‘Admissible’ S3 E5: How a UVA Law Degree Set Mike Keenan ’08 Up for Success

Mike Keenan
November 10, 2023

Local business owner Mike Keenan ’08 shares how his UVA Law degree prepared him to practice law and launch his organic juice and smoothie company, The Juice Laundry. Having attended both law school and high school with Dean Natalie Blazer ’08, this episode is packed with tips for making the most of your time in law school, advice for charting your own career path and shared memories from their time at UVA Law.


NATALIE BLAZER: One of my favorite memories from 1L year is-- I think it was the night before our civ pro exam. And you asked if we could study together. And I said sure. So I came down to your apartment. And you went into your car. And you retrieved a civ pro book from the car that was still in the shrink wrap.

MIKE KEENAN: I don't think I understood civ pro one bit until two days before the exam studying for it. And being like, oh, this is what we're talking about.

NATALIE BLAZER: Well, opening the book--

MIKE KEENAN: I didn't even know what those words meant, like civil procedure. I was just like, I don't know what this is.

NATALIE BLAZER: This is "Admissible". I'm Natalie Blazer, dean of admissions at UVA Law. Today's episode is going to be a real fun one. I can hardly contain my smile right now. Our guest today is someone I've known since I was 14 years old. Mike Keenan is a class of 2008 UVA Law alum and the co-founder and owner of the Juice Laundry, an organic juice and smoothie bar with three locations right here in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mike previously practiced law at Hollingsworth LLP in DC and currently serves as of counsel at Schroder Brooks Law Firm, specializing in entertainment law. I'm super excited to have Mike here, not just because he's an old friend of mine but because we haven't really had an alum on the show yet who's strictly talking about their career path.

We've had a lot of alums on just because they work at the law school or I know them in some other capacity. But today, we're really focusing on the career path, coming out of UVA Law School. A bit of an extended intro today, because I feel the occasion warrants it. I have to give people background.

Mike and I met our freshman year of high school at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia. Most people call it TJ. We were great friends in high school. After TJ, Mike went South to play baseball at Emory University, while I went North to Boston College.

I do remember senior year of college. I called Mike on the phone. I had been in a months long process of applying for a Fulbright, actually, to do post-conflict research abroad. And I had just found out that even though I made it to the very last round, I didn't make it. So this was April of 2005. I called Mike. And Mike do you remember what you said when I told you I didn't get a Fulbright?

MIKE KEENAN: That we'd be going to law school together?

NATALIE BLAZER: Yes. You said, I guess, we're both going to UVA Law then.


NATALIE BLAZER: Because we had both gotten in by then. I didn't know if we would be going at the same time, but we did.

MIKE KEENAN: And I have to say, because I always do, last man in right here. You've known for months.

NATALIE BLAZER: I had known since September

MIKE KEENAN: I had just found out, replacement student.

NATALIE BLAZER: The Last one in. Well, Mike, welcome to the show.

MIKE KEENAN: Thank you. Happy to be here.

NATALIE BLAZER: I'm going to skip the icebreaker because when you've known someone since the '90s,

MIKE KEENAN: We don't it.

NATALIE BLAZER: We don't need that. We could honestly talk about stories from law school and beyond for the whole time, but for our listeners who are out there, considering applying to UVA, Mike, I want to focus on your path from law school, through legal practice, to launching your own very successful business that's extremely popular here in Charlottesville, and now back to legal practice in some capacity while still running your small business.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, wild stuff.

NATALIE BLAZER: So let's start with this. Go back in your mind to 2004, 2005. What really led you to pursue law school in the first place?

MIKE KEENAN: I was not ready to get a real job is the truth of it. A lot of my friends were doing the interviews, the on campus interviews at the time. And I really had no interest and no plan. And so it was a natural-- with Cliff, my dad, being a former attorney himself, it was just the default law school and then figure it out three years from now.

NATALIE BLAZER: I actually think that's extremely common. It was definitely common back when we were applying. I think it's still common today. And usually, I tell people, if you're not really sure of the reason or you just don't want to get a job, law school is a huge undertaking. It's a huge financial investment. So what would you say to people out there who might be considering doing the same thing you did?

