Law School Orientation: 1Ls Off to a Great Start

by Theresa Hrenchir, Assistant Director for J.D. Student Affairs

While most law students were enjoying the last days of freedom before the start of the fall semester, over 330 new 1Ls descended on campus on Wednesday, August 18 for a mandatory three-day orientation program organized by the Office for J.D. Student Affairs. Shepherded by over 100 upper class student orientation volunteers organized by SBA Vice President and Student Orientation Chair Natalie Price, the incoming students were busy attending numerous programs, classes, panels, and social events.

Dean Kevin Cole, welcoming his last incoming class as dean of USD Law School, shared with the 1Ls at the Welcome Program on Thursday that they were the “highest credentialed class in USD Law School history.” Vice President and Provost Julie Sullivan added her greetings, encouraging the students to take advantage of all the resources the University has to offer. The keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Richard D. Huffman, Associate Justice, Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of California, who combined humor and wisdom in encouraging the students to maintain a balance in their lives.

The three-day program was designed to introduce students to the law school experience before the start of formal classes. Students jumped right in to the rigors of law school academics with two sessions of Lawyering Skills I, as well as an introductory substantive law class entitled “Demystifying the Socratic Method.” In addition, students heard from faculty and upper class colleagues in panel sessions, during which the 1Ls were encouraged to ask questions. A number of distinguished alumni—including Alumni Board President Stephen F. Halsey (‘78) who offered words of welcome from the alumni community—shared their law school and career experiences with the newly enrolled. They provided personal perspectives on what they might have done different in law school or how they ended up on their current career path. Brian Daugherty, Director of Law Development and Alumni Relations, moderated the panel which included Judge Ana España (‘82), San Diego Superior Court; Buck B. Endemann (‘07), Associate, Latham & Watkins; David A. Fox (‘07) Assistant U.S. Attorney, San Diego; Kriste Draper (‘07) Staff Attorney, Children’s Advocacy Institute ; and Frederick A. Schenk (‘78), Partner, Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP.

Judge Robert Trentacosta (‘79) joined Associate Dean and Professor of Law Mary Jo Wiggins and the new Assistant Dean for J.D. Student Affairs Emily L. Scivoletto to present some of the issues, policies, and guidelines of Legal Ethics and Professionalism. Students learned about law school and university support services and other resources in Survival 101. New this year were reports from the bar facilitated by Heather Harrigan, Associate Director of Career Services, including remarks by alumni and president-elect of the San Diego County Bar Association DanLink (‘00) and representatives from the ABA Law Student Division and the Student Bar Association.

The highly qualified class entering in the Fall 2010 range in age from 20 to 47. Approximately 37% of the students come from minority backgrounds and 49% are female. Approximately 69% are from the Golden State, while the remaining 31% hail from 32 additional states and over 120 undergraduate schools. Carl Eging, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, says that competition was keen for these first-year students, with over 5,200 applicants vying for 330 seats.

See more Orientation photos on the USD Law Facebook page.

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