Dean David M. Schizer welcomed the J.D. Class of 2015 and the LL.M. Class of 2013 to Columbia Law School this past autumn. In his address to more than 600 incoming students, Dean Schizer, who has led the Law School for more than eight years, stressed the unique benefits of a legal education and the important role law plays in improving numerous facets of society.
“[T]he legal profession is the steward of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of our freedom and prosperity,” he said. “In order for citizens to make their own choices and to live free and independent lives, the law must be clear and predictable, and rights must be rigorously enforced. . . . Lawyers obviously are the heart and soul of this effort.”
Dean Schizer went on to highlight several graduates of Columbia Law School who have acted on that ideal. In particular, he noted that U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. ’83 and U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. ’76 had once sat in the very seats soon to be occupied by those in attendance. In addition, judges such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59, Roderick L. Ireland ’69, Hironobu Takesaki ’71 LL.M., and Susan Denham ’72 LL.M. continue to build on Columbia Law School’s long-standing legacy of judicial service.
Ultimately, Dean Schizer stressed that Law School students should make every effort to find something they love to do that also makes a valuable contribution to the world.
“[W]e all have different tastes, strengths, and values, so in the coming years, you have to figure out what you love to do,” he noted. “Columbia is an ideal place to start looking for your professional passion.”
The 364 students in the J.D. Class of 2015 were chosen from more than 6,500 applicants. More than 50 percent of the class scored in the 99th percentile of the LSAT exam, and more than 30 students already hold advanced degrees. Students in the LL.M. Class of 2013 come to Columbia Law School from more than 50 countries, with the largest groups hailing from China, Japan, and Brazil.