MIKE KEENAN: So I think I was in a relatively unique position, having a dad but also other family members who are attorneys. And so I had some understanding of what it means to be a lawyer. And I've always enjoyed writing. And so understanding that that's part of the skill set or what would be required by attending law school. I can say that I did it due to a lack of particular interest in doing anything else.

And I can see how that, especially today, might not be advice that everyone would want to necessarily follow themselves. But I mean, I think it goes to show that even if you don't have a very hyper specific path laid out in your own head about how you're going to practice law or put your degree to use, there can still be an opportunity for you to say, well, I know enough about it that I feel good about my decision to go to law school, even if I don't necessarily have my full plan laid out.

NATALIE BLAZER: And you knew what you were getting into, for sure. And that does gel with advice I give people, which is you don't need to know exactly what your career is going to look like. You do need to understand what lawyers do, what practicing law looks like. And what the skills are. You mentioned writing. You are a great writer. I know that you enjoy it. You're able to digest a lot of information and things like that. So understanding what skill sets required and having those skills, that's all super important.

MIKE KEENAN: For sure, yeah.

NATALIE BLAZER: So once you got to UVA-- and we're going to, towards the end of the show, talk about our time, actually, in law school, but I want to focus on your career trajectory first. What did you do your 1L summer?

MIKE KEENAN: 1L summer, I split my time between a federal magistrate judge in DC and the US Attorney's office.

NATALIE BLAZER: And then what about 2L summer?

MIKE KEENAN: 2L summer associate with, at the time, Spriggs and Hollingsworth, a law firm in DC, now Hollingsworth LLP.

NATALIE BLAZER: And what kind of work were you doing that summer? Do you remember?

MIKE KEENAN: A lot of legal research, memo writing. So Hollingsworth is a kind of a mid-sized firm, just one office in DC. And they focus a lot on class action or MDL, multidistrict litigation defense, so these big defense actions that might be taking place all over the country. So there was a lot of individualized state research on particular issues, product liability, stuff like that.

NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah. OK, so following graduation from UVA Law, you ended up taking a full time offer from Hollingsworth where you spent your 2L summer.

MIKE KEENAN: Yep, I didn't blow it over the summer.

NATALIE BLAZER: Good job. Good job. And so then what type of law were you practicing post-graduation at Hollingsworth?

MIKE KEENAN: So same stuff. We were involved in a few, big product liability cases at the time, pharmaceutical stuff. I actually had a pretty unique experience at the firm. I would say I got to do some more one-off type cases, working directly with one partner on cases. And some of it was even a little bit more pro bono-ish.

For example, we investigated a not Bernie Madoff level, but a Ponzi scheme with a local organization. I think it might have been a religious affiliated organization where they had this big fund. And they turned it over to a money manager. And he didn't necessarily take good care of the money. So some random stuff. But for the most part, it was in the product liability world. I did depositions of doctors and stuff like that for these cases.

NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah. And so talk us through your decision to leave Hollingsworth, to leave private practice of law, and how the idea to launch a business came about.

MIKE KEENAN: I had a great experience at the firm. This certainly wasn't like, oh, I was worked to the bone and had to get out of there. I liked the people who I was there with, but I knew that it wasn't my passion. It wasn't something that I saw myself doing for life. And so literally, it was the morning of our annual review with the two managing partners of the firm.

NATALIE BLAZER: And what year associate were you, at this point?

MIKE KEENAN: So I was in my fourth year. I think I'd been there about 3 plus years. And it's like a 15-minute meeting, not usually a big deal. And I'm sitting there at my desk in the minutes leading up to it. And it just hit me, like, I'm going to go in there and put in my notice.


MIKE KEENAN: Because normally, it starts with them saying, hey. How are things going for you? What are you-- what are you feeling? What are you needing? And so it just hit me that that's what I needed to do. And it was almost a moment where I was like, if I don't do it now, I could end up sitting here a decade from now and feeling like it's too late to do anything else with my life.

