Posted: August 20th, 2014 | By: Lisa Snedeker
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Wake Forest University School of Law welcomed its newest juris doctor (JD), Master of Studies in Law (MSL) and international students for the 2014-15 academic year beginning Friday, Aug. 15.
The entering JD Class of 2017 is made up of students representing 119 colleges and universities from 32 states, Puerto Rico and three foreign countries. The class is 48 percent women and 18.4 percent of the class is made up of diversity students. And there are at least 14 students with graduate degrees.
Recently appointed Interim Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77), who formally takes the reins on Sept. 1, told the first-year law students this class “will always be special to me because we will be 1Ls together.”
She added, “There is change in the air, but what hasn’t changed is that you (the students) are the most important people in the building. A lot of us in the Worrell Professional Center are lawyers and we all remember how we felt the very first day of law school. You will learn to look at the world differently and to think differently by then end of your 1L year. You will think more precisely and you will lapse automatically into deductive reasoning. You will also realize the power of the law to make people’s lives better and you will feel the responsibility to change the laws that make people’s lives worse. You will take that new way of thinking to make the world a better place. ”
New international students come from more than a dozen countries including Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, China, Holland, Kosovo, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. Among the LL.M (Master of Laws) students are four men from Kosovo, who represent the third group of students from their country to study law at an American university, according to the Dean of International Programs Richard Schneider. “We have a really wide spectrum of students from around the world and they bring great experiences to this law school,” he added.
Katie Barkley (’17) graduated from the University of San Francisco. Originally from Durham, she said she wanted to return to her home state to attend law school because she wants to practice in North Carolina. “I chose Wake Forest Law because I just got a very welcoming and good vibe from Wake Forest,” she explained. “I got to sit in on a law school class and I wanted to start right away. I’ve always wanted to have a career where I could help people.”
Barkley, along with her classmates, is helping out the Winston-Salem community this week by volunteering with Habitat of Humanity of Forsyth County. Each of the four sections of incoming JD students will spend a morning or afternoon on Wednesday, Aug. 20, and Thursday, Aug. 21, along with faculty members and law school administrators, working to improve homes in the area of 14th and Cherry streets.
The entering law school class has been volunteering with Habitat for more than a decade, according to Associate Dean of Administration and Student Services Ann Gibbs.
“At Wake Forest Law, we believe in teaching students how to be citizen lawyers from the very beginning of their law careers,” she explained. “Working with Habitat also emphasizes the university’s commitment to its motto, Pro Humanitate.”