Enter a civilian, exit a law student.
For the incoming first year day-and-evening classes that began three days of orientation on August 14, the transition unfolded smoothly. One hundred sixty-two full-and- part time students registered for class, obtained their student IDs and health insurance, filled out numerous forms, learned how the navigate the library, configured their computers for new purposes, and made the round of processing stops required to begin the pursuit of a JD degree from Catholic University’s law school.
The students were officially welcomed on day one by Dean Daniel F. Attridge, who assumed the deanship in February 2013 and was ushering in the first new class of his tenure. Dean Attridge discussed many aspects of life as a CUA Law student, including scholarships, new initiatives, and future plans. He reminded the students above all to be completely and enthusiastically committed, “all in,” in order to reap the most from their law school experience.
Day two of orientation brought more information, as students were walked through the basics of academic planning and made aware of the many support services available to them. They also got their first dose of a live class lecture, as Professor Cara Drinan introduced the mechanics of case briefing.
The smaller evening law student division was exposed to most of the same elements of orientation, arranged somewhat differently to accommodate their schedules.
One of the great unifiers of all first year students at the end of Orientation Week is Community Service Day, a chance to get to know and support the surrounding Brookland community by participating in a community service project organized by the law school.
While not required, Community Service Day has proven popular with new students, providing as it does a chance to get to know one another better while in service of a worthy cause.
On Friday morning, dressed in CUA Cardinal Red tee-shirts, students fanned out to four locations: St. Anthony Catholic School, Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, and Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The students spent a half-day of volunteerism in a variety of ways: helping to clean, paint, and weed; assisting with a summer camp; or visiting with the elderly and the infirm.
For Jennifer Tschirch, coordinator of pro bono activities for the law school, the selfless service to others was an appropriate and uplifting way to conclude the first week of law school at Catholic University.
“Volunteerism and service to others are hallmarks of a Catholic University education, and we believe they are an essential part of your legal and personal formation which will stay with you for life,” she said.
The newest class of Catholic University law school students is a diverse group, featuring some notable demographic highlights:
- 32 % are self-identified as members of a recognized minority group.
- The students represent graduates from more than 108 colleges and universities and 44 different majors.
- The classes of 2015 and 2016 contain ten current and former members of the U.S. Army, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps.