Although the program didn’t officially begin until 9:30 a.m., most of the new students were already in their seats and ready to go at 8:30 a.m.
“I’m excited, a little nervous, but ready for the challenge,” said 1L Ivy Andrews, one of the 93 entering students at TJSL’s Spring Orientation on January 13. She gave voice to what a lot of her fellow classmates were no doubt feeling as they began their first day of law school. They all seemed eager to start.
“I’ve been counting down the seconds,” said Janmari Hueso Richardson, a 1L who transferred from the law school at Inter-American University in Puerto Rico. “It’s wonderful to be here.”
“We’re opening the door of opportunity for you,” said Beth Kransberger, TJSL’s Associate Dean of Student Affairs, as she welcomed the new students. “This room is filled with students who can absolutely do this – and our orientation is designed to give you the keys to the kingdom.”
New 1L Benjamin Weiss said he has wanted to go into the legal profession since childhood, when his mother told him he should aim for being a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. “It could happen,” Weiss said. “I’m ready to let the law school experience consume me.”
“I’m excited, nervous, and anxious to get this started,” said 1L Kenneth Asare, who sat next to Weiss - the two had already struck up a friendship.
1L Kelsi Pilcher feels at home on the new campus already, since she was a participant in the 2011 CLEO Summer Institute at TJSL. CLEO is the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, and TJSL has hosted CLEO academies three times in the past five years.
“It feels like I’ve been here the whole time,” Pilchard said. “CLEO made me feel more prepared to start law school and gave me a certain amount of confidence.”
“Let me tell you a bit about yourselves,” Dean Kransberger said as she gave the students a snapshot of their new classmates. “You are a diverse class in every way. Twenty-six percent of you are first generation college students. Fifty-percent of you are over the age of 27, and you range in age from 21 to 46. You are 41-percent students of color, 5-percent of you have self-identified as LGBT, and 51-percent of you come from outside of California, were born in 20 states and 8 countries. And eight of you have served our country through military service.”
Some, like Kelsi Pilcher, already know what type of law they’d like to practice; in her case, family law. Some, like Joy Pillay, just want to see where the law school experience takes them.
All of the students we spoke to were excited and ready to begin this new chapter of their lives.
“You will be able to transform people’s live doing this,” said Dean Kransberger. “What we ask of you is that you engage with us and we’ll get you through this.”