We just wrapped up orientation for the Class of 2011 and today is the first day of class. Orientation is a nice balance between informational and social events to help transition our newest members of the Law School community. The first event is the “handshake” line which is one of my favorite icebreakers. The line starts with Dean Levmore with other administrators who are important for the students to know, like our Dean of Students, Michele Richardson. Each member of the Class of 2011 goes down the line shaking hands (like a receiving line at a wedding) and in about 20 minutes everyone has shaken each other’s hand. It is a great way to start putting names with faces. The Class of 2011 is an amazing group of students. They come from a broad range of backgrounds with a variety of experiences and interests. They majored in political science, engineering, anthropology, music, accounting, math, philosophy and physics just to name a few. Some of their experiences include working as consultants, writers, yoga instructors, entomologists, or corp members for Teach for America. They play many different musical instruments, run marathons, volunteered on political campaigns, produced documentary films, played varsity sports, and or have hiked to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They have come from 34 different states, 3 foreign countries and 92 different undergraduate institutions. This is just to name a few of the many characteristics that make up the Class of 2011! The rest of the first day of orientation included faculty panels, information about academic policies and meeting classmates and upperclassmen. The evening ended with a boat cruise along Lake Michigan. The next day included tours of Hyde Park, more introductions and the Entering Students Dinner in the Green Lounge. This dinner is attended by faculty, staff and the Class of 2011 and Professor Lisa Bernstein provided the students with an inspirational welcome. Friday wrapped up orientation activities with a Day of Service. The Class of 2011 participated in a variety of service projects around Chicago. This is a great way to start introducing students to the public interest opportunities available at the Law School and to give back to the community.
With this being the first day of the 2008-2009 academic year, it is exciting to have the hallways filled with students again after the summer. Lunch time lectures and student organizations are busy hosting events. Here are some highlights of events being held this week:
Tuesday: The student organization, Spring Break of Service, is sponsoring a lunchtime talk with Reilly Morse, from the Mississippi Center for Justice to discuss pro-bono work, post-Katrina issues in the Gulf of Mexico and the Law School’s involvement with MCJ.
Wednesday: Professor Mary Anne Case will present this year's first Chicago Best Ideas lecture entitle "Why Evangelical Protestants Are Right When They Say That State Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages Threatens Their Marriages and What the Law Should Do About It".
Thursday: The Mandel Clinic is hosting James Comey ’85, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and former Deputy Attorney General of the United States.
Friday: Professor Douglas Baird will be sponsoring a teacher placement conference and job talk sessions for our recent graduates who are getting ready to interview for legal academic positions. Also the day will conclude with our Student Activity Fair being held during our regular wine mess.
And this is just the first week of classes and there are so many interesting events taking place!! Also, remember there are still classes for students to attend. The Class of 2011 will have their first Civil Procedure and Property class today as well as Legal Research and Writing. The first years' class schedule is designed to provide a strong legal foundation. The second and third year students will have the opportunity to choose from a broad range of classes. Check out the schedule for the fall quarter to see all that is being offered. I look forward to the upcoming school year and all that it entails. Tomorrow I am off to Boston to do several panels for prospective students for the Class of 2012.