REP-PP Spring 201​7 Blog: Excellence

Blogger:  Britt Brandon

Law School Year:  ​​​​​3L
Placement:  ​Texas Railroad Commission, Austin, Texas

Meet Britt

Why did you decide to participate in the REP-PP?
The REP-PP Program allows me to gain practical experience in the field of law I wish to practice. I am interested in practicing Energy Law, specifically the environmental regulatory aspect of Energy Law. REP-PP will allow me to work directly with the agencies that engage in writing and enforcing regulations relevant to the energy industry.

What are you most excited about as your semester in the REP-PP begins?
I am excited to use the classroom knowledge I have gained during law school, and apply this knowledge practically on a daily basis during my externship. I am also excited about all the valuable information I will learn once I begin my externship.

What skills do you hope to gain from your experiences in the REP-PP?

I hope to gain a better understanding of the administrative process. Engaging in the administrative process on a daily basis will allow me to gain invaluable experience as I prepare for my future as a lawyer.

How do you think this opportunity will help you develop as a lawyer?

The ability to spend a semester during law school working under practicing attorneys in the city in which I wish to practice, is a very rare opportunity for a law student. The ability to make networking connections and gain practical experience prior to graduating will be beneficial to me as I begin my career as a lawyer.

How does your participation in the REP-PP demonstrate the Aggie Core Values?
(Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, Selfless Service)
Acceptance into the program means the participant has exhibited excellence throughout law school and prior experiences as well. The participants demonstrate leadership by representing Texas A&M School of Law as we travel into Austin and D.C. As the participants engage in quality work they will generate respect for the REP-PP Program and Texas A&M School of Law.

What are your personal goals for your semester in the REP-PP?
I am excited to experience Austin during a Legislative Session. I hope to get outside of my comfort zone and make new lasting connections.

Britt BrandonVince Lombardi once stated, “perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can achieve excellence.” This quote embodies the idea that excellence is not achieved by accident; excellence is achieved by dedication to a standard above what is merely expected or normal. Merriam-Webster defines the suffix “-ence” as “the action or process,” and defines “excel” as “to be superior to; to surpass in accomplishment.” So excellence essentially means the action or process of being superior to others. This definition inherently means not everyone is able to achieve excellence—in order to be superior something or someone must be inferior.

Excellence is (in my opinion) the most important of the six Core Values of Texas A&M—for reference, the six Core Values are the following: Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service. Excellence is the “standard of review” for each of the five other Core Values. One is able to display the other five Core Values by a single action. But in order to display a Core Value excellently, one must display a Core Value above mere expectations or the status quo. The series of Texas A&M Core Values is not merely a checklist; it is a duty to continually pursue excellence in one’s display of each Core Value.

Ethical rules contain standards attorneys must abide. But to achieve excellence in the practice of law, it is important to go beyond these minimum standards. Throughout my externship experience in Austin, I have observed multiple examples of excellence. My classmates and I have heard from speakers who forge public policy in the State of Texas. While these speakers come from wide-ranging practice areas, each speaker had one thing in common: excellence. It was apparent that each speaker enjoyed the work they did; worked tirelessly to perform beyond their duties; and most importantly, served the citizens of Texas with excellence. 

My experience at an administrative agency has made it evident why it is important for agency employees to engage in their job with excellence. Agencies are allowed broad authority to promulgate rules upon actions or inactions within their jurisdiction. The advice Uncle Ben gives Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility,” is also applicable to state agencies. A state agency must recognize the authority it has been granted and use excellence as a standard when engaging in actions or inactions. Agency actions have the ability to greatly impact citizens of Texans in a positive or negative way. Through this lens, agencies must serve Texas and its citizens not to the minimum standard or status quo, but to a standard of excellence.