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Class of 2011 Begins Law School Journey

August 28, 2008—Dean Wippman and the Law School faculty and staff welcomed the Class of 2011 at yesterday's orientation kickoff. The first-year students spent the day getting to know the Law School building and its resources, learning about legal research and writing, and meeting the LL.M. students who will become their Law School colleagues.

The 233 students in this year's entering class bring plenty of depth and personality with them: The class mix includes an art museum curator, a bartender, a human genome researcher, a private investigator, a convenience store clerk, and several MDs. Other members have served in the military, and volunteered in the Peace Corps, Teach For America and AmeriCorps. The Law School's theatre group, the Theatre of the Relatively Talentless (T.O.R.T), is already looking forward to new recruits: The Class of 2011 includes singers, dancers and musicians—several with professional experience.

In his welcome remarks to the class Wednesday, Wippman joked that he, too, is a 1L—This is Wippman's first semester as Dean of the Law School. He urged students never to forget the legal and ethical responsibilities lawyers have to the public. He encouraged the students to embrace the school's rigorous curriculum and high expectations as a chance to engage in debate, explore questions, and to learn to be open to new ways of thinking. "Have confidence in yourself and your own interpretations," he said. "The skills that brought you here are the skills that will help you do well."

James Hale ('65) presented the Lee Bearmon Lecture on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility; Lee Bearmon (’56), former chief legal officer for Carlson Companies, Inc., and his wife, Barbara Bearmon, sponsor the lecture through an endowed fund that supports the examination and teaching of legal ethics and professional responsibility at the Law School.

Hale spent 25 years at Dayton Hudson and Target Corporation, serving as executive vice president and general counsel. Hale also practiced law at Faegre & Benson, and clerked on the Supreme Court for Chief Justice Earl Warren, where he participated in writing the Miranda decision.

In his lecture, "Preparing For Act II: Becoming An Ethical Lawyer," Hale noted that ethics used to be covered in a third-year course, but now ethics has been placed at the fore of the entire Law School curriculum.

"As an attorney, your reputation will be your most important asset, and it can be lost in an instant," he said. "You can practice law for 25 years and do great work, but if you have an ethical lapse, people are going to remember that forever."

He also urged students to take a healthy break from the demanding schedule of Law School by staying involved in local and social events. "Don't get a life; have a life," he said. "Don't just disappear into the Law School and let the rest of the world go by. Read a newspaper. Keep up with the rest of the world. Go to a concert."

Wednesday's events wrapped up as faculty, staff and students got acquainted at a barbeque at the Law School.

During the remaining two days of orientation, students will attend several sessions explaining the Law School's various degree programs, student activities, career resources and local opportunities for professional development. Faculty and staff will be on hand to answer questions about financial aid, family support services, and structured study groups. Students will also have a chance to spend some social time getting to know their section classmates at the Class Section dinners tonight.

The Law School cordially welcomes the Class of 2011, and wishes all students a great start to the semester on Sept. 2.


Photo of Dean Wippman
Dean Wippman welcomes the Class of 2011 at Orientation.

Photo of James Hale
James Hale takes questions from 1Ls after his orientation remarks.

Photo of a classroom listening to a speech
Students listen to James Hale's keynote speech.