So I went in there. And sure enough, it went exactly as I pictured moments earlier. They were surprised. Now, look. I wasn't a rising superstar attorney. And so it's not as if it was devastating news to anyone at the firm that I was putting in my notice, but they understood.

And I laid out just why I was doing it. And it wasn't any issue with the firm. It was just something I felt I had to do. And I told them I'd stay as long as needed to wrap up the cases that I was currently working on. And it ended up being another 5 or 6 months from that day before I actually left. And I had no idea what I was going to do.

NATALIE BLAZER: So I think I heard that story at the time, but I still think of it and the suddenness with which you decided. But at the same time, the big law firms, that is their business model. They're kind of expecting-- fourth year, I would say, is not super uncommon to leave.


NATALIE BLAZER: So you didn't what you were going to do. So you were living in DC?

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah. I was living just in Arlington at the time. And ended up back home with my parents for a couple of months. And then one of my older sisters had recently moved back to Charlottesville with her family. And she had, basically, a basement with a spare bedroom.

And so as I was plotting out my next steps, she said, why don't you come down stay with us for a little bit? At this point, the juice bar concept was in the mix of ideas. And so it occurred to me, there being nothing like that at the time, so this is 2012-ish, in Charlottesville, that this might actually be a good spot for it. So I took them up on their offer, and in that time, launched the Juice Laundry.

NATALIE BLAZER: And so talk a little bit more about how you decided on the organic juices, smoothies? How did you land on that?

MIKE KEENAN: Well, so it was something that I was starting to incorporate into my own lifestyle and diet at the time. I never particularly paid much attention to what I ate. I'm sure there was some stories about this probably going back to law school. I didn't eat particularly healthy.

So the juice and smoothies was something that I was getting into in my own life, and making smoothies for other people, and realizing that it was something that was having an impact on me, personally. And I thought, well, if anything, why not this? Why not try to bring this to other people, to a community?

NATALIE BLAZER: Right, to a college town where people definitely care about health. OK, so you're living with Sarah and Sam, your sister, and brother-in-law, and their three kids. Talk about how the Juice Laundry began, because it definitely did not begin as this brick and mortar storefront.

MIKE KEENAN: So Sam, my brother-in-law, had a small office space nearby where they lived. And it had a kitchen in it. And he wasn't using the kitchen at all. So I bought my first juicer machine, a Norwalk juice press. And I started experimenting in his kitchen while he was doing his work every day. So that was the recipe creation phase.

So from there, I found a local-- another small, local food business, a donut shop.


MIKE KEENAN: Carpe Donut. Shout out to Matt [INAUDIBLE] for giving me my opportunity. So they only used their kitchen in the morning and then into early afternoon. So I was able to sublet some space there. And I would come in at like 3:00 PM every day.

And by this point, I had put up a website. And people around town could order juice. And I would deliver it. So we didn't have a location, but it was basically a juice delivery service at this point. And I would come in and juice from 3:00 PM. Sometimes I'd be juicing for 15, 16 hours straight into the night. And then I would make deliveries the following morning. And then I would go home and sleep until the next afternoon.

And partly, that was a result of the concept being more popular more quickly than I even anticipated. And it going from 0 to 50 pretty quick. And I didn't have any staff or any support for it. So it was just do what you have to do.

NATALIE BLAZER: But people were loving the juice. And at one point, didn't you start selling it at yoga studios?

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, so we experimented with a few ways of getting it out there. Also, I was doing the City Market at the time. So that was every Saturday.

NATALIE BLAZER: That's a great way to get it into more people's hands, right?

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, just good exposure. So I basically did that for a year and a half, always looking for an opportunity for our first retail location. And that came about in around late 2014 or early 2015 with the renovation of the old Coca-Cola building.

NATALIE BLAZER: And I remember, I was in New York practicing law at Weil, Gotshal. And it was, I want to say, May of 2015, when you visited.


NATALIE BLAZER: And we went out to dinner and--

MIKE KEENAN: You became an investor--

NATALIE BLAZER: That's right.

MIKE KEENAN: --in the Juice Laundry, yeah.

