The LSU Law Class of 2017 – some 201 strong – began their journey in the law, when the 2014 Student Orientation kicked off on August 14th. Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss and LSU President and Chancellor Dr. F. King Alexander officially welcomed the class during their first day on campus. This is the second year that Dr. Alexander has welcomed students to the Law Center. LSU Law will be realigned with the main campus in January 2015, having been a separate institution since the mid-1970s.
“This is an exciting time at the LSU Law Center,” said Chancellor Weiss. “We’re getting remarried to LSU; we have new programs such as the new Energy Law program, as well as exciting new courses and clinical programs; and, you are here on the eve of King Alexander’s time at LSU…where every corner of the campus is infused with energy and optimism about the future,” said Chancellor Weiss.
The Chancellor also noted that LSU Law was again recently recognized as a Top 10 Best Value Law School. The Center ranked #8 in the nation in the National Jurist’s 2014 rankings of Best Value Law Schools. “I think you’ve made a very wise investment to come here,” he said. The size of the class is up 13% over last year, in spite of the national decline in both LSAT takers and applicants to law schools generally.
“I felt welcomed here at LSU Law when I visited,” said Stacy Liere of Texas. “I knew that LSU had a really good program, and I’ve always loved Louisiana. It was the best choice for me…It just fit me.”
Chancellor Weiss advised the students on ways to get the most from their three years of study at LSU Law. “Learn to make good judgments; make friends while you’re here, and guard your reputation; learn how to find information, how to write, and how to speak; and, be open to new and big ideas,” he suggested. “Try not to come here with preconceived ideas, and don’t be preoccupied with small facts and rules to the exclusion of asking big questions. Think in terms of big issues. We [lawyers] are the architects of the order in which we live.”
Dr. Alexander challenged the students to be engaged as worldwide citizens in the fight to provide the next generation with more opportunities for education and economic prosperity. “My faith is in what you’re going to do,” said Dr. Alexander. “Don’t remove yourself from these commitments…That’s the significance of law. You can impact lives of so many who rely on you to do so. I need your help to remove people from the bonds of ignorance and poverty. Our job is to give you the tools to do it. Don’t remove yourself from these commitments. They are your obligations.”
The first-year class includes graduates from 75 colleges and universities throughout the nation, and 24 states, including Louisiana. Thirty-four percent of the class comes from outside Louisiana. Women make up 40% of the class and men, 60%.
Hannah Schilling, a Bossier, Louisiana native, is the first in her family to graduate from college. “The reputation of the school precedes itself, and it fulfills my initial dreams of attending law school,” she said when asked why she chose LSU Law. “I chose LSU Law because of the school’s strong reputation for legal education, and when I visited here, compared to other law schools, it felt like I was at home.”