New Class, New World: Orientation 2023

What’s a cold call again? Members of the J.D. Class of 2026 and the LL.M. Class of 2024 kicked off their Columbia Law experience and got the scoop from current students, professors, and Dean Gillian Lester.

More than 700 new J.D. and LL.M. candidates began their time on the Morningside campus with a whirl of introductions, instructions, interactions, icebreakers, and ice cream during orientation activities designed to acclimate new students into their Columbia Law School experience. 

Watch the video above to get a sense of the orientation vibes.

“Each of you has earned your place by virtue of your hard work and the challenges you’ve overcome. The three responsibilities I talked about—to yourself, to each other, and to society—will ground you and reinforce your sense of common purpose, as you act with courage to tackle the toughest, most intractable problems that our society brings. This is your opportunity and your task. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law 

Fast Facts About the J.D. Class of 2026

The J.D. students were welcomed to campus by Dean Lester, Associate Dean and Dean of Admissions Nkonye Iwerebon, Associate Dean of Student and Registration Services Yadira Ramos-Herbert, and Student Senate President Justin Onwenu ’24. They also had the chance to get to know each other in group events including yoga, scavenger hunts, and park cleanups.

  • The class represents 37 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and 21 countries beyond the U.S. 
  • 74% have been out of college for a year or more.
  • They include a baker, a chaplain, several Eagle Scouts, a novelist, a rancher, two beekeepers, and more than one teacher.
  • They speak or read 60 languages, including Ga, Kinyarwanda, Swedish, and Tamil. 

“Remember why you came to law school so that every decision you make reflects who you authentically are. We have a lot of AI, robots, a lot of machines doing a lot of different things. But what we need are authentic leaders: those who demonstrate empathy, those who demonstrate self-awareness, and those that make decisions that are the right decisions, filled with integrity and self-awareness and authenticity. And so I encourage you: Over the next three years, invest in school, but don't forget yourself.”
—Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Associate Dean of Student and Registration Services  

Fast Facts About the LL.M. Class of 2024
  • Members of the class represent 57 countries.
  • They include a member of Australia’s Indigenous history justice commission, a competitive equestrian, an advocate for Korean victims of World War II military sexual slavery, and an arbitration expert from Iran.
  • They have an average of 5 1/2 years of work experience.

“Commit right now to connecting in a meaningful way with every person you engage with in the Columbia community, be it the faculty who teach you, the administrators who help you, the alumni who advise you, or the people sitting next to you, in front, and behind you. At the end of the day, when all the books are closed, exams are taken, and grades are posted, it's the relationship with these people that will be the legacy you leave and the treasure you take.”
—Julie Sculli, Assistant Dean, Office of Graduate Degree Programs

Photos From Orientation 2023

2023 J.D. Orientation: Class of 2026