NATALIE BLAZER: Mike made his pitch. I obviously knew that-- everything that you just said, I knew that you were doing it. And then you told me you want to really open a shop. You having a law background and just being a very smart person had put together all these materials. I probably didn't fully understand all of it. But being that I was at that point a seventh, eighth year associate, making an eighth year associate salary had money to burn agreed to be an investor. And then I want you to talk about-- over the summer-- because I remember I came to Charlottesville that summer.


NATALIE BLAZER: And you were showing me all your recipes.


NATALIE BLAZER: So talk about how you were coming up with the different ones?



MIKE KEENAN: So at that point, I had the line of juices already established. But now, with the opening of our first full location, we had the opportunity to add smoothies, and smoothie bowls, and some other stuff because we were actually now going to be able to serve people on demand rather than it be an order ahead and deliver setup.

And so I'd already come up with this idea for this spicy smoothie. And I was thinking, man, the Blaze. I mean, that's just a match made in heaven right there.

NATALIE BLAZER: And for those who don't know--

MIKE KEENAN: So I remember giving you the sample of it.

NATALIE BLAZER: That's right. And I agreed on the spot, this is the smoothie I want named after me.


NATALIE BLAZER: A lot of our friends in our high school friend group call me Blaze, which long predated the Blaze, but it does make perfect sense because it's this beautiful, pinkish red color. It is spicy. It's not the best seller, but I think you told me it was--

MIKE KEENAN: It's up there. No, I mean it's a little bit of an unusual one. But it is up there.

NATALIE BLAZER: It has a cult following.

MIKE KEENAN: It's a top three, top four smoothie, yeah.

NATALIE BLAZER: I feel like if someone likes the Blaze, they only ever get the Blaze.


NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah, I love it. OK, so since this is a show for law school applicants--

MIKE KEENAN: Not for juice bar entrepreneurs.

NATALIE BLAZER: Although everyone loves juice. OK, so how did your UVA Law degree come into play at every step of the way? When you're conceiving the business, getting it off the ground. I can imagine contracts, labor and employment, property. What are the biggest ways that the law degree helped you through that process?

MIKE KEENAN: So I mean, I'll speak fairly generally on this because, really, at the end of the day, I think what you learn in law school is how to think critically and with specificity. And so for me, my law degree, it gave me a sense of confidence of being able to navigate the very-- and especially in the food world, you're dealing with various regulatory-- you've got the Health Department, and the Department of Agriculture, and the FDA.

And you're having to navigate, not only the standard local business licenses, and tax, how to get taxed, and all that stuff. It just gave me, I think, a level of confidence to feel, well, if I can't figure this stuff out, even if it's hard, even if it's annoying, who can?

NATALIE BLAZER: I love what you said about the confidence and understanding things with specificity, clarity. It's a lot of wading through things that I think a quote unquote "layperson" might easily become overwhelmed. But you tell yourself, I how to do this.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah. There were probably times where there's a decent chance I might have given up. Just been like, uh, this is hard. I don't have the skills to figure this out. And I was bootstrapping it with hardly anything. And so if there ever came a point where I needed to hire an attorney and spend 4, or 5, $6,000 to get a contract done, or reviewed, or a lease reviewed, it might have been enough for me to be like, you know what, it was a fun ride exploring this idea, but I'm not going to follow through with it.


MIKE KEENAN: I could definitely see that.

NATALIE BLAZER: And so at some point, given that it was running successfully, it's established in the community, you decided to return to practicing law in some capacity. So how did that come about?

MIKE KEENAN: Well, completely as a direct result of the Juice Laundry because Kirk Schroder, the managing partner of the small firm that I now work with, is one of our first, original, longest running, most active customers at the shop.

NATALIE BLAZER: And what's his order?

MIKE KEENAN: Well, the Blaze is a big one and the matcha latte. He can crush some matcha latte and some Blaze. And so Kirk, like myself, is vegan. Kirk found us because we were a totally plant based option. And so he started taking meetings there. And I met a bunch of-- he represents, really, anyone in the entertainment world-- so authors, and producers, and filmmakers.

