It’s just weird to not be able to give your final goodbyes to your friends and see everybody walk across the stage, but hopefully one day,” he said.
Kyle said anyone thinking about going to law school should make sure they’re passionate about it because it is a huge commitment.
“I would tell them to evaluate their own study habits and how they approach school because law school is life consuming in every way,” he said.
As an undergraduate, Kyle had a part-time job, a position on the leadership council of his fraternity and he volunteered.
“All the time I spent on everything in undergrad was all combined into attending school and studying in law school,” he said.
Still, Kyle loved being a law student. He said he loved his professors and enjoyed going to school with people he will work with in the community later in life. Kyle said he got his dream jobs – including KLJ editor-in-chief, a position at Stites & Harbison, and a federal clerkship – and he would do it all over again.
“I had a great time,” he said. “I was a huge U of L guy before I went to law school, and I still love U of L. But UK Law has a special place in my heart.”