The campus was filled with excitement and positive energy on August 25 as California Western welcomed its newest students to orientation.
“There’s lots of positive energy,” agreed the law school’s Assistant Dean for Admissions Traci Howard. “It’s exciting because they are starting a new season of their lives and it’s nice to be a part of that.”
There are 224 students in the new class—60 percent of them women, with 46 percent identifying themselves as racially and/or ethnically diverse.
The students heard from several inspiring speakers, including Professor William C. Lynch, who told a humorous, yet horrific story about his first day in law school in 1953, and how his criminal law professor humiliated him in front of the class.
“It was for me a very traumatic experience,” Lynch recalled, illustrating the contrast between his experience and the positive experiences students have at California Western. “The bad things that happened to me are not going to happen to you here.”
Lynch outlined the three essential things he feels students need to succeed in law school: aptitude, doing the hard work, and controlling your psyche.
"We believe you have the stuff to get through law school,” said Lynch. “The first year of law school is a full-time job. If you follow the advice you are given today, you will get through. I guarantee that.”
1L Trevor Donovan, a LaSalle alumnus, said he’s taking Lynch’s advice to heart.
“He really hit the points that most of us are concerned about,” Donovan said. “He quelled those fears of being called on in class. You hear stories about that, but to hear him reassure us that it’s not like that at California Western is good.”
1L Brenda Acquino, a UC Davis graduate, picked up right away on the supportive culture for students at the law school.
“Coming here for orientation, I notice that all the professors seem really nice and very approachable, so I really like that,” Acquino said. “I feel pretty confident and I can’t wait to start.”
1L Ali Hosseini, a graduate of California State University Channel Islands agreed.
“The staff is really helpful and friendly,” Hosseini said. “Everyone seems very welcoming and on the same page."
“I’m very impressed,” said 1L Erika Lee, an alumna of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “Everything I’ve come to expect from the law school is panning out and I’m very excited to start.”
The keynote speaker, San Diego Superior Court Judge Leo Valentine Jr., used a joke his young daughter once told him to illustrate a how he got through law school.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” Valentine said. “In law school, I took one bite at a time. Give it your best every day and everything will take care of itself.”