And so I've met some of his clients over the years in the shop because that became his de facto meeting place. And literally, I was running up to drop something off at the shop one day. I think it was even after hours. And Kirk never knows when our hours are. So he's constantly showing up either too early or too late.

And so he was trying to get in. I think I ended up letting him in and making him a smoothie. And we got to talking a little bit about just what he was up to with his legal work. And he made a comment, I can't find good people who will last. I think he runs into maybe a situation where he hires a young associate.

And then he trains them. And they spend a couple of years or a few years with them. And then they get an offer from a big New York or LA entertainment firm. And so it's a stepping stone. And there's nothing wrong with that, but he was just lamenting, like, man, it's tough to-- I'm just swamped in work. And I don't have enough people or the time to go hire people. It's a very, very small firm.

So I said to him, well, I've been keeping my Virginia bar license active-- whatever they call it, the associate status or whatever. But I could basically renew that at any time. And I've got some free time. And if you want to explore it, I'm open to it. So I had a meeting with Kirk and a couple other lawyers there and basically just started doing work for him.

NATALIE BLAZER: That's great. I can't imagine, at this phase of life, after eight years in admissions, ever going back to practicing law. So you in the same boat, what was that like?

MIKE KEENAN: And again, I mean, it was similar to my other decision where it was something that I had not been thinking about or pursuing. But in this span of a half hour of talking to Kirk, I was like, hey, you know what? Why not.

NATALIE BLAZER: It's like parallels. You left [INAUDIBLE]


NATALIE BLAZER: Just split second decision.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, and I mean, what's it like? Entertainment law, which, again, is the bulk of what we do, it's not litigation. It's mostly contracts. And so not something that I was unfamiliar with or that you really need much time to jump back into. I had the training wheels on more from my own benefit and sanity starting out. Just like, well, I haven't been a lawyer in years. I don't want to screw anything up. But I mean, it's a little bit like getting back on a bike. The terminology, and the language, and all that just comes back to you.

NATALIE BLAZER: Totally, it's almost like muscle memory. I mean, I'll have 1Ls come in the office. And they'll tell me what they're studying in torts. And I'll just rattle off whatever the rule is. And they're like, yeah.


NATALIE BLAZER: And like said, law school was really all a lot about teaching you a way of thinking, and analysis, and all of that. So now that we're transitioning into the fun topics, I totally forgot to mention-- because you said you kept your Virginia bar license active this whole time.


NATALIE BLAZER: I have not done the same with New York. I have fully relapsed. I forgot to mention that because you are barred in Virginia, you are able to officiate my wedding.

MIKE KEENAN: That's true, yes.

NATALIE BLAZER: A little over two years ago. And what a great job you did, as a first time officiant.

MIKE KEENAN: Well, what a great job you guys did as--

NATALIE BLAZER: We're still here two years later. so good job. All right, so now we're going to get into some fun talk about our time as students at UVA Law. First of all, we were very good friends going into law school. And I remember we got to Charlottesville. It was August 2005. So I got us apartments one above the other in Ivy Gardens, where a lot of law students live. I also found your roommate for you through a random message board. We won't talk about that, but it was fine.

MIKE KEENAN: Oh, yeah.

NATALIE BLAZER: He was a nice guy.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, one of the more interesting people I've ever come across.

NATALIE BLAZER: Absolutely. That's for sure.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, totally.

NATALIE BLAZER: So I remember my parents are there. They're helping me move into my apartment. And I said, Mike, go to the law school. Figure out what sections we're each in so that we can start buying our books.

MIKE KEENAN: So I got our section assignments. And I think I just went right up to your apartment, knocked on the door.

NATALIE BLAZER: Yep. Mike says, we are both in section F. And I think my mom started crying because she couldn't believe it.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, I mean what is that? A 1 in 12 or-- I don't know how many.

NATALIE BLAZER: I guess it's-- I don't what the odds would be, but it was--

MIKE KEENAN: 1 in 14 chance.

NATALIE BLAZER: It was unreal

MIKE KEENAN: But it felt inevitable that we would end up in the same section.

NATALIE BLAZER: It did kind of.

