Highlights of Orientation 2019

Orientation activities for the J.D. Class of 2022 and the LL.M. Class of 2020 included faculty panels and opportunities to explore Columbia’s sprawling campus.

Columbia Law student leaders cheering new first-year law students

In August, nearly 700 J.D. and LL.M. students embarked on their journey as Columbia Law School students. Their first days included workshops and introductory classes; icebreakers and a food truck fair; and opportunities to meet members of the Columbia Law community, including faculty members, alumni, and second- and third-year students.

“You are part of our family now, and we will support you today and well beyond your time at Columbia,” said Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law.



Students sit in an auditorium

More than 360 J.D. candidates gathered in The Forum at Columbia’s Manhattanville campus on August 19 to kick off their first day of orientation.



Dean of Admissions Nkonye Iwerebon ’93

In her welcome address to the Class of 2022, Dean of Admissions Nkonye Iwerebon ’93 noted the diverse backgrounds of this year’s J.D. students. They include a competitive equestrian vaulter, a national championship-winning hockey player, a lead singer of a rock band, and a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for dynamic leadership while serving in the military in Afghanistan.

“While no one knows where this path will ultimately lead, what counts, in my view, is that you make the most of your time here—that you have many thought-provoking dialogues, remain true to the passions and aspirations that fuel you, and develop life-long friendships,” Iwerebon said.



Dean of Students Yadira Ramos-Herbert

Dean of Students Yadira Ramos-Herbert emphasized the robust support network available to Law School students in her J.D. orientation remarks. “You are joining a community dedicated to ensuring that each of you becomes not the next great, but the first great in whatever discipline your intellectual curiosity drives you to pursue,” she said.



Dean Gillian Lester stands in front of a screen that says "Columbia Law School."

“The law has a good deal in common with the New York subway system,” said Dean Lester in her remarks. “It’s a pervasive and powerful tool that will take you places, that will expose you to new things, and that you will come to master, but it is also imperfect, it can fall behind, and it has lots of room for improvement.”

She also offered this advice: “Don’t forget the ‘why,’ embrace the ‘we,’ and ask ‘what else? . . . Your time at Columbia Law will change you—at least I hope it does. If we succeed, your understanding will evolve, become more thoughtful and well-considered. And on some things, you will change your mind.”



A panel of second- and third-year students discussed their experiences so far as Columbia Law School students.

A panel of second- and third-year students discussed their experiences so far as Columbia Law School students. The panel shared their favorite places to study, encouraged first-year students to practice self-care as they navigate their coursework, and advised them to be confident in their ability to manage their first year as law students instead of comparing themselves with their classmates.



Students at an art gallery.

J.D. students chatted with their classmates and explored the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts.



Students eating ice cream.

The new class of J.D. and LL.M. students mingled and sampled food from vendors around the city at the food truck fair on West 116th Street.



Sylvia Polo speaks at a podium.

On August 12, Dean of Graduate Legal Studies Sylvia Polo welcomed the LL.M. Class of 2020 in Jerome Greene Hall, the main Law School building. Members of the cohort represent 53 jurisdictions, speak 40 languages, and come to Columbia Law School from various professional backgrounds, such as private practice law, public interest law, academia, and the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.




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Published on September 10, 2019