Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to School: Welcoming our Bright and Ambitious 1L Students

I can't even remember my first day of law school.

I hope that we made the first day far more memorable for our incoming 1Ls.  Our lovely and wonderful new Dean Lucy McGough greeted them and introduced the faculty and staff.

Then Virginia Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Lemmons, having made the long drive from Richmond, gave a story-filled speech on professionalism that inspired the new students.  

Then, students -- dressed in professional attire --stood to take the Oath of Professionalism.  Yes, we quickly begin to admit them to our "tribe."

Students "acknowledge[d] the privileges granted by society to the legal profession" and "promise[d] to uphold the highest standards of academic honesty and ethical practice."  They also promised to "embrace civility and professionalism."   They promised to conduct themselves with dignity and respect the dignity of others in both their private and professional lives.  They agreed to strengthen the ASL community and bring credit to the Appalachian School of Law, to the legal profession, and to themselves. 

Students began learning to brief a legal opinion and then faced a mountain of reading assigned by me for three classes I'm teaching this week on Learning Styles, the Enneagram, and Handling Test Anxiety.  I also took them through a guided meditation that tied their own source of power to the earth and heavens. 

We promised a Saturday run and a hike on the nearby trail, but the area enjoyed a very heavy thunderstorm in the morning. 

That evening the clouds cleared a bit, and we enjoyed a fun -- but steamy -- cookout in the courtyard area.

Faculty and staff provided food.  Ryan James -- ASL 3L student who spent the summer in Spain running with the bulls -- provided great dance music.  Grill master, Eric von Kleist -- an ASL graduate and now our Registrar -- served up perfectly cooked hamburgers and hot dogs.

Yes, we also had wine and beer.

Students also competed for several baskets of ASL logo-items by completing a Human Bingo icebreaker game. The game asked students to find other students meeting various criteria.

For example, the game board asked them to find someone who had:

  • walked the Appalachian Trail, 
  • eaten squirrel, 
  • more than 20 cousins, 
  • won a competition, 
  • visited the Bristol Motor Speedway, 
  • more than two children,
  • broken a limb, 
  • fed the birds,
  • served in law enforcement or corrections, and
  • majored in political science,
It also asked students to find someone who was:
  • born in Kentucky;
  • a professional actor,
  • a good cook,
  • a fly fisherman, and
  • a published author. 
Finding the professional actor proved most challenging until 1L student Roland learned that Ryan James appeared in the film Hitch, even though his appearance ended up on the editing room floor. 

Roland Douglas, Lyndon Scheveck, and Alex Narita, arriving 1L students took first, second, and third places, in that order.  Mo Bryant, a 2L student, tied for third place and graciously gave the basket of goodies to Alex (except for the ASL bumper sticker, which she really wanted).  

It is an absolute joy to have these bright, ambitious students join our ASL community!  I hope this week makes them very sure that we consider them treasured additions to our lives in Grundy and to the legal profession. 

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