MIKE KEENAN: I wasn't surprised. It was more like, yep.


MIKE KEENAN: There's my name. There's Natalie's name.

NATALIE BLAZER: Sure enough, there we both are. As people know, who have been listening and studying up about law school, you're in a section of 30 people. And you have every single class with that section. And so Mike and I had like built in friendship in section F.

MIKE KEENAN: And we had a great section.

NATALIE BLAZER: We had the best section that has ever walked the whole of UVA Law.

MIKE KEENAN: And I know probably a lot of people say that, but we did.

NATALIE BLAZER: We did. So let's do a lightning round of favorites. Obviously, favorite section, section F. What was your favorite class?

MIKE KEENAN: Like first year?

NATALIE BLAZER: Well, let's do first year and then overall.

MIKE KEENAN: Oh, first year class. I mean, this is going to sound weird because he called me out, but crim law with Jeffries.

NATALIE BLAZER: I knew you were going to say that.

MIKE KEENAN: He was great.

NATALIE BLAZER: Oh, Dean Jeffries cold call of [INAUDIBLE] painful. We had the best faculty. I mean, I think we had Jeffries.

MIKE KEENAN: Dick Howard going a little further down.

NATALIE BLAZER: Constitutional law.

MIKE KEENAN: And then I took one of his short courses, one of the in-between.



NATALIE BLAZER: I'll put Schragger out there. Property, that was one of the best classes, I thought.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, yeah. He was great. I took a psychology in law class. Must have been my, actually, second year with the Thomas Hafemeister?

NATALIE BLAZER: Oh, yeah. Hafemeister, I think he's still-- he's still around.

MIKE KEENAN: Oh, is he?


MIKE KEENAN: I loved that class. And that was probably the one class where I feel like I actually engaged and excelled as a result of it.


MIKE KEENAN: And I actually got my final paper published in the Journal of Law and Mental Health.

NATALIE BLAZER: That's amazing.

MIKE KEENAN: A small journal.

NATALIE BLAZER: But that's great.

MIKE KEENAN: I still have some copies of it.

NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah, that's awesome. When you do put your mind to it, that's when all of the magic happens. What are the extracurriculars you enjoyed? Now, we're going to go down the softball path.

MIKE KEENAN: Was there anything besides softball?

NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah, did you do anything else besides--

MIKE KEENAN: We played a lot of softball. We spent a lot of time at that field.

NATALIE BLAZER: Section F team name. Fear Factor.



MIKE KEENAN: I can remember a few of them-- Bingo Bango.


MIKE KEENAN: I can remember some others.

NATALIE BLAZER: So talk about our section softball team and just the-- we were hated.

MIKE KEENAN: Are we talking about Doobie here?

NATALIE BLAZER: We're talking about Doobie. Doobie our classmate was our--


NATALIE BLAZER: I think self-appointed captain. And he was rough. He was really rough on us.

MIKE KEENAN: Yeah, I mean, if you weren't performing, you were out of the lineup.

NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah, it was--

MIKE KEENAN: And at least for the section teams, the idea was a little bit more, we're all just having fun.

NATALIE BLAZER: We're all up.

MIKE KEENAN: It's not really about winning and losing. It's more just hanging out and camaraderie. And Doobie did not get that memo.

NATALIE BLAZER: No, he did not.

MIKE KEENAN: And he treated it like it was the World Series out there, making moves, pulling people, and pinch hitting.

NATALIE BLAZER: Pinch hitting. And we did win the 1L section. The 1L Softball tournament.

MIKE KEENAN: It wasn't even a competition.

NATALIE BLAZER: It wasn't. It wasn't close. Yeah, I also should point out, yes, Doobie was really an inspiring leader for us all. But also you played college baseball.


NATALIE BLAZER: Hitchcock played college baseball.

MIKE KEENAN: We had a lot of athletes.

NATALIE BLAZER: We had a lot of people--

MIKE KEENAN: Garner played college football.

NATALIE BLAZER: The same way that you and I somehow got placed in the same section, all of the college athletes got put into this section as well.

MIKE KEENAN: And it's funny. I mean, I didn't know anything about the softball coming into UVA.

