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    08.21.18 Convocation Ceremony Welcomes New Students to the Law School

    Brooklyn Law School welcomed 360 new students on August 20 at the annual Convocation Ceremony, held in the Ceremonial Courtroom at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Vice Dean Steven Dean served as master of ceremonies for the event, which also featured remarks from Stacy Caplow, Associate Dean of Professional Legal Education; Hon. Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and Maryellen Fullerton, Interim Dean. Hon. I. Leo Glasser ’48, U.S. District Court Judge, Eastern District of New York, attended the ceremony as a special guest. Glasser was dean of the Law School from 1977 to 1981 and a member of the faculty from 1948 to 1969.

    The incoming class includes 308 members of the traditional 3-Year Program, 26 members of the 2-Year Accelerated J.D. Program, and 26 members of the extended 4-Year Program. The LL.M. program welcomed 17 new students from 15 countries, including Jordan, Sri Lanka, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Switzerland, and Mexico. Six exchange students from France, the Netherlands, and China also will study at the Law School this fall.  

    Underscoring the important role that lawyers play in upholding justice, Caplow in her remarks explained that the famous Shakespeare quote “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” is spoken by a character who seeks to seize absolute power and wants lawyers out of his way. “Lawyers may not have been popular to the public,” said Caplow, “but Shakespeare also knew lawyers could obstruct unjust, undeserved despotism.” She reminded students that “500 years later…lawyers and judges have held the government accountable, have blocked injustice, and used the law and the courts to temporarily or even permanently change the course of events.”

    Judge Katzmann told the students that “it is your responsibility as lawyers to try to be good,” because the monopoly granted to lawyers by the state means that “it is your obligation to ensure that everyone has access to justice. You can serve those in need.”

    Fullerton closed the ceremony by highlighting the Law School’s distinctive, historic legacy of excellence and service that the new students now inherit. She also related a personal anecdote about her unexpected path to immigration law—an area in which she is a noted scholar. She explained how she took an immigration class while focusing on her intended area of study, federal courts. Years later, she seized a unique opportunity to examine forced migration—thereby setting her career on a very different path. “That two-credit elective course changed my life,” she said.

    “Be open,” she urged. “Life is full of serendipitous moments. We are here to help you seize those moments.”

    Read More:

    Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Brooklyn Law School welcomes first-year students during 118th convocation

    View photos of the Convocation Ceremony here.