In an Orientation Week first, the entering 1L class was asked to recognize its future role as lawyers and public citizens with a “special responsibility for the quality of justice,” (as stated by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct) by reciting a short “induction” pledge, administered by the Honorable Lee F. Satterfield, Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Invited to participate as a former part-time lecturer at the Columbus School of Law, Judge Satterfield asked the students to repeat his words during an evening welcome reception on Aug. 13, during the second of the three-day welcome week for new students.
“I, [name], do solemnly swear or affirm that to the best of my ability I will be professional and ethical in all that I do as a member of the community at the Columbus School of Law; I will treat all persons whom I encounter with fairness, integrity, and civility; and I will strive to use my knowledge and skills to advance society, improve the quality of justice, and increase access to justice for all.”
The brief new law student oath will likely become an annual tradition. It was followed by a reception for all incoming students, their family or friends, faculty, senior staff and alumni.
The inspiring induction ceremony capped a long and busy day for the incoming class. With initial processing and paperwork now behind them, day two of Orientation Week concentrated on introducing students to fundamental aspects of law school and the legal profession at large.
After a morning coffee social, Professors Kathryn Kelly and Megan La Belle taught an “Introduction to a Law School Class,” which gave students some idea of what to expect academically over the next three or four years. A short debrief on the intro class followed, offered by the Office of Student Support.
Over lunch, Professor Mary Leary discussed “The Lawyer’s Role,” a broad overview of the unique influence and ability to shape society that that legal professionals hold in America. Leary urged the students to think carefully about the possibilities and responsibilities that come with mastering the tools of law.
The swift previews continued for the law school’s newest students. A panel co-presented by the Student Bar Association, along with the newly formed Dean’s Academic Fellows, spent an hour exploring “How to Succeed in Law School,” offering tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and maximize time effectively.
Next, demonstrating the skills the incoming students will master in a relatively short period of time, members of the Columbus School of Law’s National Trials Team showcased model opening arguments and cross-examinations in Slowinski Courtroom.
Following the demonstration, team members discussed their strategies with the audience, emphasizing the need for preparation, teamwork, and the ability to think on one’s feet.
The CUA Law crew knows what it is talking about. Among other stellar victories, the team won the Pacific McGeorge Seventh National Ethics Trial Competition in 2013.
Finally came a concluding presentation, Starting Your Legal Career, which highlighted the law school’s pilot Professional Development Program and probably reminded many of the students why they applied to law school in the first place.