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Brooklyn Law School Welcomes New Students at Annual Convocation Ceremony

08/26/2020

Brooklyn Law School welcomed 411 new students on August 24 at the annual Convocation Ceremony, which was held online this year. Vice Dean Christina Mulligan served as master of ceremonies for the event, which featured remarks from Professor Frank Pasquale; Erika Lorshbough ’12, Deputy Policy Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU); and Dean Michael T. Cahill.

The incoming class includes 378 full-time J.D. students and 33 students in the extended four-year J.D. program. The LL.M. program welcomed 11 new students from seven countries: Albania, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Romania, Russia, and Spain.

Overall, the new students come to the Law School from five continents, 26 countries, and 32 U.S. States; 22 percent are first-generation Americans. The new students speak a total of 36 languages and dialects other than English, with 70 speaking at least three languages. They arrive after graduating from 174 colleges and universities, pursuing 82 different academic majors. They also bring an impressive breadth of previous experience—45 have postgraduate degrees, and many have held positions at blue-chip firms, prestigious organizations, and all levels of government.

Pasquale, who joined the faculty this fall after serving as a visiting professor, opened the ceremony by acknowledging the extraordinary circumstances of the students’ first semester of law school taking place during a global pandemic.

“We stand at a crossroads where much of our law and policy must be fundamentally rebuilt, and proven structures of the past must be better known and invigorated,” Pasquale said. “That’s where law school comes in.” He drew the distinction that the law, as a profession, rather than an occupation, requires practitioners to “systematically commit ourselves to thinking about what we’ve done in the past, how we could do it better, and what it even means to do it better.”

Lorshbough offered advice spun from her experience at the Law School as well as from her years in practice and advocacy. She empathized with the struggles they may encounter and encouraged them to be resilient and, through reaching out to others, to persevere.

“If, 20 years ago, I had made up a perfect job for myself, it would be my current job,” Lorshbough said. “There is no way I could have gotten to where I am without the support of the amazing people around me at Brooklyn Law School.”

Cahill welcomed the students with a message of hope and optimism about the legal profession, saying “I think right now is a great time to go to law school. This is a moment for law and lawyers.” Calling the law “the profession of hope,” Cahill said “our fundamental mission as lawyers is to promote and pursue justice. As lawyers, we see a lack of justice not as a call for despair, but a call for action.”

The program concluded with an introduction of the faculty members in attendance to the new students.

“What defines a school’s identity and what makes it great is not its physical resources, but its people,” Cahill said of the faculty and staff. “You’ll find that our people are capable, dedicated, passionate, thoughtful, and welcoming.”

Watch the ceremony here