First-Year Law Students Welcomed to Campus

First-Year Law Students Welcomed to Campus

“Abuzz” might be the only word to describe SMU Dedman School of Law as it welcomed the Classes of 2018 and 2019 to campus this year

August 2015 (DALLAS) – With an action-packed, two-day agenda including a hamburger picnic on the law quad, professor panel(s), legal writing sessions, an all-new “Battle of the Inns,” and a community service project for the North Texas Food Bank, first-year law students were inspired and immersed in alumni instruction, fun, academic coaching, and life lessons.

First-Year Law Students Participate in "Battle of the Inns"

Friday: Dean’s Greetings, Alumni Inspiration, and Law Professor Welcome

Dean Jennifer M. Collins started off orientation with a warm welcome to the incoming class and shared her top ten tips for new law students:
  1. “It is normal to feel lost in the beginning.”
  2. “You’ve got to work hard – treat law school like a job.”
  3. “Keep an open mind – explore areas of law you might not be that familiar with.”
  4. “Get to know your professors.”
  5. “Get to know your classmates.”
  6. “Network, network, network.”
  7. “Be very aware of and careful with your social media presence and your reputation.”
  8. “It is okay if you don’t get your dream job right out of law school. But seize every job, even if it’s not your ideal job–as an opportunity to learn about leadership and build your professional network.”
  9. “No matter how awful the job, always do the best you can do.”
  10.  “Always be kind and respectful to those around you, no matter what their level or position.”

Following Dean Collins were representatives from local Bar Associations, including Frank Stevenson, President-Elect of the State Bar of Texas, Sally Pretorius ‘09, Secretary of the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and Jennifer Larson ‘10, Treasurer of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers.
Students also heard from law school administrators including Greg Ivy, Associate Dean for Library and Technology; Ruth Cross, Associate Dean for Administration and Director of Legal Writing; Karen Sargent, Assistant Dean of the Office of Career Services; Stephen Yeager, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs; and Laura Burstein, Director of Academic Support and Public Service.
Yeager, in his first year as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, reminded students that it’s “so easy to look at successful lawyers now and dream about being in a similar position someday. LinkedIn profiles and fancy titles make it seem so easy. But what you don’t see is the story behind the titles. Each of these people had ups and downs in law school and in their careers and you will, too..” He explained the value of the law school’s all-new Inns of Court program, which contains groups of 30 J.D. and 5 L.L.M. students, and its valuable resources like Academic Success Mentors and Student Bar Association Mentors. 
In conjunction with Dean Collins, Yeager emphasized the importance of a professional reputation even beyond law school because “although the Dallas legal community is much larger than it was 25 years ago, it is still a small one.” In closing, Yeager reminded the students to “enjoy every minute and make the most of your time here.”
Students spent the remainder of the day discovering places around campus such as the Underwood Law Library and the Career Services office, and finally enjoyed a concluding dinner at SMU’s Mack Ballroom.

Saturday – Buses to the North Texas Food Bank, “Teaming to Win” Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, and an Academic Skills Workshop

Not every law student graduates with an understanding of the value of public service. In order to begin instilling that value, the second day of orientation began with a trip to the North Texas Food Bank, where students helped package thousands of meals.
Upon returning to campus, students met with Rey Rodriguez, Director of Career Services, discussing campus diversity and inclusion. Next stop was an Academic Skills workshop, complete with tips on how to prepare for their upcoming first day of law school. Finally, the students had just one event left: Battle of the Inns.
Incoming law students teamed off according to their assigned Inn (Bromberg, Callejo, Jones, Jury, Noel, Storey, and Raggio) in a competition hosted by the Underwood Law Library. Contrary to a normal day at the library, thousands of toy balls were scattered throughout the space and six baskets, one for each Inn, and were suspended in the air from the third floor. Each Inn had a single objective: to fill their basket with enough balls to weigh it down to the second floor. Hundreds of students raced throughout the library, gathering balls, and throwing them everywhere. In the end, the Raggio Inn claimed victory and a rivalry was born.
Thank you to all of our incredible faculty and staff for making orientation a success, and best wishes to our SMU Dedman School of Law Class of 2018 and 2019!


Favorite Tweets from Orientation

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