The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law hosted the second annual Family and Friends Day on September 30, 2016. The day allowed for family and friends of CUA Law students to experience a day in the life of a law student.
The morning began with refreshments and conversation between, students, their guests, faculty, and staff in the Louise H. Keelty and James Keelty, Jr. Atrium. Students then headed off to their morning classes, while the guests went into the Slowinski Courtroom for a welcome to the Law School from Daniel F. Attridge, Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law.
“No one gets through law school all by themselves. Every student needs a support network and you are that support system,” Dean Daniel Attridge reminded the audience.
Following the Dean’s Welcome, guests attended The Law School Experience with Acting Dean of Students Katie Crowley ’10 and a panel of current students (Lauren Stewart ’17, Liz Ottman ’17, and Chima Okoli ’17).
“You will find that this is really a community that cares very much about its students, and since you are the support networks for many of our students, we are grateful to have the opportunity to share with you today what Law School is all about,” Dean Crowley said.
The students discussed topics such as the usage of the Socratic Method in the classroom, the process of preparing for exams, the strong sense of community at CUA Law, and how loved ones can best support their law students.
“It is important for loved ones to be patient and understanding. It is a very different experience to be in law school, different than undergraduate and other graduate programs. It can be very challenging and stressful,” Stewart ’17 said.
Dean Crowley also reminded parents and loved ones that students can always reach out to her office for support.
Following the two morning presentations in the Slowinski Courtroom, guests of the first year students were able to attend a Torts Class with Associate Dean Marin Scordato. The upper division students and their guests had the option of taking a campus tour. After the Torts class and the tour, students and their guests, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni congregated in the Byron Auditorium for a presentation from Brian Stolarz ’98.
Brian's presentation, Innocent Going In and Innocent Coming Out, the Exoneration of Alfred Dewayne Brown, detailed Stolarz's pro bono representation of Brown whose death penalty conviction was overturned in June. Brown, who was present for presentation, spent 10 years on death row in Texas before being released. Stolarz described his representation of Brown as the case of a lifetime.
Stolarz also informed the audience that he is providing each 1L student a copy of his book Grace and Justice on Death Row: The Race Against Time and Texas to Free an Innocent Man that will be released on October 26, 2016.
After the presentation the Law School hosted an Oktoberfest Reception in the atrium. This allowed the students and their family and friends to talk with various faculty and staff, as well as talk to Stolarz and Brown further about their experiences.