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Orientation!


I just finished up my last day of orientation. Woohoo! I didn't really know what to expect from the week so here's a run down of how it went.

Before:

All I knew was we had orientation Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10-4 each day. I also knew we had reading and an assignment due two of the days.

First day:

We got there, checked in and got our name tags, and mingled with some coffee and breakfast for an hour. I learned that check-in wasn't at 9, it was from 9-10, so the next days I took my sweet time getting ready and checking in.

Next, the deans gave speeches welcoming us to the school and all that good stuff. One thing I've learned about the law school experience by this point is that everyone feels pretty much the same way about it--it's intense and hard but if you can make it through the first year, you can make it.

Our first presentation was "Thinking Like a Lawyer." The main thing I got from this was that as a lawyer, sometimes you are going to represent clients who have committed crimes that go against your moral code, but you still have an obligation to zealously represent them.

~next was lunch~

After lunch, we had a session called "Reading Like a Lawyer," in which they taught us how to write case briefs. A case brief is basically a summary of the most important factors in a case, including issue, facts, holding, reasoning, and rule. Case briefs make it so you only have to read the case in it's entirety once, and then can use your case brief to refresh yourself on the most important facts. In this session, they discussed the assignment we had, which was reading and identifying different aspects of a case. It was helpful that I had done it because I could participate in the discussion but TBH they didn't check and I could have gotten away with not doing it. But it was helpful so do the assignment if you have one!!!!

Second Day:

Check in. Got there at 9:50.

Our first presentation was called "A Year in the life of a 1L" and basically gave us a timeline of when midterms and finals were, when we should start worrying about looking for summer jobs, etc.

Then we had a panel of 6 alumni that had graduated in the last 5-8 years come share thoughts and advice with us. This I thought was the most helpful and interesting part of orientation. They all admitted that none of them had graduated in the top 10% of the class, yet they were all very successful in many different areas of law. They reassured our fears and anxieties and showed us that law school will indeed pay off.

~lunchtime~~~

After lunch was a session called "Intro to Legal Research" which basically taught us how to look up cases and laws, and what mandatory and persuasive authority were in regards to following precedent.

Third day:

Check in. Last minute again.

"Intro to legal analysis"--Here we learned ways to take notes, what we should be taking down, how to balance listening and participating with taking notes, why handwritten notes are better (which I completely ignored---I love typing my notes). We also went over our assignment, which was to practice writing a case brief.

Next was Faculty Hot Topics. We each had to pick one of four topics that a professor was working in and go listen to a presentation. I picked one on human trafficking and it was SO INTERESTING the legal work the professor was doing in that field. I'm not kidding, I was mind blown at how expert she was on the subject and the amount of advocacy work she had done for immigrants that were victims of human trafficking. It made me happy to be going to a school where the faculty were doing such amazing things.

Finally, we has a "mixer" with the most amazing food I've pretty much ever been served. Like 20 foot long tables lined with appetizers. Omg.

Reflections

  • I'm glad it was only 3 days. Some schools have weeklong orientations but 3 days seemed plenty.

  • Everyone was really nice and willing to make friends, and in the same boat. Kind of like freshman year of undergrad.

  • In trying to cure some of our anxieties, orientation sometimes reminded us of them and made me more anxious. But that's also probably on me.

What I wore

My school didn't provide a dress code, so I went with business casual on the first day and more casual the following days. Most people did the same.

  • Day one--A black tank top with a gray polka dot skirt (see photo) and sandals.

  • Day two--A lace top and dark skinny jeans and sandals

  • Day three--A black, business casual dress and sandals

Have any questions? Drop me an email!

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