Orientation for the Class of 2014
SEPTEMBER 14, 2011—On August 30, 2011, Dean David Wippman, faculty, and staff welcomed the Class of 2014 to its first day at the Law School. The class includes 246 J.D. candidates, 31 transfer students, 23 international exchange students, and 2 visiting students. In addition, 49 LL.M. students from 21 countries and 12 Humphrey Fellows from around the world join us this year.
Orientation kicked off with a welcome by Assistant Dean of Students Erin Keyes (’00). She introduced Law Council President Sanjiv Laud (’12) and Director of Admissions Nick Wallace (’05) and spoke to students about where the Law School and their legal education would take them.
Wallace introduced Dean David Wippman, who greeted the new students and wished them success and fulfillment in their Law School experiences. He introduced Associate Deans Joan Howland, Information Technology; Alexandra B. Klass, Academic Affairs; and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Research and Planning; and Assistant Deans Nora Klaphake (’94), Chief of Staff; and Patrice Schaus, Administration and Finance.
About the class
The Class of 2014 J.D. candidates come from 35 states and the District of Columbia, as well as from seven foreign countries: Canada, China, India, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. More than 70% of the class are nonresidents. Males and females are nearly equally represented among class members, who range in age from 20 to 47 (average 25). They completed their undergraduate degrees at 150 various institutions and speak a total of 25 languages. Twenty-eight of them have advanced degrees.
About 24% of the class are members of a minority group. A further diversity investigation reveals that the class contains a biochemical-device patent holder, a Kenpo black belt holder, a Juilliard graduate, a disc jockey, the founder of an NPO for at-risk youth, and a performer in President Obama’s inaugural parade. Former occupations include ship captain, carriage driver, and newspaper editor-in-chief.
Former federal judge James M. Rosenbaum (’69) presented the Bearmon Lecture on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The orientation lecture is sponsored by Barbara and Lee Bearmon (’56), former chief legal officer for Carlson Companies Inc., through an endowed fund that supports examination and teaching of legal ethics and professional responsibility at the Law School.
Judge Rosenbaum was a U.S. District Court judge from 1985 to 2010 (seven of them as chief judge). When he took senior status, "we took that to mean he had more time to help us," Dean Wippman commented in his introduction. "The Law School is very dear to my heart," Judge Rosenbaum told listening students, "and I have every confidence that over time it will become dear to yours."
The years ahead will be fun, interesting, and enlightening, he told the class. "You will be stunned" by the knowledge of the faculty, experience the "minor-league miracle" of learning to think like a lawyer, and become members of a profession with a shared vocabulary, culture, and vision. "People in the most desperate and important moments of their life will come to you," Judge Rosenbaum said, because they respect lawyers and what they do.
Legal ethics is "the bone and the sinew that holds what we do together and that guides us in our work," he said. Although lawyers have a dual ethical obligation to "zealously protect" their clients while also upholding their duty as an officer of the court, they serve only one master: the law. "Your mom taught you most of what you need to know," he assured students. Keep your promises, keep the secrets you’re given, don’t undertake what you can’t do, don’t take things that don’t belong to you, and just generally behave yourselves. And forget what you’ve seen in "The Paper Chase." The people around you will become some of your closest friends and colleagues, and law school will call out the best in you, he said. "I’m very excited for you."
In a post-lecture question-and-answer session, Judge Rosenbaum shared anecdotes from his years as a trial lawyer in Chicago and his perspectives from a long career on the bench. With an enthusiastic "It’s going to be a blast," he sent the students off to their class photo.
Ready to start
Over the course of the four-day orientation program, incoming students learned about degree programs, student activities, career and professional development resources, the Law Library, and the many additional facets the Law School. Students had several opportunities to become acquainted during social events, and faculty and staff were on hand to answer questions and to welcome the Class of 2014 to Mondale Hall and the legal profession.