THEN: Jeff Holt pulled the trigger on law school only after extensive discussions with contacts in the legal industry convinced him that it was the right move and that the job market was likely to improve by graduation. “It’s time for me to try something new and face a new challenge,” the then-27-year-old said. “I can’t wait to learn a new way to think.”

NOW: Life is very different for Holt. He is an associate in the corporate and tax practice at 250-attorney Burr & Forman and also a dad — his wife gave birth to their first child during the summer after Holt’s 2L year.

Juggling family and law school wasn’t always easy, but Holt managed to wring plenty from his law school experience. He earned a spot on Georgia State’s moot court team during his 1L year, which left him with the itch to explore trial advocacy.

Writing was another major focus. He served on the editorial board of the Georgia State University Law Review and published two journal articles as a student. He now aims to write one law review-worthy article per year.

Holt speaks fondly of his time in law school, but found the early days difficult. “The first six weeks were rough, as I think they’re designed to be,” he said. “Once I got through that and figured out what they wanted from me, it turned into a really great experience. The sheer volume of information was what was so difficult about it initially — and that’s before people tell you that you aren’t going to be tested on everything.”

Unlike many of his classmates, Holt left law school with no student loans, having earned a scholarship and drawing upon savings to cover tuition. Being debt-free only ­reinforces his view that law school was the right decision.

“I think what I enjoyed the most was just being surrounded by really smart people and people who challenge you,” he said. “I think it’s hard to improve in life unless you stick your neck out.” — Karen Sloan