Over the weekend I got an email from one of the long-time readers here at law:/dev/null — and a quick THANK YOU to all of you — reminding me that I still haven’t posted the Site Stats for July.
So I was going through the search terms to put that together, and saw “what to expect at nccu law orientation” among them. I figured that needs a bit more than the 1-line treatment I typically give the search queries each month
Before giving you my $.02, I need to stress that this is strictly 100% my own recollections and opinions taken from my three entries on Orientation last year. They are not in any way endorsed / vetted / reviewed / affirmed / or any other relevant verb’d by NCCU Law, the Student Bar Association, or anyone else. Your experience will likely be different — and hopefully less embarrassing than mine — so take all of this with the requisite grains of salt
Also, since I’m in the NCCU Law day program these recollections are day program-specific. If you’re in the evening program you’ll go through the same stuff, it’ll just be structured differently.
We’ll start with some preliminaries:
Attire: Last year I came to the first day of Orientation in a suit… and was one of at most a half dozen others to do the same This will be the first impression you’ll make on your teachers and future colleagues so you don’t want to dress like a bum, but if you don’t want to do full business attire you can stick with your Sunday best.
Dennis Jansen (a 3L @ UMN Law) has this excellent post on Orientation fashion advice. And if you happen to be a lady, Huma Rashid (a 3L @ John Marshall Law) has an entire category of outfits just for you. Read them both. Trust me
Parking: Not sure if things will be different this year, but last year we had the same places to park during Orientation as we did during the school year: (i) on the strip alongside the law school, (ii) in the Education Building parking lot, (iii) in the parking lot in front of the gym, (iv) the newly-paved lot across from the Criminal Justice building, and (v) a handful of other places you’ll only need if you end up getting to class really really late. Go to the NCCU Campus Map for directions. Plan to arrive early and you’ll be fine parking-wise
Sections: You can figure out what section you’re in already by looking at your schedule in Banner, but if you haven’t accessed that yet you’ll know for certain when you check in at Orientation. You’ll be split into your sections for most of the sessions all week.1
Technology: If you have a laptop and you’re planning on using it during the year, bring it with you on the first day. NCCU Law has a laptop loaner program where every 1L has the option to borrow an IBM ThinkPad from the school, but many of us prefer to use our own. Bringing it on Day One will give you a chance to get everything configured for use on the law school’s wifi network.
Timeline: Orientation is pretty much an all-day (or all-evening) thing each day. Plan to show up at 8-9am and plan to stay there until 5pm or later (more on the “or later” part for Day Two below).
DAY ONE: WELCOME TO NCCU
The first day of Orientation last year was the really basic nuts and bolts to life at NC Central University.
You’ll check in, hang out in the Fishbowl for a bit (and eat some of the breakfast items sponsored by your Student Bar Association ), then go to the classroom where you’ll spend your 1L year for the rest of the day’s activities.
The day is broken up into 30-45 minute segments on various issues. You’ll get introduced to the Chief (the Dean of the law school) as well as the high-level law school staff. You’ll hear from the Registrar about basic class registration and related items. There will be a Q&A session on financial aid, student loans, and other money-related issues. There will be a segment on your respective learning styles from Dr. Psych. And you’ll hear from the IT folks about how to navigate the various law school facilities available to you.
The really fun stuff happens at the end, when you’ll get your login/passwords for both LexisNexis and WestLaw, putting oodles and oodles of cases at your fingertips for whenever you’re bored. And you’ll be given a tour of the law school — which will hopefully include a trip down to the SBA office to say hi to me
DAY TWO: WELCOME TO LAW SCHOOL
If Day One were designed to introduce you to NCCU, Day Two introduces you to the NCCU School of Law… and the long hours law school can consume
In the morning your CivPro professor will give you an introduction to the legal system. After that you’ll hear a bit more detail about the various law school departments and how they can help you (career services, academic support, and so on).
At some point that day you’ll also get to hear from a panel of students about the rich legacy of NCCU Law, and then have a second law-related session where your Contracts professor will introduce you to briefing cases — and even assigning homework
Once that’s done, you basically have a break to knock out the essential stuff you need to do. The Bookstore will have a “mobile store” set up in one of the courtrooms on the ground floor. You’ll be able to buy your parking permit on the 2nd floor. You’ll get your picture taken in the Fishbowl for the law school’s annual student profile thing. Etc etc etc.
Then that night there will be a reception in the Great Hall with NCCU Law alumni, followed by a session on professionalism with those alums and folks from the N.C. Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. The reception and professionalism session combine both the day and evening programs, so it’s an excellent opportunity to get to know your fellow 1Ls from all over the school
DAY THREE: NOW GET TO WORK
I actually had to skip the last part of Orientation last year because of a conflict with a UNC Board of Governors meeting I had to attend as UNCASG President — so even though I remember what was supposed to take place, this section of the post is also part speculation.
In the morning you’ll have some group discussions on To Kill A Mockingbird, one of the books you were assigned to read over the summer. You’ll also have another session on briefing cases as well — and you still have to turn in that homework even if you skip like I did
You’ll also go over the Student Handbook and the Code of Conduct, as well as a session on avoiding plagiarism. And at some point you’ll be given a writing exercise.
The last event for the day will be a second panel with different students on it, that will basically be a Q&A for you to ask any lingering questions that didn’t get addressed during the rest of Orientation. I’m on that second panel, so if you want to try and stump me feel free to start thinking of your questions now
If I had a chance to do Orientation all over again, the only thing I’d change is that I’d be more relaxed.
Before law school several friends used to call me “the oldest and the coldest” in tribute to my unflappable personality (and balding scalp ). But for some reason I was ridiculously nervous during Orientation, and I didn’t enjoy myself nearly as much as I should have.
You’re getting ready to start an amazing experience at a truly unique law school, and you’re going to meet people who will be colleagues and friends for years to come. Go in with the mindset to soak in as much information as you can, to meet as many folks as you can, and to enjoy yourself as much as you can — do that and you’ll be in good shape
That’s it from me — if you have any questions between now and Orientation feel free to send me an email! Looking forward to meeting y’all this week!
Orientation-related items from the law:/dev/null archives:
- Week 0 Retrospective Part III (or, “You can breathe now.”) (08/18/2009)
- Week 0 Retrospective Part II (or, “Good morning”) (08/17/2009)
- Week 0 Retrospective Part I (or, “Don’t Panic. Really.”) (08/17/2009)
- Why a T4 law school was my 1st choice (Part II) (08/15/2009)
- Why a T4 law school was my 1st choice (Part I) (08/13/2009)
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