A welcome reception with faculty and leadership. Sessions on Essential Lawyering Skills and Navigating the First Year. An Introduction to Systemic Inequalities and the Law. Perspectives from students and alumni. A welcome address by Dean Michael Waterstone and the law student oath.
Last week, incoming LMU Loyola Law School students received a weeklong introduction to the LLS experience. The event, preceded by the Summer Institute exposing incoming students to the nuances of law school education, was part of the prelude to the start of fall semester classes on Monday, August 22.
The new arrivals comprised more than 300 juris doctor (JD) students, including the first cohort of JD Evening Program students to experience the new hybrid schedule requiring a regular on-campus commitment of one night a week; and 50-plus Master of Laws (LLM) students and Master of Science in Legal Education (MLS) students. The students represent 27 states, 100 undergraduate institutions and multiple countries. They are Emmy winners, military veterans, Fortune 500 executives, NCAA Division I athletes and much more.
As much as Orientation was about law school, it was also about what comes after graduating. Speakers challenged incoming students to contemplate how to apply lessons learned at LLS to their professional lives.
“Ten years from now, I won’t be looking at nervous, excited, first-day law students. I’ll be looking at successful trial lawyers. I’ll be looking at lawyers who are representing large corporations on bet-the-company-cases. I’ll be looking at entrepreneurs. I’ll be looking at policymakers who have made huge strides on the social justice issues facing our communities,” said Dean Michael Waterstone during his welcome address to the incoming class. “Make no mistake: The world needs you now more than it ever has. It is not about who can shout the loudest. We are going to teach you how to listen, how to reflect, how to analyze, then go forth and advocate. Advocate with everything you have for what you believe is right.”
Reflecting on his own journey to becoming a successful litigator, LLS alumnus Kenny Ramirez ’14 shared personal advice with the incoming class. “I won’t sugarcoat, law school is going to be very tough. It’s going to be quite challenging, and it’s going to really push you,” said Ramirez. “Now that’s the downside. The upside, the good news, is that it’s going to be very tough. It’s going to be quite challenging, and it’s going to really push you. But here’s the thing: Each and every single one of you is capable of every single challenge you will face along your law school career. You’re capable of that and so much more. I may not know you personally, but I do know that Loyola Law School wanted you here and you chose to be here. So the one certainty that exists is that you are built for this.”
Key fall semester events are already being scheduled, including the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Speaker Series featuring Marissa Montes ’12, director, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (LIJC); Gina Zapanta ’07, founder, ZapantaAlder Law; Malaika Billups, assistant city administrative officer, City of Los Angeles; Katherine Perez, director, The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation; and Tristin Green, professor, University of San Francisco School of Law.