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Welcome to Week One

January 6, 2014

“It’s always a highlight of the academic year to go through orientation,” said Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dean and President Thomas Guernsey on Monday, January 6 as he welcomed TJSL’s incoming students during the Week One orientation program that helps prepare students for the demands of law school. “You have just made one of the most important decisions of your life. You’ve chosen to become a lawyer, to take on a role and a set of responsibilities that will truly change you forever.”

“You are about to embark on a rewarding yet also very challenging endeavor here at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law,” said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Keller. “We will definitely challenge you. We will push you to work harder, to think more critically, to write more clearly but we will also be here to provide the tools and the support for you to do that.”

Associate Director of Admissions Michelle Allison explained to the 2014 incoming class that during Week One, they will participate in sessions to learn strategies for approaching their doctrinal coursework. “The sessions are led by TJSL professors who are knowledgeable about what it takes to succeed in law school,” said Allison. “We understand that transitioning into law school is never easy but we try to give you as much information as possible.”

Director of Admissions Tim Spearman pointed out that TJSL’s newest students are from 9 states, 34 different undergraduate institutions, speak 6 languages ranging from English to Romanian and come from different types of occupational experiences spanning from real estate to farming. “You all bring a lot of skills and talents and backgrounds to the school, and this is an opportunity to bring those experiences to the classroom,” said Spearman. “You breathe life into the building, and I want to congratulate you and welcome you and wish you the very best while you are here and I look forward to partnering with you over the next several years.”

During Week One, students learn how to read case law and write case briefs and how to prepare for law school exams.

“I realize that you are getting a lot of information coming at you,” said Assistant Director of Admissions Justin Cruz. “But what I encourage you to do is try to soak up as much as you can and then if you find yourself having questions, please know that myself and all of my colleagues are willing and available to chat with you at any time.”

Students also participate in a doctrinal class session to become familiar with the Socratic Method, and they take and grade a simulated law school exam. Because of this intensive introduction to law school, students begin the academic year with confidence in their ability to succeed and with an understanding of the basic skills necessary to do so.