On August 16, 2017, the CUA Law community welcomed new full-time and part-time students to the Law School. The students arrived for the start of a three-day orientation that was designed to make the transition to the life of a law student as smooth as possible.
The administration, faculty, and staff embraced the incoming first-year class, working hard to make sure that every student felt welcomed, comfortable, and oriented to their new surroundings.
Upon their arrival, the students checked in and were greeted with remarks from Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Katie Crowley '10. "It is my distinct honor to welcome you to the Columbus School of Law. As you begin to settle in to your new community, rest assured that there is a dedicated team at CUA to help support and guide you." Crowley introduced CUA Law Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law Daniel F. Attridge who welcomed students to the Law School.
"Both individually and collectively you are a remarkable group of law students. Today not only marks the beginning of your law school career but also the beginning of your legal career," Dean Attridge said. "You are embarking upon a great life journey with important new responsibilities and wonderful new opportunities."
Following a welcome luncheon for full-time students and an evening dinner for part-time students, a panel of current full-time students, Willie Burden (2L), Robbie Cain (3L), Marcos Holguin (3L), Maria Natera (2L), and Frank Russo (3L) imparted helpful advice regarding getting involved in the CUA Law community, preparing for class, and balancing responsibilities. Evening students also met with a group of dedicated upper-division part-time students, Michael Dillon (3E), Ashley Fingarson (4E), Ashley Greaf (3E), and Christopher Taylor (2E).
The incoming class also heard from Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research Marin Scordato on how to succeed in law school from a faculty perspective. "We endeavor to prepare you to understand the law, to practice the law, to pass the bar, and to enter the legal profession. Your success is now our success," Associate Dean Scordato said.
Nancy Palermo '97, managing partner of Garrison & Sisson, Inc., and Justine Donahue, senior managing director of Garrison & Sisson, Inc., spoke to students about starting their legal careers. They gave an overview of the different practice areas of law, the various types of employers lawyers can work for, and importance of professional development.
The 2017 orientation program included a new segment developed by Professor Stacy Brustin and the Law School's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council entitled, "Cultural Competency & Countering Bias: Professional Development for Future Lawyers." Professor Brustin and members of the Council, including Professor Regina Jefferson, discussed the need for lawyers to identify and combat their own biases in order to be effective practitioners and to help future clients. As part of the program, Professor Brustin encouraged new law students not only to seek intellectual rigor, in part to help counter bias, but to also seek interpersonal rigor to challenge habits and think in new ways, skills that are critical to successful lawyering.