Orientation Events Quirky and Serious Welcome Class of 2010

Press contact:
James O’Neill
Cell: 646-596-2935
August 8, 2007 – Columbia Law School’s entering class of 2010 will get their first taste of the law and Columbia during a two-day orientation that begins Monday, August 13. The two-day formal program starts off several weeks of events designed to expose students to all that Columbia, New York City and the legal profession offer.
This year’s students will benefit from the addition of seven new professors who join Columbia Law School under Dean David Schizer’s plan to increase the faculty by 50 percent. The new faculty bring timely expertise in areas that have received frequent media attention, including national security, terrorism, international law, human rights and election law.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting academic year,” said Law School Dean David Schizer. “Bringing these experts together under one roof with our current standout faculty will further the creative debate and scholarship on current legal issues that mark Columbia Law School.”
The new faculty will deepen scholarship vitally connected to the changing face of the law, reduce the student-faculty ratio, and increase the course subjects available to students.
New Columbia Law School courses for the 2007-08 academic year include “Use of Force in the International System,” a Matthew Waxman seminar; “Electronic Commerce,” offered by Ronald Mann; “Religious Liberty,” an advanced constitutional law course taught by Philip Hamburger; “Professional Responsibility Issues in Business Practice,” offered by William Simon; and “Contemporary Issues in Law and Politics,” taught by Nathaniel Persily.
Many of the Law School’s 60 student organizations have planned their own welcoming events tied to orientation, including a scavenger hunt through Manhattan, a guided tour of Gracie Mansion, a special movie screening, a Broadway show and a lunch in Central Park to discuss career options.
“Law school is a substantial undertaking,” said Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin, Columbia Law School’s dean of students, in a welcome message to new students. Greenberg-Kobrin, who graduated from Columbia Law School in 1999, said she met many classmates during her orientation who remain her friends and professional colleagues to this day. “I hope that you will enjoy the same experience,” she said in her message to students.
Columbia Law School has provided a special page on its Web site outlining orientation schedules and other important information for new students.
The two-day orientation on August 13 and 14 includes a panel of five Law School professors for a welcome discussion, a meeting on how to receive financial aid, an evening barbeque, a breakfast with staff of the Center for Public Interest Law, a panel of upperclass students, and a luncheon discussion on the numerous pro bono projects and community service opportunities in and around the Columbia community.
The student-organized events through the rest of August include a scavenger hunt sponsored by the Student Senate. The event, from 1 to 9 p.m. on August 11, is called “The Amazing Race,” and the Student Senate challenges participants to “discover the city and test their knowledge.” The event concludes with an after-party.
About 60 students participated in last year’s hunt. Students are grouped into teams of six to eight, who are given a list of about 50 clues to landmarks famous and obscure throughout Manhattan. They spend the day taking digital photos to document their finds. Past clues have asked students to find easy landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, and more obscure ones, especially for non-New Yorkers, such as the private park in Manhattan that requires a key for resident access (Gramercy Park).
“It requires some real teamwork,” said Kathrin Schwesinger ’09, one of the event’s co-chairs and a member of the Student Senate’s executive board. “It’s all about forming friendships and developing a sense of community among the new students.”
Other events sponsored by student groups include a tour of Gracie Mansion, the official New York mayor’s residence, to learn more about the history of New York politics and its current mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Co-sponsored by a number of campus groups, the tour will be followed by a visit to a local bar on the Upper East Side to discuss political opportunities with upperclass students.
The Strategic Simulation Society plans a board game party, the Columbia Society of International Law will conduct a private tour of the United Nations followed by a happy hour, the Public Interest Law Foundation will host an ice cream social, and the Environmental Law Society has arranged a tour of the Museum of Natural History followed by a picnic in Central Park.
Several human rights groups have scheduled a screening of “Lost Boys of Sudan,” followed by a letter-writing campaign, and several organizations are combining forces to bring some new students to see “Legally Blonde” on Broadway.
Dean Schizer is also hosting a welcome event on August 30.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School graduates have provided leadership worldwide in a remarkably broad range of fields – government, diplomacy, the judiciary, business, non-profit, advocacy, entertainment, academia, science and the arts.
Led by Dean Schizer, Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law. The Law School offers J.D., J.S.D. and LL.M. degree programs to a diverse student body.