Still, adjusting to life as a law student came as a shock for Nuernberger initially. After years of working the 24/7 grind of being an athlete, he was confident in his athletic abilities. But law school was different. He started doubting whether he could cut it, knowing the path to landing a job in corporate law would be a bit like trying out for the NFL.
“A job at a big law firm is definitely not given away. It’s not easy to get,” he said. “I'd been playing football for a long time. That's what I did. I trained my whole life in athletics, and now it’s like… am I good enough to make it? It was scary.”
“That is one of the reasons I work hard at UC,” he said. “I have to show up every day and be on top of my game. No way can I go in and just screw off, knowing that everyone else is just killing it.”
One day during his first semester, still combating doubts, Nuernberger decided to bring a graded exam to his professor during office hours. Taking what he had learned from the many car rides home with his dad after a loss, he asked UC College of Law Professor Betsy Lenhart how he could have done better. She proceeded to review his entire 15-page exam line-by-line, as he recalled. From that point forward, his outlook on law school changed.
“It definitely didn’t come naturally to be like, ‘Hey, I screwed this up. I need help.’ You kind of want to hide,” he said. “But I realized, why not take advantage of the open-door policy?... A lot of the reason I've been successful in law school is realizing professors really do care about you, especially at UC.”