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Former Chief Justice Blatz ('84) to Greet Class of 2012

AUGUST 31, 2009—On Sept. 2, 2009, Kathleen Blatz ('84), Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1998-2006, will present the Bearmon Orientation Keynote Address to incoming students at the Law School. There are 220 first-year students in the class of 2012.

Before serving as chief justice, the first woman appointed to the job in Minnesota, Blatz was an associate Supreme Court justice, a Hennepin County district court judge and, for 15 years, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she chaired the Committee on Crime and Family Law. Widely known for her child-protection work, she led the Children's Justice Initiative to improve life for children in foster care, and when she retired from the Supreme Court, the Friends of Children Foundation created the Kathleen Blatz Scholarship for youth to honor her efforts. In July, she received the 2009 Award for Distinguished Service to State Government from the National Governors Association for her years of devoted public service in Minnesota.

Also planned for day 1 of the three-day orientation program are a tour of Mondale Hall, introductions to section mates, and welcoming remarks from Law School Dean David Wippman, Associate Dean Joan Howland, and Law Council President Eugene Kim ('10).

As the orientation program continues, students will become familiar with the University, West Bank amenities, and other essential sites and services. They will hear from faculty about the Law School academic experience, effective case briefing, and the basics of legal research, analysis, and writing. They will also be introduced to structured study group programs, joint and dual degrees, public interest and service opportunities, and the Law School's many technology resources. An activities and resource fair will provide opportunities to explore and join a diverse range of student organizations.

This year's 1Ls have the highest median LSAT score of any Law School entering class; their 167 score places them in the 96th percentile nationwide. The proportion of women in the class, 45%, also exceeds the previous high of 41%. Applications to be part of the class were up, too, by nearly 30% over last year. Joining the 1Ls as newcomers to the Law School are 9 visiting students and 40 transfer students, the most transfers in recent history.

Law School faculty and staff, the Law Council, and Student Activities staff are hosting breakfast, lunch, and outdoor BBQ get-togethers to welcome new students and help everyone become better acquainted before classes begin Sept. 8.

Justice Blatz's orientation lecture will be restricted to 1Ls because of space limitations.