Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is excited to announce that Judge Jeffrey Cummings will deliver the convocation address to the Class of 2024.
Last week, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law welcomed incoming students to the Law School with a week of campus-wide events to celebrate the start of the 2023-24 academic year.
The events kicked off with a welcome from Dean Hari Osofsky and a reception to celebrate the beginning of the week. Eager incoming students, faculty, staff, and Northwestern Pritzker Law community members, ready to tackle another year, packed Thorne Auditorium.
Dean Osofsky addressed the crowd, welcoming the new entrants to the Northwestern family. “Welcome to Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. You have chosen to start law school at a moment of change and challenge in our society and profession in which your leadership is needed…. Technology, globalization, the need for cross-cutting knowledge and diverse perspectives are fundamentally changing the practice of law and raising big legal issues, and those changes have only accelerated over the past few years…,” said Dean Osofsky. “We remain deeply committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion following the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action…We have a profound access to justice gap….You have an important opportunity as lawyers to help bridge these justice gaps and find innovative pathways for law to move forward.”
She went on to highlight some of the accomplishments of the incoming group of students. The entering classes of 246 JDs and JD-MBAs, 156 international LLMs, 39 Tax LLMs, and 46 MSLs embody several interesting talents, including athletes, musicians, dancers, researchers, patent examiners, financial analysts, accountants, entrepreneurs, engineers, data scientists, consultants, journalists, actuarial specialists, teachers, congressional interns, paralegals and military veterans. Students from the incoming classes hail from more than 40 states and more than 25 countries and places around the world.
“This class is an extraordinary group of people,” said Dean Osofsky. “I have great confidence that you will build a wonderful community as you learn from each other and our amazing faculty and launch into exciting careers.”
A Q&A with the dean followed the welcome, where students asked her about her journey, advice for international students, and how to succeed in law school. “With all of the critical challenges that we face at this moment in society, the learning community that we build here in our law school is tremendously important,” said Dean Osofsky. “At this time of deep polarization in our society, universities and law schools must find a way forward that is welcoming and inclusive and that supports academic freedom and freedom of expression.”
Throughout the week, students engaged in a litany of talks and panels to prepare them for their time at the Law School. Panels included an introduction to case briefing, sessions on financial aid, career services, wellness, and diversity, equity, and inclusion resources, an overview of the Public Interest Center, a pledge of professionalism, and the much-anticipated Taste of NLaw and Chicago Boat Cruise.
Samantha Woo, interim associate dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Susie Spies Roth, associate dean and dean of students, co-facilitated an interactive session with first year JD and LLM students titled “Building Our Community.” During that session, the students worked together to develop a set of group agreements meant to help them communicate across differences and guide their interactions with each other, faculty, and staff during their time at the Law School.
“The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion hosted a DEI Pre-Orientation, which focused on the many ways in which Northwestern Pritzker Law engages with and supports our students with identities that are historically underrepresented in law schools and in the legal profession,” said Woo. “It was heartening to see students from so many different backgrounds and lived experiences establishing the foundations of relationships that could last well beyond law school.”
Staff and faculty also marked the start of the new year, catching up and greeting newcomers at a welcome party hosted in the John Paul Stevens Courtyard.
“Orientation is such a unique and special time of the academic year,” said Spies Roth. “As we welcome new faces and learn about one another and our wonderful law school, the building is filled with a palpable sense of excitement, anticipation, perhaps a few nerves, but mostly hope for all the wonderful achievements that await. Each year during orientation I’m filled with immense pride at being a part of this collaborative, supportive, inclusive community. And this year was no exception.”
Student Orientation Week was organized by Spies Roth; Woo; Mary Wozniak, operations manager in the Office of Student Services; and Mike Burns, chief of staff.
For more information on Orientation Week, click here.
One day in the early 1990s, Professor Len Rubinowitz received a phone call during office hours from a man who introduced himself as Marc Mettes.