NATALIE BLAZER: Me neither. Me neither.

MIKE KEENAN: It wasn't as if, oh, I applied here because I want to play a lot of-- I never envisioned playing softball in my life, really.

NATALIE BLAZER: Agreed, I did not know, but then I was so happy that that was a tradition. And for people who are listening and think, I don't play softball. I'm not good at softball. You don't have to play or be good. You certainly don't need to be good.

MIKE KEENAN: Unless Doobie is your manager.

NATALIE BLAZER: Unless Doobie's your leader, then yeah. Your captain, I should say. A lot of people just come out and they sit on those bleachers at Copley. And they just watch. They hang out. They cheer. They cheer for their teammates.

MIKE KEENAN: And the softball tournament, come on.

NATALIE BLAZER: Well, and the softball tournament, for those who don't know, in the spring is when we invite all of the law school teams from around the country to come play against UVA's teams. Again, the competition is a little lopsided, I would say, since UVA has been playing all year round.


NATALIE BLAZER: But it is, I think, the best weekend of the year. You get to interact with schools from all over. You get to show them your traditions and how special UVA Law is. For sure.

MIKE KEENAN: I mean, I don't how it is lately, especially post COVID. But I mean, 50, 60 law schools with seven teams. I mean, it's crazy.

NATALIE BLAZER: Oh, it's back up to that, yeah. What would you say your favorite memory from all of law school is?

MIKE KEENAN: Fave, man, that's a tough one. Honestly, I think for me, what's most vivid still I would point to just late 3L year, at the house on Ivy. Whether it was end of the year parties, or Foxfield, or graduation stuff, just having that group, our group of friends and people who we had spent the last, almost, three whole years together with.

And there was a sadness to it because we were all heading out in different directions. But those memories where it was just like, the work had been done. And we did have bar prep ahead of us. But as far as the degree went, the work had been done. And we had created just these great relationships, which some of our law school friends are still the people who I'm closest with.


MIKE KEENAN: And I just have certain memories from that era that just--



NATALIE BLAZER: Well, now, I'm getting nostalgic. This could go-- this could go on longer, but we do need to wrap up. So what advice would you give out there to someone who's-- a lot of our listeners are applying to law school. They're thinking about law school. What would you tell them?

MIKE KEENAN: I would say, be open to the possibilities. It's generic cliche advice for law school because it's, oh, you can do it. You can do anything with a law degree. But there is truth to it. And so don't just write it off. Think about it. And think of ways to apply your degree, if not in a traditional way, in a unique way.

I mean, there's going to be a lot of interesting stuff happening in the legal world with AI and just how that is all going to be applied, and used, and prohibited. It's going to be-- it's going to be a really interesting intersection, I think, as technology and particularly AI technology is brought into how we solve legal problems in this country and, really, around the world. So I think it would be an exciting time to be embarking on a career in law, especially if you are thinking of these ways where it's-- that are particularly relevant today.


MIKE KEENAN: And I mean, the world is only more messed up by the day. And so there are ways to help with a law degree. A law degree is powerful. And so how can you use that in a way to make an impact?

NATALIE BLAZER: So true. So true. There is so much good that needs to be done.


NATALIE BLAZER: So Mike, anything else you want to make sure listeners know before we sign off?

MIKE KEENAN: Nothing. I don't want them to any more.


MIKE KEENAN: We've filled their brains.

NATALIE BLAZER: As much as I knew it would be, this was so much fun. Thank you.

MIKE KEENAN: It was. Thanks for having me. I know it was inevitable that we'd have to do this.

NATALIE BLAZER: Yeah. This has been "Admissible" with me, Dean Natalie Blazer at the University of Virginia School of Law. My guest today was my longtime friend, class of 2008 alum, Mike Keenan. For more information about UVA Law, please visit law.virginia.edu. And if you're in Charlottesville, go check out the Juice Laundry. The next episode of "Admissible" will be out soon. In the meantime, you can follow the show on Instagram, @admissiblepodcast.. Thanks so much for listening. And please, remember to rate the show wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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